The UFC returns to the Windy City for UFC 238: Cejudo vs. Moraes, Saturday, June 8th, from the United Center. Action kicks off at 5:15 CDT with the Fight Pass Early Prelims, then switches to ESPN at 7:00 for the Prelims, and the ESPN Plus PPV Main Card begins at 9:00. Although featuring only 5 fights, the main card is positively stacked, concluding with double-header title fights in Valentina Shevchenko defending her women’s Flyweight title against Jessica Eye, and Henry Cejudo vying to become only the fourth champ-champ in UFC history, taking on Marlon Moraes for the vacant Bantamweight belt.
Follow along as we break down each of the 5 fights on the main card of UFC 238, and we’ll give the current odds and our predictions as to how we see each match going down. This week, Matt Bricker and I are joined by two special guests who will add their predictions: Lafayette’s Logan “The Mattress Monkey” Speyrer IG: @mattressmonkey_mma_ and UFC veteran, Gracie black belt and Louisiana’s own Kurt Holobaugh IG: @k.holobaugh. Tune in each week for our fight predictions and for new special guests. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Tai Tuivasa (8-1) vs. Blagoy Ivanov (17-2-0, 1NC)
Odds as of 6/4/19: Tai Tuivasa -150; Blagoy Ivanov +120
In the opening act of the main card of UFC 238, Heavyweights will collide as Australia’s Tai Tuivasa takes on Bulgaria’s Blagoy Ivanov. Tuivasa is coming off of his first loss as a professional, a 2nd-round TKO stoppage to Junior dos Santos in December of last year. However, Tuivasa looked unbreakable before that hitch, amassing a record of 8-0 with seven 1st-round KO finishes culminating with an impressive victory over Andrei Arlovski. Blagoy Ivanov has won 6 of his last 7 fights, and although 17-2, Ivanov is making only his third UFC appearance. In his first two fights for the organization, Ivanov lost a decision to dos Santos and won a controversial decision over Ben Rothwell in March of this year.
MMA Tribune Prediction: Tuivasa, 1st-round TKO
Kurt Holobaugh: Tuivasa, 1st-round TKO
Logan “The Mattress Monkey” Speyrer: Ivanov, decision
Matt Bricker: Ivanov, decision
Jimmie Rivera (22-3) vs. Petr Yan (12-1)
Odds as of 6/4/19: Jimmie Rivera +260; Petr Yan -345
Next up is Bantamweight action between Jimmie Rivera and Russia’s Petr Yan. Rivera has been on a bit of a skid recently, losing 2 of his last 3 (a 30 second KO loss to Marlon Moraes back in the summer of last year and most recently a decision defeat to Aljamain Sterling in February), but was unbeaten for nearly 10 years prior. Petr Yan has been absolutely brilliant since joining the UFC one year ago. He’s 4-0 with the organization, and he’s riding a 7 fight win streak. As much as Rivera would like to rebound from his loss to Sterling, I just don’t see how he gets past the red hot Petr Yan.
MMA Tribune Prediction: Yan, decision
Kurt Holobaugh: Yan, decision
Logan “The Mattress Monkey” Speyrer: Yan, 3rd-round submission
Matt Bricker: Yan, decision
Tony Ferguson (24-3) vs. Donald Cerrone (36-11-0, 1NC)
Odds as of 6/4/19: Tony Ferguson -150; Donald Cerrone +120
Fight fans are rejoicing at the return of Tony Ferguson as he confronts an invigorated Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. Ferguson has fought only twice since 2017, dealing with both injuries and personal issues. He is currently on one of the longest active win streaks in the UFC, having not tasted defeat since a decision loss to Michael Johnson back in 2012. On top of that, Ferguson has won 17 of his last 18. It seems that becoming a father has breathed new life into Donald Cerrone. After going 1-4 in a 1.5 year span starting in 2017, Cerrone is currently riding a 3 fight win streak, stacking up impressive victories against Mike Perry, Alexander Hernandez, and Al Iaquinta, and getting him back in talks of title contention. This is as big of a fight as ever for Donald Cerrone, but I think Ferguson’s pace and volume will be just too much for him to handle.
MMA Tribune Prediction: Ferguson, 2nd-round TKO
Kurt Holobaugh: Cerrone, decision
Logan “The Mattress Monkey” Speyrer: Cerrone, 2nd-round KO
Matt Bricker: Ferguson, 2nd-round TKO
Valentina Shevchenko (16-3) vs. Jessica Eye (14-6-0, 1NC)
Odds as of 6/4/19: Valentina Shevchenko -1429; Jessica Eye +745
In the co-main event we’ve got Kyrgyzstani–Peruvian women’s Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko defending her title against Jessica Eye. Shevchenko is entering this fight an enormous favorite, and rightfully so. Shevchenko is the consummate professional, coming off of a unanimous decision win against Joanna Jędrzejczyk last December to claim the vacant Flyweight title. She’s been victorious in 9 of her last 11 dating back to 2011, and those 2 losses have both come from arguably the greatest women’s MMA fighter ever, current Bantamweight and Featherweight champion Amanda Nunes. Jessica Eye’s career has been on the up since 2018, gaining victories over her last 3 opponents. However, she’s racked up wins in only 4 of her last 10 attempts, and on top of that, she’s facing one of the baddest women on the planet Saturday night.
MMA Tribune Prediction: Shevchenko, 2nd-round submission
Kurt Holobaugh: Shevchenko, decision
Logan “The Mattress Monkey” Speyrer: Eye, 1st-round TKO
Matt Bricker: Shevchenko, decision
Henry Cejudo (14-2) vs. Marlon Moraes (22-5-1)
Odds as of 6/4/19: Henry Cejudo -110; Marlon Moraes -120
In the main event of the evening, current Flyweight champion Henry Cejudo moves up to shoot his shot at the vacant Bantamweight title against Marlon Moraes. After back-to-back losses to Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez, Cejudo has won his last 4, including a rematch against Johnson where Cejudo became the new Flyweight champion, followed by a successful title defense against arguably the greatest Bantamweight ever, T.J. Dillashaw. Cejudo comes into this fight with a lot of momentum, however he’ll be running into a brick wall in Marlon Moraes. Nobody is more deserving of a title shot than Moraes. He’s won 17 of his last 18, and that 1 loss was a controversial split decision to Raphael Assunção at UFC 212, which Moraes emphatically avenged with a first-round guillotine choke of Assunção in their rematch back in February. Moraes has plowed through a who’s who list of UFC Bantamweights on his ascension to the top ranks, and even though Cejudo is the first to ever win both Olympic and UFC gold (yes, I had to mention it), I think it’s Marlon Moraes’ time to take his rightful place on the throne.
MMA Tribune Prediction: Moraes, 4th-round TKO
Kurt Holobaugh: Moraes, 3rd-round TKO
Logan “The Mattress Monkey” Speyrer: Cejudo, decision
Matt Bricker: Moraes, 1st-round TKO
Safest pick of the night: Shevchenko over Eye
Best chance for an upset: Cerrone over Ferguson
Tell us what you think! Where do we have it right, and where do you think we got it wrong? Comment with your picks, and don’t forget to bookmark our page and check back often for more predictions and fight coverage. If you like what you see, go ahead and give our Facebook page a like and follow us on Instagram @mmatribune.