The Brain vs. The Heart: UFC 196

Welcome to The Brain vs. The Heart. Everyone has that internal battle with themselves about which fighter you think will win vs. which fighter you actually want to win. The Brain vs The Heart takes you on a journey inside the mind (and heart) of IAMMA to tackle the battle head-on. The Heart has the lead again with a 22-12 record, while the Brain trails with a 20-14 record. Who will win? Let’s find out!

Amanda Nunes (-125) vs. Valentina Shevchenko (+105)

The Brain: This fight may seem like Shevchenko is being thrown to the wolves for those that are unaware of her background, but make no mistake, Shevchenko will be a very game opponent for Nunes. Valentina has held several kickboxing and muay thai titles and even holds a win over current strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzeczyk in muay thai. Shevchenko excels in the clinch and is definitely dangerous on the feet. Nunes is a powerful striker, but stamina has been her enemy. She has had a tendency to fade in previous fights and Shevchenko will definitely pounce if given the opportunity. I’ve gone back and forth on who I think will win this fight. I could easily see Shevchenko getting the win here, but I’m going to say Nunes connects with some power shots early. Nunes by TKO

The Heart: Nunes has definitely proven she can be an exciting fighter. However her history of fading in fights is something she really needs to work on in order for me to truly get behind her. Shevchenko performed very well in her UFC debut, especially given the short notice nature of the fight. I can’t wait to see what she can do in a full camp and I’d like to see her pick up a high profile win against Nunes. Shevchenko by TKO

Corey Anderson (-280) vs. Tom Lawlor (+240)

The Brain: Lawlor should be a good test for the young Anderson. Lawlor has some power in his shots and is capable of putting Anderson in some submission trouble as well. He also likes to take the fight to the ground, but I Anderson’s wrestling is much better. Anderson does a good job landing a high volume of strikes while still maintaining solid defense. I think he’ll be able to get Lawlor down and control him for periods on the ground as well. I’m not sure if Anderson is able to finish the gritty Lawlor, but I think he at least takes this by clear decision. Anderson by Decision

The Heart: I like Lawlor and I like his attitude, but I’m a big fan of Anderson. I really like the toughness Anderson has shown and he seems to get better every time he steps inside the cage. I’ve really enjoyed watching him progress as a fighter and I look forward to seeing what he can do against Lawlor. Anderson by Decision

Ilir Latifi (-195) vs. Gian Villante (+170)

The Brain: Latifi has solid power, but his volume can be a problem at times. He’s not afraid to mix in some takedowns as well if given the opportunity, but Villante has some solid takedown defense. Villante is a dangerous striker and has some thudding kicks as well. Defense has been a problem though as he’s absorbed an average 5.7 strikes per minute. I see this fight playing out almost exclusively on the feet. I think Latifi’s power will be the deciding factor in this fight and I think he’ll catch Villante coming in and end the fight in the first round. Latifi by TKO

The Heart: I like Villante a lot and I had extremely high hopes for him when he entered the UFC. So far he’s seen mixed results, and I think he’s a lot better than he’s shown in certain fights. Latifi came into the UFC as a short-notice replacement against Gegard Mousasi. That is an extremely tough fight for your UFC debut. Even though he lost that fight, he’s managed to have solid success since. Tough call here, but I’ll side with Latifi as every time I’ve gotten my hopes up for Villante I’ve been disappointed. Latifi by TKO

Holly Holm (-345) vs. Miesha Tate (+285)

The Brain: Holm shocked the world in November by dismantling former champion Ronda Rousey. She will look to defend her title for the first time against the always tough Miesha Tate. Holm will try to keep Tate at bay with her various punch and kick combinations. Tate will definitely be looking to get inside and get the fight to the ground if she is able. I think she will have a hard time doing so as Holm has the size and strength to stop Tate’s takedown attempts. Tate is tough and stopping her won’t be an easy task, but I think Holm can wear her down and finish her in the fourth or fifth round. Holm by TKO

The Heart: Holm had a fantastic gameplan against Rousey and executed it perfectly. I really want to see what happens in the rematch. That will likely happen later this year assuming she can get by Tate. This is probably Miesha’s last chance to capture a title in this division. If she loses here she doesn’t stand much of a chance of getting another rematch between the winner of the Holm/Rousey fight because she’s already lost to both. I would like to see Tate’s hard work rewarded by winning the title here. Tate by Decision

Conor McGregor (-470) vs. Nate Diaz (+370)

The Brain: This definitely isn’t the champion vs. champion fight we were expecting, but the matchup between McGregor and Diaz should be a blast before and during the fight. Diaz is coming off and impressive decision victory over Michael Johnson. He will have the height at reach advantage in this 170 pound fight. Diaz likes to fight at range so he’ll look to keep McGregor on the outside. McGregor should have the speed and power advantage and will definitely be looking to land the left hand. This fight should be fireworks while it lasts. I think McGregor is able to get in close and put Diaz down in the second round. McGregor by TKO

The Heart: Big props to Diaz for taking this dangerous fight on such short notice. With that will likely be the big payday that he’s been searching for, so this fight was probably a no-brainer. I am tempted to side with Diaz in this one, but a loss for McGregor here would be a pretty big speed bump. Had he lost to dos Anjos it wouldn’t have been that big of a deal since he was champion in the weight class above McGregor, but Diaz isn’t a champion and is coming in on short notice so McGregor can’t really afford a loss here if he wants all of the hype to continue. McGregor by TKO

Any questions or comments? Hit me up on Twitter @IAMMAEverlast or comment below.

About the Author:

IAMMA. MMA superfan looking to be the voice of the fans. Tune in to read my Brain vs Heart picks & MMA event recaps!