Frankie Edgar vs. Gray MaynardLudo:
Perhaps not the most exciting fight ever signed for a title, but none the less these are the two best lightweights in the world. One is undefeated whilst the other has lost only once which happened to be the last time these two locked horns. These two were up and comers fighting on undercards about a year and a half ago, always recognized as fighters who could one day become something more, perhaps even champions. Frankie Edgar achieved just that earlier this year when a controversial decision awarded him the UFC lightweight championship over BJ Penn. He proved to the world however that he deserved to wear the crown when he put on a repeat performance and neutralized Penn in the rematch. Meanwhile Gray Maynard has continued to earn his nickname and bully his opponents around regularly, the last of which was former contender Kenny Florian in a lopsided three round decision.
The masses are divided as to how this fight will end up. Many are of the mind that Gray Maynard will use his size and superior wrestling to once again control Edgar enroute to a decision and win the belt. Just as many, however, feel that Frankie Edgar has improved enough in his "hummingbird" style of striking to confound the Bully. I can see this fight going one of two ways. Either Gray Maynard will repeat the last fight to similar result, or Frankie Edgar will be able to evade the former Ohio State champion. As far as it goes the striking edge is a mixed bag. Frankie Edgar clearly has the better footwork and technical striking while Gray Maynard throws much more power in his punches. Though seeing as neither man has ever been knocked out I don't see them doing it to one another, especially given Edgar's ability to work from the outside. As far as wrestling goes Maynard has the clear edge once again.
Prediction: Gray Maynard by DecisionGDP:
Gray is the Bully, he lives up to his name and picks on Frankie for most of the fight. Edgar is quick and nimble and WHATEVA. He's gonna get as much as he gives and then some. Gray will slam him and will grind him with some classic GnP straight out of the 90's.
49-46 the BullyBobbitt15:
I had originally picked Maynard to win this fight by UD, but upon rewatching his 30-27 shutout over Edgar in this previous tilt, it actually led me in the other direction for this fight. Frankie has improved what was already a pretty tough stylistic stand-up game to the level where it was making BJ Penn look like a novice. His footwork and handspeed will be enough to control the fight when both men are upright. The real question for this fight is can he stay off his back, something that he was unable to do the first time these men met. Gray is the bigger and stronger man and used that to put Frankie down 6 times over 2 long years ago. What really stood out to me though, was the lack of damage Gray was able to dish out from top position and Frankie's ability to get back to his feet every time he was taken down. Maynard's ground and pound from the top leaves something to be desired and after 2 more years of working with Almeida and Gracie, I think Frankie will still possess the ability to scramble back to his feet. This all leads to a fight that will most likely once again raise discussions of how valuable takedowns should really be in MMA scoring. I think the improvements that Frankie has made since the first fight and the likely edge in cardio he will carry into the 4th and 5th rounds if Gray is repeatedly trying to take him down will be the difference. Edgar wins this fight based on slick combinations and staying on his feet enough early to not be smothered by the Bully.
Frankie Edgar via UDChris Leben vs. Brian Stann Ludo:
In what hopes to be a bombshell of a fight the Cat Smasher will take on the All American. This should primarily be a standing affair, but then again when is a Leben fight not primarily standing? As per usual Leben is going to want to turn this into a brawl and that is definitely the territory he's favored in. I don't see a whole lot of outs for Stann here. He likely won't be able to take Leben down, and the slow yet very heavy hands of the southpaw may give him problems. If this fight lasts to the final bell it's possible Stann can win a decision but the more likely outcome is that Leben lands a big shot in the second or third round and finishes the fight there.
Prediction: Chris Leben by KOGDP:
What fight involving Chris Leben doesn't have classic written all over it these days. I expect no less with this one. The only way it isn't exciting is if Stann is hesitant and shy. If that happens, Chris still stops him.
R2 TKO the CripplerBobbitt15:
In a sure fire FOTN candidate, Leben and Stann will lock horns in a fight that both of them seem to think will be a standup slugfest. Often in these type of matchups, it seems likely that one of the fighters will throw in some wrinkles to catch everyone off guard ie Stephan Bonnar putting Pokrajac on his back for 3 rounds in route to a decision win. I don't see that being the case here. I look for Stann to get the better of Leben early while he's fresh with some crisp combinations and possibly even rock the Crippler. Putting away Leben is a monumental task unless you happen to be doubling as the best fighter in UFC history though. Leben will come on strong as this fight wades into the later rounds culminating in a TKO win that keeps 2010 Leben train rolling feel speed ahead into the new year.
Chris Leben via TKO (punches) in Round 2Thiago Silva vs. Brandon Vera Ludo:
A battle of under achievers to be sure. Though this could be a fight that puts either fighter back into some form of relevancy or at least prove to be a stepping stone on the way to it. Both are known as Muay Thai strikers and while Silva is easily the more explosive of the two Vera is far from incapable of knocking Thiago out. One thing Brandon Vera has that Thiago Silva does not is a background in greco roman wrestling. How much of it will be used is another concept entirely as Silva is incredible hard to control and or keep on the ground on the off chance one might manage to put him there. This should be mostly a striking battle and an interesting one at that. While Vera holds the length Silva has the ability to bullrush inside if he wants to. We will have a chance to see if Thiago's back is fully healed and whether or not the manhandling at the hands of Jon Jones has ruined Vera mentally.
Prediction: Thiago Silva by TKOGDP:
This is what's gonna happen. One guy is gonna go out and try to show he is a good fighter, show his technical side, clean kickboxing, offensive clinch, effective wrestling, etc,. The other dude is gonna go out looking to spill someones bucket. I see a bucket being spilled.
R1 TKO the Dude With No NicknameBobbitt15:
The main card bout with the most questions coming in. Thiago Silva comes in after a long layoff and a back injury that hampered him in a fight vs UFC #1 contender Rashad Evans and Vera returns after receiving a broken face and ego from Jon Jones. Stylistically, these two match up well with each other and should provide some fireworks while this lasts. I think we will see the real Brandon Vera in this fight, and that is someone who just isn't as good as they think they are. Vera has some diverse striking which should see success early before he crumbles to one of the meanest SOBs in the UFC. Hopefully for him, it will be entertaining enough that it doesn't end with a pink slip.
Thiago Silva via TKO in Round 1Clay Guida vs. Takanori Gomi Ludo:
This is the kind of fight in which both fighters seem to be taylor made for one another and it simply comes down to whom can impliment the gameplan better. On the one hand the Carpenter has made a career out of relentless takedowns, a granite chin, and top control. On the other hand the Fireball Kid has made his name giving out power punches like they are on two for one special with a decent sprawl. Gomi's flash knockout victory over Tyson Griffin makes this matchup all the more enticing in the regards that Guida is essentially a better wrestler without as much stand up, though his striking has improved lately. Perhaps I'm not giving Guida's constant bouncing around enough credit but I don't think he stands a chance here if he can't land the takedown and quickly at that. Gomi's striking is just too crisp and precise for this to last too long if it remains on the feet. However I do feel Guida can and will get the takedown and wear Gomi down enough to land further takedowns. I don't see him submitting Takanori however, not even by arm triangle which seems to be Guida's new favorite manuever.
Prediction: Clay Guida by DecisionGDP:
Hey, I heard Gomi is back and Guida is still surprised when he beats people. This fight seems Taylor made for KO of the night.
R2 KO the Fireball KidBobbitt15:
In a fight that could be a war or could be a disappointment, Takanori Gomi and Clay Guida look to continue trending upwards in the lightweight division. Guida has the heart of a lion, but he and trainer Greg Jackson have made it no secret that this fight needs to take place on the ground for him to win. This could mean a change from the rockem-sockem Guida of old into a man determined to avoid the standup realm. No one can really fault his logic given the opponent he's up again. While Guida's standup is far from terrible, it has holes that Gomi would drive his cement fists right through. What we are left with then is a question of whether Gomi can avoid being laid on and outworked for three rounds. I think Guida will come out at a frenetic pace early to look to impose his endurance on Gomi who has been no stranger to criticisms about his training. In the process though, he may just eat something so savage that even his caveman jaw can't hold up to it. Long live the Fireball Kid
Takanori Gomi via KO in Round 1Birdofthad
: Gomi vs Guida is the only fight on this card that really grabs me by the balls. Maynard vs Edgar should be a stinker that I think Edgar will end up prevailing via split decision.
Gomi knocks out GuidaNate Diaz vs. Dong Hyun Kim Ludo:
I'm torn on this fight. Kim has very good Judo, and decent takedowns for a judo player to boot. Nate Diaz has the skillset to give almost anyone trouble though. However it is unclear as to whether or not that will be enough to keep Diaz from taking control of the fight. Nate has been controlled by grapplers fitting the same sort of profile as Kim in the regards that they are relentless with takedowns and very skilled top control specialists which leads Me to believe the Stun Gun could pull this off. While Diaz has the striking edge I have to give the overall grappling edge to Kim, despite the fact that Nate is extremely dangerous off his back I think Kim will be able to stay out of trouble for the most part there.
Prediction: Dong Hyun Kim by DecisionGDP:
Hey, a fight that's hard for me to predict. Honestly, this is the closest fight on the card in my opinion. I think these guys are real close and cancel out a lot of their normal stregnths. It should be good. That being said, I'm picking based on pure dislike
29-28 the Stun GunBobbitt15:
The most difficult fight to predict on the main card in my estimation. Even I haven't totally made up my mind to this point. Will Stun Gun's grappling and top game do enough to get him a decision nod? Will Diaz be able to keep from being smothered and come on strong with his unique standup style later in the fight? We'll all find out together Saturday night. For now, I have a feeling the kid from Stockton just finds a way to win this fight
Nate Diaz via Split DecisionJeremy Stephens vs. Marcus DavisLudo:
Perhaps the most interesting fight of the night as far as unanswered questions about one fighter go. Is Marcus Davis done? Can he find success at lightweight? Will his chin hold up to the power strikes of the Little Heathen? Personally I think Davis has something left in him, not title contention but he definitely has a few solid performances and great fights left in him. I believe this will be one of those performances, though the weight cut may prove problematic for him being the first time he has fought at lightweight to My knowledge. Though he may suffer from the cut in theory, if he is on his game he is a live dog against Stephens. Davis owns the technical boxing edge while Jeremy makes more use of kicks, namely the leg kick. Whether this will play a factor is unkown but Marcus will definitely prove a slower target than Melvin Guillard so I think Jeremy will like it all the same.
Prediction: Marcus Davis by DecisionGDP:
Davis is gonna be shitty, or maybe, ditch the hand grenade thing for car bombs, literally, pound some car bombs, actually get shitty, and fight with the drunk Irish rage because Jeremy is gonna hurt ya.
R2 TKO the Little HeathenBobbitt15:
While this fight has the potential to have some exciting moments, I will sum up my feelings by saying this: cutting to 155 when you're in your late 30s after being used to walking around at 200 pounds for years isn't the answer. Just a last ditch effort to stay relevant clouded with false delusions of grandeur. It was a good run Marcus, it ends on Saturday night though
Jeremy Stephens via TKO Round 3
Takanari Gomi vs Clay Guida : Am I delusional for thinking we could have another Raloh Gracie type KO from Gomi? OK it wont come that fast (I mean 4 second KOs are'nt supposed to happen) but I honestly think Gomi will control the standing, Guida will shoot for his takedowns and eat a big knee or some big shots. Eventually Gomi will knock Guida out controlling him and countering Guida's takedown attempts
Prediction : Gomi TKO 1 or 2
Maynard vs Edgar - I honestly think this is as hard a match as their is too determine. So I will try, Edgar will be better standing but Maynard will land takedowns whenever he really needs them. I actually expect Edgar to try and take Maynard down at some point.
Prediction : Maynard wins a lackluster decision.