Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah FaberLudo:
A rematch from some years ago that has turned into a bitter rivalry all over the media. Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz have exchanged jabs at one another for the last four years after Faber handed Cruz his first and only professional loss. Needless to say when 'the California Kid' moved down into the Bantamweight division the calls for a rematch with the belt on the line started coming in. With two wins in the division over tough opponents in Eddie Wineland and Takeya Mizugaki, Faber has earned his shot at doing again what nobody else has been able to do at all. Each pose a uniquw unorthodox striking style. Faber has his signature wide stance, angle work, and speed for his "slip and rip" style fighting. Dominick brings his constant movement, unpredictable advances, and excellent knee tap takedowns. As far as it goes these two are very closely matched in almost all areas. Urijah is the better overall grappler due to his versatility with submissions. His guillotine especially being a trademark manuever of Team Alpha-Male. I think that this time around Cruz will be harder to figure out for Faber. His smooth yet constant movement tends to leave little to attack before and after he closes the distance to land a shot or two. On the ground it really will depend on who's on top as to who has the advantage, both are strong enough wrestlers that they won't give up position from the top easily. In the end I can see Cruz' style being too much to figure out before it's too late.
Prediction: Dominick Cruz by Decision Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris LebenLudo:
This is a fight for the ages. Two legends in their own way meet for what could be one of the fights people look back on when they think about these guys. Both are known for having heavy hands and brawling with recklass abandon. There are two things that immediately pop out at Me about this fight. First, Wanderlei Silva is coming off a very long layoff due to injury and surgery which might hamper his performance late in the fight, assuming it makes it that far. Secondly Wanderlei will have both a speed and technical striking advantage here but does not have the sheer durability that Leben has. This fight could be decided with one punch, though that is a bit of a cliche in the sport. To be honest this fight is a real toss up since these two are aggressive brawlers who love nothing more than to duke it out win or lose. Wanderlei could overwhelm Leben with technique and Leben could also take several shots and land the one he needs to change the fight. I see this one being little more than a flurry of strikes from bell to bell, though with the speed and killer instinct behind it I think Wanderlei finds a way to get it done here. He will likely use the muay thai clinch and the rapid fire punches to put Leben down once or even two or three times before the fight gets called off.
Prediction: Wanderlei Silva by TKOBrian Bowles vs. Takeya MizugakiLudo:
Former Champion versus former challenger. Takeya Mizugaki has the kind of skillset to be successful even in american mixed martial arts and has found some success though not quite as much as he may like. Takeya has only lost to Champions and top contenders state side. Bowles only has one career loss to current Champion Dominick Cruz. Bowles has never been to decision in his career but could find himself waiting for a judges decision this time around. Mizugaki is extremely tough and able to match hands with almost anyone in the world at one hundred and thirty five pounds. This fight will probably see Bowles working for takedowns with heavy combinations leaving Mizugaki primarily on the defensive. When Bowles does get the takedown he shouldn't have too much trouble working in some ground and pound. However despite the wrestling and power advantage Bowles has I still think Mizugaki is game enough to avoid being stopped here.
Prediction: Brian Bowles by decisionCarlos Condit vs. Dong Hyun KimLudo:
"Stun gun" against "the Natural Born Killer". Dong Hyun Kim takes on Carlos Condit in a step up in competition for both fighters. Condit is known for his excellent gas tank, knack for finishing fights, and dilligent work from the bottom. Kim is known for his stifling top control game, takedowns, and ability to frustrate anyone through two rounds. In striking I give the edge to Condit, though if there is anything we have seen before it is Stunguns ability to neutralize good strikers with well timed takedowns. Overall grappling has to go to Kim for his dominant top game. I see this one playing out with alot of takedowns early on and Condit trying to work for space in order to throw up a submission or two with little success. After two rounds though Stun gun will likely start to get tired and lose steam as he is known to do. It is possible that Condit takes advantage of this and finds a way to finish Kim in a fight he was losing prior to that. However the Stun gun is an extremely tough fighter, I think even while tired he will be able to snag a takedown, Condit may be able to throw up a submission attempt at that point but even then he may not be able to successfully finish the Korean.
Prediction: Dong Hyun Kim by DecisionBrad Tavares vs. Aaron SimpsonLudo:
The "young man's Randy Couture" as Mike Goldberg called him during his fight with Tom Lawlor, Aaron Simpson fights up and coming TUF talent Brad Tavares. While being a tough competitor and strong as a bull Tavares doesn't bring a whole lot to this fight in terms of ways to win. He could knock Simpson out but his conditioning leaves much to be desired. It is unlikely he will be able to counter the wrestling and pace that Simpson puts on once he gets things down. As far as striking goes I give the technical advantage to Simpson who has found some success with kicks lately and the power advantage to Tavares by a slim margin. Grappling is no question here, Simpson is the superior grappler here, and while Tavares has found ways to power out of bad situations before I don't think he will be able to use his "power over technique" approach here. If this fight see's the third round Tavares' lack of stamina will become a factor at which time Simpson will likely continue to put him on the mat and beat on him until either the referee shows mercy for the Hawaiian, or the final bell sounds. Unfortunately for Tavares I think he will taste his first professional defeat at the hands of the former Sun Devil.
Prediction: Aaron Simpson by DecisionRafael dos Anjos vs. George SotiropoulosLudo:
Grappler against Grappler here. While both men have proficient all around skills to make this a very interesting fight. Both are known primarily for their grappling pedigree's but neither is afraid to strike. Dos Anjos brings his Muay Thai striking but with his black belt in brazilian jiu jitsu he can let his kicks fly without worrying about being on the ground. Sotiropoulos has bee able to work his ground game against everyone he has faced in the UFC save for Dennis Siver. Standing it's hard to give a real advantage. It comes down to Dos Anjo's wicked kicks against Aussie George's lengthy jab. If I had to give an adge I think I'd give it to Sotiropoulos simply because Dos Anjos may not have the chance to throw many kicks before one gets caught and used to take him down. On the ground they are close to even but again an edge has to go to Sotiropoulos given that he has shown a history of trying to get it there. I see this fight consisting of George trying to keep distance with his jab while he waits for an opening to take Rafael down, and when he gets it he is likely to score points with the judges by working from the top. Two things are keeping Me from giving Dos Anjos a better shot at winning this fight. First is the fact that he has been on an almost eleven month layoff after having his jaw broken by Clay Guida. It is unclear how that will hold up even against someone not known for heavy hands. Second is the fact that Dos Anjos is so confident in his jui jitsu he is willing to be taken down and willing to work on the bottom, which severely hurts his chances at winning in the eyes of the judges.
Prediction: George Sotiropoulos by Decision Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan BaderLudo:
What is there really to say about this one? Tito is overmatched in virtually every area here. He's not as strong, not as fast, not as heavy handed, not as good a wrestler as Ryan Bader is today. Bader has the power striking advantage, and the wrestling pedigree to stuff Tito's shots and land some takedowns of his own. The only thing that might hamper Bader is the utter destruction her suffered at the hands of Jon Jones in his last outing. If he's able to overcome that kind of mental block, which I think he can with the team around him, he should be equipped to win this fight without many issues. Despite the power in his hands I don't see Bader finishing Tito off with strikes, and I definitely don't see him submitting Ortiz. I think this will be a clear decision win for Ryan Bader.
Prediction: Ryan Bader by DecisionMatt Wiman vs. Dennis SiverLudo:
You could be looking at fight of the night here, people. These two had very impressive performances last time around and this could be a great way to kick off the main card. Lets dive right into this one shall we? We have Dennis Siver, the german kickboxer who's upper body is about as big as they come at lightweight. Matt Wiman has shown improvement in pretty much all area's lately. Standing Siver is going to have a distinct advantage both in power and technical ability. His punches are short and powerful and his kicks are fluid and well mixed into things. Wiman will be the better overall grappler but the question as to whether he can take Siver down enough to make up for his disadvantage striking is the question. Siver showed excellent takedown defense against George Sotiropoulos and pummeled him for three rounds enroute to a unanimous decision win. Wiman, meanwhile, battered Cole Miller in his last outing as he also took home a victory by way of unanimous decision. I don't think Wiman is going to be able to bully Siver around like he did Miller, Siver is strong in the clinch and lethal in the pocket. I think Wiman can find a way to get a takedown or two but I don't think he will be able to do enough with them to cover the points Siver will have established by effective striking and stuffed takedowns by that time.
Prediction: Dennis Siver by DecisionMelvin Guillard vs. Shane RollerLudo:
Why Guillard has been booked against another grappler who's striking isn't especially good I'm not particularly sure about. What I do know is that this fight is designed for Melvin Guillard to post another spectacular knockout. Guillards wrestling should be on par with Rollers and his hands are much more crisp with a ton more power. If Roller can't secure the takedown early and often his only chance to win this fight is another hail mary punch like the one he landed on Thiago Tavares, and with Guillards speed I just don't see it happening. I don't think Roller can get the takedowns he needs. I think Guillard will be able to do pretty much whatever he wants here and finish the fight within the first eight minutes even. Melvin Guillard is simply all wrong for Shane Roller.
Prediction: Melvin Guillard by KOAndre Winner vs. Anthony NjokuaniLudo:
A terrible fight for Andre Winner in my opinion. He is fighting a better and more diverse striker than himself who's main weakness appears to be above average wrestler/grapplers. Winner won't be outwrestling Njokuani here and may find himself in a bad spot being primarily a boxer while Njokuani is a Muay Thai fighter. This fight will most likely play out on the feet with some clinching to clear heads. It won't take long for Njokuani to establish himself at the better all around striker here though and I'll go out on a limb and call this Andre Winners first knockout loss. I fear this may be the last we see of Winner in the UFC after he loses to Njokuani.
Prediction: Anthony Njokuani by KO
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