UFC 160 is just a day away, heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is set to take on Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva in a rematch of their fight last year. You’re probably wondering who is going to win on this highly touted main card, so read on for my picks and predictions on every fight taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada tomorrow night
Can this card match the excitement of last week’s UFC on FX 8, which featured a breathtaking spinning heel kick knockout by Vitor Belfort to Luke Rockhold? These fights all appear to be competitive on paper, making it appear as if Dana White, Joe Silva and the UFC have put together another stellar night of entertainment.
Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone (19-5) vs. KJ Noons (10-5)
The main card opens with a battle of strikers that could contend for fight of the night honors when all is said and done. KJ Noons is a former boxer, so his desire to keep this fight standing is obvious. He has a dangerous striking arsenal at his disposal, and if the fight remains standing he has a good chance at pulling off the upset.
That being said, Donald Cerrone is a well rounded fighter who is seemingly always just one marquee win away from a title fight. His only struggles in the octagon have come against big name fighters, which KJ Noons is not.
If Noons shows an ability to win the fight standing up early, look for Cerrone to utilize his underrated ground game and take down the former boxer in order to grind out a win. If this happens there is a major advantage for Cerrone on the ground, as Noons lacks experience on his back.
Prediction: Cerrone wins by unanimous decision.
Gray Maynard (12-1-1) vs. TJ Grant (20-5)
In this lightweight bout, one of the biggest names in the division takes on a red hot up and comer. 34 year old Gray Maynard is fighting for just the third time in three years, however his only recent loss came against Frankie Edgar, not much of a blemish on his resume.
Maynard has a solid wrestling game to go along with good striking, making him a versatile fighter who can succeed regardless of where the fight ends up. His conditioning is some of the best in the business, so fatigue likely won’t be a factor for him.
Grant is an extremely aggressive fighter who loves to push the action. His well-rounded game matches up well with that of Maynard, especially in the stand up area. On the ground he has decent submission ability which at least would give him a shot should the fight be taken to the mat.
If Maynard is able to win, he will put himself back in position as a top contender for Benson Henderson’s belt, although he will have to put on a more impressive showing than he did against Clay Guida in his last fight.
Momentum is huge in the UFC, and look for TJ Grant to come in confident enough to pull off the upset and have his hand raised at the conclusion of this fight. This fight is a definite upset alert.
Prediction: Grant by unanimous decision.
Glover Teixeira (20-2) vs. James Te Huna (18-5)
This light heavyweight bout pits two hard hitting sluggers against one another. If this fight remains standing, it is near certain to end with a highlight reel knockout. Both of these fighters are looking to rise up the rankings with a win over a quality opponent with a victory in this bout.
James Te Huna has utilized his power to its fullest potential to get to where he is in his fighting career. His striking and ground and pound are some of the most feared in the octagon. If he can dictate the action, he has a great chance to land the one key punch needed to knock out Teixeira and jump up the rankings.
Glover Teixeira is the more well rounded of the two men. His striking game is well-known around the fighting world, and possesses a chin that can take at least a few of Te Huna’s strikes should he land them. The part of his game that will earn him a victory in this contest however is his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 4 of Te Huna’s 5 losses have come via submission, and should Teixeira take this fight to the ground he should be able to make that 5 out of 6.
Prediction: Teixeira by submission in round 2.
Junior ‘Cigano’ Dos Santos (15-2) vs. Mark ‘Super Samoan’ Hunt (9-7)
The heavyweight fireworks kick off when we get to this fight. Mark Hunt’s plans to acclimate to the time change caused by traveling across the globe for this bout were thrown off by visa issues which temporarily prevented him from travelling to the USA.
This fight marks an incredible turn around in the story of Mark Hunt. This is the same fighter who the UFC once tried to pay to never fight for the promotion again. When the UFC bought the Pride Fighting Championship, they inherited his contract. Dana White didn’t see anything in Hunt at the time and offered to buy out the remainder of his contract so that he wouldn’t have to fight under the UFC name. He instead chose to prove his worth and has done nothing but win since. Should he pull off the upset and defeat JDS in this bout, he almost assuredly will be next in line for a title shot.
Hunts strengths are his two hands, which pack massive power. He has knocked out just about everyone who has stepped in front of him in the UFC, and has twice won ‘Knockout of the Night’ bonuses for his efforts. His recent knockout of Stefan Struve on UFC on Fuel TV 8 shattered the jaw of the near 7 foot heavyweight.
Junior Dos Santos is also one of the best stand up strikers in the division. His boxing is second to none, and should he be able to keep Hunt at a distance and use his significant reach advantage, he would be able to outpoint Hunt to a victory. However the risk of walking into one of Hunt’s heavy hands is probably too much for JDS to rely on this strategy, so look for him to take the fight to the mat and expose Hunt’s suspect submission defense.
Hunt recently was able to fend off the submissions of Stefan Struve, and has looked better on the ground in his recent bouts since falling to Sean McCorkle via armbar at UFC 119. If Hunt can avoid a submission, I envision him landing one of his signature haymakers and pulling off yet another upset on his way to a title fight.
Prediction: Hunt via knockout in round 2.
Cain Velasquez (11-1) vs. Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva (18-4)
The heavyweight title is on the line in this rematch from a year ago. The first time around Velasquez easily manhandled Bigfoot, making him a bloodied mess on his way to a first round knockout. Both men have looked impressive since then, but there is not much evidence Silva has upped his game to the point where he can change the result of the first meeting.
The speed of Bigfoot is perhaps the biggest disadvantage he has in this battle, and look for Velasquez to push his speed advantage early and often. Should he take down Bigfoot again and use his deadly ground and pound the result should easily be the same.
Bigfoot is coming off an impressive upset against Allistair Overeem, in a fight that saw the favorite Overeem look overconfident and expose himself to the power of Bigfoot. This continues an impressive run for the veteran Silva, one he hopes continues and culminates with his walking out with the belt strapped around him.
Silva is no stranger to the upset, and Cain Velasquez’ resume is seemingly only lacking a title defense or two as he looks to become one of the best heavyweights the sport has ever seen. If he can once again defeat Silva he should enter into that conversation.
Prediction: Velasquez defeats Silva via TKO in round 2.
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The Guardian Express