While the sequel to Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva arrived much earlier than most rematches (besides immediate rematches), What separates it from all the others, is that no one thought these two would be fighting each other again at all. The majority of MMA writers, analysts, and fans never would have picked Bigfoot to beat both Travis Browne and Alistair Overeem, but he did in order to challenge for the title. At the same time, 95% of predictions had Junior dos Santos defeating Velasquez in their rematch to retain his belt. As we all know, that’s not what happened at all, and now the rematch that no one thought would take place is nearly here.
The main event is really taking up the spotlight, but UFC 160 is a stacked card from top to bottom. The UFC really out did themselves on this event, but enough talk, let’s get to the predictions.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Abel Trujillo
After watching Trujillo beat on Marcus LeVesseur, it was difficult for me to give Nurmagomedov the advantage. LeVesseur is an elite wrestler and took Trujillo down early in the fight, but the brutal body shots that Trujillo shut the wrestler down and set up he eventual TKO. Nurmagomedov may not have pure wrestling that LeVesseur possess, but the Russian’s Sambo/Judo skills pose new threats that Trujillo didn’t have to worry about in his last fight. In addition to his grappling, Nurmagomedov has proficient striking, with equally as many wins by knockout as he does by submission. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trujillo hands the Russian his first loss, but I’ll take the safe bet and go with Eagle.
Pick : Khabib Nurmagomedov
Dennis Bermudez vs. Max Holloway
Holloway defended 17 takedown attempts against Pat Schilling, but Bermudez is a much stronger wrestler, which will make avoiding the takedowns that much more difficult. Tommy Hayden, Pablo Garza, and Matt Grice have all felt the sheer power of Bermudez, and he even had Diego Brandao on the ropes until he succumbed to an armbar. Holloway ahs excellent technical striking, but Bermudez isn’t afraid to stand and bang. He’s dropped his last four opponents with punches, so if Leonard Garcia was able to give Holloway some trouble on the feet, I have no doubt that Bermudez can do the same. Now combined that with his wrestling, and I just don’t see how Holloway can pull off a win.
Pick : Dennis Bermudez
Robert Whittaker vs. Colton Smith
After watching Brad Scott use his wrestling to give Whittaker some trouble, there’s no reason to believe that Colton Smith can’t do the same thing tenfold. As long as the TUF 16 winner isn’t caught in an early flurry, he will humiliate the Aussie on the ground just as he did to Mike Ricci, another striking based fighter.
Pick : Colton Smith
Mike Pyle vs. Rick Story
I’m getting the vibe that Pyle is on his way up the ladder, while Story is on his way down. With that being said, this fight could go either way, but I’m leaning towards the fighter with more momentum behind him. While Story has more power, Pyle has the reach advantage, superior technical striking and more diverse striking. Both fighters are proficient wrestlers, but unlike Story, Pyle has a solid submission game off his back. While it’s true that Story could land a perfectly placed punch, or out wrestle his way to a decision victory, I’m going with who I feel is the more well rounded fighter with a more momentum behind him.
Pick : Mike Pyle
Donald Cerrone vs. KJ Noons
Cerrone was embarrassed in his bout with Anthony Pettis, but if you’re going to get your ass whipped, it’s better that it was at the hands of the next title contender. When Cerrone comes back from a loss, he puts on one hell of a performance, which is exactly what I expect him to do. Noons has lost four of his last five fights, recently dropping a controversial decision to Ryan Couture. While many believe that Noons was robbed in his last bout, it was razor close fight against a decent striker with above average grappling. Cerrone is better than Ryan Couture in every aspect of the game, and will only put up that much of a tougher fight, therefore, I don’t see Noons finding a win with his boxing alone.
Pick : Donald Cerrone
Gray Maynard vs. TJ Grant
Maynard has shown improved boxing throughout his career, but Grant has developed excellent Muay Thai striking, which he used to defeat Evan Dunham and Matt Wiman. In most of his fights, Maynard utilizes his wrestling to achieve victory, but with Grant’s wrestling and submission skills, he won’t be able to overwhelm his opponent like he does in most of his fights. Maynard will have to worry about the submission if he takes the fight to the ground, and if he looks to keep the fight standing, Grant will use his Muay Thai to get the KO. Grant has more ways to win, and should be getting the next title shot.
Pick : TJ Grant
Glover Teixeira vs. James Te-Huna
Te-Huna showed a lot of heart as well as an iron jaw in his fight with Ryan Jimmo, but Teixeira is just better in every aspect of the game. Te-Huna better land that one perfect punch and put Teixeira to sleep if he wasnts to win. There’s really no need to go any further than that.
Pick : Glover Teixeira
Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt
Both Hunt and Dos Santos are expert strikers, but even if it’s a stalemate on the feet, Dos Santos should have both the Jiu-Jitsu and cardio advantage. Unless Hunt lands and early finishing blow, he should fade midway through the second round, allowing the Brazilian to take control. If we happen to see a scramble on the ground due to someone getting dropped, Dos Santos might even showcase the his ground skills he learned from Minotauro Nogueira.
Pick : Junior dos Santos
Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva
Seeing these two fighters met only a year ago, I don’t see much changing in the rematch. Even if Silva had five years to train for Velasquez, I’d still pick the champ. As a black belt in BJJ, Judo and Karate, Bigfoot still couldn’t amount any offense and having this fight again will just be a déjà vu of before. The Champ’s wrestling and cardio are just too good for Silva to find victory in this fight.
Pick : Cain Velasquez
* Quick Picks * ( In Bold)
Stephen Thompson vs. Nah-Shon Burrell
Brian Bowles vs. George Roop
Jeremy Stephens vs. Estevan Payan
– Ryan “Fight Freek” Poli