On Saturday night one of the most anticipated UFC fights in recent memory takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. If you are a fan of mixed martial arts, you should have goosebumps when you think about this card, because it is headlined by UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva defending his title against Chael Sonnen in a rematch of one of the greatest fights ever. The rest of the card is incredible as well, and it should be an entertaining night all around, but everyone will be intently focused on the main event of the evening. As always I am just going in depth on the main card, here are my quick picks for the preliminary card (which can be viewed free on FX:
Rafaello Oliveira OVER Yoislandy Izquierdo, John Alessio OVER Shane Roller, Constantious Philippou OVER Riki Fukuda, Fabricio Camoes OVER Melvin Guillard, Khabib Nurmagomedov OVER Gleison Tibau.
On to the Main Card:
Ivan Menjivar (24-8) vs Mike Easton (13-1): In our first bout of the evening, it is the young American who has just suffered one career loss versus the experienced “Pride of El Salvador.” Menjivar was supposed to fight dangerous Brazilian Renen Barao here, but Barao pulled out to fight Urjiah Faber for the Interim Bantamweight Title at UFC 149, so Menjivar instead gets up-and-comer Easton. Although both of these combatants are skilled at ending fights, I think this one goes the distance, and I’m giving the edge to the more experienced Menjivar. WINNER: Menjivar by DECISION.
Chad Mendes (11-1) vs Cody McKenzie (13-2): Mendes is coming off of his first career loss at the hands of UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo at UFC 142 and he looks to get back on the winning track against McKenzie who was a former contestant on The Ultimate Fighter. McKenzie is the master of the Guillotine Choke, and has ended all but two of his wins with this maneuver, but I think Mendes is skilled enough to defend against the Guillotine and win this match by decision. WINNER: Mendes by DECISION.
Kim Dong-Hyun (15-1-1-1) vs Demian Maia (15-4): I have got to hand it to Dong-Hyun, he is tough as nails, I pick against him every fight and he always hangs tough, goes the distance and ends up winning. Nothing will change here, Maia has long been one of the best grapplers on the planet and is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist specialist, who should be very dangerous to the South Korean on the ground. I am picking Maia in a decision, however I am likely discounting the tough Dong-Hyun again, and I could see the decision going either way at the end. WINNER: Maia by DECISION.
Cung Le (9-2) vs Patrick Cote (17-7): The Canadian Cote with a Muay Thai background returns to the UFC for the first time since a loss to Tom Lawlor at UFC 121 to have dangerous Vietnamese kickboxer Le in what should be a very exciting fight. I’m glad this fight is next, I have picked three decisions in a row, we need a knockout. I’m picking Cung Le winning this fight by knockout in the second round. WINNER: Le by KNOCKOUT in the Second Round.
Forrest Griffin (18-7) vs Tito Ortiz (16-10-1): The rubber match of this series should be a good one, Ortiz won their first meeting by split decision at UFC 59 (which was the 2006 UFC Fight of the Year), followed by Griffin winning their second meeting also by split decision at UFC 106. I expect another great fight out of these two, and in their third battle, I’m picking Griffin by TKO after referee stoppage following ground and pound in the third round. WINNER: Griffin by TKO in the Third Round.
Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva (34-4) vs Chael Sonnen (27-11-1): I can not even put into words how excited I am for this fight, for those of you who have been living under a rock, the two previously met for Silva’s Middleweight Title at UFC 117, a fight that won the MMA Awards Fight of the Year honors. Sonnen dominated the fight on the ground for the first four rounds and looked poised to win the title by decision over Silva, however in the fifth round Sliva spun Sonnen into a triangle armbar and forced Sonnen to submit, retaining the championship. Sonnen then failed the post fight drug test for elevated levels of testosterone and was suspended from the UFC for over a year. Since then there has been much bad blood between Silva and Sonnen, the brash Sonnen has been running his mouth as always while the normally soft spoken Sliva has been more vocal than ever. I want to see Sonnen win the fight, but Silva is the best mixed martial artist alive and has not really lost a match since December 31st 2004 (he was disqualified for an illegal kick and given a loss in 2006). I am picking The Spider to retain the title by knockout in the fourth round. WINNER: Sliva by Knockout in the Fourth Round.
ENJOY THE FIGHTS!!!