UFC 125: Resolution is less than 24 hours away. Even though it's the very first card of the year, some of the fights of the year could still be featured considering the incredible match-ups. The MGM in Las Vegas will host this fight card on Saturday, and the main event has every sign of being an all-out war between two of the sport's pound-for-pound best.
Frankie Edgar 13-1 vs. Gray Maynard 11-0
Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard is a marquee main event like no other, and don't let the fact that it's a rematch fool you. Frankie is a smarter, more accurate puncher now. He is a powerful striker and knows he'll have to avoid Maynard's power slams and aggressive take downs this time around. Maynard has improved, too. The power and size edge may go to Maynard, and the betting odds favor the undefeated fighter since he won the first match, but Edgar is the champ. He bludgeoned BJ Penn in two straight fights with Penn looking like he might retire after the last one, adjusting his front tooth as if it was about to fall out as Joe Rogan interviewed him. Edgar is a leaner, quicker, more dynamic fighter, but Maynard has the bulk of the big league experience, and of course he beat Edgar the last time out. Still, Edgar is no flash in the pan one-time wonder like Matt Serra. He could be here to stay by establishing ring generalship, and he can out-box Gray Maynard if he sticks the jab and uses an abundance of leg kicks to take away Maynard's power. Edgar will have to fight like Manny Pacquiao, but he can do it and is an easy favorite for the upset of the night.
Chris Leben 21-6 vs. Brian Stann 9-3 - The 5’ 11” Chris Leben is expected to dominate the taller Brian Stann, but you can never underestimate the hand to hand combat skills of a Marine. Leben edges Stann out in the experience category and takes a hard punch to even stagger for a few seconds. Stann wins out in the stockier frame category and could end it with one swing. Leben has been there and done that in this sport, but Stann is young and hungry and has to impress as a WEC merger holdover. He has to earn his place in the big leagues and will be fighting like mad to make an impact. I like Leben to win this one, by a late KO or decision.
Brandon Vera 11-5 vs. Thiago Silva 14-2 - Vera and Silva are both phenomenal strikers. This fight could be a fan favorite and is really the toughest to predict on the entire card. Vera is tough as nails, but Silva is so unpredictable and unique in his fighting style. On paper Silva's record is better, but in the cage anything can happen. Silva takes this one by submission to get the submission of the night bonus. Hopefully it's something really cool like a Peruvian Necktie.
Nate Diaz 13-5 vs. Dong Huyn Kim 13-0-1 - Diaz is dynamic and flamboyant in his striking style. He clowns around to bait opponents close enough to land smashing hooks. Once the fight hits the ground he can pretzel an opponent up with his legs alone. Kim is undefeated and a true beast for the weight class. Kim's ground and pound is a double edged sword with the threat of short elbows and sharp punches ever-present. Diaz will also have a tough time finding range to hit Kim, who has a bit of a height (an inch) and likely a slight reach advantage going in. Kim will also bring a world-class judo background into this fight. Fans are in for one of Diaz's toughest challenges to date. Diaz can take a thrashing and then end it in his favor out of nowhere, but he may not be able to pull the miracle finish off against a guy like Kim. Look for Kim's record to remain flawless. He'll win by controlling the ground game with punches and throws to keep out of Nate's danger zone and use his weight and size to his advantage.
Clay Guida 13-8 vs. Takanori Gomi 32-6 - This could be fight of the night if Gomi has enough left in him to put on a real show against Guida. "The Carpenter" fights with incredible intensity and is in need of a confidence building win. There aren't many Japanese superstars in the UFC, and Gomi will be coming in wanting to prove his worth and his talent level against a true legend. Guida's higher level experience will win the day, though. He will charge forward in classic Clay Guida style and pursue Gomi the whole fight, keeping Takanori backpedaling as much as possible. Gomi has a lot of wins, but Guida's been in some absolute wars and has the tools to wear Gomi down.
My PICKS IN BOLD
Lightweight bout: Marcus Davis vs. Jeremy Stephens
Featherweight bout: Josh Grispi vs. Dustin Poirier
Middleweight bout: Phil Baroni vs. Brad Tavares
Featherweight bout: Mike Brown vs. Diego Nunes
Welterweight bout: Daniel Roberts vs. Greg Soto
Lightweight bout: Jacob Volkmann vs. Antonio McKee