This biggest card in UFC history is about to take place. No, maybe not in terms of top-to-bottom big name fights, but definitely the biggest in the company’s history based on what it could mean for the sport of MMA and the UFC. This isn’t just network television, this is Fox. A great showing here could springboard the UFC into the mainstream audience. I know we hardcore fans like to think MMA is big, but it’s not. Not yet. This could change everything.
Last week at UFC 138 I didn’t get that 10-0 that I wanted. I merely went 6-4, raising my overall “season” record to 162-93. Still holding strong at 63.53%. Vegas still hates me. But we are definitely getting that perfect card this time. I can feel it. I can’t think of a better way to commemorate the UFC’s first time on network television than going a flawless 10-0 this Saturday. I want it. You want it. And the MMA Gods want it.
For those of you who don’t know, the favorite will have a negative (-) number, while the underdog will have a positive (+) number. MMA money lines are based on units of $100. If the favorite is -225, it means that you have to wager $225 to win $100. But if you are betting on the underdog, the formula is different. If the underdog is at +185, it means that if you wager $100 you will win $185 for a total of $285. Easy enough, right? Good.
If you guys are going to bet, head over to Bodog.com. As always, I appreciate half of your earnings.
Light Heavyweight bout: Aaron Rosa (-135) vs. Matt Lucas (+105)
Rosa was not impressive in his fight with Joey Beltran. He lost and gassed quickly. Lucas on the other hand is riding a five fight win streak, stopping four of those opponents by strikes. They weren’t UFC caliber wins, but everyone has to start somewhere. In those fights he definitely looked like he belonged in the UFC. He’ll get his chance to prove that, and I think he dominates Rosa. More gas in the tank and better striking. (Hurts to say that since Rosa is San Antonio’s own, but it is what it is.)
My Pick: Lucas, Round 3, Decision
Welterweight bout: Mike Pierce (-350) vs. Paul Bradley (+265)
Pierce defeated Bradley back in April of 2009 by Unanimous Decision because he landed more strikes and controlled the fight. I really don’t see any reason to think this fight will be any different. Pierce’s only weakness is “blanket” fighters like Jon Fitch and Johny Hendricks, the latter several people thought he defeated. Bradley isn’t going to be able to replicate those guys and will lose just like he did the first time.
My Pick: Pierce, Round 3, Decision
Bantamweight bout: Alex Caceres (+230) vs. Cole Escovedo (-300)
This might be going out on a limb, and I almost want to convince myself this won’t happen, but Caceres is making his debut at 135, and it’s his last shot to stay in the UFC. And at that weight, should the cut not adversely affect him, he should be a force to deal with. He’s big and has a reach advantage he should be able to exploit. If he fights smart, he should be able to find a choke sometime in the fight. Lately, that’s a big IF.
My Pick: Caceres, Round 2, Submission
Featherweight bout: Mackens Semerzier (-135) vs. Robert Peralta (+105)
This will be a close fight. Both guys can wrestle, so that usually means it’ll be a stand up fight. In that instance, I’ll favor Peralta’s boxing over Semerzier’s boxing. Semerzier is more of a grappler (5 Sub wins) and Peralta favor’s the stand up (11 KO wins). And since I don’t believe this fight will be on the ground too often, I’m going with the better striker.
My Pick: Peralta, Round 3, Decision
Bantamweight bout: Norifumi Yamamoto (-370) vs. Darren Uyenoyama (+280)
Yamamoto is only weak against dominate wrestlers. Uyenoyama isn’t a dominate wrestler. He’s going to try to get Yamamoto down, but he’ll fail. And in the stand up this isn’t even close. Yamamoto makes the UFC fans understand why the UFC wanted to sign him so badly.
My Pick: Yamamoto, Round 2, (T)KO
Welterweight bout: DaMarques Johnson (-280) vs. Clay Harvison (+220)
Johnson is just a better all-around fight. Harvison is a game opponent, but he’s weaker in all areas of the fight. He won’t be finished, but Johnson should be able to do pretty much what he wants.
My Pick: Johnson, Round 3, Decision
Featherweight bout: Cub Swanson (EVEN) vs. Ricardo Lamas (-130)
This is going to be a great fight and is a near toss up. Lamas’ headkick TKO victory over Matt Grice was quite impressive, but as good as that was, I think Swanson’s striking is a bit more polished. This is definitely a candidate for Fight of the Night, and I’m fairly certain it’ll be a stand up fight.
My Pick: Swanson, Round 3, (T)KO
Featherweight bout: Dustin Poirier (-280) vs. Pablo Garza (+220)
Tough call. I’ve picked against Garza since he entered the UFC, and both times he finished his opponent in spectacular fashion. First a flying knee knockout, then a flying Triangle Choke. Can he continue to pull of such maneuvers? The bus stops here at Poirier. No way Poirier gets caught by anything like that. Poirier is better on the ground and he’s better on his feet. Other than a reach advantage, Garza is lacking in this fight.
My Pick: Poirier, Round 3, Decision
Lightweight bout: Clay Guida (+220) vs. Ben Henderson (-280)
Some people think this fight is the real main event. I’m not quite there, but his fight should be fantastic. Both guys have high motors and neither gasses out. I expect a very active fight and I expect a lot of punches thrown. Guida isn’t going to take Henderson down at will, and if he does score a takedown or two, Henderson will get right back up. But if Henderson scores a takedown, I think it’ll be harder for Guida to stand back up. Henderson basically has tree trunks for legs and they definitely help him control his opponents. Guida is weak against Rear Naked Chokes, and though he favors the Guillotine Choke, Henderson will definitely have the opportunity to look for it.
My Pick: Henderson, Round 2, Submission
Fox Main Event
Heavyweight Championship bout: Cain Velasquez (-180) vs. Junior Dos Santos (+150)
Such a tough, tough fight to call. Velasquez is a beast, no doubt. He’s a powerful wrestler with great hands and great hand speed. But Dos Santos has never been taken down and is the best boxer in the heavyweight division. When he arrived on the scene in the UFC and knocked Fabricio Werdum out with an uppercut, I thought he was going to be something great. Then he started dominating other opponents and I thought he was the best heavyweight in MMA. The way he busted up Shane Carwin gives me even more confidence in this pick.
My Pick: Dos Santos, Round 5, Decision