|Aldo catches Manny with a flying knee.|
Preliminary Card Picks:
- Edwin Figueroa defeats a drug free Francisco Rivera via TKO
- Dustin Kimura defeats Chico Camus via Kimura? That would be pretty cool.
- Thug-jitsu master Yves Edwards follows up his KO of the night performance with a TKO win over Isaac Vallie-Flagg
- Jacob Volkmann defeats Bobby Green via decision
- Former Strikeforce champ Tyron Woodley defeats Jay Hieron via decision
- Evan Dunham roughs up Gleison Tibau and gets a decision victory
On to the PPV card:
- Joe Benavidez has only lost to champion Dominick Cruz twice and champion Demetrious Johnson once. Ian McCall has champion caliber, but I see Benavidez taking this one by decision. Will the winner of this get a rematch with Demetrious Johnson or is there more work to be done? As of now the flyweight division appears to be a 4 man division so it will be interesting to see how things play out.
- Jon Fitch has not been submitted since his first professional fight. He has escaped more submissions than anyone in UFC history. This means he has incredible submission defense, which could be seen in his surviving of a rear naked choke by Erik Silva in his last fight. This also means he is susceptible to getting himself into submissions. Demian Maia is not a guy you want to have your neck. He is the best BJJ practitioner in the game today and rarely lets people escape his hold when he gets you on the ground. Fitch is also a good enough wrestler to not let Maia take him down, and control Maia by being on top. This makes a very intriguing matchup that is incredibly important for the future of the welterweight division. I see Fitch domination with wrestling and submission defense to take a unanimous decision victory. That would be a record 9 consecutive decision wins for Fitch without a finish which has left fans upset with his fights. However, I think it was clear at UFC 153 that Jon Fitch is not the guy grinding out wins like he used to. He is a new and improved Jon Fitch looking to finish guys. Despite a great effort to finish, I am taking Fitch via decision.
- Overeem vs Silva: Do I take the classy Brazilian who upset Fedor Emelianenko and Travis Browne but could not handle great AKA wrestlers Daniel Cormier or Cain Velasquez? Or, do I take a guy I cannot stand as a person who possesses amazing kickboxing (K1 champion) to win and take on Cain Velasquez for the title? I love that Silva is not afraid of a challenge. This is his 5th fight in a row against a top 10 heavyweight. Win or lose, Silva knows he can hang with the best in the sport and he is not afraid of even the toughest of challenges. Overeem was originally scheduled to face Silva in the 2nd round of the Strikeforce Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament after defeating Fabricio Werdum. However, he had to pull out and was replaced by the guy who won it all, Daniel Cormier. Since then he has fought Brock Lesnar, who was a surgically repaired mess that quit after getting hit by Overeem's vicious body kicks. After facing a suspension for elevated testosterone, he has been on the sideline. Alistair Overeem is still a top heavyweight but we will see if he is the same guy as before when he fights this Saturday. As much as I love Silva and am pulling for him to get the victory, I see Alistair's superior kickboxing being enough to let him slip by with a TKO victory. This will of course result in Cain Velasquez destroying Overeem's face in a soon to happen title fight.
- Rashad Evans has only been bettered by two men, Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida. Little Nog thinks he has what it takes to be the third man to do it. This is a huge step up in competition for Nogueira, who hasn't fought since December of 2011. Nogueira has twice beaten Alistair Overeem and has even won against Dan Henderson. He was making some serious noise until being bested by 2 dominant wrestlers in Phil Davis and Ryan Bader. Evans is a better wrestler than both of them and has some serious striking to go with it. Although many people think this is a cake walk for Evans, he would be foolish to underestimate a Nogueira brother. Evans should take this fight by unanimous decision. Does this warrant a rematch with Jones with Henderson fighting Machida and Gustafsson fighting Mousasi? Probably not. However, Evans is a lighter guy in the light heavyweight division and a super fight with him and Silva at 205 or for the 185 lb title would be interesting with all the middleweight contenders dropping like flies. Should be interesting to watch it play out.
- Finally comes the super fight between former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar and UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo. I have said it many times before, Aldo is invincible. There was nobody at 145lbs capable of dethroning the champ. I love Jung, Mendes, Homminick, Florian, Koch, and Lamas as much as the next guy, but none of them are on Aldo's level. He is a sick BJJ black belt who prefers knocking people out with elbows and knees instead. His leg kicks destroy thighs like no other fighter. I would rather get hit by a baseball bat swung by Albert Pujols than get hit by a Jose Aldo leg kick. However, if there is anybody in the world that can take a kick or take a punch and never take a step back it is Frankie Edgar. He took the best Gray Maynard could give him in the first round of both of their title fights only to come back and win. Aldo will hurt Edgar. This is a fact. How will Edgar handle being hit by a more dangerous guy than he has ever seen before? Will he handle the adversity well enough to win the fight? Can he outwrestle Aldo and take down a guy with crazy takedown defense? Will Edgar have significantly more power at 145? These are the questions that will determine if Aldo will remain invincible or if Edgar joins Penn and Couture as the third guy to win a belt in two different weight classes. You cannot help but love both fighters which is why this is tough for me to choose. Weight cutting will be a factor for both guys as well. Aldo is so young and still growing into his body. He struggles to make weight at 145 sometimes. Edgar is dropping to 145 for the first time so maybe his cardio and chin will be weaker than fights in the past. We will see if weight cutting makes a difference in the result of UFC 156. I have to side with the invincible Jose Aldo to just be too much for Frankie to handle. Like the Aldo vs Faber fight in the WEC, I think it will be clear Aldo won the fight, but like Faber, Frankie has too much heart to be finished by a superior fighter. I am taking Aldo via decision to retain his belt.