The heavyweight title is on the line at UFC 160 on Saturday, May 25th, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Facebook action starts at 6:35pm est, followed by the FX prelims at 8:00pm est, and capped off with the main card on ppv at 10:00pm est.
Cain Velasquez (11-1) vs. Antonio Silva (18-4)
I really don’t have much to say about this fight… I haven’t seen any significant changes in either fighter that would suggest a different outcome since their first meeting. Cain is just too fast and explosive, and unlike Overeem, Cain doesn’t gas out in his fights. Of course, anything can happen, and dos Santos did catch Cain early once, so who knows, Bigfoot may be able to land that perfect shot and take the belt. I’m betting that Cain gets the takedown and pounds out Bigfoot again, probably in the first round. I guess that’s not really good enough for a main event preview is it? So here’s a few more reasons why this will be a tough fight for Bigfoot. One thing he likes to do is pound on his opponents from the top position, but there is very little chance he will find himself in that position against a guy like Velasquez. His other go-to tactic is to grind guys up against the cage in order to tire them out – no dice against Cain “the cardio machine”. Bigfoot does have a black belt in BJJ, but he isn’t very effective from his back because he lacks the explosive speed, and Cain will see his submission attacks coming a mile away. He’s got a puncher’s chance, nothing more…
Winner: Cain Velasquez
Junior Dos Santos (15-2) vs. Mark Hunt (9-7)
Wow, if you told me this fight was happening 2-3 years ago, I would have said you were crazy. Against all odds, Mark Hunt has had a huge resurgence in his career. After getting stopped 6 times in a row, Hunt bounces back at 39 years of age with a 4 fight win streak, including 3 knockout finishes. He’s the hard hitting, even harder headed, Samoan wrecking machine. With the majority of his losses coming by submission, Hunt has worked diligently on his grappling skills. The results? improved takedown defense and and increased ability to get back to his feet. dos Santos is a very well rounded fighter with great hands and footwork to go along with his strong wrestling and black belt in BJJ. I’ll be pulling for Hunt to win this fight (he should get a title shot if he does) but dos Santos is higher percentage. Junior should look to tag Hunt with no more than two punches at a time, then get back on his bicycle, there shouldn’t be any exchanges where he stands in the pocket with Hunt. It’s tricky though, because Hunt is very deceptive with his strikes, and all it takes is one glancing blow to put dos Santos on queer street. I think dos Santos will play it smart, tactical, and pick up the decision in Bisping-esque fashion.
Winner: Junior dos Santos
Glover Teixeira (20-2) vs. James Te Huna (16-5)
Oh I’m loving this fight too! We’ve got two powerful light heavyweight strikers going at it, and I doubt this one goes the distance. Teixeira’s got everything you could want from a fighter: Speed, power, technique, wrestling, submissions, conditioning… you name it, Teixeira’s got it – which could account for his current 17 fight win streak. Te Huna is a beast in his own right, with great technique, and monstrous power in his hands. If these guys decide to slug it out, you might as well flip a coin, but there is another factor at play, the ground game. While Te Huna is by no means unfamiliar with wrestling and submissions, Teixeira is just a little bit better at both. If the striking is a wash, Teixeira will still have that advantage on the ground to fall back on, and he’s way too experienced to get sucked into a brawl – isn’t he?
Winner: Glover Teixeira
Gray Maynard (11-1-1-1) vs. TJ Grant (20-5)
Maynard is one of those wrestlers who took to striking like a fish to water, and he’s got the chin and power to demand respect. I think his recent short comings had more to do with Frankie Edgar’s awesomeness than Maynard himself. As a TUF tournament champion, former #1 contender, and three time all american wrestler, Maynard is one tough nut to crack. You would think Grant was Brazilian based on his skill set, combining sharp Muay Thai striking with a rock solid BJJ game. He recently demolished Matt Wiman in the first round, sending a clear message that his Muay Thai is nothing to scoff at. In a pure striking match, Grant wins, but he is nowhere near Maynard’s level when it comes to wrestling. Grant will spend a lot of time on his back during this fight, and although he has excellent submission skills, Maynard has great control from the top and has never been submitted. That’s basically the how the fight will go, with Maynard grinding out a boring decision win, and going on to face Ben Henderson for the lightweight title.
Winner: Gray Maynard
Reminder: Don’t forget to register your picks in time for this event, and good luck to all!