The last time the UFC held an event was August 11th when they presented UFC 150: Edgar vs. Henderson II. That is an awfully long time considering how active the organization has been over the past two years or so. It’ll be almost 50 days between shows once UFC 152 rolls around this Saturday in Toronto. The good thing is the UFC has put together an outstanding card with two title bouts and a middleweight contest that will see the winner move extremely close to a title shot.
The five main card bouts should prove to be pretty entertaining. The Matt Hamill-Roger Hollett fight could be the one contest that drags the pay-per-view down just a bit, but four out of five isn’t too bad. Let’s take a look at each match-up and I will attempt to tell you who will win and how the fight will end.
Cub Swanson vs. Charles Oliveira– I am a huge fan of the featherweights and in particular both of these fighters. Both men bring it each time out and have their own individual talents that make this match-up so intriguing. Swanson has good stand-up and has finished his last two fights by TKO while Oliveira is very good on the ground and can pull off difficult submissions at any time.
Oliveira has finished 15 of his 16 victories with 9 coming by way of submission and the other 6 by knockout. Swanson has finished 13 of his 17 victories so the chance of this one going all three rounds is not very good. Swanson has fought longer and is six years older than Oliviera. That could be a factor here, but my heart is telling me that Swanson will hurt Oliveira only to be caught in a submission while trying to finish the fight. Oliveira via guillotine choke in the second round.
Roger Hollett vs. Matt Hamill– This will mark the debut of Hollett in the UFC as well as the return of Hamill who was last seen getting thrashed by Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 133 last August. I don’t know much about the Canadian Hollett other than he has competed for Bellator and MFC. The biggest names he has faced are David Heath and Lew Polley, both times he lost. He’s finished 11 of his 13 victories with seven by submission and four by knockout. His background is in boxing and kickboxing.
Hamill of course is a solid wrestler with below average stand-up, but he does have some power. He retired after the loss to Gustafsson which was preceded by a loss to Rampage at UFC 130 last May. At 35-years-old I’m not sure what he has left to offer, maybe the time away healed some injuries and gave him the motivation that he was lacking. I see this going one of two ways; Hamill getting knocked out or Hollett getting laid on for three rounds. I’m going to go with the latter and choose Hamill by unanimous decision.
Michael Bisping vs. Brian Stann– I am really excited for this match-up. Stann is the type of fighter that you can’t help but root for and Bisping is the type of fighter that you either love or you love to hate! One of the best moments in MMA for me was watching Dan Henderson knock Bisping out at UFC 100. I have to admit that I have grown to respect Bisping since then and I believe he is a very good fighter that can usually back up his big mouth. Stann on the other hand does his talking in the cage and has the type of power that can put Bisping to sleep if he connects.
The one million dollar question is will Stann get an opportunity to land that one big punch? If not it will be a long night for the former WEC Light Heavyweight Champion. Bisping has the foot work to beat on Stann without getting tagged. I don’t see Stann getting hurt, but I don’t think he can keep up with Bisping or outwrestle him. Bisping will do what he does best; he will get in a few shots and get out of reach, frustrating Stann in the process. The likelihood of Bisping finishing Stann isn’t that great so I see this one going to the judges. Bisping will go home with a unanimous decision.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson- UFC Flyweight Championship: So many people are making such a big deal of the fact that this bout was moved from the main event spot it had occupied until the cancellation of UFC 151 to the co-main event slot, but to both of these competitors the one thing that matters most is the opportunity to become a champion. That’s what makes Benavidez and Johnson so special; they’d fight in the middle of a parking lot if they had to. I’ve spoken to each man several times and they are truly special individuals who have overcome a lot of obstacles.
That’s one of the things that makes this fight so difficult to predict. I truly would love to see both guys win; they both deserve the honor and would be a great champion. Benavidez is stronger, Johnson is faster. They can both wrestle, but I would give Benavidez the edge in submissions. Who to choose, how do you pick a winner when they are so evenly matched? Someone has to win and I can assure you this, the judges will be called upon after 25 minutes of heart stopping excitement. At the end of this fight I believe Benavidez will have the belt around his waist with scores of 47-46, 47-46 and 47-46.
Vitor Belfort vs. Jon Jones– UFC Light Heavyweight Championship: The fan in me would love to see the 35-year-old Belfort come in and knock Jones out. That has nothing to do with what has transpired over the past month, it is simply a desire to see the underdog come in and do the unthinkable. We all know anything is possible in MMA and Belfort has the power to knock Jones out. I am just not sure he will ever get close enough to land that big left. Jones uses his superior athleticism and huge reach advantage so well in all of his fights. The fact that Rashad Evans is coaching Belfort will have very little impact in this fight because Jones can be so unpredictable.
The diversity Jones has shown in his striking can simply be enough to confuse any fighter and throw them off of their game. Is he going to throw a kick is he going to throw an elbow or some type of spinning combination? You just never know what he has up his sleeve. He also has the advantage in wrestling and while Belfort is a black belt under Carlson Gracie he rarely uses those skills in his fights. This fight will not go past two rounds, even Belfort’s coach Mario Sperry said as much in an interview I conducted with him recently. Jones will weather the early storm and win late in the second round via rear naked choke to retain his light heavyweight title.Tags: Alexander Gustafsson, Brian Stann, charles oliveira, Cub Swanson, Demetrious Johnson, featured, jon jones, Joseph Benavidez, Mario Sperry, Matt Hamill, Michael Bisping, Quinton Jackson, Rashad Evans, Roger Hollett, UFC 152, Vitor Belfort