UFC 159: Main Card Preview & Predictions
Allen: I've been an MMA fan for almost four years now. Some may consider that I’m a late bloomer, while others will look at it being that I got into the sport before it got “cool”. The first fight that I ever watched live was Brock Lesnar versus Frank Mir at UFC 100. I’m a pro wrestling fan, although that is declining nowadays because the product is pretty brutal. At the time, I was rooting for Lesnar and wanted to see how he was doing in MMA.
It was a great spectacle and I became a fan that night. It wasn’t until Anderson Silva’s epic knockout on Vitor Belfort that made me start watching consistently. I’ve started watching just about every event now and have become totally committed to watching MMA. The reason I’m saying this is because if you haven’t read my work beforehand, I’m going to my first UFC event this Saturday.
Since I live in New York, it’s still one of the delusional states to not allow MMA in the state. The past few years I’ve tried to go to New Jersey, but the timing was bad. Now the timing is right and my brother is ready to go. I’ll be headed to New Jersey for UFC 159. The card is pretty solid from top to bottom, which has me excited.
The main event may be one-sided with Jon Jones versus Chael Sonnen for the light heavyweight title. Still this is a great card with Michael Bisping versus Alan Belcher as the co-main event and that is going to be explosive. I’m skeptical of the heavyweight bout, but it’s still a joy to watch Roy Nelson fight.
The reason I’m skeptical is because Cheick Kongo might make this into a grappling bout. It has been long overdue, but finally John Villarreal is back and ready to break down the main card fights with me.
John: Wellllllllllllll, it’s good to be back. Work has been killing me lately; I’ll go ahead and say literally because that's what it feels like. After a great night of fights last Saturday, I'm excited for this weekend. I think the main event is a forgone conclusion, but Chael Sonnen could sell a UFC card to a New York State Senator. It’s worth the 60 dollars.
Lightweight: Pat Healy vs. Jim Miller
Allen: It has been a while since I’ve been excited for an opening fight. This is going to be high-paced action from the second best division in the UFC. Miller is coming off a fight of the year contender against Joe Lauzon, which had to be one of the bloodiest fights I’ve ever watched in my life. Healy is coming in from Strikeforce and has been undefeated for almost three years now.
He may not be a popular name, but Pat Healy could be the best wrestler in the division. He is bigger than most lightweights and has shown how dominant he can be at times. The lack of speed could be an issue against someone like Miller. He can’t expect to dominate someone like Miller, who is very talented on the ground as well in stand-up. This is a huge step-up in competition and Healy could have his work cut out for him.
It always seems like Jim Miller is in the top five when it comes to top lightweights. He lost a few major fights, which is why he hasn’t got a title shot yet. What Miller needs to do is similar to his past victories and start fast. He can’t allow Healy to take him down and just overpower him. This will come down to Miller using his speed and kick-boxing. His ground game has always been solid, but he should keep the fight standing up.
Healy may sound boring and seems to be the “Yushin Okami” of the division. Let’s not forget who he is fighting in Jim Miller, who hasn’t had a boring fight in years. Miller always puts on great performances and will be fighting in his home-town. Even if the fight goes to the ground, Miller has won 12 of his fights by submission. He is going to be too fast and should out-strike Healy to victory.
Winner via Unanimous Decision: Jim Miller
John: This could have been on last weekend's UFC vs. Strikeforce card. I don't see what Healy is going to have for Miller. To me this seems like a lopsided affair with Miller controlling all aspects. I’m starting to question the UFC's matchmaking here because I feel like Healy could be +1500 underdog here.
Winner via Third Round Submission: Jim Miller
Light Heavyweight: Phil Davis vs. Vinny Magalhaes
Allen: This fight was started due to an argument on Twitter. What is this the WWE trying to build angles using social media? That was sarcasm, but this fight became hyped up from twitter. Both fighters both took personal shots at each other, with Magalhaes not sounding too impressed with Davis’ ability. Based on interviews, he seems very confident and doesn’t see anything special in Davis.
Phil Davis is an enigma right now that went through a strange 2012. He was clearly rushed into the main event and was dominated by Rashad Evans. Then it took to the second time to beat Wagner Prado, after the first fight was stopped due to a severe eye poke. Everyone knows how good of a wrestler Davis is, but his striking still needs work. His stand-up doesn’t threaten anyone and wrestling can only take you so far. He’ll have to be wary of Magalhaes’ Jiu-Jitsu skills, if he’s going to take the fight to the ground.
I’m not sure what to expect from Vinny Magalhaes. He seems very confident going into this fight and expects to finish Davis. His striking could give Davis problems, especially with his body kicks. The best case for him will have to avoid being mounted. Davis is stronger and knows how to grapple with the best of them. This will be a difficult matchup for Magalhaes and it will be up his kick-boxing to win him this fight.
This fight should be intense, but neither guy is known for being too explosive with their boxing. It’ll probably be more technical compared to the stand-up war that Alan Belcher and Michael Bisping will have. The difference in this fight will be Davis’ wrestling and strength. He is going to overpower Magalhes and probably make this the most boring fight of the night. There will be a finish and Davis will lock in a Kimura to finish the fight.
Winner via Third Round Kimura: Phil Davis
John: This is the classic wrestler vs. Jiu-Jitsu matchup. If you're Mr. Wonderful, do you really want to sit in Magalhaes’ guard all night and take a chance of being submitted by Xtreme Couture's Jiu-Jitsu coach? I honestly think Vinny is a better striker than Phil Davis, but I see Phil out-quickening him all night long and beating him to all the important places. I see Phil holding on here in a tight contest.
Winner via Split Decision: Phil Davis
Heavyweight: Roy Nelson vs. Cheick Kongo
Allen: The booking of heavyweight matchups has been very good lately. I’m enjoying the unique matchups that we’ve seen over the past months. Next month, we will see another great matchup with Mark Hunt and Junior Dos Santos. This fight has potential, although I have some doubts based on a few Kongo fights from recent memory.
It’s tough to find a boring heavyweight fighter, but Cheick Kongo is the closest thing to that label. Kongo has some devastating power, especially in ground-and-pound with his long reach. The issue with Kongo is that he tends to grapple and push his opponents into the cage because of his poor cardio. He’s done that against the likes of Shawn Jordan and Matt Mitrione, which has to be up there with the most boring heavyweight fights of all time.
Roy Nelson has always been given a bad reputation, based on his size. It’s gotten so bad to the point that Dana White called him the “ultimate underachiever”. He’s underachieved a bit, but he’s still had a solid career to this point. He still possesses a nasty right hook, to go along with his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. That could come in handy, especially against Kongo’s lack of ground game when he isn’t landing punches.
This fight seems like a mismatch, especially with Kongo’s questionable chin. We’ve seen in his fights against Frank Mir and Mark Hunt how easily he can be rocked. Some people may bring up the Pat Barry fight, but that seemed like an absolute fluke. Nelson has been in better shape in recent fights, which has led to some devastating first round knockouts. You can expect more of the same here from Nelson.
Winner via First Round Knockout: Roy Nelson
John: There is a lot to lose here for Big Country. He wins here, beats a top fiver, and he'll be right there for a title shot. I see these two fighters swinging early and Roy puts the Frenchman to sleep early. Honestly Kongo has no business in the UFC; he may be the worst fighter in the heavyweight division. Once Nelson gets by Kongo, he probably won't get by Overeem or Dos Santos after this.
Winner via First Round Knockout: Roy Nelson
Middleweight: Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher
Allen: This fight has gone under the radar in terms of recognition. Usually a co-main event features a former champion in some organization, but that’s not the case here. It doesn’t matter though considering how good this matchup is. You have two fighters coming off losses that have been taking shots at each other back and forth. This has all the makings into being a potential fight of the night.
I’m very indifferent about Michael Bisping when it comes to fighting and a person in general. I’ve tried to like the guy, but he comes off as a person who talks himself up to being much better than what he really is. It’s also become apparent that he can beat all the mid-level fighters and then it comes to the fighting against a top contender. This is where he loses fights against Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort. It must be frustrating being a hardcore fan of Bisping.
There has been nothing “pathetic” about Alan Belcher’s career. Bisping stated that he felt Belcher has had a pathetic career and isn’t taking him very seriously. That could be a huge mistake, especially with Belcher’s knockout power and unpredictable attack. Similar to Bisping, he’s lost some major fights although he hasn’t been knocked out that badly.
This should be a very exciting fight that won’t go to a decision. Both fighters are more than capable in finishing the fight, especially with Bisping’s weak chin. Bisping may dominate this fight with his wrestling, but his arrogance may get the best of him. Belcher has shown how he can finish fights in an instant. Similar to Alistair Overeem, Bisping may be favored and talk about how he’s going to destroy Belcher. It’ll come back to haunt him from a Belcher head kick.
Winner via Second Round Knockout: Alan Belcher
John: Now, I really have no idea how this one will end up. Will Bisping's boxing be enough to get by the multi-faceted attack of Belcher? This one is close to call, but I'm going with Belcher getting by here with a knockout
Winner via Second Round Knockout: Alan Belcher
Light Heavyweight Title: Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen
Allen: It still bothers me that this title fight is still happening. I’m aware of the UFC being a business and how sometimes matchups can be dictated by popularity. That being said, what did Chael Sonnen do to deserve this fight? Some people may applaud him for stepping up when someone was needed, but I look at it as a desperate attempt to stay in the limelight. The past is the past though and I’ll concentrate on the fight.
This fight is mostly one-sided and it will be an even bigger challenge for Chael. As great as Anderson Silva is, he doesn’t present as many problems as Jon Jones does for his opponents. Jones is the complete package when it comes to striking, wrestling, and being excellent on the ground. Even if Chael manages to take him down, it’ll be difficult to keep him down for too long due to Jones size and athleticism.
It’s hard to see how Chael can win this fight other than grinding it out for five rounds. It seems almost impossible considering how explosive Jones is with all sorts of different strikes and potential submissions. The reach advantage will also be huge for Jones, since everyone knows how Chael has never had much punching power and doesn’t use kicks that often besides leg kicks.
This will probably be the most predictable main event this year besides Ronda Rousey versus Liz Carmouche. There is no way in seeing how Chael can win this fight, it’ll just come down to when will the fight end. If this goes all five rounds, I’ll be pretty shocked by it. Sonnen will try to take him down and may succeed at one point, but that will be it. Jones is the superior fighter and is onto better fights. Jones will choke him out by the second round.
Winner via Second Round Rear Naked Choke: Jon Jones
John: Is Chael patient enough to work for top position? I think he is smart enough to do that. Are fighters smarter as they get older? Sometimes they are, depending on the damage taken. We've seen Chael do the impossible and dominate Anderson Silva for 5.5 of their 7 rounds together.
Can he do it again? As much as I'd love to see it, it’s not going to happen here. Bones might get a submission in the 3rd or 4th, but I really see a 50-45 in Chael's future. I think Bones wins going away, even though I hope Chael makes this worth spending 60 dollars.
Winner via Unanimous Decision: Jon Jones
Allen: I’m going to wait until Monday to talk about my first ever UFC access experience. It was called the “Herald Square Takeover” and it was an amazing experience. Everything was free and it was well-run. I’ll talk more about it Monday, when I have more space to write about it. Right now, I just wanted to concentrate about the card tomorrow.
If you want to give me any tips about UFC shows, feel free to let me know. I’m not sure what to expect because this is going to be a whole new experience. When I met Kenny Florian for a few minutes on Wednesday, he was talking about to always be alert and not too be over the top obnoxious. Florian is a true professional and I wanted to ask him other MMA related questions, so it was only for about 30 seconds that I asked him about the show in itself.
I’ll recap everything Monday and it will probably be longer than any review I’ve ever done. This will probably be my best birthday present, since Wrestlemania was pretty mediocre. Even though this show has a predictable main event, the rest of the card looks pretty exciting. Thanks for reading and enjoy the show.