I hope everyone had an enjoyable and safe Fourth of July. With that day passing, it means it’s only one day until UFC 162. I’d like to apologize for not doing a preview for UFC 161, many things were going on and I didn’t want to put out a half-assed preview. It was a fairly lackluster card with Stipe Miocic stealing the show by upsetting Roy Nelson.
As a proud Croatian, the fan boy in me was jumping up and down. The writer in me had Nelson winning by first round knockout like most people. From my memory, I went 3-2 that night with Pat Barry getting knocked out being my only other loss. Also for the future, I’m likely going to write only solo previews. John Villarreal has become extremely busy with other projects. Hopefully, I can find another guy to write with someday because it’s better to have two people making predictions.
Some may find this shocking, but I find UFC 162 more compelling than UFC 148 if you want to compare both cards that were during the Fourth of July weekend and featured Anderson Silva in the main event. The card seems more compelling with so many fighters pressured to win. Frankie Edgar, Mark Munoz, and among others have heavy amounts of pressure to win this Saturday. The card may lack some firepower with Chan Sung-Jung off the card. I’m still confident this will be better than what it appears to be on paper.
Featherweight: Dennis Siver vs. Cub Swanson
When this fight was announced, I felt bad for Swanson. He is on a four fight-winning streak and still being relegated to opening card fights. Then you look into the overall card and realize that Frankie Edgar needs a win, so they set him up with an easier opponent. Swanson would have been a legitimate threat to keep Edgar on his losing streak.
This should be fight of the night based on how both fighters love to push the pace and rarely get finished. Siver has done well in moving down to the featherweight division and knows how massive a win would be over one of the top fighters in the division. Swanson knows a win here would probably mean he’s one win away from fighting for the title. This has all the makings into being fight of the night.
Siver may tire out in the end, but look for him to go for takedowns. Eventually he may get tired of trying to strike with Swanson and will need to switch it up. I’m confident that Swanson will pick him apart, along with leaving him rocked a few times. This should be a great opener to the pay-per-view.
Winner via Unanimous Decision: Cub Swanson
Middleweight: Mark Munoz vs. Tim Boetsch
The Mark Munoz comeback story has been pretty remarkable. When you look at the pictures of his weight cut, it’s astonishing to see how in five months someone can change their life like that. It’s obvious that Munoz is going to be extremely motivated to get back in the win column, but Tim Boetsch never goes away easily. Boetsch is as gritty as they come and won’t shy away from wrestling with Munoz.
This fight is arguably the toughest one to predict because both fighters are pretty similar and are coming off losses. I’m expecting both to be very aggressive and the fight will come down to whom implements their game plan more. Munoz will need to control him on the ground and not stand up with him for too long. Boetsch has serious knockout power, which was proven against Yushin Okami. It’s rare to see Okami ever knocked out, but Boetsch and his heavy hands managed to do it.
As the fight goes on, will see how Munoz’s chin lasts considering it’s always been questionable. The best case for Munoz is to tire him out and constantly put pressure on him. Boetsch tends to tire out as the fight goes longer, so hopefully the new and improved Mark Munoz is ready to fight for fifteen minutes. I’m thinking he will win a close decision.
Winner via Split Decision: Mark Munoz
Middleweight: Roger Gracie vs. Tim Kennedy
The winner of his fight will probably be put in the top ten of the middleweight division. In such a wide-open division, where there aren’t many elite fighters left. Both fighters are making their UFC debut and this is a pretty big stage for both them being so high on the card.
This fight has the potential to be boring due to both fighters not being great strikers and Kennedy will look to avoid being on the ground as much as possible. He is one of the better middleweights on the ground, but Gracie is on whole other level on the ground. The fight can end in an instant on the ground.
The difference in this fight will be the size where Gracie is a large middleweight. It’ll be tough for Kennedy to stay in top position or even attempt to control the fight. This is a bad matchup for him, where the only way he could win is try to control him against the cage similar to what Daniel Cormier did to Frank Mir. Don’t expect this fight to stay on the feet for very long, it’ll go to the ground and Gracie will prevail.
Winner Via Second Round Guillotine: Roger Gracie
Featherweight: Frankie Edgar vs. Charles Oliveira
What boggles my mind about this matchup is that Oliveira is 2-3-1 in his last six fights, along with getting knocked out by Cub Swanson who is in the opening fight of the pay-per-view. How Oliveira is in this matchup just doesn’t seem right to me. It seems that they are just feeding someone to Edgar, so he can get back on track. Edgar may have lost three fights in a row, but they were highly competitive title fights.
Oliveira is very dangerous on the ground, which has been proven with his three submission of the night achievements. He is very crafty and elusive when on the ground, which is the only way he’ll be able to win on Saturday. Edgar is better in stand up and throws more effective combinations, while always threatening to go for a takedown. He is the complete package as a fighter, while Oliveira has some holes in his game.
This is a very difficult matchup for Oliveira, where he’s outclassed in almost every area. You have to believe Edgar is going to be on top of his game, especially when he’s in desperate need of a win. Unless Oliveira can manage to lock in a submission from his guard, he doesn’t have much of a chance in this fight. His chances are slim to none. Edgar will finish the fight by ground-and-pound
Winner via Third Round TKO: Frankie Edgar
Middleweight Title: Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman
You can look at it from two perspectives. Weidman is an extremely difficult matchup for Silva based on his success as a wrestler and being able to finish fights from using submissions or devastating elbows. Then you have Silva, who has shown great improvements in his takedown defense and is on another level when it comes to striking.
The comparisons of Weidman and Chael Sonnen are far-fetched because Weidman can finish fights in both ways. He uses more elbows and is patient when being in top position. The issue with Weidman is that he’s not very experienced in big fight situations. I’d be more confident in his chances of upsetting Silva if he beat someone like Vitor Belfort or Yushin Okami before being put in a title fight. If the middleweight division wasn’t so depleted, he wouldn’t be in this title fight.
He is extremely talented and will be a top five middleweight for years to come. I do not believe in the hype though because Silva’s takedown defense is much better than for what people give him credit for. Even if Weidman attempts to grind him out, Silva is great at counter striking and can end the fight in an instant. Let’s not forget about Silva’s submission ability as well. I’m expecting a devastating end to this fight. If it goes longer than two rounds, I’ll be surprised.
Winner and still champion via Second Round TKO: Anderson Silva
The card seems fairly predictable, although I’m still pretty blown away on how many fighters are picking Weidman. It’s not even just wrestlers; you have fighters like T.J Grant and Frank Mir, who aren’t wrestlers yet still favoring Weidman to win. He’ll have to make the fight ugly to win. It’s time for Weidman to show if he’s one of the top fighters in the world or he’ll be just another victim.
You can follow me on twitter at @Allen_Strk or e-mail me at AStrk19@gmail.com