The pay-per-view that has been long awaited by all fight fans is finally here. It doesn’t get much better than two title fights, along with a heavyweight fight that has major implications as a potential number one contender. You’ve seen the countless promo clips of Chris Weidman knocking out Anderson Silva, along with Ronda Rousey flipping off Miesha Tate countless times.
The promos have been beaten like a drum to the point, where the fights have to come to fruition already. Obviously you want to promote a pay-per-view as much as possible, but now I’m saying to myself to let’s get this going already. That’s how excited I am for this event. This is a stacked card from top to bottom, which is why December 28th is essentially Christmas for many fight fans. Here are my picks for the entire main card.
Featherweight: Dustin Poirier vs. Diego Brandao
This is a very good opening bout to start off the main card. Both fighters love to stand and trade, while being more than capable of submitting any fighter on the ground. Brandao has fallen under the radar, after being one of the standouts from TUF 14. People are still waiting to see him knock someone out, after seeing how powerful he was with his striking on the season. This is the perfect stage for him to be recognized.
Poirier always seems to be on the cusp of moving into the upper echelon of the division, before losing that crucial fight. He has always been well rounded, but his striking has improved greatly coming off his win over Erik Koch. If he can use his speed to pick apart Brandao and wear him down, then he should win this fight rather comfortably. Brandao’s lack of cardio and wild punches will come back to haunt him against someone as well rounded as Poirier. This will be a good learning experience for Brandao.
Winner via unanimous decision: Dustin Poirier
Lightweight: Jim Miller vs. Fabricio Camoes
Could it be more obvious that they are feeding Miller a win here? It was only last year; where Miller was one win from a title shot. For him to face someone that is relatively unknown and hasn’t won a fight in almost two years is baffling. In a must win situation, I’m expecting Miller to have a similar game plan to what he had against Joe Lauzon. If he can use his speed and constantly mix up his strikes, then this fight shouldn’t be much of a problem for him.
The only issue for Miller could be if he gets caught in a jiu-jitsu match on the ground. We’ve seen how much he likes to go for submissions. Cameos is more than capable of taking his back or getting in top position to setup a submission. He’s also one of the stronger lightweights, which makes it unlikely that Miller can throw him around. You can look for Miller to utilize leg kicks followed up by short elbows to have Cameos reeling. This is a must win fight for Miller and you can expect him to look like the Miller of 2009-2011, where he was on a long winning streak.
Winner via third round TKO: Jim Miller
Heavyweight: Travis Browne vs. Josh Barnett
Ironically this is the fight I’m most looking forward to. It’s not just because I’m a sucker for heavyweight fights. I’m more excited to see who comes out as a new contender in a shallow division. If the fight goes into the later rounds, it’ll be interesting to see how Browne handles Barnett’s pace. Barnett has been involved in so many brutal fights that he seems to be almost unbreakable. Then again, Browne has proven to be unbreakable in the UFC, besides losing to Antonio Silva due to a torn hamstring.
That’s what makes this fight so intriguing, because both fighters rarely get finished and are so well rounded. My big concern for Browne is how is he going to handle Barnett’s grappling. You saw how easily Alistair Overeem got Browne against the cage and then started to land those knees to the body. Barnett may not have Overeem’s power, but he’s not going to be fatigued by the end of the first round. He’s going to control the fight and land more significant strikes, where Browne won’t have much of an opportunity to stand-and-trade. Don’t count Browne out though; we saw in his wins over Overeem and Stefan Struve how well his timing is as a striker. The difference will be that Barnett is a more intelligent fighter and won’t be careless.
Winner via unanimous decision: Josh Barnett
Women’s Bantamweight Title: Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate
The time for middle fingers and pouty faces is finally over. I had to throw in a wise remark, based on how brutal the TUF season was after high expectations. Anyway the most hyped fight in women’s history is all I’ll focus on. Tate has constantly repeated herself by saying that her emotions got the best of her in the first fight against Rousey, which I can believe. She’s had time to grow as a fighter and learn from her mistakes. My issue with that comment is that she hasn’t really changed up her actual fighting style. You still her throw wild punches, while not really defending herself all that much. Her loss to Cat Zingano proved that.
She needs to control the pace and keep the fight standing as much as possible against Rousey. If she gets into a wild brawl from the beginning, then how did she learn from that first fight? You are playing into Rousey’s strengths, which will lead to her taking you down. It seems nearly impossible to stop Rousey from taking the fight to the ground. Unless Tate can stay discipline and not get reckless with her striking combinations, then we could see a potential upset. I just can’t see that happening and this fight will eventually go the ground. When that happens, it’s only a matter of time for Rousey to lock the arm bar in. Someone will stop it some day; Tate won’t be the one to do that.
Winner via first round arm bar: Ronda Rousey
Middleweight Title: Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva
Many people are conflicted and have no idea who to pick. Some believe in Weidman’s confidence and ability to smash Silva, while others believe that it was nothing more than a fluke. Regardless of what you believe, I’m certain of one thing. You won’t see Weidman stand-and-trade with Silva for long periods of time. When focused, it doesn’t take very long for Silva to find an opening and finish the fight in an instant flash. Besides Lyoto Machida, there is no fighter that knows how to time their strikes quite like Silva.
Eventually Ray Longo and Matt Serra will have Weidman rely on his wrestling and ground control. His ground control is much different though, where you don’t see him “laying and praying” like some other fighters. He looks to pass your guard at any moment, while looking to land elbows or go for something as dramatic as a heel hook. While he’s doing this, he still manages to stay in control. It took Silva over two minutes to get back up to his feet in the first round from their last fight.
This fight will eventually turn into the classic “striker versus wrestler” matchup. Silva will be focused and utilize his Muay Thai to break him down. Silva’s takedown defense is very underrated, especially as the fight goes on. People tend to misjudge how strong he actually is. Weidman has cracked the code, but I’m in the group of believing that Silva’s loss was due to a lack of focus. He’ll be focused here and will rock Weidman with a few knees, after Weidman goes for broke going for a predictable takedown. Silva will regain his title and prove that he’s still the most dangerous fighter in the world. Whether he retires or not, I have no idea. I’m tired of contemplating if a retirement is legitimate or not. You can blame Nick Diaz for that (please come back soon Nick).
Winner via second round TKO: Anderson Silva
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