UFC 117 Predictions

CHICAGO- OCTOBER 25:  Anderson Silva prepares before the Middleweight Title Bout at UFC's Ultimate Fight Night at Allstate Arena on October 25, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

UFC 117: Silva vs. Sonnen takes place Saturday night from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California and this card is stacked from top-to-bottom. The headliner is a contest for the UFC Middleweight Championship between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen. Here are my picks for this event.

UFC Middleweight Championship Bout – Anderson Silva (26-4) vs. Chael Sonnen (26-10-1): Sonnen gets the award for most smack talk prior to a fight, but he better make sure he backs it up, or else he is going to look like a complete jackass. Sonnen does have a good style to combat Silva, as he is an aggressive wrestler that knows he needs to get the fight to the ground. At the same time, Sonnen has struggled in defending submissions in the past, losing to lesser opponents like Demian Maia and Jeremy Horn via submission. Silva may get taken to the ground a few times in this fight, but his accurate strikes and jiu-jitsu ability on the ground tell me that sooner or later, he will end this fight. I like Silva to win by submission in the second round.

UFC Welterweight Bout – Thiago Alves (22-5) vs. Jon Fitch (25-3): This is a rematch of a bout from years ago in which Fitch won by TKO. Since then, both have greatly improved, but Alves has seen more progress. Fitch has failed to win by submission or TKO in the last three years, but he still has just once UFC loss in his career and that has to be respected. With Alves struggling to cut weight and having a year off from competition, I like Fitch to score the takedowns and earn the decision victory.

UFC Lightweight Bout – Clay Guida (26-8) vs. Rafael Dos Anjos (14-4): Dos Anjos is on the rise, but he faces his toughest challenge to date in Guida. Guida is a relentless fighter that always is pushing the action and looking to mix it up. In this fight, Guida should be able to avoid the big strikes of Dos Anjos and score takedowns to earn a decision victory as he controls the fight.

UFC Welterweight Bout – Matt Hughes (45-7) vs. Ricardo Almeida (12-3): This is an intriguing fight as Hughes has only lost to Georges St. Pierre and Thiago Alves in recent years, yet he is a decided underdog against the largely unproven Almeida. Almeida has superior submission skills and speed, but both men are weak strikers and Hughes has a clear wrestling edge. I think if Hughes is able to be smart and cautions and avoid the submission attempts of Almeida while on his back, Hughes should be able to control this fight on top and earn another win to his storied career.

UFC Heavyweight Bout – Roy Nelson (16-4) vs. Junior Dos Santos (11-1): This fight has a lot of size and power as both men have heavy hands. Nelson doesn’t look like a well-conditioned or skilled fighter, but he has a great gas tank and is a black belt in jiu-jitsu. Dos Santos is also solid on the ground, but he has never had to show it as he has picked apart opponents on his feet. In this fight, look for Dos Santos to beat Nelson to the punch and score the first big blow, which will lead to a TKO win in round one. Dos Santos is a little quicker and a little crisper on his feet.

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