UFC 121 Picks and Predictions

Nov 15, 2008 - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - UFC's BROCK LESNAR celebrates his victory over Champion RANDY COUTURE in their title fight Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008 in Las Vegas, NV. Lesnar won the title and the fight in 3:07 of the second round after the referee stopped the fight Photo via Newscom

UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez takes place Saturday night from the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. featuring a monumental main event for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Here is my take on the card and who will win the main card bouts.

UFC Heavyweight Championship – Brock Lesnar (5-1) vs. Cain Velasquez (8-0): This is the biggest heavyweight bout the UFC could put together right now and Velasquez has a great chance to win the belt. The key will be for him to be able to stop the takedown attempts and keep the fight standing, where he has better striking and faster hands. Lesnar showed that he can be hurt in his last fight against Shane Carwin, but I think Velasquez has the endurance to see the victory through.

UFC Welterweight Bout – Jake Shields (25-4-1) vs. Martin Kampmann (17-3): Shields is making his UFC debut and many are penciling him in as the next to challenge Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight title, but I actually like Kampmann in an upset here as he has an all-around and aggressive style that can give Shields problems. Kampmann has only lost to strikers in his career, and Shields is far from an elite striker. I like Kampmann to win by decision in this one.

UFC Welterweight Bout – Diego Sanchez (23-4) vs. Paulo Thiago (13-2): Thiago has beaten some solid contenders in the welterweight division, but he has struggled with superior grapplers, losing to Jon Fitch and Kampmann. Sanchez got dominated in his last two fights and is desperate for a win, and I think he will come out motivated and looking to control the fight from the start with his pacing and wrestling. I like Sanchez to squeak out a decision against Thiago.

UFC Light Heavyweight Bout – Tito Ortiz (16-7-1) vs. Matt Hamill (10-2): Ortiz hasn’t won a fight since 2006 and while Hamill is lacking in some key areas, I think he has a better all-around game than Ortiz, who is pretty one dimensional with wrestling as his strength. Look for Hamill to move around and work kicks before scoring some late takedowns to get a decision win over Ortiz.

UFC Heavyweight Bout – Brendan Schaub (7-1) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (11-5): Schaub has a lot of promise and is an up-and-comer while Gonzaga is still holding on to a little bit of relevance, but has lost four of his last seven fights, with all of the losses coming by TKO. Schaub has won his last two fights by quick KO, so this fight should have plenty of fireworks. Look for Schaub to get the win as he has the quicker hands and is the better technical striker.

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HeavyMMA.com interviews Brendan Schaub

Jeremy Botter of HeavyMMA.com recently sat down with fighter Brendan Schaub to discuss the Gabriel Gonzaga fight and the grudge between Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson.

Heavy: This is your pay per view debut for the UFC. How does it feel to be the guy that made the leap from fighting on the Spike prelims to the pay per view based almost solely on your performances?

Schaub: It feels just like where I should be, man. You know how hard I work. And the hard work I’ve put in the Octagon these last few fights, it’s just an honor. It feels like I’m finally here, and I plan on staying here. This is why I work as hard as I do.

Heavy: Gabriel Gonzaga was once in the position you’re in: on his way to the top, but not quite broken through yet. And then he knocked out Mirko Cro Cop and got a title fight. Do you view this as your moment to break through into the upper class of the division?

Schaub: Yeah. I think so. You beat a guy like Gabriel Gonzaga and they can’t help but put you in the top five. As far as a title shot right away? No. I definitely need some more ring time. But I feel like I can compete with any of those guys up there, and I think with a convincing win over Gonzaga, I’ll shoot up there with those guys.

Read the full interview.

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