UFC 125 Picks & Predictions

UFC 125 takes place on Saturday from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. The event features five very intriguing and exciting fights, headlined by a battle for the UFC Lightweight Championship. Here are my thoughts on who will win on the main card bouts.

UFC Lightweight Championship – Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard: I look for the champion to retain his belt and avenge a prior loss to Maynard in 2008. Since that time I feel like Edgar has improved greatly as a fighter while Maynard is simply a slightly better version of himself. Maynard will get some takedowns on the champ, but I expect Edgar to bounce back up and use his boxing to tire the challenger before scoring some takedowns in the later rounds to earn a decision victory.

UFC Middleweight Bout – Chris Leben vs. Brian Stann: While this fight doesn’t deserve co-main event status, it still should be exciting. Leben is riding a wave of momentum that will not be stopped on Saturday as his punching power should carry him to a third round TKO of Stann, who will put up a game effort.

UFC Light Heavyweight Bout – Brandon Vera vs. Thiago Silva: This may be Vera’s final UFC fight as I expect Silva to pressure him and not let him set up his kicks. Silva will do a good job of closing the distance and overwhelming Vera with his power and grappling ability. I like Silva to win by unanimous decision.

UFC Welterweight Bout – Nate Diaz vs. Dong Hyun Kim: Kim is a very under-rated fighter as he is kind of like the Yushin Okami of this weight class as is very strong and bigger than anyone else in the weight class. I like Kim to use that size to get Diaz to the ground and keep him from using his boxing. It probably won’t be the most exciting fight, but it will be another decision win for Kim.

UFC Lightweight Bout – Takanori Gomi vs. Clay Guida: I like Guida and the energy he brings to a fight, but his short arms tend to put him in bad spots against strikers. I think Guida will get careless early in the fight and get caught with a big punch by Guida while will lead to a TKO finish in the opening round.

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Options for UFC on Versus 2

COLOGNE, GERMANY - JUNE 13:  Rich Franklin of USA kicks Wanderlei Silva of Brazil during his catchweight bout during the UFC 99 The Comback at Lanxess Arena on June 13, 2009 in Cologne, Germany.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Brett C. Jones of HeavyMMA.com lays out some fight options for UFC on Versus 2.

Maybe UFC should call their Versus fight cards “UFC Presents: Jon Jones and the UFC Players.” On consecutive occasions on the newest home of the top MMA promotion in the world, Jones has been dominant to say the least. In Sunday’s main event, Jones defeated Vladimir Matyushenko, a 13-year veteran of the sport, faster than anyone ever has.

Among the “players” supporting the dominant performance of Jones was almost equally dominant Takanori Gomi, who took the occasion of his fight against Tyson Griffin to prove that he is not washed up. Gomi became the first fighter to stop the near-contender and breathed life into his career, which many felt was no longer suited for the highest level of competition.

Who might Gomi fight to re-affirm his status near the top of the lightweight division? Who might Jones, who refused to call anyone out after his victory, next victimize? What about Yushin Okami and Jake Ellenberger, who each one their respective fights? They all have options, and this is their breakdown.

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UFC on Versus 2 Picks & Predictions

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 02:  Vladimir Matyushenko (blue) of the Tokyo Sabres celebrates after defeating Tim Boetsch of the New York Pitbulls during the IFL semifinals at the Continental Airlines Arena on August 2, 2007 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images for IFL)

The Ultimate Fighting Championship holds its second-ever event on the Versus Network tonight with UFC on Versus 2. The card will feature four main bouts and here are my thoughts on those key fights.

Light Heavyweight Bout – Jon Jones (10-1) vs. Vladimir Matyushenko (24-4): Matyushenko is a tough guy but Jones is clearly the better and more promising fighter. This fight seems like a chance for Jones to be showcased on national television to hype an even bigger fight in the future. Look for Jones to dispose of Vlady with strikes in the second round and jump into the top five of the division.

Middleweight Bout – Mark Munoz (8-1) vs. Yushin Okami (25-5): This should be a tough grappling fight as both are great wrestlers. Okami has done well in his UFC career thanks to his size and strength and I expect him to pusher a faster pace than Munoz, which will open the door for him to score a TKO win in round three as Munoz tires. Okami has only lost to Chael Sonnen and Rich Franklin in the octagon and is very under-rated in terms of his skills.

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Friday MMA Review 5/15

Here’s a weekly rundown of MMA content from Ben Goldstein of CagePotato.com:

– Last weekend’s Bellator show produced yet another epic finish, as well as the upset loss of featherweight tournament favorite Wilson Reis.

– UFC prez Dana White defended his angry outbursts on ESPN’s “E:60,” and Tito Ortiz stopped by to molest the English language.

– UFC 101 will officially go down August 8th in Philadelphia, and will feature two amazing fights and a bunch of mediocre ones.

– The video promo for DREAM’s Super Hulk Tournament, starring Jose Canseco vs. Hong Man Choi, is sheer cartoonish awesomeness.

– Speaking of which, Canseco isn’t the only athlete we’d like to see make an ill-advised transition into cage-fighting.

– Shooto’s “Final Tradition” event was highlighted by Takanori Gomi’s return to the win column, and a wild one-rounder between Takeshi Inoue and Rumina Sato.

– Keith Jardine scored another two-second role in another horrible movie.

– Lyoto Machida may be fighting for the UFC light-heavyweight title next Saturday, but he’s already looking ahead to Brock Lesnar. Could we eventually see an epic battle between foot-sweeps and hammer-fists?

– Set your DVRs: Former WWE star Bobby Lashley returns to action tonight at MFC 21, and Strikeforce kicks off their “Challengers” series with a lightweight battle between Billy Evangelista and Mike Aina.

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