The UFC loves to put on a big show for the New Year card, and this year is no exception. On the 29th December at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas at UFC 155 we get to see a rematch between the top 2 Heavyweights in the world, as they duke it out for the belt.
Despite ending first fight with a KO Champ Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos does not come into this fight against Cain Velasquez as a huge favourite. It is testament to the fact that most people rank these 2 as the cream of the crop at 206lbs up.
Dos Santos is undefeated in his 9 fights in the UFC, never looking in trouble, Velasquez has been dominant in his 11 fight career finishing all his wins but 1; and his only career loss coming from to the man he will facing across the cage on Saturday. This fight will be won or lost by who can dictate where it takes place, Velasquez will want to grapple and ground and pound, and Dos Santos will want to keep the fight standing and use his excellent boxing. I feel these 2 are at another level at the moment and will likely have no issue thrashing anyone in the division except for each other. I think Dos Santos will retain his belt, but I am expecting a great HW tilt, and I am just thankful it’s happening.
Despite having a fight that could hold up the card by itself, the UFC as per usual has put in on a card full of great fights:
Fight Of The Night Contenders And Divisional Relevance:
I would usually break down the fights into different categories, but the fights that I am excited for fit into this one category alongside the main event.
Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller pits serial of the night bonus winner Lauzon (11 O.T.N awards) against hardnosed Miller (4 O.T.N awards) Lauzon throws thunder on the feet and chains aggressive submission attacks on the ground, Miller using grinding wrestling and excellent BJJ to complement his good boxing. Miller’s best asset is his wrestling and top control, and Lauzon’s is his BJJ, neither is afraid to throw down on the feet, I’m not sure what to expect in this fight, but I predict it will be all over the shop, scrambles galore and exchanges on the feet and ground, but Millers constant pressure will win with a late stoppage or decision. Both men need a win to have any chance of getting back in the title hunt or most likely will remain at the elite gatekeeper level.
Tim Boetsch vs. Costa Philippou. Boetsch has won all 4 of his fights at MW, including an amazing come from behind KO win against Yushin Okami. This fight can put him in amongst the contenders at MW, Cypriot Costa Philippou has quietly racked up a 4 fight win streak of his own at MW, despite not having big name wins like Boetsch; he can put himself in the mix with a win here. Both men heavily favour the striking aspect of MMA; however Boetsch has displayed some decent grappling chops with his “redneck judo” at UFC 135 throwing Nick Ring around the cage, and way back at UFC 81 when he tossed David Heath across the cage like he was a child and not a 205lb man. The grappling edge makes me side with Boetsch, but Costa has power in his hands and a decent sprawl and can certainly make it difficult.
Yushin Okami vs. Alan Belcher. Belcher has had problems with injuries with this being only his 5th fight in 3 years, however he is on a 4 fight win streak which have all come by finishes, Okami beat Belcher back at UFC 62 and has been a top 10 MW since, however losing to Champ Anderson Silva and Tim Boetsch via TKO’s has people wondering if he can hang with the top end of the division. Belcher has dazzling standup and is a BJJ black belt who chose to enter Rousimar Palhares guard and TKO him from there. Okami usually employs a stiff jab and smothering grappling, unleashing big ground and pound when he can. I fancy Belcher to win via TKO and solidify his status as up with the top 5 or so guys clamouring for a shot at the champ.
Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland Now this is the fight I am going to pick for fight of the night out of this amazing bunch of fights, 2 top 10 Bantamweights, always exciting, brilliantly well rounded and both have serious fight ending capability. Englishman Pickett is on a 3 fight streak of 2 fight of the nights and one KO of the night in the UFC and Wineland’s last 3 wins have all been KO’s winning him 2 KO’s and 1 fight of the night awards. Lighter weights offer a high pace and these 2 are high octane fighters always looking for finishes and are near impossible to put away, keep your eyes open for this one!
Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner Scheduled for the last Fox card, Varner fell ill whilst warming up and couldn’t fight. Thankfully the UFC has made the fight happen and we get to see if Guillard’s ridiculous speed and punching power will be able to take out the Revgear sponsored Varner, who possess solid chin, powerful wrestling and desire to win. Guillard has been hit on the feet by supposedly lesser strikers than himself, and Varner showed in his TKO win against Edson Barboza that he can land power shots on more favoured strikers and put them away, Guillard is also weak once people tie him up in grappling exchanges losing 5/6 times in the UFC from submissions, Varner is more of a wrestler than a submission artist, and he will want to keep it off the feet or Guillard will light him up with his diverse striking which has been on display in his 7 stoppage wins in the UFC.
The fights times as listed by the UFC are:
FACEBOOK: 11.35PM GMT
ESPN PRELIMS: 1:00AM GMT
ESPN MAIN CARD: 03:00AM GMT