UFC on FOX 2: Early Main Card Predictions

Matthew HemphillCorrespondent IIJanuary 20, 2012

UFC on FOX 2: Early Main Card Predictions

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    UFC on FOX is right around the corner and even though the FX fights are Friday night, it isn't too soon to start making predictions.

    The card has been shuffled around thanks to injuries, but that has actually led to some interesting developments.

    Looking at the card now, the fights are better than the ones that were originally announced. The fights also represent different possibilities for the winners.

    The only question is who will win? Let's take a look at who should triumph after the fights on the 28th.

Demian Maia vs. Chris Weidman

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    A few years ago, this fight would have seemed like a mismatch. Weidman is still new to the UFC and even though he has won his last three fights in the promotion, his biggest wins were over Tom Lawlor and Alessio Sakara.

    Both men are great fighters, but neither is known for being an elite talent like Demian Maia once was.

    Notice the past tense.

    Maia hasn't been the same since he lost to Nate Marquardt via quick knockout in the first round. Before the fight, he was usually a candidate for submission of the night. After it, his fights have gone the distance, win or lose.

    Maia lost some of the confidence he once had after the Marquardt fight and it has shown in every outing since then. He is also 34 and even though he didn't start fighting until 2005, with the exception of having one fight in 2001, age still plays a factor in combat sports.

    Weidman hasn't lost a fight yet and is still confident in his abilities. He also hasn't shown fans the limits of what he can do yet.

    Weidman hasn't ever been beaten, but he hasn't faced anyone like Maia, either. For as much as Maia has lost a step, he should have enough left to swarm Weidman on the ground and win by unanimous decision.

Chael Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping

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    Bisping and Sonnen were both on the card originally, but were facing different opponents. Now the two biggest bad guys in the UFC are going to square off.

    It may be cliche to say that Sonnen and Bisping wear the black hat whenever they enter the cage, but judging by most fans' reactions, it is true. Now, as they compete against each other in the Octagon, it might be hard for fans to root for one over the other.

    It also could be hard to pick a winner.

    Bisping is the younger man, but he has never faced the same level of opposition as Sonnen and been successful. Every time he has made it to challenging the upper echelon, he has been beaten.

    Sonnen is older by two years at 34 and has had the longer career. Though that gives him more experience to pull from it, also means he has had his fair share of beatings.

    But Sonnen was able to come off his suspension and easily submit Brian Stann, who had made a name for himself by tearing through the middleweight division.

    It was more impressive then all four of Bisping's wins against Dan Miller, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Jorge Rivera and Jason Miller combined.

    Bisping is a good fighter, but Sonnen is better and will show it as he drags the UK fighter down to the ground and beats on him for three rounds.

Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis

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    For some reason, Evans rubs people the wrong way. A lot of fans just want to see him lose and pay good money every time he fights to see it happen.

    Lucky for Evans, he is a great fighter and knows how to keep winning no matter what his opponent tries.

    He won't be the fan favorite when he faces off with the likable Phil Davis, but he will be the favorite to win the fight.

    Davis was compared in the beginning of his career to Jon Jones, which was a little unfair to both men, as Jones is the more complete fighter and a unique champion to say the least.

    Even though he has a ways to go, Davis is still a great wrestler and has shown it in the cage.

    Evans has a wrestling background as well and he is a better all-around fighter. Evans has also fought recently, which means that he won't be fighting cage rust like he did last time in his fight with Tito Ortiz.

    The wild cards are Evans attitude and Davis's growth since their last fights, respectively. Evans has gotten more cocky with every win he gets and its hard to believe that his attitude won't create holes in his game sooner or later.

    Davis has been growing and learning. He shouldn't have been compared to Jon Jones, but that doesn't mean he isn't a phenom with a quick learning curve.

    Expect Evans to underestimate Davis in this match-up, only to realize too late that he should have given his opponent more respect when he loses by majority decision.

    Matthew Hemphill writes for the boxing, MMA, and professional wrestling portion of Bleacher Report. He also hosts a blog elbaexiled.blogspot.com which focuses on books, music, comic books, video games, film, and generally anything that could be related to the realms of nerddom.