UFC 145: Predictions for Knockout, Submission and Fight of the Night

First LastCorrespondent IApril 18, 2012

UFC 145 will go down from the Philips Arena in Atlanta this weekend, and for the UFC's return to pay-per-view, it will feature a light-heavyweight grudge match between reigning light heavyweight champ Jon "Bones" Jones and former champion Rashad Evans in the main event.

It's a matchup that has been talked about for over a year since Jones won the title when he replaced Evans to take on then champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. Jones defeated the Brazilian by TKO to become the youngest champion in UFC history.

Other main card bouts include Rory MacDonald vs. Che Mills, Brendan Schaub vs. Ben Rothwell, Michael McDonald vs. Miguel Torres, Mark Hominick vs. Eddie Yagin and Mark Bocek vs. John Alessio.

These are my predictions for the three fight night bonuses.

Submission of the Night: Mark Bocek

Mark Bocek (10-4), a BJJ black belt, has been going through a win-loss pattern in his last couple bouts, but his competition has been elite in Benson Henderson, Jim Miller, Dustin Hazelett and Nik Lentz.

His best performance inside the Octagon came against Hazelett, who he submitted in the very first round at UFC 124.

His opponent, John Alessio (32-14), took the fight on short notice after Matt Wiman pulled out. He enters the fight having only lost once to Siyar Bahadurzada in his last 13 bouts.

Considering the step up in competition for Alessio from his previous fights, Bocek might be too much for him to handle on short notice. Bocek should also be well-rounded enough to get Alessio to the mat and catch him in a submission late in the fight. Seven of Alessio's 13 losses have come by way of submission.

Knockout of the Night: Travis Browne

Undefeated heavyweight Travis Browne (12-0-1) didn't have his best performance against Rob Broughton at UFC 135, but everyone still remembers his highlight-reel knockout against Stefan Struve, which was one of the best in 2011.

Browne will be taking on former Strikeforce heavyweight Chad Griggs (11-1), who has won his last six bouts all by knockout or submission.

FX will feature the undercard bout, and it's a good guess it was put here for a reason—because it is probably going to end by knockout.

Between their 24 victories, 18 have come by KO. Even two of Griggs' submission wins have come  from punches.

Given Browne's height and reach advantage, he should be able to keep Griggs away and pick him apart until he feels comfortable enough to go for the knockout. If Griggs pressures him, it will just make it that more exciting, but it won't help his chances with a stronger opponent.

Fight of the Night: John Makdessi vs. Anthony Njokuani

After suffering his first career loss, former USKBA gold medalist John Makdessi (9-1) will return to the Octagon to take on another standout striker in Anthony Njokuani (14-6-1) in a preliminary bout in the lightweight division.

This might be the most fan-friendly bout on the card considering how both fighters attack. Both bring a strong kicking arsenal and unique skillset when it comes to their stand-up, and it showed in their past performances.

Makdessi's spinning back-fist KO of Kyle Watson was a knockout of the year contender in 2011. Njokuani earned a FOTN bonus in his bout with Edson Barboza at UFC 128, which featured everything from spinning heel-hook kicks to spinning back kicks.

With both fighters needing an impressive performance in this bout, don't expect to see them holding anything back. As long as their chins can withstand their opponent's attack, this will be a fun one to watch.