UFC on Fox is closer than you think, and I am prepared to get you ready for the event.
Headlined by a pair of former light heavyweight champions, the card promises fireworks. In the main spot, Mauricio Rua meets Brandon Vera, while the co-main event slot will feature Lyoto Machida and Ryan Bader.
The event will be widely viewed due to its appearance on Fox. Here are the early predictions.
The opener on the main card is an intriguing lightweight bout between the revamped Jamie Varner and fan favorite Joe Lauzon.
Varner returned to the UFC on short notice in his latest bout, which saw him knock out hot prospect Edson Barboza. That knockout has immediately made Varner a player in the division, which could be why he is getting this top-notch bout on short notice once again.
Meanwhile, Lauzon is coming off the most devastating loss of his career. In Japan, Lauzon was leveled by a huge head kick by Anthony Pettis, which set Lauzon back a bit.
The striking advantage would go to Varner in this bout. He has more knockout power, as well as a more versatile striking arsenal. Lauzon has solid boxing, but is just edged out in this department.
The grappling is almost even, but Lauzon's aggressive attack earns the nod here. He is more submission oriented, while Varner is the better wrestler.
When it's all said and done, I think Lauzon is the all-around more complete fighter.
Prediction: Lauzon def. Varner via submission
Heavyweights collide as Travis Browne meets up with suddenly resurgent Ben Rothwell.
With a 4-0-1 record, Browne is yet to lose in the UFC so far. His latest outing was a quick submission of Chad Griggs. Therefore, he should be healthy seeing as he didn't take any damage.
Rothwell likely saved his job in his last fight, knocking out Brendan Schaub at UFC 145. Rothwell is a tough veteran that can get the job done.
The striking advantage has to go to Browne. He has wicked power and the ability to break through most chins.
As for the grappling, it's likely a slight edge for Rothwell. He owns 11 submission wins and has faced top fighters in the process.
The fight will come down to cardio. That will be important.
Prediction: Browne def. Rothwell via decision
In the co-main event, former champion Lyoto Machida meets rising contender Ryan Bader for a chance to move closer to the title.
Machida is coming off a loss to Jon Jones in his latest outing. He showed some promise in the fight, but was ultimately choked out by the champion.
Bader is coming off the biggest win of his career against Quinton Jackson. Bader utilized his wrestling en route to a decision win.
The obvious striking advantage goes to Machida and his karate style. He is a puzzle for most guys to figure out, and I don't see Bader's decent boxing outdoing Machida.
The grappling edge is an interesting one. Bader is a much better wrestler, but Machida is a solid jiu-jitsu guy with sumo experience. I think Bader's wrestling stifles his grappling, which gives him the edge.
When it comes down to it, Bader's takedown attack needs to get inside the elusiveness of Machida. I doubt that will happen.
Prediction: Machida def. Bader via knockout
In the main event, Pride star and former champion Mauricio Rua meets long-time UFC vet Brandon Vera.
Rua is coming off his epic loss against Dan Henderson. Both men threw down for five rounds, and unfortunately Rua was on the wrong end of the decision.
Vera saved his job in his last fight against Eliot Marshall. It was a close fight, but ultimately the former top prospect prevailed.
The obvious striking advantage goes to Rua, who is a Muay Thai machine. He has the ability to pick apart opponents and knock them out with ease, even though Vera is strong on his feet as well.
The grappling is not easy to call. Both men are not wrestlers, but have solid grappling ability. The slight edge will go to Rua, who is a long-time black belt to Vera's brown belt.
Prediction: Rua def. Vera via knockout