Following the UFC's strongest showing on Fox to date, UFC 150 has to really shine to keep the UFC's momentum rolling.
With a card anchored by a lightweight title fight and lightweight contenders bout, it is not a stretch to say this card will deliver in spades.
The main portion of the card is riddled with interesting matchups, and, while the lightweight title is the only belt immediately on the line, there are plenty of matchups with future title implications attached.
Let us take a look at these bouts and try to see who has the edge in each matchup. Start the slideshow for my UFC 150 main card picks.
The featherweight matchup between The Ultimate Fighter alum Justin Lawrence and rising contender Max Holloway has the makings of a Fight of the Night bout.
Both guys like to stand and bang, and that is exactly what we are going to get in this one. Lawrence has one-shot knockout power, while Holloway has an edge in technical striking.
On the ground, both guys have shown weaknesses in the past, but I like Lawrence slightly more, should the fight hit the mat. He has one professional win via submission and he trains at Black House MMA, home to the Nogueira brothers, Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva.
While I cannot confirm this, I would assume Lawrence is exposed to some pretty high-level grappling day in and day out in the gym with these guys.
Again, that's just a guess.
I think this fight is going to be great, but if Lawrence feels he is getting the worst of the exchanges, look for him to take Holloway down and grab a submission.
Thankfully for him and for fans of knockouts, it will not come to that. Lawrence will rock Holloway early and finish him in the first round.
Winner: Justin Lawrence via TKO (Round 1)
Buddy Roberts looked solid in his UFC debut against Caio Magalhaes, but Yushin Okami is the better fighter in this matchup.
If "Thunder" loses this one, it is officially time to write him off as a legitimate middleweight threat. Year in and year out, Okami is in the top 10 talk at 185 lbs, and he is going to prove why tonight.
This is exactly the type of matchup he needs to get back on track, and Mr. Decision is going to turn into Mr. Finish at UFC 150.
Buddy Roberts will be the victim.
Winner: Yushin Okami via TKO (Round 2)
Ed Herman is inspiration for gingers across the land, and for that, I thank him.
Unfortunately for my boy "Short Fuse," Jake Shields is a superior fighter, and he will out-grapple him en route to victory tonight at UFC 150.
My heart wants Herman to drop Shields standing, and I do think he has an advantage in the standup department, but my brain tells me this is Shields' fight to lose.
Shields is one of the strongest grapplers in MMA, and Herman is susceptible to strong wrestlers with great top games. Of his eight professional losses, five have come via submission, and Shields will take advantage of this hole in Herman's game.
I really, really hope I am wrong on this one, but...
Winner: Jake Shields via unanimous decision
Like Max Holloway vs. Justin Lawrence, Cerrone vs. Guillard has all the makings of a stand-and-bang battle.
That is, until Cerrone feels Guillard's power.
"The Cowboy" and "The Young Assassin" are best friends outside the Octagon, and I have to think that plays a part in the matchup.
Regardless of what they are saying before the fight, I think Cerrone comes out looking to pick Guillard apart with his kicks and punches, and he will get tagged by one of Guillard's patented overhand rights.
However, it will not put him out, and at this point Cerrone will realize what he got himself into. Sensing he may be on the wrong end of a standup battle, Cerrone will turn to his wrestling and ground game, where he will finish his friend easily.
Look for Cerrone to get beat early and come back with a submission victory. Until Guillard proves to me he can defend any sort of submission, I like Cerrone's chances in this one all day.
Winner: Cerrone via submission (Round 2)
Frankie Edgar wants to bring the belt back to New Jersey, but Ben Henderson will have other plans.
The larger, more powerful lightweight, Bendo will overwhelm Edgar in this rematch with his sheer force and determination.
Edgar has the true heart of a champion, and he excels in rematches, but he is outgunned in this matchup.
Nobody can ever fault Edgar for a lack of effort; so, this one will be competitive and close just like the first fight, but Henderson will also be more prepared. And when the guy with the physical gifts gets extra time to focus and analyze his opponent, I will take him every time.
Look for Henderson to keep his range and pick Edgar apart with kicks for the first two rounds before teeing off in the third, dropping Edgar. Once Edgar hits the mat, Henderson will pounce and secure the fight-ending rear-naked choke.
Winner: ...And STILL lightweight champion of the world, Benson Henderson via submission (Round 3)
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