UFC 152: Predictions You Can Take to the Bank
UFC 152 has gone through a myriad of changes, but it will finally come to us live from the Air Canada Centre on Saturday.
UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones will defend his championship against Vitor Belfort in the night's main event. Belfort, a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion himself, will try to seize the opportunity and shock the mixed martial arts world.
The co-main event of the evening will crown the first ever UFC Flyweight Champion, as Demetrious Johnson takes on Joseph Benavidez in the finals of the four-man flyweight tournament.
Also on the card, Michael Bisping and Brian Stann go toe-to-toe in an attempt to be the next man in line for Anderson Silva's UFC Middleweight Championship.
Matt Hamill returns from a short retirement to fight Roger Hollett, and Cub Swanson battles with Charles Oliverira as both men look to move up the featherweight ladder.
When the UFC returns from its brief, and unexpected, hiatus these are five predictions you can bank on.
FX Prelims Will Excite
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Recent prelims on FX have been a mixed bag.
Saturday's line-up should not be. Each fight offers something different, but all are intriguing in their own way.
Igor Pokrajac vs Vinny Magalhães sees the return of the former The Ultimate Fighter finalist. Pokrajac will try to nab his fourth consecutive victory inside the Octagon as he welcomes Magalhães back.
Five consecutive wins outside of the UFC have earned Magalhães his return trip.
Also on the card, TJ Grant vs Evan Dunham and Sean Pierson vs Lance Benoist should both be entertaining bouts on the undercard.
However, the first bout of the preliminary FX card could be the fight of the night. Jimy Hettes vs Marcus Brimage will ignite the crowd and put on a show for the fans in Toronto. Brimage seeks his fourth straight victory as Hettes attempts to keep his record unblemished.
These four fights will set the bar high for the pay-per-view portion of UFC 152.
Swanson vs. Oliveira Winner Is a Featherweight Contender
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The featherweight division is not the deepest in the UFC by any stretch of the imagination.
With Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar set to do battle for the championship in the near future, the fight to be the next contender is on.
"The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung and Erik Koch are at the top of the list of contenders; Koch, however, is currently sidelined with an injury.
An exciting performance by Swanson or Oliveira will catapult them up the rankings.
There will be a lot of moving pieces because of injuries to Aldo and Koch, but without question the winner of Saturday's bout will be a credible contender in the future.
Swanson would have his third victory in 2012, and Oliveira can improve his featherweight record to 3-0. This is not only an important fight for each man, but it is an important fight for the division.
With a question of depth plaguing the division, these two men can help dispel that notion and put themselves in the mix.
Michael Bisping Will Earn a Title Shot by Defeating Brian Stann
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Michael Bisping was very close to receiving a title shot in his last outing. He battled with Chael Sonnen for 15 minutes, but came out on the wrong end of a decision.
While his last outing was a loss, it was a close loss, and one that carries a bit of weight heading in to this fight with Brian Stann.
Title shots are not always given out on merit, and Bisping has long been awaiting his turn for the shot at gold. Should he impressively dispatch of Stann on Saturday he will leapfrog the other contenders in the division for the next shot at the middleweight crown.
Besides Stann, GSP and the potential superfight with Silva stands in the way of Bisping's title aspirations. UFC President Dana White spoke on the middleweight division and where the contenders stand:
We're going to have to see how this whole thing plays out – who wins in Condit vs. St-Pierre, what those guys want to do after that. And really, the No. 1 contender right now is Weidman. So maybe Weidman and Bisping fight. I don't know. I don't know what's going to happen yet, but Bisping is right there.
Potential middleweight contender Chris Weidman is already slated to fight against Tim Boetsch later this year.
That opens the door for the UFC veteran to jump over him and nab the title shot against Silva in 2013 should the superfight not come to fruition.
Flyweight Championship Will Go the Distance
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Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez have four losses between them, and three of those are to UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz. None of the losses happened at 125-pounds, and zero of those four losses were stoppages.
Both are capable of finishing the other, but it is unlikely.
They are studs.
These two men are at the top of their game. They were not finished by Cruz at a higher weight, and will not finish one another on Saturday.
This fight will set the tone for the flyweight division as it continues to grow under the UFC banner. The flyweight title fight should be 25 minutes of fast-paced action between the two top ranked fighters in the division.
Benavidez and Johnson will go back and forth in an all-out war.
Now we will just have to hold our collective breaths that the judging is up to snuff in Toronto.
Jon Jones Will Destroy Vitor Belfort
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Jon Jones may enter to a jeering crowd on Saturday, but they will quickly cheer the violence he bestows upon Vitor Belfort. Jones will annihilate the former champion in startling fashion at UFC 152.
It is just that big of a mismatch.
Jones can choose where the fight will take place, how he wants to finish the fight and when he wants to do it. Belfort's "puncher's chance" is approximately 0.01% in this fight.
Jones will tear through him like a wet paper bag and continue building his legacy as the greatest 205-pound fighter in MMA history.
Belfort did the noble thing and accepted the fight on short notice, but it is just too bad it will not be competitive.
Expect Jones to be on point and devastating in the night's main event. Any fans that boo him during his entrance will most likely be cheering the fantastic performance just a few minutes later.