Jon Jones will defend his UFC light heavyweight title against Vitor Belfort in the main event of UFC 152. The card features several other intriguing fights which gives Saturday night's pay-per-view a chance to become one of the year's best.
Here's a breakdown for three of the best matchups of UFC 152 along with a prediction for how each of them will turn out. After having to scrap the last event, it's important for UFC to bounce back with a top-notch show. For a look at the complete card, click here.
Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort
Jones really hasn't been challenged since winning the title from Maurício Rua early last year. He's defended the belt three times, and only one went the distance. Even in that fight against Rashad Evans, Jones was in control the whole time.
So it's clear Belfort faces at tough challenge to say the least. He has to find a way to neutralize Jones' combination of length and power, which has made his virtually unstoppable throughout his career. But the savvy veteran should have a couple tricks ready.
It's an important fight for Jones given his decision to decline a Chael Sonnen matchup and the negative reaction the choice received. He should be able to control the pace once again en route to another win.
Prediction: Jon Jones
Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson
The winner will leave UFC 152 as the first flyweight champion, so this fight holds a special level of importance for both guys. Benavidez knocked off Yasuhiro Urushitani in the tournament semifinals while Johnson beat Ian McCall in a rematch after a draw.
Benavidez has been in tremendous form ever since joining UFC. He's won all three of his fights, showing off plenty of versatility, which should allow him to adapt to Johnson's wrestling style. It's a nice advantage to have.
It will be interesting to see how Johnson responds to the situation. He has a boatload of potential, but has been inconsistent at times during the early portion of his career. If he doesn't allow the pressure to impact him, it will be a close battle.
Prediction: Joseph Benavidez
Michael Bisping vs. Brian Stann
Bisping missed out on a chance to fight for the middleweight title by losing to Sonnen in his last fight. So now he has to defeat a tricky opponent in Stann in order to remain in the conversation for a chance to face Anderson Silva down the line.
Even though Bisping has more name recognition, Stann is a dangerous fighter. He produced one of the best performances of his career against Alessio Sakara the last time out and will look to build off that momentum on Saturday night.
This should be another fight that's pretty close throughout. Bisping's experience should give him a minor edge, but Stann is hungry for his first marquee victory. Don't be surprised if these guys steal the show.
Prediction: Michael Bisping
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