UFC 155: Predictions You Can Take to the Bank
Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez will meet one another for a second time for the UFC heavyweight championship. In the "co-main event", Joe Lauzon faces the tough Jim Miller in a lightweight tilt. Tim Boetsch will face Costa Philippou in what should be an absolute war.
Rounding out the rest of the card are middleweight fights between Yushin Okami and Alan Belcher, and Chris Leben welcomes Derek Brunson to the UFC.
With so many questions surrounding the main event alone, fans have been looking for answers as the day approaches. Regardless of whatever questions fans may have, they can take these predictions to the bank as they're virtually guaranteed to happen.
Max Holloway vs. Leonard Garcia Will Contend for Fight of the Night
Max Holloway and Leonard Garcia look to get things officially started for the UFC 155 pay-per-view. Although it will be the first fight of the night, don't expect anything less than a barn burner.
Everyone knows what Garcia's game is. He's going to come in, swing for a home run with each punch and look to remove you from your senses.
He'll have a tough time against Holloway, a fighter who loves to mix up his punches and kicks while on the feet. Garcia may overwhelm Holloway at first but I'd expect to see things start to even out after the first few striking exchanges.
With both guys preferring to stand and trade shots, the Holloway-Garcia bout will be an entertaining way to start UFC 155.
John Moraga Will Finish Chris Cariaso
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John Moraga made an impressive UFC debut by dropping Ulysses Gomez back in Aug. Now he'll face the very durable Chris Cariaso in a UFC 155 preliminary bout.
Cariaso recently dropped to flyweight earlier this year and won his 125-pound debut. Despite not achieving much success in the bantamweight division, Cariaso has been notoriously tough to finish and defeat some tough guys.
He may be running into a buzz saw, however, in the form of Moraga. Touted as a grappler, Moraga showcased his knockout power against Gomez, and I expect him to show it off once more against Cariaso.
Cariaso is a tough fighter and will look to make it a scrap between him and Moraga. But in the end I believe Moraga will finish the fight before the final bell.
Todd Duffee Will Knock out Phil De Fries
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Todd Duffee was supposed to be the next big thing at heavyweight back in 2010. But a come-from-behind knockout at the hands of Mike Russow derailed the Duffee hype train.
Duffee was released from the UFC following some comments on Twitter. Duffee fought Alistair Overeem after the Russow fight but looked absolutely awful. He bounced back nicely with a 34-second KO of Neil Grove and now finds himself back in the Octagon.
It won't be an easy matchup as Duffee faces Phil de Fries who is known as a submission whiz. De Fries will no doubt look to take the fight to the ground but he won't find much success against the strong, athletic Duffee.
The last time de Fries was forced to stand up he was knocked out by another heavy hitter, Stipe Miocic. I see this bout playing out much the same way as Duffee makes a triumphant return to the UFC.
Melvin Guillard Will Put Himself into Trouble Against Jamie Varner
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Melvin Guillard and Jamie Varner were originally scheduled to meet at The Ultimate Fighter Finale. Unfortunately Varner experienced an illness that required the Athletic Commission to step in and call off the bout.
Guillard has been on the warpath in the media lately saying all kinds of lovely things about Varner. The two will get a chance to settle their differences at UFC 155, and although I'm still leaning towards picking Guillard, I believe he'll find a way to put himself in trouble.
Guillard has always been an emotional fighter and has used that raw emotion to help him in the Octagon. Of course those emotions have also gotten him into trouble in some fights during his career. I'm sure the guys at the Blackzillians camp will work to keep Guillard calm, but once the cage door closes I expect Guillard to come forward, looking to take Varner's head off.
That plays exactly into what Varner wants, as the wrestler will no doubt look to take the fight to the ground. Guillard will come in aggressively and find himself put on his back. Hopefully his training in Florida has prepared him for getting back to his feet after a takedown.
Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson Will Produce the Knockout of the Night
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Chris Leben returns from a year-long absence to welcome Derek Brunson to the Octagon. Brunson is coming off two-straight losses and will likely be fighting for his Zuffa career.
The same could be said of Leben who has seen his place near the top of the 185-pound division slip while he's been out of action. Another loss would likely end any chance of Leben making a title run in the UFC.
With both men having a lot to fight for, I expect both to come out firing on all cylinders. Brunson will look to utilize his grappling game but Leben is no slouch when it comes to the jiu-jitsu game.
I don't think Brunson is ready for someone the caliber of Leben, and I see "The Crippler" adding another thunderous knockout to his resume.
Alan Belcher Will Become a Title Challenger
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Although Yushin Okami has already defeated Alan Belcher once before, I don't see a repeat performance happening.
Okami is a very strong wrestler and will look to avoid Belcher's stand-up game by taking the fight to the mat. I believe Okami is good enough to secure some takedowns, but it won't be smooth sailing while on the ground given Belcher's submission prowess.
Their first meeting occurred all the way back in 2006, and Belcher is more than twice the fighter he once was. I'm not sold on Okami continuing to be a top middleweight despite the resume he sports. This fight against Belcher will show that.
Belcher is too talented now and I see him getting some vindication for the earlier loss.
Tim Boetsch vs. Costa Philippou: There Will Be Blood
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Tim Boetsch and Costa Philippou are two of the toughest guys in the middleweight division. There's no quit in either man, and both love a good fight.
That's why you can guarantee there will be some blood in their UFC 155 encounter. With neither man likely to go out before the final bell, both Boetsch and Philippou could look like they've been through a five-round war after this is all said and done.
It will be a battle of wills to see who breaks first but I'm betting the skin on either man's forehead is what breaks first.
Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller Will Put on a Clinic
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Fans of the grappling arts will want to tune in when Joe Lauzon faces Jim Miller in the evening's co-main event. Both are talented BJJ black belts which should lead to some interesting scrambles on the ground.
Lauzon is coming off a great submission victory against Jamie Varner, and Miller is coming off a loss to Nate Diaz earlier this year. Both Miller and Lauzon are perennial gatekeepers, but a victory at UFC 155 could propel either man out of their current status.
Both are likely to take some chances in the fight, which could give the other guy a chance to slap on a quick submission for the tap. If this fight ends via submission, it should earn the winner Submission of the Night honors simply based on how talented both men are.
And for everyone watching at home, turn the volume down and prepare for Joe Rogan's voice to crack the second a takedown is scored.
Junior Dos Santos Will Have to Fight off His Back
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Junior dos Santos' greatest asset are his hands. He's without a doubt the best boxer in the division and has some serious punching power to go with his technique.
The UFC champion has also enjoyed not having to fight off his back. Despite being matched up against wrestlers and submission artists in the past, dos Santos has always remained upright.
That will change at UFC 155.
Cain Velasquez is too good to not score at least one takedown on the UFC champion. Even Frank Mir, whose wrestling has always been questionable was able to get JDS in some trouble against the fence. Given how good Velasquez's wrestling is and his explosive ability, I see dos Santos being forced to work on the ground.
Velasquez loves to push the pace which should give JDS the chance to create space and wiggle his way to his feet. Still, overcoming the onslaught brought by Velasquez is no easy task and if he comes in like he did against Antonio Silva, dos Santos could be in for a long night.