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UFC 155 Fight Card: Power Ranking Every Fight on the Card

Nathan McCarterFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2012

UFC 155 Fight Card: Power Ranking Every Fight on the Card

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    UFC 155 centers around the heavyweight rematch between UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez, but there is plenty of action left to be had on the 12-fight card.

    There will be fights in six different divisions at UFC 155, and nearly all have some sort of implication on the top ten rankings.

    The card features a host of heavy hitters and submission finishers.

    The co-main event features a lightweight clash between Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon. Also on the card, Chris Leben makes his UFC return against debuting Derek Brunson, Tim Boetsch looks to make a case for being a middleweight contender against Costa Philippou, and Alan Belcher will try the same vs. Yushin Okami.

    This is how each fight stacks up to one another for UFC 155.

No. 12: Phil De Fries vs. Todd Duffee

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    Todd Duffee (7-2) returns to the UFC after more than two years away from the Octagon. He suffered an upset loss to Mike Russow at UFC 114 in his last outing.

    Waiting to meet Duffee will be Phil De Fries (9-1, 1 NC). De Fries moved his UFC record to 2-1 with a submission victory over Oli Thompson in August.

    As far as heavyweight tilts go, this is not a very exciting one. Nothing against either man, but it is just not an interesting fight or stylistic match-up.

    De Fries can take a good amount of punishment, and he will be on the receiving end of a lot of it again. Duffee is not the great prospect many fans thought he was during his 6-0 run to begin his career, but he should still have a sizable advantage in this fight.

No. 11: Tim Boetsch vs. Costa Philippou

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    This is a solid fight, and it being at the 11th position in the power rankings shows how deep UFC 155 truly is.

    Tim Boetsch (16-4) is 4-0 in the UFC at middleweight, and a win over Costa Philippou (11-2, 1 NC) will give him one of the best resumes of the middleweight contenders. A win for Philippou thrusts him up the 185 rankings right behind his teammate Chris Weidman.

    While this is a good fight from a matchmaking perspective, the style of each fighter may not lend itself to be the fight of the night.

    Boetsch may look to utilize his grappling much more against Philippou, and both fighters are thinkers in the cage. They are not going to throw caution to the wind early and make a crucial mistake. That will give this fight a slower pace and less action.

No. 10: Erik Perez vs. Byron Bloodworth

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    Byron Bloodworth (6-2) will try to nab his first UFC victory when he meets Erik Perez (12-4) on the FX portion of the preliminary card.

    Bloodworth made his bantamweight debut against Mike Easton and was finished in the second round. The loss snapped a three-fight win streak.

    Perez is currently on a seven-fight win streak, and a win over Bloodworth on FX would put him in the thick of things at 135 pounds. His last outing was at UFC 150, where he knocked Ken Stone out in just 17 seconds.

    Bantamweight action is normally always exciting, and this fight will be no different. Perez and Bloodworth will deliver a quality fight on FX.

No. 9: Yushin Okami vs. Alan Belcher

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    Two top middleweights collide when Yushin Okami (27-7) and Alan Belcher (18-6) meet. The winner will be a solid top-five middleweight in the world.

    This fight is a must-win for Okami if he still wants to be considered an elite middleweight. Belcher, with a win, is very close to earning himself a shot at Anderson Silva.

    Much like the other significant middleweight bout on the card, Boetsch vs. Philippou, it is the stylistic match-up of these two men that put it so far down the list. Okami is a grinder. He is efficient, but does not typically have Fight of the Night-worthy fights.

    If this fight earns a post-fight award, it will likely be because Belcher earned a Knockout or Submission of the Night bonus.

    This is still a very good and important fight in the middleweight division.

No. 8: Michael Johnson vs. Myles Jury

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    Myles Jury (10-0) was a favorite to win The Ultimate Fighter: Live but came up short in the house. At the finale, he picked up his first official UFC victory with a submission over Chris Saunders.

    Awaiting him is rising lightweight Michael Johnson (12-6). Johnson made the finale of The Ultimate Fighter season 12, but lost to Jonathan Brookins. Johnson is now on a three-fight win streak and has looked very impressive since joining the Blackzilians.

    The lightweight division is jam-packed with talent, and any loss sends you to the back of the line, and every 155-pounder knows it. Johnson and Jury will look to finish from the opening bell.

    This fight is a great choice to open the FX undercard. It will be exciting and move one fighter a step close to breaking in to the upper echelon of the division.

No. 7: Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson

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    Chris Leben (22-8) makes his return to the Octagon after a year away for testing positive for prescription painkillers oxycodone and oxymorphone at UFC 138.

    Leben will welcome Derek Brunson (9-2) to the UFC. Brunson is coming off back-to-back losses to Kendall Grove and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza. The loss to Grove was a contentious split decision.

    For all of Leben's transgressions, he has hardly ever been in a boring fight. That will not change at UFC 155. He and Brunson will put on a good showing in the opening bout of the PPV.

    Neither fighter will be climbing the ranks right away, but this is a prime opportunity to make a statement and get back on the winning track before heading into 2013.

No. 6: Chris Cariaso vs. John Moraga

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    The opening fight of the evening could be a contender for Fight of the Night.

    Chris Cariaso (14-3) will try to extend his three-fight win streak against John Moraga (11-1) in the flyweight division. All three victories have come by way of decision.

    Moraga made his UFC debut against one of the best flyweights in the world, Ulysses Gomez, and promptly knocked him out in the first round. The performance instantly put him on the mat for the new fans of the division.

    The lighter weights always deliver. You should make the effort to load up Facebook for the fight between Cariaso and Moraga. Even if the fight does not get finished, it will be 15 minutes of exciting, fast-paced action.

No. 5: Leonard Garcia vs. Max Holloway

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    Leonard Garcia (15-9-1) has lost three straight, but he remains an exciting fighter to watch. With his back pressed against the wall, you can expect Garcia to come out swinging for the fences as furiously as ever.

    Waiting for Garcia on the other side of the cage will be 21-year-old Max Holloway (6-1).

    Holloway is coming off an excellent victory over Black House's Justin Lawrence. Holloway worked over Lawrence's body to get the TKO victory in the second round.

    Brawl with the boxer or box the brawler. Which ever one can drag the other fighter in to their type of stand-up fight will win.

    Garcia and Holloway will almost certainly fight the majority of the fight on the feet. This will definitely be on the shortlist for Fight of the Night.

No. 4: Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon

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    Jim Miller (21-4) returns to the Octagon to meet Joe Lauzon (22-7) in the night's co-main event.

    Both lightweights are trying to enter the top of the division as the calendar turns to 2013. Miller headlined UFC on FOX opposite Nate Diaz but fell short, and Lauzon returned from a KO loss to submit Jamie Varner at UFC on FOX: Shogun vs. Vera.

    Both fighters have superb ground games and quality boxing. The match-up is extraordinary.

    In Lauzon's 13 fights in the UFC, he has won 13 post-fight bonus. That is quite an incredible run and proves that he is one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC. Miller carries in four bonuses of his own.

    This will be a fantastic fight that no one should miss.

No. 3: UFC Heavyweight Championship: Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez

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    If this fight happened two years ago before they moved to the top of the division and claimed championships, then it would likely not break the top five fights on this card. Stylistically it is not the most appealing of the night.

    So why is it at no. 3? Because it is between the two best heavyweights in the world going for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. We will find out who the very best fighter is. That counts for a whole lot.

    Junior dos Santos (15-1) will try to knock Cain Velasquez (10-1) out one more time and retain his championship strap.

    Against different opponents, they are equally exciting, but against one another, they do not match up for an extremely compelling fight. I could be wrong, and I hope I am.

    There is a big possibility this fight ends early by either fighter. When a heavyweight lands a clean strike, it is typically game over. They have huge power. But outside of that one shot slipping through, I see this as a stalemate. It could turn in to a five-round point fight.

No. 2: Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner

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    The fight between Melvin Guillard (30-11-2, 1 NC) and Jamie Varner (20-7-1, 2 NC) was scheduled for The Ultimate Fighter 16 finale, but Varner fell ill and was pulled from the card.

    It was a Fight of the Night contender then and it certainly retains that status for UFC 155.

    This fight will be explosive.

    They have over 70 fights between them, and 28 of those have ended in a victorious KO or TKO. That will be the likely outcome when they meet live and free on FX. Someone will taste the canvas.

    Do not expect this to hit the judge's scorecards. Don't blink.

No. 1: Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland

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    The most competitive and exciting fight on the card will be Brad Pickett (22-6) vs. Eddie Wineland (19-8-1).

    The bantamweight clash will be live and free on FX. It will be the last fight trying to convince you to order the PPV, and it will do a great job of that.

    Wineland dropped back-to-back fights against Team Alpha Male opponents, but rebounded at UFC on FX: Johnson vs. McCall with a KO over Scott Jorgensen. That fight also earned him Fight of the Night honors.

    Pickett has picked up a post-fight bonus check in each of his UFC outings. He is currently on a two-fight win streak and was last seen with a Knockout of the Night over Yves Jabouin at UFC on Fuel TV: Struve vs. Miocic in Nottingham.

    This fight is the cream of the crop at UFC 155. The winner will move in to the top five of the division and near a title shot. This is the one fight on the card you cannot miss and the UFC is giving it to you for free.

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