The long awaited heavyweight title fight is finally here.
This is the UFC 155 preview and predictions breakdown of the main card. I’ll never forget being so excited for this card two months ago. Even though my hatred for Chael Sonnen is massive, I was looking forward to seeing him fight Forrest Griffin. Then the card also had Chris Weidman fighting, who is probably my favorite up-and-comer today. Instead, thanks to injuries once again, the card has been dismantled.
The co-main event has somehow turned into Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon, which should be an exciting fight, but that is nowhere near a co-main event caliber fight. It’s a shame that injuries have derailed so many cards this year, but at least a new year is coming up soon, right?
Regardless of the card in general, everyone knows that the main card has so much buzz around it and has must-watch worth to it. Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velsaquez should be a war with a clash of different styles. That instantly makes the PPV a must watch for me.
Let’s just hope that the other main-card fights have some explosive finishes.
Middleweight: Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson
I’ve tried really hard to find any kind of Derek Brunson’s highlight reel and there really isn’t anything. This is his debut in the UFC; why he’s on the main card is beyond me. I know it got flexed to the main card but still, why this? He lost within a minute in his last fight but he’s put against Chris Leben on a main card?
Leben fighting on the main card is also questionable coming off a suspension from being on oxycontin. My interest in the fight is low, but it will be interesting to see how Leben bounces back from a rough year.
I’m not sure what reaction he’ll get but I’m expecting him to come back with a bang.
Brunson is a nice prospect that has good wrestling ability but I’m not sure if this is the right matchup for him to test out how good his chin is. Leben has knockout power, which makes this is a difficult opening fight for him against a striker like Leben.
Winner: Chris Leben by second-round KO
Middleweight: Alan Belcher vs Yushin Okami
This is one of the better fights on the card with Belcher gaining a lot of momentum in the past few years. The sad story of his fractured spine had Belcher work extremely hard to get back into fighting shape. He is considered to be two wins away to a possible title shot.
Okami is becoming more of a gatekeeper these days and seems to be on the decline. His chin continues to be a problem and hasn’t looked overly impressive in the past few fights. This is a tough matchup for Okami against someone that is on a massive momentum streak.
It seems that Belcher has him beat in almost every aspect but you could never count out Okami with his explosive strikes. If he connects with a few punches, then you may see Belcher take him in the ground and work from there, similar to his last fight against Rousimar Palhares.
I’m going with Belcher because he’s far more versatile and I could see him using the judo throw to take Okami off his game. I’m expecting a quick finish on the ground with Belcher on such a hot streak and Okami slowly on his way out.
Winner: Alan Belcher by first-round submission via guillotine
Middleweight: Tim Boetsch vs. Costa Philippou
This should be a decent fight. However, Weidman is one of the few possible title contenders at middleweight, so his injury hurt the card. I’m intrigued to see how Philippou does after he was supposed to fight Nick Ring at UFC 154, but that was cancelled last minute.
Philippou isn’t a title contender but he’s slowly rising up the ranks.
His boxing ability should give Boetsch some problems and you would think Philippou learned from Hector Lombard’s lack of aggressiveness from July. If he can stay consistently aggressive and alert of the takedowns, his chances are good.
Boestch is known to limit and frustrate strikers with his wrestling ability then set up for the ground and pound. Boestch hasn’t won over many fans, but he’s soundly consistent with his performances and is slowly climbing up the middleweight ranks.
Even though Philippou shows a lot of promise, he hasn’t dealt with a wrestler as good as Boetsch.
You may also see more stand up than usual, but eventually you’ll see a lot of fighting by the cage, which may make this possibly the worst fight of the night. It won’t be unanimous , but Boetsch will win ugly again.
Winner: Tim Boetsch by split decision
Lightweight: Jim Miller vs Joe Lauzon
The co-main event does have fight of the night worth to it, despite the lack of star power. Lauzon is starting to gain major publicity for his exciting performances with his variety of submissions. Miller is usually around the top-five fighters of the division and is always around title contention.
I’m expecting this fight to be very fast paced with not much stalling. These two fighters are very aggressive especially Lauzon, which will keep Miller on his heels. Sometimes Miller isn’t on the top of his game and doesn’t strike enough but after losing so easily to Nate Diaz, you’ll see a fired up Miller
It’ll be fun to see how many submissions are attempted in this fight because both fighters base their fighting style through submissions, even though Miller is more wrestling based. Lauzon’s constant pressure is going go give Miller all he can handle.
Despite all of the submission accolades of Lauzon, I’m expecting him to be grounded.
Miller has more upper body strength and you’ll see him keep the fight around the cage or the ground. It will be a few close calls with Lauzon attempting an arm bar or rear naked choke, but Miller will control the majority of the fight and prevail.
Winner: Jim Miller by unanimous decision
Heavyweight Title Fight: Cain Velasquez vs Junior Dos Santos
The clash of the titans is finally here after a year-long wait. Just like everyone, I’m really looking forward to see how Velasquez starts out the fight. I’m expecting him to be very cautious because of the threat of Dos Santos and getting caught early like last time before going for an early takedown.
Let’s not forget that Frank Mir came very close to taking down Dos Santos even though it’s clear that Velasquez is better right now than an aging Mir. The best secret about Dos Santos is that his takedown defense is excellent and he can grapple.
His cage control is excellent and that was evident in his fight against Shane Carwin from a year ago. Dos Santos is the complete package and it bothers me that people consider him just a “boxer”. It’s not going to be easy for Velasquez to just take him down and the ground & pound him like he did to Brock Lesnar.
I’m expecting this fight to be longer than the last one obviously with the first round being a major feeling out process. Eventually it will get aggressive but once again I’m not confident in Velasquez’s chin. He may have a moment or two against Dos Santos, but Dos Santos is on top of his game and eventually will finish him off with punches.
Winner: Junior Dos Santos by third round KO
I’m expecting a decent card before the main event with the co-main event being pretty explosive. I’m also looking forward to seeing how Alan Belcher continues to rise up the card and seeing his remarkable comeback. Similar to UFC 151 (wait, does that exist?) this is mainly a one-fight card but it does bring out some interesting variables.
I’ll have the usual 10 things we learned about UFC 155 recap on Monday. Other than that, there isn’t really any major news lately. I’ll be working on a 2012 UFC awards of the year in early January. It may be tough with the disappointing year but there were still some jaw-dropping moments this year. Until then, I’ll be back Monday. Thanks for reading.
Allen Strk is a columnist on Bleacher Report. You can read more of my work at TJRSports.com covering the NFL, NBA, and MMA. You can follow me at @Allen_Strk on Twitter or e-mail questions/comments at AStrk19@gmail.com.