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UFC on Fox 7 Main Card Staff Predictions

Sean SmithAnalyst IApril 18, 2013

UFC on Fox 7 Main Card Staff Predictions

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    Gilbert Melendez had been considered one of the best lightweights competing outside of the Octagon over the past few years. At UFC on Fox 7, the former Strikeforce champion will have a chance to prove that recognition was warranted.

    In his UFC debut, Melendez will challenge Benson Henderson for the UFC lightweight throne. 

    With title defenses against Frankie Edgar and Nate Diaz already under his belt, Henderson will be looking to tie the UFC record for consecutive lightweight title defenses with a win over Melendez on Saturday.

    The 155-pound championship bout is hardly the only fight of importance on the UFC on Fox 7 fight card, though, and the Bleacher Report MMA staff is here to provide our predictions for the entire main card.

    So, let's get to the picks from Riley Kontek, Scott Harris, James McDonald and Sean Smith.

Matt Brown vs. Jordan Mein

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    Riley Kontek:

    Matt Brown is on a career resurgence right now, but Jordan Mein is the real deal and young. Brown is scrappy and has well-rounded skills, but Mein is better in every aspect of the fight game at this point. Mein will impress again.

    Mein, TKO, Rd. 1


    Scott Harris:

    I told myself after the Mike Swick fight that I would never overlook Matt Brown and his crazy, free-swinging, brawling style again. Mein is great, but Matt Brown is one tough out. Time to give the young man a proper welcome to the UFC.

    Brown, TKO, Rd. 2


    James McDonald:

    Based on the manner in which he dispatched Dan Miller, it seems clear that Jordan Mein has a ton of potential. Indeed, he probably has more championship potential than Matt Brown. Still, I have learned that it is a mistake to overlook the sheer doggedness of the TUF veteran. Thus, I expect Brown to defy conventional wisdom and continue his ascent up the rankings on Saturday night.

    Brown, TKO, Rd. 3


    Sean Smith:

    I'll admit it's tough to see the scrappy Brown being finished, but it was equally difficult to predict Mein would run through the previously unstoppable (in terms of being knocked out or submitted) Dan Miller. Let's also not forget that Brown isn't really all that far removed from being forced to tap four times in a five-fight stretch.

    Mein, Submission, Rd. 2 

Nate Diaz vs. Josh Thomson

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    Riley Kontek:

    Josh Thomson may be the most underrated guy in the lightweight division today. Thomson took Nate Diaz's teammate Gilbert Melendez to the wire in a fight that could have gone either way not long ago. I think an upset may be brewing here, so I will be the one who calls it.

    Thomson, Unanimous decision


    Scott Harris:

    So many people are playing the don't-sleep-on-Josh-Thomson card that I believe some people now may be sleeping on Nate Diaz. Thomson has a well-rounded game highlighted by great takedowns and a physical submission grappling game. But I think Diaz is still one of the best three or four lightweights in the world and won't fear Thomson in any phase.

    Diaz, Unanimous decision


    James McDonald:

    While I’m a big fan of Nate Diaz, his penchant for getting rag-dolled by stronger opponents leads me to believe that the outcome of this fight is largely in Josh Thomson’s hands. If Thomson chooses to stand and make this an exciting affair, he may end up being thoroughly out-boxed. If he instead utilises his wrestling, he is savvy enough to avoid Diaz's submissions and grind out a decision.

    Thomson, Unanimous decision


    Sean Smith:

    Yeah, stylistically, Thomson might be a tough matchup for Diaz. So was Jim Miller, though, and Diaz became the first fighter to stop the New Jersey native. Diaz might not be the first to submit Thomson, but I do believe he’ll make the most out of training with a three-time Thomson opponent in Gilbert Melendez.

    Diaz, Unanimous decision

Frank Mir vs. Daniel Cormier

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    Riley Kontek:

    Frank Mir is one of the most dangerous submission artists in the world, but the smothering top game and amazing wrestling may cancel that out. When the fight goes down on the feet, Cormier will show his refined striking skills from the American Kickboxing Academy.

    Cormier, TKO, Rd. 2

     

    Scott Harris:

    From the very nice comfort of my couch, it looked like Junior dos Santos mentally broke Frank Mir in Mir's last fight. He'll need to prove 'em wrong and/or that he's rebuilt himself before I bet on him again, especially against a beast like Cormier.

    Cormier, TKO, Rd. 2

     

    James McDonald:

    I expect this bout to be mostly contested on the feet, since Cormier likely won’t want to spend any time in Frank Mir’s guard. Despite having an underrated striking game, Mir doesn’t possess the tools to deal with Cormier’s superior boxing, even with a significant height and reach advantage.

    Cormier, TKO, Rd. 2

     

    Sean Smith:

    Having the best submissions in the heavyweight division doesn’t do a fighter much good when they’re facing an Olympic wrestler who is smart enough to know not to go to the ground. I don’t think Mir will be blown away in the striking department, as our predictions might suggest, but Cormier has quicker hands and more power in my mind.

    Cormier, TKO, Rd. 2

Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez

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    Riley Kontek:

    Gilbert Melendez is controversial in the sense that, in Strikeforce, he always appeared among the top lightweights in the world despite taking on lesser competition than men under him. Benson Henderson has looked unbelievable since his move to the UFC and has been workmanlike in his performances. Henderson will prove to be the top dog again.

    Henderson, Unanimous Decision

     

    Scott Harris:

    I like Melendez very much. I think he'll beat some top guys in the UFC. Bendo is not one of those guys. Henderson will do what he does: use that power-clinch game and those leg kicks to dictate the distance. Bendo all day.

    Henderson, Unanimous Decision

     

    James McDonald:

    I have long felt that Melendez is somewhat overrated. His most recent performances have gone some way to confirming those suspicions. As I see it, Henderson has the former Strikeforce champion beat in every single area. Unless Melendez can somehow grind out a decision with his wrestling, I can’t see a path to victory for the UFC newcomer.

    Henderson, Unanimous Decision

     

    Sean Smith:

    Melendez had his time to shine as Strikeforce champion, but he’s about to find out why so very few have considered him the best lightweight in the world despite his long title reign. The UFC’s 155-pound division is a whole different animal, and Melendez will be jumping right into the deep end without the chance to dip his toes in the water. Henderson uses superior wrestling and kicks from the outside to tie the UFC lightweight record with three straight title defenses.

    Henderson, Unanimous Decision

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