UFC 159: Predicting the Fight of the NIght Bonuses
UFC 159 goes down this Saturday from Newark, New Jersey. The main event features these two guys, Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen, who just finished coaching against each other on this reality show, The Ultimate Fighter. This matchup has received some significant coverage in the MSMMAM.
But we like to go below the Mainstream headlines. We go beyond the main event. We're going rogue in the MMA media.
Here are my predictions for the UFC 159 post-fight bonuses. Talking points beware.
Knockout of the Night: Roy Nelson
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
This battle will determine who's really keeping the gate at the top of the heavyweight division. My metaphorical money's on Mr. Nelson.
Nelson's grappling has always been sound, but a recent focus on striking improvement means he's much more dangerous in the vertical phase. It's possible that Nelson has the most powerful right hand in the business right now.
That's not great news for Cheick Kongo. After all, it was Mark Hunt's big right hand that stopped him at UFC 144, and it was a right hook that put him on roller skates before Kongo's Komeback for the Ages against Pat Barry in 2011.
Those guys hit unnaturally hard, of course. But so does Nelson. And he'll undoubtedly be looking to drop that bunker buster on Kongo's chin right from the opening horn.
Submission of the Night: Rustam Khabilov
Josh Holmberg-USA TODAY Sports
Part of me wanted to go with Jon Jones here. But where's the fun in that?
In his UFC debut, lightweight Rustam Khabilov threw Vinc Pichel around the cage like a sack of cattle feed, hitting three belly-to-back suplexes worthy of Scott Steiner en route to a TKO victory.
Behind the novelty, though, is a Greg Jackson student and a world combat sambo champion with a third of his 15 MMA wins by tapout. His opponent, Yancy Medeiros, is a converted light heavyweight who hasn't fought in nearly three years. Medeiros trains with Cesar Gracie, but his background is karate. I believe Khabilov will overmatch him on the ground and lock him in an arm or leglock.
Fight of the Night: Phil Davis and Vinny Magalhaes
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
This one's intriguing no matter where it unfolds. If it goes to the ground, you've got a national wrestling champion in Davis against a world-class jiu-jitsu finisher in Magalhaes. If it happens on the feet, you've got two guys who are wary of testing the other man on the ground, and are instead choosing to test their developing MMA striking games, which will result in, pardon my technical parlance, a lot of whomping.
Add in the fact that this is a real, actual grudge match—unlike the pitiful false starts toward such in the two co-main events—and it seems like someone's getting hurt.
It's possible Davis could smother Magalhaes in the clinch, but if he meant what he said a couple months ago, he won't go that route, and we'll have the fight of the night, right here.
Follow Scott Harris on Twitter.