UFC 160 Info and Predictions for Velasquez vs. Bigfoot Silva 2

Scott Harris@ScottHarrisMMAMMA Lead WriterMay 21, 2013

UFC 160 Info and Predictions for Velasquez vs. Bigfoot Silva 2

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    Knockouts! Knockouts! Knockouts! Do you like knockouts? I like knockouts. Knockouts, knockouts? Knockouts knockouts.

    If you happen to be a member of that every-fight-fan-in-the-world contingent, you probably enjoy an occasional belt of the leather. Ergo, you'll probably want to fire up the DVR or GIF machine for UFC 160, which goes down this Saturday from Las Vegas and appears primed and ready to deliver some heavy artillery. 

    Contained in this slideshow are information capsules on each fight, including predictions and viewing coordinates. As implied above, there may be one or two knockouts this weekend. Keep your head on a swivel.

Jeremy Stephens vs. Estevan Payan

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    Division: Featherweight
    See it on: Facebook

    Jeremy Stephens needs a W. It doesn't matter how exciting or hard-hitting you are: if you've lost three in a row, as Stephens has, you would benefit from a victory.

    In the evening's very first bout, he should be able to grab one against Estevan Payan, a newcomer to both the UFC and the featherweight division, who has two of three losses by knockout. Payan's nickname, "El Terrible," means "The Terrible" in Spanish. No matter what happens Saturday night, no one can take that away from The Terrible.

    Prediction: Stephens by KO, Round 1

Brian Bowles vs. George Roop

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    Division: Bantamweight
    See it on: Facebook

    George Roop is so thin at bantamweight that he looks like a, uh, like a stick, or some such. Just picture your favorite thin thing and name it George Roop in your mind.

    Roop is rangy, though somehow that doesn't translate to a rangy striking game. Whatever, though. It worked for him in his first UFC bout at 135, when he defeated Reuben Duran back in March.

    But he's an underdog in the hearts of fans this weekend, given that hard-charging Brian Bowles is returning to action after a strange absence of almost two years. Ring rust, shming shmust. Bowles is a pro's pro and he'll get after it in Vegas.

    Prediction: Bowles by TKO, Round 2

Stephen Thompson vs. Nah-Shon Burrell

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    Division: Welterweight
    See it on: Facebook

    I'm looking forward to this one. Nah-Shon Burrell has six of his nine pro wins by knockout, while Stephen "He really, really wants to be the Tim Tebow of MMA" Thompson has something like seven thousand kickboxing wins and, to date, only one blemish on his MMA record.

    Thing is, that loss came in his last fight, against Matt Brown. But his first UFC fight was a highlight-reel head kick knockout. What will we get Saturday? I say an entertaining scrap with the more well-rounded striker in Thompson coming out on top.

    Prediction: Thompson by Unanimous Decision

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Abel Trujillo

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    Division: Lightweight
    See it on: FX

    Khabib Nurmagomedov is a mildly impressive fighter. With a total record of 19-0, a 3-0 mark thus far in the UFC and seven wins apiece by knockout and tapout, the 24-year-old Russian has a resume so clean you can eat off of it. I wouldn't recommend actually doing it, though. Russian food isn't good. 

    Abel Trujillo is no slouch, however, and the large Blackzilian lightweight flashed plenty of his own power when he pounded Marcus LeVesseur's midsection into packing peanuts at UFC on Fox 5. He'll offer good resistance for Khabib, which I think ultimately will mean a star-making turn for Khabib, at least in a UFC-undercard sort of way.

    Prediction: Nurmagomedov by Submission, Round 2

Colton Smith vs. Robert Whittaker

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    Division: Welterweight
    See it on: FX

    The UFC commits a little cross-promotion with this battle between two recent champions from various incarnations of The Ultimate Fighter. Catch their collision Saturday on the FX Network—your home for The Ultimate Fighter and outrageous UFC action, action, action!

    I like that monster truck say-things-three-times thing. It's fun. Unfortunately, though, this fight may not be so fun. Colton Smith is essentially a dirty wrestler who wears boxer briefs in public without any pants over them. Robert Whittaker could save this, however. The TUF: Smashes welterweight champ is a nasty knockout artist but may also have enough ground acumen to avoid Smith's protracted hold-onto-you attack. Here's hoping, if for no other reason than the sake of my own attention span.

    Prediction: Whittaker by KO, Round 1

Dennis Bermudez vs. Max Holloway

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    Division: Featherweight
    See it on: FX

    Barely three weeks after his 21st birthday, Max Holloway notched his fourth UFC victory by decisioning Leonard Garcia Dec. 29 at UFC 155. 

    Barely three weeks after my 21st birthday, I built a beeramid. It's like a pyramid, but you use beer cans that have been emptied because you drank them. I actually lived in mine, for a couple weeks, I think.

    But I didn't come here to talk about the past. I want to talk about Holloway's maturity and, more importantly to this conversation, his razor-sharp kickboxing.

    This fight with the rugged Dennis Bermudez, though, will be his toughest to date. He will test Holloway's takedown defense, and as likable and dynamic as Holloway is and as knockout-hungry as this card seems to be, I think the very thick and strong Bermudez will keep Holloway's back, arms and legs pinned safely to the canvas.

    Prediction: Bermudez by Unanimous Decision

Mike Pyle vs. Rick Story

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    Division: Welterweight
    See it on: FX

    Mike Pyle has won three straight and is spoiling for a pay-per-view slot. The UFC apparently doesn't want to give it to him. My prediction? The rangy and well-rounded Pyle takes out his frustrations on Rick Story, a hot-and-cold wrestler who, in my estimation, needs to do more than knock out Quinn Mulhern to regain his high-profile status.

    So in a nutshell: Story gets marked up, Pyle keeps marching sideways. He's like a fiddler crab.

    Prediction: Pyle by Unanimous Decision

Donald Cerrone vs. K.J. Noons

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    Division: Lightweight
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    Donald Cerrone recently gave an interview in which he talked candidly about his inability to get over the hump under pressure, then detailed a recent fall he suffered while attempting to scale a large rock. I'm telling you, man: The symbolism was like soup.

    Cerrone, thankfully, recovered completely from each incident, but even the best of us have a finite shelf life. Does he have another run left in him, and if he does, can he see it through to the end? Time will tell. In the meantime, K.J. Noons is a dangerous and exciting fighter who can give Cerrone a run on the feet, but he doesn't appear to have the complete game (or the uber-elite pedigree) to scare the Cowboy.

    Prediction: Cerrone by Submission, Round 2

Gray Maynard vs. T.J. Grant

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    Division: Lightweight
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    This could be the most promising fight on the card for those who enjoy the M in MMA.

    T.J. Grant is on the best streak of his career. Whether he's duking it out with Evan Dunham or Matt Wiman or throwing a slick submission on Shane Roller, Grant is dangerous in all phases. Ditto Gray Maynard, a grappler by trade who is not averse to banging.

    Maynard has been out of action a lot lately; this is only the 34-year-old's fourth fight in the past three years, thanks to injuries. Just a gut feeling, but Maynard's absence doesn't feel like the rejuvenating kind of absence. In other words, get the oil can ready, and sound the upset alarms.

    Prediction: Grant by Unanimous Decision

Glover Teixeira vs. James Te-Huna

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    Division: Light heavyweight
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    Nothing artful or mysterious about this matchup. The boom will undoubtedly be coming.

    Not to say these two knockout artists aren't capable of more. Glover Teixeira can work from the clinch or create ground-and-pound, as can James Te-Huna. But their bread and butter is meat and potatoes—throwing hands around and looking for the light switch. 

    This one might come down to who has the deeper gas tank, or is willing and able to bring a little extra sugar to the party. If you simply stand and bang, or are otherwise predictable, you'll probably get knocked out.

    As for me, I shamelessly quaffed the Teixeira Kool-Aid long ago. And I see no reason to regurgitate it now. Teixeira has more tools, and he'll need them and use them Saturday. I still predict a slugfest, but I also predict this will open up at some point, and my nod goes to the jiu-jitsu black belt (especially given that four of Te-Huna's five losses came by submission).

    Prediction: Teixeira by Submission, Round 2

Junior Dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt

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    Division: Heavyweight
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    Batten down the hatches.

    There's a part of me that badly wants to release the upset hounds. After all, as we all know, when you're talking about Mark Hunt, you're only talking about one punch. Only a handful of active fighters can truly make that claim, and he's one of them. 

    And yet, the hounds remain kenneled. It's on account of the fact that Junior dos Santos is far more athletically polished than the New Zealander across the cage. JDS will use footwork and quickness to stay out of the danger zone and deliver his own bad news from long range.

    Hunt, as he always does, will make the fight exciting. Dos Santos, as he always does, will make the fight great.

    Prediction: Dos Santos by TKO, Round 2

Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva

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    Division: Heavyweight
    See it on: Pay-per-view

    There might be some concern that Cain Velasquez might be looking past an opponent he might have fully pulpified in their first engagement. But I believe that concern to be unfounded. Velasquez doesn't appear to have the capacity to look past people. It's not what machines do.

    And right now, as you can see, the machine that is Cain Velasquez is set to Gettin' Mode. See that Gettin' Face, Bigfoot? It's telling you "Dooooooom."

    I'm sorry, Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva. I loved the Alistair Overeem knockout. I am a fan of yours. But if you know what's good for you, flee. Flee to the hills. You've seen what it's like to stand in front of Cain when he's got his Gettin' Face on.

    Prediction: Velasquez by TKO, Round 2