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UFC 160: Bleacher Report Main Card Staff Predictions

James MacDonaldFeatured ColumnistMay 23, 2013

UFC 160: Bleacher Report Main Card Staff Predictions

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    With UFC 160 fast approaching, it is once again time for us to engage in the thankless task of forecasting what will happen when trained killers engage in unarmed combat. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

    Saturday night's card, coming to us from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, is stacked from top to bottom: Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva for the UFC heavyweight title is just one of the corkers on the agenda.

    With that in mind, the team got together to predict what the future holds for the UFC 160 competitors.

    Our seers include the Nostradamus-like Scott Harris, the telepathic McKinley Noble, the clairvoyant Sean Smith, the prophet-esque Riley Kontek, and me, the Sylvia Browne of MMA, James MacDonald.

Donald Cerrone vs. K.J. Noons

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    Scott Harris:

    The Cowboy has problems in pivotal sort of fights. This, from a title perspective, is not one. Cerrone will drag Noons down by hook or by crook and finish this around the halfway mark.

    Cerrone, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    Riley Kontek:

    A cowboy taking on a king—how fitting. In an early Fight of the Night contender, Cerrone will take on Noons in what can only be seen as a fireworks-type fight. The striking battle should be great, but when Cerrone realizes a submission would be a smart way of winning, he will out-grapple the former Elite XC champ.

    Cerrone, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    Sean Smith:

    Cerrone's underrated grappling gives him a huge advantage over former pro boxer Noons. However, the Cowboy is always looking for that bonus money and will probably look to stand. Still, I think a takedown here and there should seal a win for Cerrone on the scorecards.

    Cerrone, Unanimous decision

     

    McKinley Noble:

    This is a gauging fight for Cerrone, who always seems to be a step or two down from a title shot. Noons might be faster, but he doesn't have the striking power to stifle Cowboy over three rounds. Look for Greg Jackson to coach Cerrone to a flawless performance that could notch a Fight of the Night bonus if Noons is looking to bang. 

    Cerrone, Unanimous Decision

     

    James MacDonald: 

    I fear for Noons in this fight. While he is always game, Cerrone has far too many tools for the former pro boxer to contend with. Even in the striking department, where Noons excels, Cerrone has a much greater arsenal of strikes at his disposal.

    Cerrone, Unanimous Decision

Gray Maynard vs. TJ Grant

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    Scott Harris:

    Something about the Gray Maynard brand seems to inspire overconfidence in its fans. I'm not saying he's not a very talented fighter, but he's 34 years old, and this will only be his third fight in the past three years. Grant can absolutely stand with Maynard and has the submission tools to counter his opponent's wrestling. Sound the upset alarms.

    Grant, Unanimous Decision

     

    Riley Kontek:

    This is another case of a red-hot fighter meeting one of the best in the business. So will momentum prevail or will a top lightweight earn another title shot at 155? I'll go with the power-punching takedown-machine that is Maynard, the biggest threat to Benson Henderson's gold.

    Maynard, Unanimous Decision

     

    Sean Smith:

    Grant has a history of having difficulty against wrestlers. Maynard is one of the best of them in the lightweight division. The Bully earns another title shot by grinding out a decision.

    Maynard, Unanimous decision

     

    McKinley Noble:

    Grant has looked dynamite since moving to lightweight, and I like his momentum going into this fight. Maynard is coming off an 11-month hiatus due to a knee injury and surgery, so he'll never be more vulnerable. It'll be tough, but Grant can win at least two close rounds and come out ahead on points.

    Grant, Unanimous Decision

     

    James MacDonald: 

    Grant has looked tremendous recently and hasn’t really received the recognition his efforts deserve, save for his placement in this bout itself. Maynard, in contrast, has been relatively inactive. His last fight, in which he chased Clay Guida around like a well-muscled Benny Hill, was uninspiring to say the least. Still, he’s always dangerous. I’m giving Grant the edge in this one, though.

    Grant, Unanimous Decision

Glover Teixeira vs. James Te Huna

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    Scott Harris:

    Whoever wins this fight will continue a fast climb toward the top of the pile of contenders at light heavyweight. Te Huna has heart and power for miles, but with 80 percent of his pro losses coming by submission, the formula for victory seems clear for jiu-jitsu black belt Glover Teixeira. 

    Teixeira, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    Riley Kontek:

    Teixeira has been nothing short of brilliant since entering the UFC. He has yet to really even show his high-level BJJ since he has been punching people's faces off. Te Huna has looked great lately, but he's running into a buzzsaw with momentum.

    Teixeira, Submission, Rd. 1

     

    Sean Smith:

    This could be a slugfest. If Teixeira is smart, though, the fight will end quickly. All the Brazilian needs to do is follow the blueprint Alexander Gustafsson laid out for beating Te Huna.

    Teixeira, Submission, Rd. 1

     

    McKinley Noble:

    Teixeira's chin and striking technique has been tested enough that I'm pretty comfortable picking him here against a slugger like Te Huna. Even if he gets himself in trouble on the feet, Teixeira's wrestling and grappling can bail him out in a pinch. 

    Teixeira, Unanimous Decision

     

    James MacDonald: 

    This is another absolute gem of a fight between two big hitters. Te Huna has great striking skills, but I don’t see how he can deal with the more well-rounded Teixeira. Expect the Brazilian to mix up his strikes with some takedowns and eventually secure a fight-ending submission.

    Teixeira, Submission, Rd. 2

Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt

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    Scott Harris:

    Everyone loves Hunt. He's like "The Thing" come to life, but unfortunately for him, it won't be clobberin' time this Saturday. Junior dos Santos will keep himself just outside the danger zone and deliver long-range bombs from the perimeter. He might even shoot in for a takedown. Hunt is uber-tough, but as soon as JDS smells blood, he will swarm. 

    Dos Santos, TKO, Rd. 2

     

    Riley Kontek:

    Power-striking and chin meets power-striking and chin. Both Hunt and dos Santos can take a shot and dish it out twice as bad. That said, JDS is quicker, more athletic, more technical and more well-rounded. The only way he finishes Hunt is if he gets him on the ground and taps him, which I doubt will happen.

    Dos Santos, Unanimous Decision

     

    Sean Smith:

    Dos Santos could stand with Hunt and win. He really could. It'd just be so much easier on him and his brain if he takes this fight to the ground and exploits Hunt's poor submission defense.

    Dos Santos, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    McKinley Noble:

    Hunt's UFC run has been unreal, but the Super Samoan simply doesn't have the cardio or footwork to keep up with dos Santos. To make matters worse, JDS is light years beyond most of the heavyweight division when it comes to technical boxing. Cigano will likely win here, but a victory for Hunt would be amazing.

    Dos Santos, KO, Round 2

     

    James MacDonald: 

    This should be a great fight, but I think many are overstating Hunt’s chances. Dos Santos isn’t stupid. If he isn’t lighting up the former K-1 champ on the feet, don’t be surprised if he takes the fight to the ground. That being said, I anticipate dos Santos’ superior speed and athleticism being too much for Hunt to cope with.

    Dos Santos, Unanimous Decision

Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva

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    Scott Harris:

    Silva has one chance: Run. And fast. Velasquez will never stop. He will never stop hunting you down. 

    Velasquez, TKO, Rd. 2

     

    Riley Kontek:

    Did you see the first fight these guys had not long ago? Rinse, wash, repeat. No further analysis necessary.

    Velasquez, TKO, Rd. 1

     

    Sean Smith:

    I don't see how this rematch could turn out much different than the first meeting. Bigfoot had his career highlight in beating Alistair Overeem, and another beating from Velasquez will be his reward.

    Velasquez, TKO, Rd. 1

     

    McKinley Noble:

    Matchups like Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen are pretty bad, but this one's almost less compelling. Losing the UFC heavyweight championship only seemed to piss off the already intense Velasquez, and thanks to poor timing, Bigfoot has to walk into a squash match without having evolved his game much, if at all. Bring a bucket for the bloodbath.

    Velasquez, TKO, Round 2

     

    James MacDonald: 

    We all know what happened the last time these two met: Velasquez turned the Octagon into a Jackson Pollock painting, with Bigfoot’s lacerated forehead acting as his palette. The Brazilian may last a little longer this time out, but not by much.

    Velasquez, TKO, Rd. 2

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