UFC 162: B/R Staff Main Card Predictions

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2013

UFC 162: B/R Staff Main Card Predictions

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    UFC 162 is coming at you like a bat out of hell, and it will top off a UFC weekend that will be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, weekends of the year. Anderson Silva headlines the card, and he will be taking on top prospect and contender Chris Weidman.

    With so many cards lately having fights that are not evenly matched, this fight card brings great debate and compelling matchups. From a featherweight tilt between Dennis Siver and Cub Swanson to a middleweight bout between Tim Kennedy and Roger Gracie, experts and analysts do not have a unanimous verdict on who will take each fight. 

    Bleacher Report now presents to you its main card picks, featuring Scott Harris, Sean Smith, Craig Amos, James MacDonald and myself, Riley Kontek.

Dennis Siver vs. Cub Swanson

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    Kontek: It seems that every time I go against Cub Swanson, he wins the fight. He has proven to be one of the toughest featherweights in the world, but so has former lightweight Dennis Siver with his top-notch kickboxing and developing all-around game. Siver is a bull, so I will continue to pick against Swanson (somewhat reluctantly) and take Siver in a quality performance.

    Siver, Unanimous Decision

    Harris: Lots of people seem to be going with the charismatic and exciting Swanson here. But I say, open your eyes, sheeple. Siver has looked pretty doggone dominant since dropping to featherweight and is far from the speed bump to the belt that Cub fans want him to be. This will be a close fight, but Siver and his icy brand of execution (standing and grappling) will ultimately quench Swanson's fire.

    Siver, Unanimous Decision

    MacDonald: This is a tough fight to call. Siver looks like a beast at 145, all muscle and bad intentions. Swanson has looked equally impressive recently, besting the likes of Ross Pearson and Dustin Poirier. This may come down to who can take the most punishment, since I can’t really separate them in any meaningful sense. And to my mind, Swanson has the capacity to eat a few more digs than the German.

    Swanson, TKO, Rd. 3

    Amos: Both guys are riding high right now, so someone is in for a letdown at UFC 162. While no outcome would surprise me too greatly here, I expect Swanson to keep rolling, halting Siver’s featherweight rise in the process.

    Swanson, Submission, Rd. 3

    Smith: Six months away from action can't be a good thing for a 34-year-old fighter looking to rise quickly in a new division. Still, I like how Siver matches up against Swanson. While Swanson might be more athletic and dynamic when standing, Siver has the technique to play a chess match and the power to stand toe-to-toe on Saturday. It'll be competitive, but the German will earn a decision win after a three-round kickboxing match.

    Siver, Unanimous Decision

Mark Munoz vs. Tim Boetsch

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    Kontek: We have a guy who I have always considered overrated taking on a guy who I have always considered underrated when Mark Munoz meets Tim Boetsch. Boetsch has shown some vulnerability in counterwrestling against Yushin Okami, but he also showed resilience. Oh, yeah, and Munoz is coming off a long injury layoff.

    Boetsch, TKO, Rd. 3 

    Harris: To me, this comes down to Boetsch's gas tank and Munoz's mental state. Both men are excellent wrestlers who can hurt you with their hands. This could be a punishing contest, and it will definitely unfold in close quarters. I'll give the edge to Boetsch, a huge middleweight who has been the more reliable and predictable of the two lately.

    Boetsch, Split Decision

    MacDonald: I’m curious to see how Munoz looks on Saturday night, having made every effort to make it onto The Biggest Loser during his lengthy layoff. The former college wrestling standout has more title potential than Boetsch, but it remains to be seen whether he can fulfill that potential. That being said, I expect Munoz to eventually take this fight to the ground and dish out some savage ground-and-pound.

    Munoz, TKO, Rd. 2

    Amos: Munoz took a lot of flak for his paltry performance against Chris Weidman last July, but his greater track record should be proof he’s not going to just bow out of middleweight contention. Against Boetsch, Munoz finds an opponent of similar power, but I expect his superior athleticism to pave the way for a stoppage via some of that trademark ground-and-pound.

    Munoz, TKO, Rd. 2

    Smith: Take inactivity and rust out of the equation, and Munoz beats Boetsch. However, 12 months away from competition and a history of poor performances against large wrestlers (see losses to Chris Weidman, Yushin Okami and Matt Hamill) make this a troubling matchup for Munoz. Look for Boetsch to start stronger than Munoz and hang on for a close decision victory.

    Boetsch, Unanimous Decision

Tim Kennedy vs. Roger Gracie

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    Kontek: Roger Gracie is good at jiu-jitsu; I mean, like, really good. However, he's also a novice at striking and doesn't possess the greatest wrestling skills. Tim Kennedy is a competent grappler, but he has the skills to keep Gracie upright. From there, he will outstrike Gracie and earn the judges' approval.

    Kennedy, Unanimous Decision

    Harris: No one will ever confuse Roger Gracie with Alistair Overeem, but he's not an absolute zero in the striking phase. He has enough to keep Kennedy honest long enough to score a takedown (Gracie has been working hard on those and is pretty good at them, especially for a jiu-jitsu player). It might not happen right away, but for Gracie to win, it only has to happen once.

    Gracie, Submission, Rd. 1

    MacDonald: Tim Kennedy better hope he wins this fight given how the UFC brass surely feels about him currently given his recent comments on fighter pay. Fortunately for him, Gracie presents a favourable stylistic matchup. The multi-time BJJ world champion’s MMA game has more holes than a dartboard, but he only needs one takedown to secure a fight-ending submission. Don’t count on him getting it, though.

    Kennedy, Unanimous Decision

    Amos: A couple of Strikeforce imports will be looking to step over each other en route to title contention in what should be a competitive match. The obvious question is: Will Gracie be able to control Kennedy long enough and well enough to sink in a submission? My answer is “no,” but I do see him controlling the action to a great enough extent that he takes home a victory all the same.

    Gracie, Unanimous Decision

    Smith: Most fighters facing Gracie would try to remain standing at all costs. Kennedy, though, may have a realistic chance of winning this matchup in all areas. Certainly, his easiest route to a win would be to strike with the one-dimensional Gracie for three rounds, but Kennedy took Ronaldo Souza down twice and lived to tell the tale, so there's some potential for an entertaining grappling match.

    Kennedy, Unanimous Decision

Frankie Edgar vs. Charles Oliveira

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    Kontek: Fresh off his failed title bid against Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar will take on fellow former lightweight Charles Oliveira. Although highly skilled, Oliveira is not on Edgar's level. Can "The Answer" get the finish? I'll venture a guess and say yes.

    Edgar, TKO, Rd. 2

    Harris: This might be the most predictable fight on the entire card. Oliveira is a nice young fighter. Edgar, however, is nicer, and Oliveira will find himself frustrated by Edgar's sandpiper striking attack.

    Edgar, Unanimous Decision

    MacDonald: Few fighters on the UFC roster need a win more than Frankie Edgar. The former 155-pound champion has just barely been edged out in his last three fights, so Charles Oliveira is his ticket back to career stability. It isn’t likely to be an easy night for Edgar—it never is—but he has enough in his toolbox to clinch the W.

    Edgar, Unanimous Decision

    Amos: The last time Edgar fought in a bout that lasted less than 15 minutes was December 2009. That means he should have plenty of energy during his three-round UFC 162 match, something that should prove valuable against an opponent who is known to wilt under pressure. Oliveira could grab himself a signature win this weekend, but I just don’t see it happening. Once he finds himself unable to land shots or score takedowns, the writing will be on the wall. From there, it’s just a matter of time before the former lightweight champion slams the door.

    Edgar, TKO, Rd. 2

    Smith: At 23 years old, Oliveira has a bright future in the UFC featherweight division despite his recent loss to Cub Swanson. However, he's a sacrificial lamb in this bout with former lightweight champion Edgar. With three straight losses, Edgar is in need of a win, and the UFC has clearly given him a favorable matchup in Oliveira. Edgar is fully capable of finishing this fight, but he may take this fight as an opportunity to work on some things after having to compete against elite opposition in his past several appearances.

    Edgar, Unanimous Decision

Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman

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    Kontek: I know a bunch of people are riding the Chris Weidman train right now. I am one of those people. He has the right skill set to beat Anderson Silva, as he is a better version of Chael Sonnen. Of course, Silva only needs some time on the feet and a heartbeat, and he wins the fight. This really can go either way.

    Weidman, Unanimous Decision

    Harris: I don't remember the last time so much pre-fight debate arose not out of the actual fight itself, but the picking of said fight. People are writing novels about the various schools of thought for picking either fighter, and what those picks say about the personal beliefs and life trajectories of the picker. I understand why someone could talk themselves into Weidman. But, I mean, Anderson is the best. And he's faced (and beaten) guys like Weidman before; the opposite is not true. Weidman will challenge Silva. Silva will overcome that challenge.

    Silva, TKO, Rd. 3

    MacDonald: I’m on the Weidman bandwagon, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. While I’m reluctant to pick against the long-time pound-for-pound king, I just have a feeling that Weidman is the guy to finally unseat "The Spider." His all-round game is formidable, but his wrestling in particular is likely to give Silva absolute fits. Of course, I can’t rule out Anderson doing something absurd and ending the fight in the blink of an eye, but I’m putting my money on the challenger.

    Weidman, Submission, Rd. 3

    Amos: I’ve been on the fence for this fight for a long time. My original inclination was to back Weidman, then I jumped ship and went with Silva. Now, here I am, once again uncertain. Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment and subconsciously crave the bombardment of comments launched against anything anti-Silva, or perhaps I’ve simply been too impressed with Weidman’s performances to envision him losing.

    Weidman, Submission, Rd. 4

    Smith: A lot of people are right about Weidman in a lot of ways. His mix of high-level wrestling and solid jiu-jitsu are likely to be the keys to Silva's demise one day. I won't be the one to say that day will be Saturday, though. Only Father Time will decide when, and if, Silva's streak comes to an end.

    Silva, TKO, Rd. 2