Ben Rothwell dropped his last fight, but on Saturday, he's going to drop Brandon Vera. A KO victory for Rothwell is just one of my predictions for the main card for UFC 164. The event takes place at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wis., not far from Rothwell's hometown of Kenosha, Wis.
A presumably large contingent of fans isn't all Rothwell has going for him in this bout. Big Ben is by far the better striker and Vera has shown the vulnerability to the KO in his career. Three of his six losses have come in that fashion. Both men are accomplished grapplers, but the heavyweights tend to stand and trade primarily.
That's bad news for Vera.
This is his first heavyweight bout since 2008 when he was stopped by Fabricio Werdum at UFC 85. He could have difficulty adjusting to the increase in weight from 205 pounds. Besides that, Vera's career has been heavy on promise, but light on accomplishment. He's always been talented, but injuries and other setbacks, per Dann Stupp of MMA Junkie, have resulted in underachievement.
Though he's faced the likes of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Jon Jones, Randy Couture, Werdum, Tim Sylvia, Keith Jardine and Frank Mir in his career, he's only defeated Mir and that was seven years ago.
At 35 years old, Vera is still hanging on, but Rothwell may be the man to cut the rope. Rothwell was submitted in his last fight by Gabriel Gonzaga, but expect to see him rebound with an impressive KO win on Saturday.
Here's my prediction on two other fighters, who will join Rothwell in redeeming themselves after losses in their previous bout.
Erik Koch Will Best Dustin Poirier
Both Koch and Poirier are excellent young fighters, but Koch has an edge in this bout. Despite the brutal loss he suffered at the hands of Ricardo Llamas at UFC on Fox 6, Koch has that special kind of explosiveness.
In most fights, Poirier would have the clear advantage on the ground with his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu prowess, but Koch has put in noticeable work on his ground game. The 24-year-old has seven submission victories to his credit. He should be able to handle himself there and/or stuff Poirier's takedown attempts enough to induce a bout fought predominantly standing.
This is where Koch will have the upper hand. He's a superior athlete and a more dynamic striker. That will result in a huge win over another top-notch featherweight.
Chico Camus Will Not Submit to Kyung Ho Kang
The South Korean fighter known as "Typhoon" has one realistic chance to beat Camus and that is by submission. Camus will be more than prepared for Kang's attempts to take the fight to the ground, though.
After losing his last fight to Dustin Kimura via Rear-Naked Choke (Camus' first-ever loss via submission) guarding against Kang's grappling attempts will undoubtedly be at the forefront of Camus' mind.
Kang can't maintain the work rate or pace Camus can produce. Though the latter doesn't have destructive power, he should be able to use his quickness to land more significant strikes and win by decision.
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