UFC 165 Predictions: Projecting Saturday's Biggest Winners
Not one but two championships will be on the line this weekend inside the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, the site of UFC 165.
But by far the most intriguing of the five fights scheduled on Saturday night's main card will be the main event, a light heavyweight showdown between current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and challenger Alexander Gustafsson.
Gustafsson has won six straight fights and seven of eight overall in the UFC, but Jones has won nine consecutive fights since 2009 and has defended his belt five times since claiming it in 2011. Arguably the top pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, the 26-year-old Jones will look to avoid the upset and add to his legacy this weekend.
But before Jones puts his title on the line late Saturday night, some other notable names will be in action.
Below we'll project which fighters will come away as the biggest winners at UFC 165.
UFC Bantamweight Championship: Renan Barao vs. Eddie Wineland
UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao hasn't lost a fight since his first professional bout, back in 2005. Since then, the Brazilian has been on a vicious tear that's poised to continue Saturday in Toronto.
Who wins this bantamweight title fight?
Barao will look to reaffirm his champion status in the bantamweight division when he takes on Eddie Wineland, a former WEC bantamweight champ.
Despite suffering losses to Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez in 2011, Wineland rebounded with victories over Scott Jorgensen and Brad Pickett last year. Wineland's win over Pickett was anything but impressive, though, coming via a split decision.
In addition to the fact that the older Wineland appears vulnerable, Barao is a dangerous submission artist who choked out Pickett two years ago and defeated Faber via unanimous decision at UFC 149 in July 2012.
Prediction: Barao def. Wineland via Unanimous Decision
Heavyweight Bout: Brendan Schaub vs. Matt Mitrione
Two well-known heavyweights will square off on Saturday when Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione look to continue their rebound efforts against each other.
Mitrione knocked out Phil De Fries back in April to end a two-fight losing streak, while Schaub overcame Lavar Johnson at UFC 157 last February to bring an end to his own two-fight skid.
Both fighters appeared on season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter and developed a friendship that has since gone sour, making for some bad blood heading into Saturday's fight. It's hard to say that the hatred gives either fighter an edge, but there's no denying that the younger and more experienced Schaub is a worthy favorite.
Not only is he five years younger than his rival, but seven of his nine wins have come via knockout.
Prediction: Schaub def. Mitrione via 1st-Round KO
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Saturday night's main event will feature UFC superstar Jon Jones, who will put his light heavyweight championship on the line for his sixth consecutive fight, this time against Alexander Gustafsson.
Who wins Saturday's main event?
Although the 26-year-old Swede has shown plenty of promise in recent wins over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Thiago Silva, he hasn't been able to showcase the knockout power necessary to beat Jones, winning both of those fights via unanimous decision.
Meanwhile, five of Jones' last six fights have ended by submissions or technical knockouts in his favor.
A dangerous and super-athletic fighter, Jones can win in a variety of ways, making him the overwhelming favorite to retain his title this weekend.
Look for Gustafsson to get this fight to the second round, where Jones's lethal striking combinations will take over and power him to yet another dominant victory.
Prediction: Jones def. Gustafsson via 2nd-Round TKO
Follow Bleacher Report featured columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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