UFC 165 Predictions You Can Take to the Bank
There are no certainties in the world of mixed martial arts.
Anderson Silva got knocked out.
Rashad Evans vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, a surefire slugfest between bitter rivals, was an absolutely terrible fight.
For all these surprises, however, MMA delivers exactly what fans expect from time to time.
At UFC 165, fans will enjoy a stacked card headlined by two title fights and bolstered by a solid undercard dotted by up-and-comers and established veterans alike.
With name recognition and interesting storylines highlighting the event, UFC 165 provides an opportunity to speculate—to play Ms. Cleo, if you will.
Fire up your crystal ball, lace up your goofy hat and click on, friends.
Here are five UFC 165 predictions you can take to the bank.
The Greatest Light Heavyweight Ever
Don't look so angry, Tito. We knew Jones was going to smash your record—it was just a matter of time, and the time is now.
Against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165, Jones will look to defend his light heavyweight title for a record sixth time, establishing himself as the most consistently great 205-pound UFC champ in the promotion's history.
He'll look to do that...and he'll do that.
Gustafsson is a great fighter. He's beaten some tough dudes inside the Octagon, but he has never looked as utterly dominant as Jones in doing so.
As Bleacher Report's expert analyst Jack Slack pointed out, Gustafsson's game is riddled with flaws.
Jones, a product of Greg Jackson (the "Yoda" of MMA), will exploit these weaknesses, demolishing the young Swede and breaking a longstanding record in the process.
Please Stop Saying That
By the time the main event commences, approximately 3.67 beers will have been flung at your TV.
Why, you ask?
Commentators Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg will drive you nuts talking about Gustafsson's "length" and "height."
Admittedly, this pick is a bit of a cop-out, because it is already true.
The UFC 165 poster features a tagline that reads "greatness within reach," and this bout has been built on the fact that Gustafsson is as tall or taller than Jon Jones.
Oh, my! That really evens the playing field, guys!
Isn't MMA the sport that taught us that the little guy can win, that technique trumps size?
Despite the fact that Jones' reach is still longer than Gustafsson's (84.5 inches vs. 81.2 inches) and their heights are nearly identical, Rogan and Goldberg will make Gustafsson sound like Manute Bol, a fact which will get your TV screen tipsy off your wasted brews.
Sleep Tight, Chris
On the Fox Sports 1 preliminary card, Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson will deliver a hellacious knockout over Chris Clements.
Put simply, when a world-class kickboxer faces an 11-4 (1) fighter who has been finished in all of his losses and could not outstrike Matt Riddle, the likelihood of a knockout is high.
I'll take this prediction a step further and call the finishing blow. Thompson will throw a jab-jab-right roundhouse kick combination in Round 2 that sends Clements to the Octagon floor in a stiffened mass of muscle and bone.
You're probably going to want to see that, so tune in to the preliminary action on FS1.
Eddie Wineland is the man.
He's aggressive, he's tough, he's respectful and his tattoo makes me sleepy.
That's all pretty awesome, but Wineland has nothing for interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao in this fight.
A product of Nova Uniao, Barao shows no weaknesses in his game, and his strengths are, well, everywhere. He's a technical striker with an excellent sense of range, and he's a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with 14 submission victories on his resume.
Aside from a few brief scares against the powerful 135-pound fireplug Michael McDonald at UFC on Fuel TV 7, Barao has looked invincible inside the Octagon, and Wineland does not possess any otherworldly talents to change that.
Oh, did I mention that Barao has not lost in eight years? Did I mention he fought 31 times in that period?
Yeah, he's not bad.
Stop It, Brendan! Let Him Bang, Bro!
Brendan Schaub has morphed into a smart, calculated fighter.
Which is the worst kind of heavyweight.
After suffering back-to-back knockout losses to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Ben Rothwell, Schaub channeled his inner Georges St-Pierre (or Ben Askren, whichever you prefer) and employed the dreaded "lay-and-pray" tactic in his UFC 157 fight with Lavar Johnson.
He will do it again to Matt Mitrione at UFC 165.
The problem in doing this (besides the fact that his ground game is quite limited) is that Schaub is taking heavy hitters like Johnson and Mitrione and making them dreadful to watch.
To his credit, it's a smart tactic. He knows his chin can't take the punishment, and he knows he can win and move on with his career by outwrestling his opposition.
But we don't want to see that, especially when the fight could be stellar if contested on the feet.
I don't want them to "just bleed;" I just want to stay awake for the rest of the card.
Unfortunately for me, Schaub will fluff my pillow and pull up my blanket as he grinds his way to a lackluster decision victory.