UFC 166: 5 Bold Predictions for Fight Night
The UFC’s end of year schedule for 2013 boasts some of the most stacked events in recent memory. This Saturday’s UFC 166 card, from the Toyota Center in Houston, is no exception.
Plenty of column inches have already been dedicated to breaking down the main card fights, and obsessively examining the various pre-fight narratives.
If you thirst for more of the aforementioned pre-fight build, Bleacher Report’s MMA team has got you covered.
If you seek something more unorthodox, read on for my five bold predictions for UFC 166.
Daniel Cormier will TKO Roy Nelson
I’m fully aware of how popular “Big Country” is, so this prediction might generate the most heat since the last time I name-dropped Fallon Fox in an article.
Granted, finishing Roy Nelson is a bit like putting away The Undertaker at WrestleMania—except he’s ultra-durable all year round.
And, you know, it isn't scripted.
That aside, it’s a sound analogy.
In addition to Nelson’s titanium chin, he also boasts the kind of out-of-control beard that even the homeless mock.
Before Cormier even reaches Nelson’s chin, his fist has to travel through a yard of unkempt facial hair.
Even so, if the former Olympian is on top form, he might just pull off a stoppage late in the fight.
There will be no judging controversies
There has been no shortage of baffling judging decisions in both MMA and boxing recently.
It’s reached a point that serious consideration must be given to the possibility that the various athletic commissions are perpetrating an elaborate prank on the entire fanbase.
The fact that the prediction of competent judging could only make sense within the context of an article like this is pretty damning.
An error-free night is due, though. For the sake of everyone’s sanity, it has to be.
Therefore, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the judges will get it right at UFC 166.
Shawn Jordan vs. Gabriel Gonzaga won't suck
I know what you’re thinking: “James, you’ve gone too far this time.”
And you know what? You might be right.
Maybe Shawn Jordan and Gabriel Gonzaga will live down to our expectations. Maybe they will put the crowd into a coma.
I’ve decided to think positively, though. I’m going to give the lads the benefit of the doubt.
I have a feeling the bout will be short but sweet, with Jordan starching the Brazilian early in the first round.
Don’t make a liar out of me, gents.
Hector Lombard will lose to Nate Marquardt and get cut by the UFC
The UFC hasn’t been shy about cutting some big names recently. If the Zuffa brass don’t think you’re worth your price tag, they won’t hesitate to drop the axe.
Jon Fitch and Yushin Okami are the two most high-profile examples of the UFC’s recent contempt for sentiment and meritocracy.
With that in mind, Hector Lombard has a few things going against him here.
Firstly, he hasn’t remotely lived up to expectations. The former Olympic judoka entered the UFC with a 1980s Tyson-esque reputation, yet looked more like the 2013 Mike Tyson in his performances against Tim Boetsch and Yushin Okami.
Secondly, the UFC offered him an obscene amount of money to sign with the promotion. If you combined the contracts of Fitch and Okami, it still wouldn’t come close to what the Cuban is being paid.
Thirdly, Nate Marquardt is not a great matchup for Lombard. Indeed, I favour Marquardt to earn a close decision.
If Lombard does lose on Saturday night, Dana White and chums aren't likely to show any mercy.
Cain Velasquez will finish Junior dos Santos
Believe it or not, this may be the prediction that I’m least sure of.
Well, besides the Jordan-Gonzaga one.
Both men have likely made improvements since their bout at UFC 155. In particular, I don’t anticipate dos Santos’ cardio being a major factor this time out.
Having said that, I expect Velasquez has widened the gap between the pair over the last 10 months.
In their previous encounter, the former Arizona Sun Devil missed a number of opportunities to end the fight by focusing too narrowly on ground-and-pound.
Having just earned his black belt, Velasquez may look to use his ground strikes to set up a fight-ending submission.
Dos Santos and his camp have recently expressed disdain for Velasquez’s finishing power, so don’t be surprised if the champ is out to prove a point on Saturday night.