UFC 168: Predicting Which Underrated Bouts Will Steal the Show

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistDecember 27, 2013

Aug 16, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Uriah Hall poses during the weigh-in for his UFC fight at TD Garden tomorrow night. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 168 is shaping up to be one of the biggest pay-per-view events of 2013. The main event between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva is stealing all the headlines, but a few underrated bouts have the potential to steal the show.

With Uriah Hall taking on Chris Leben and Dennis Siver squaring off against Manny Gamburyan, there is serious potential for fireworks before the main card even begins.

Here is a full slate of predictions and a quick preview of the two most underrated bouts.

Full UFC 168 Fight Card
Main Card (PPV)
Fighter 1 Fighter 2 Prediction
Anderson Silva Chris Weidman (c) Silva via TKO
Ronda Rousey (c) Miesha Tate Rousey via Submission
Josh Barnett Travis Browne Barnett via TKO
Jim Miller Fabrício Camoes Miller via Decision
Dustin Poirier Diego Brandao Brandao via Decision
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1)
Fighter 1 Fighter 2 Prediction
Chris Leben Uriah Hall Hall via TKO
Gleison Tibau Michael Johnson Johnson via Decision
Dennis Siver Manvel Gamburyan Siver via Submission
John Howard Siyar Bahadurzada Howard via Decision
Preliminary Card (Online)
Fighter 1 Fighter 2 Prediction
William Macario Bobby Voelker Voelker via TKO
Robbie Peralta Estevan Payan Peralta via Decision
Source: UFC.com


Uriah Hall (7-4) vs. Chris Leben (22-10)

Both Uriah Hall and Chris Leben are on losing streaks. Hall has amassed two straight split-decision losses—including the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 17—but Leben has really struggled, racking up three straight defeats and four losses in his last five fights.

While Leben’s talents are beginning to decline, Hall has suffered his losses due to inexperience. There is no better lesson in MMA than being beaten, and Hall will return to the Octagon at UFC 168 looking to save his career.

Leben has the experience advantage, but the mileage on his body has taken a toll after so many losses. If Hall can stick to his plan and keep this fight standing up, his elite striking will open up the chance to steal a victory.

Whether it’s a TKO or a submission, Hall will end Leben’s night early.

Predicted Winner: Hall via second-round TKO. 


Dennis Siver (21-9) vs. Manny Gamburyan (13-7)

Veteran Dennis Siver is reeling from a TKO loss to Cub Swanson in July, and he will be taking on Manny Gamburyan, who is coming off two consecutive wins. With both fighters evenly matched, this bout has all the earmarks of an instant classic.

Both men are willing to stand and exchange in the middle of the Octagon, and that raises the likelihood of a potentially abrupt finish. While most experts believe both men can go the distance and force a decision, Siver is too good to put this fight in the judges' hands.

With nine career submission victories, Siver will catch Gamburyan getting too aggressive and make him pay with an early end to the bout.

Siver’s climb back into title contention will start with a win over Gamburyan.

Predicted Winner: Siver via third-round submission.