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UFC 169: Bleacher Report Main Card Staff Predictions

James MacDonaldSenior Analyst IIJune 26, 2016

UFC 169: Bleacher Report Main Card Staff Predictions

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    Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

    It’s Super Bowl weekend, and I’m told that’s significant in the United States. I’m in Scotland where we’re too busy tossing cabers and eating haggis, but if this weekend is important to you, it’s important to me, particularly with a stacked UFC 169 accompanying all the pigskin-related fun.

    Saturday night’s card, coming to us from the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., features not one but two title fights. In the main event, Renan Barao defends his bantamweight title against perennial contender Urijah Faber. In addition, Jose Aldo puts his featherweight title on the line against Ricardo Lamas.

    And if you’re still not on the hook, perhaps the prospect of Alistair Overeem vs. Frank Mir will bait you.

    With so much to digest, I have assembled a team of experts to guide you through UFC 169’s main card. Read on for the thoughts of Scott Harris, Riley Kontek, Craig Amos, Sean Smith and me, James MacDonald.

2014 Staff Records

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Jamie Varner vs. Abel Trujillo

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    Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

John Lineker vs. Ali Bagautinov

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    Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

Frank Mir vs. Alistair Overeem

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas

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    Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

    Riley Kontek

    Do I think Lamas is a good challenge for Jose Aldo? Yes. Do I think he will beat him? No. Lamas has a style similar to Chad Mendes, though I would say he is not as good as the Team Alpha Male member. I think Aldo delivers a vintage performance and finishes this fight with extreme prejudice.

    Aldo, TKO, Rd. 2

     

    Sean Smith

    Lamas is a deserving title challenger, but I don't see him bringing much more to the table than some of Aldo's past challengers. He's not a better wrestler than Frankie Edgar or Chad Mendes, who both had trouble taking Aldo down regularly. Having been knocked out by Yuri Alcantara and Danny Castillo, he's also not going to be able to stand with the featherweight champion for long.

    Aldo, TKO, Rd. 2

     

    Craig Amos

    Lamas has earned this opportunity, but I'm not certain he'll make the jump from challenger to champion. I'd actually be rather shocked if he did. Aldo will shrug off Lamas' takedowns, and the American simply won't have an answer on the feet. 

    Aldo, TKO, Rd. 2

     

    James MacDonald

    I’m a fan of Lamas, and he has more than earned this title shot. However, Aldo may be a step too far for the 31-year-old challenger. The Brazilian simply does everything that little bit better. If there’s one area the challenger can look to exploit, it's Aldo's cardio. I’m not convinced the fight will go long enough for that to become a factor, though.

    Aldo, TKO, Rd. 3

     

    Scott Harris

    Heart says Lamas, head says Aldo. Head wins. Lamas is good but doesn't have the wrestling ability or boxing acumen to overcome some of the best takedown defense and dynamic striking in the sport today. Sorry.

    Aldo, TKO, Rd. 1

Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber

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    Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

    Riley Kontek

    Faber only loses when he is in title fights. This is a title fight. He has already lost to Renan Barao. That means, in theory, that this prediction should write itself. However, Faber's resurgence as of late gives me high hopes for him. I'll take The California Kid in an upset.

    Faber, Unanimous Decision

     

    Sean Smith

    I'm not buying that Faber is a whole new fighter because he's won four in a row. The California Kid has always been able to take care of business when not battling for a championship. His striking may have improved under Team Alpha Male's new striking coach, Duane Ludwig, but Barao has continued to grow as well since beating Faber at UFC 149.

    Barao, Unanimous Decision

     

    Craig Amos

    I truly believe that Faber, right now, is better than he has ever been before, but I still don't think he is as good as Barao. The Brazilian will once again be able to control the pace and distance of the fight, using leg kicks to slow Faber's attacks. I wouldn't be shocked to see Faber hold an edge after five minutes, but the next 20 will belong to the champion.

    Barao, Unanimous Decision

     

    James MacDonald

    As good as Faber is—and he is really good—I just can’t envision him besting Renan Barao. The California Kid’s striking has improved beyond recognition under Duane Ludwig, but it’s still not on the champion’s level. Faber’s best chance is to get the fight to the ground, but Barao’s takedown defense and scrambling are too good to allow that to happen. That being said, this fight should be a lot closer the second time around.

    Barao, Unanimous Decision

     

    Scott Harris

    I like me some Faber as much as the next guy. And I think he'll put on a better fight this time. But you know what? So will Barao. I think his Muay Thai will still get through, and that he'll score a takedown or two to threaten Faber from the bottom or the topall while steering clear of his opponent's power game. 

    Barao, Unanimous Decision

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