UFC 172

UFC 172 Predictions: Breaking Down Top Fights on Saturday's Main Card

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - APRIL 2: UFC lightweight champion Jon 'Bones' Jones interacts with media during an open training session for fans and media at the Jackson's Mixed Martial Arts and Fitness on April 2, 2014 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Photo by Aaron Sweet/Getty Images)
Aaron Sweet/Getty Images
Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2014

Jon "Bones" Jones and Glover Teixeira's clash for the light heavyweight title highlights a loaded card for Saturday night's UFC 172 event in Baltimore.

While Jones looks to solidify one of the sport's most impressive title reigns with another successful defense, Teixeira has not dropped a fight since 2005. Bones most recently derailed Alexander Gustafsson in a five-round classic, while Teixeira defeated Ryan Bader with a first-round TKO.

The title bout represents Saturday night's marquee draw, but there are plenty of other bouts to excite MMA fans. Luke Rockhold has a fierce challenger ahead of him in Tim "The Barbarian" Boetsch, and Phil Davis is out to prove he's worthy of main event status in his fight with Anthony "Rumble" Johnson. 

Let's take a look at what the card has to offer in another enticing UFC tilt.

 

Where: Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland

When: Saturday, April 26 at 10 p.m. ET

Watch: Pay-per-view (check local cable provider)

Live Stream: UFC.TV (subscription required)

UFC 172: Main Card and Predictions
Fighter 1Fighter 2Weight ClassPrediction
Jon Jones (c)vs.Glover TeixeiraLight HeavyweightJones
Phil Davisvs.Anthony JohnsonLight HeavyweightDavis
Luke Rockholdvs.Tim BoetschMiddleweightRockhold
Jim Millervs.Yancy MedeirosLightweightMiller
Max Hollowayvs.Andre FiliFeatherweightFili
UFC.com

 

Luke Rockhold vs. Tim Boetsch

Jan 15, 2014; Duluth, GA, USA; Luke Rockhold (red gloves) fights Costas Philippou (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Gwinnett Center. Rockhold wins. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Rockhold is out for redemption after suffering an early knockout loss to Vitor Belfort last May. In his way stands Boetsch, a brawler who has lost two of his last three bouts in the third round.

The defeat against Belfort hit Rockhold hard. As he told Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole, that blemish on his record will haunt him throughout his career.

I want that fight back. My goal is not to be the champion, not to win a belt or anything else. I want to be the best in the world. You only live once and so the way I see it, it's worth it to try to go out and be the best at something. Even if I become champion, I can't say I'm the best in the world while I still have that loss on my record.

After earning five straight submission victories in the opening round, Rockhold has not made an opponent tap out since 2009. Yet he's earned three swift first-round knockouts, most recently cleaning out Costas Philippou during the opening minutes.

The jiu-jitsu fighter is a balanced tactician in the Octagon, armed with speed and well versed in all three areas of submission, striking and takedowns. One way or the other, he'll find a way to beat Boetsch.

Prediction: Rockhold by TKO

 

Phil Davis vs. Anthony Johnson

Felipe Dana

Davis has his sights set on grander pastures, focusing more attention on Jon Jones than his actual opponent.

Rather than focusing on his upcoming bout with Jackson, "Mr. Wonderful" used Monday's pre-fight conference call to poke Jones. He questioned the validity of his last victory over Gustafsson, claiming Jones' opponent made him "look like a pirate."

He didn't change his tune during Thursday's media day.

Davis has reason to exude confidence after winning his last three fights. The 29-year-old, who boasts a 12-1 record, is sculpted like a Marvel superhero with superior wrestling skills. Johnson, on the other hand, was last seen in UFC submitting to Belfort two years ago.

While Davis is the rightful favorite on paper, he could get in his own way by investing his time marketing a future fight with Jones. Johnson can take Davis down if he's not careful, but Mr. Wonderful should live up to the nickname with a decisive victory.

Prediction: Davis by submission

 

Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - APRIL 08:  UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones pauses during a UFC media event at Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts & Fitness Academy on April 8, 2013 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  (Photo by Steve Snowden/Getty Images)
Steve Snowden/Getty Images

Although Teixeira enters the biggest fight of his career on a hot streak, he doesn't have the chops to defeat Jones in the main event.

A Chuck Liddell disciple, Teixeira is a brawler, averaging 6.91 strikes per minute to Jones' 4.15, per UFC.com. While that style has served him so far, he'll struggle to make much leeway against Jones, who is faster with a wider reach.

Teixeira also has no experience fighting five rounds, which could hurt the 34-year-old if neither man quickly takes care of business. Although Jones is eight years younger, he holds more experience on the grand stage.

Bank on Jones cementing his seventh winning title defense to gain his 20th overall victory.

Prediction: Jones by decision.

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