The return of "The Phenom!"
Any educated UFC fan would be stoked to see the return of Vitor Belfort. In a card that was originally slated as Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson II, the fans were ecstatic to find out that their public distaste caused Dana White to find a replacement fight.
UFC 103 is also going to butt heads with boxing's premiere event of the year, causing Dana White to counter-program and air two preliminary fights live on Spike TV. Hopefully, with successful PPV sales, the UFC will continue to air preliminary fights.
Vitor Belfort vs. Rich Franklin
This fight has a chance to be a classic or a completely one-sided affair. Rich Franklin is tough as railroad spikes and because of that it won't be an easy task for Belfort to win. "The New Belfort" is focused and dedicated in reclaiming his "Phenom" status.
Franklin has struggled with skilled strikers and while Belfort isn't the best, his machine-gun hands could lead him to victory. Franklin will not go down easily though, as the "Ace" always makes the fight entertaining.
My pick: Victor Belfort.
Junior Dos Santos vs. Mirko "Cro Cop"
"Cro Cop's" last victory was shadowed by an unfortunate eye-poke, despite which his presence inside the cage was glaring. It didn't look like the "Cro Cop" of late, it looked like the "Cro Cop" of old.
Junior Dos Santos raised eyebrows after derailing Fabricio Werdum from the UFC tracks with an upset, so it wouldn't be surprising if he were to do the same to "Cro Cop." This is setting up to be a striker's heavenly matchup; the deciding factor for the win comes down to experience.
My pick: Mirko "Cro Cop".
Paul Daley vs. Martin Kampmann
Paul Daley is set to make his UFC debut against Martin "The Hitman" Kampmann. Kampmann was originally slated to fight Mike Swick but an injury changed the plans. This is Daley's chance to fly through the ranks with a victory over Kampmann.
Unfortunately for Daley, Kampmann is an all-around fighter that is known to survive. Daley's striking might find a few spots but Kampmann should be able to turn it into a ground battle. In this area is where Kampmann has a serious advantage and can secure a victory.
My pick: Martin Kampmann.
Josh Koscheck vs. Frank Trigg
Frank Trigg begged for his chance to come back and fight the best of the best. His wish was granted against the ever-improving Josh Koscheck. "Kos" is coming off a questionable loss to Paulo Thiago and will be looking to prove his worth.
Both fighters are outstanding wrestlers, which could mean they might void each other's grappling from the fight. The winner will be the one who succeeds in the other areas. "Kos" is looking to prove that he is more than just a wrestler with a devastating knock-out over Trigg.
My pick: Josh Koscheck.
Hermes Franca vs. Tyson Griffin
This fight has all the potential ingredients for Fight of the Night honors when all is said and done. Both fighters are exciting to watch and relentless in their attack; add in six Fight of the Nights between the two and it's rest assured the opening bout will be a great one.
This fight has an enormous possibility of ending up on the mat, both are known for their ground game. Tyson Griffin has a distinct advantage here; his only two losses come from superior wrestlers. Hermes Franca has a dangerous guard, but he might simply be overpowered by Griffin.
My pick: Tyson Griffin.
Preliminary Card (Spike TV):
Efrain Escudero vs. Cole Miller
Escudero is set to fight for the first time since winning the contract over Phillipe Nover.
While Miller's guard is no joke, Escudero has shown his patience in his ground attack and has the ability to wrestle his way towards a submission or decision victory.
My pick: Efrain Escudero.
Tomasz Drwal vs. Drew McFedries
If this fight is anything other than a slug-fest, it would be a crying shame. Both guys are known for their heavy hands and quick victories.
McFedries possesses a slight speed advantage, which may give him the only advantage in this fight.
My pick: Drew McFedries.
Preliminary Card (Un-aired):
Steve Lopez vs. Jim Miller—Jim Miller
Nick Lentz vs. Rafaello Oliveira—Rafaello Oliveira
Brian Foster vs. Rick Story—Rick Story
Jason Brilz vs. Eliot Marshall—Jason Brilz
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Igor Pokrajac—Vladimir Matyushenko
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Rob Emerson—Rafael dos Anjos