UFC 117, a stacked main card. We should all be very interested in the outcomes of these fights, as some of the winners could be strategically placed for championship fights in the very near future.
Depending on whose hand is raised at the end, will make for some interesting debates, and there will always be a few surprise outcomes.
Believe it or not, we are seeing writers and fans alike, having some very interesting thoughts on what the outcome is going to be, especially the Championship bout, Silva vs. Sonnen for the Middleweight Title.
So lets take a look at who's hand is going to be raised at the end of each bout.
Roy "Big Country" Nelson (16-4-0) VS. Junior "Cigano" Dos Santos (9-1-0)
"Big Country" is coming off two straight wins, knocking out TUF contestant Brendan Schaub and more recently the lengthy Stefan Struve.
Writers may consider both wins a bit of a surprise, but Big Country does have the credentials to compete at the highest level. Being a Gracie Black Belt, having great grappling skills and winning TUF are very reputable items to have on the resume'.
I do believe Roy wants everyone to see his gut, and nothing else, but he is going to face a competitor that's far superior than before, in Dos Santos.
JDS is one of the most dangerous men in MMA at the moment. Some writers say after a little more refining, he has the ability to compete for the title, and I can't really disagree.
Junior has very heavy hands, and after he recently knocked out Gabriel Gonzaga in the first round at UFC on Versus: Vera VS. Jones, I believe he is on his way to a title shot in the next 2-3 fights.
JDS has only been out of the first round once, and in that fight, he eventually submitted Mirko Cro Cop in the third. So don’t be surprised to see this one end early.
Winner: JDS, second round KO.
Matt Hughes (43-7-0) VS. Ricardo “Big Dog” Almeida (10-3-0)
What can be said about Matt Hughes that has not already been? Matt has held the Welterweight title twice, wins over “The Prodigy” BJ Penn, and one of the greatest fighters to ever grace the octagon, Georges Saint-Pierre. While those wins are sometime ago, impressive none the less.
Matt is a true journeyman of the MMA, and we should all appreciate what he can still do after being slammed to the mat so many times.
While Matt is coming off two consecutive wins over Matt Serra and Renzo Gracie, you have to wonder how many fights he has left in him.
Ricardo has been around for some time, and has yet to be the dominant fighter he could be.
Ricardo is a four-time Brazilian National Champion, third-degree Black Belt is BJJ and has placed at several notable competitions around the world; but has never held a UFC title belt.
While he is coming off three consecutive wins, two submissions, and a submission over Matt Brown, I don’t see him being able to compete with Hughes ring savvy and experience.
Winner: Matt Hughes second-round Submission.
Clay “The Carpenter” Guida (25-7-0) VS. Rafael Dos Anjos (13-4-0)
This is an interesting fight, and if it goes well, should be fun to watch. Both fighters are tough and I would anticipate some fireworks.
Dos Anjos is an up and coming fighter. He has yet to fight any major names, but he is coming into this fight with 3 straight wins, two unanimous decisions and one submission.
He is a BJJ Black Belt and Champion. Lower leg kicks are what he likes to do best, and he is going to need all the luck he can get going against one of the toughest fighters in the UFC.
“The Carpenter”, I don’t know about you, but I am a Guida fan. This happened the night of the USA/UK TUF finale, against Diego Sanchez.
Possibly one of, if not the best fight I have ever seen. Guida lost that fight in a split decision, but it was close as close can get. If you missed it, I highly recommend pulling up the fight on YouTube.
Clay is one of the “utility men” in the UFC, willing to fight anyone and always a good addition to the card.
He is coming off a win over Shannon Gugerty and should handle Dos Anjos. Be ready for a great fight.
Winner: Clay Guida by second-round rear naked choke.
Jon Fitch (24-3-0) VS. Thiago “The Pitbull” Alves (22-5-0)
Again, I am really looking forward to this fight, two very distinct fighting styles and two very hungry fighters looking to continue advancing their career. Interesting fact, both fighters last loss was to Georges St-Pierre.
Thiago was on a seven-fight win streak before going down to GSP at UFC 100; he took GSP to the fifth and lost in a unanimous decision.
Interesting enough, his last loss before GSP was to you guessed it: Jon Fitch. That loss to Jon was almost four years ago, but you have to wonder if it will play into the psyche of Thiago. Probably not, but I have to bring it up anyway.
If these fighters stay on their feet, I would anticipate Thiago having his hand raised at the end. Thiago is a Purple Belt in BJJ and also a Brazilian Muay Thai Champion.
He may struggle if it goes to the ground with a fighter like Jon Fitch, with Jon's ground-and-pound style.
Jon Fitch is again, a favorite fighter of mine. He is not flashy, or full of “the wow factor”, but what he does is win fights.
Jon is a Black Belt in Jiu-Jitsu under Dave Camarillo, and a much-decorated collegiate wrestler from Purdue University.
Jon is on a four-fight win streak, and like I said, his last loss was to GSP at UFC 87. Like Thiago, he did take GSP to the fifth round and lost in a unanimous decision.
Jon is going to need to take Thiago down early and keep him there if he wants a chance to win.
Ground and pound is what he does best, so while it is not exciting, wearing fighters down and taking it to the judges, is what is likely to happen if Jon has his way.
Winner: Jon Fitch, Spilt decision.
The Main Event, Middleweight Championship:
Anderson “The Spider” Silva (26-4-0) VS. Chael Sonnen (25-10-1)
Let’s keep this short and sweet, if you do not know who these fighters are, and their backgrounds, you need to get out more.
The Challenger: Chael Sonnen. While most are not picking him to have a chance, don’t go to sleep on him, and don’t let his mouth fool you.
Chael is a NCAA All-American wrestler, U.S. Olympic Wrestling Alternate, and has won various fight challenges. Chael should be ready for the shot to win the title he has been searching for.
Chael is on a three-fight win steak, he is going to need all the luck, skill, and talent he can find to take the “The Spider” down.
The Champion: Anderson “The Spider” Silva.
Arguably the best fighter to ever grace the octagon.
While we all know Silva’s abilities, and what he can do when he actually wants to fight his opponents, his desire is sometimes, more often is questioned.
Silva broke the title defense record with six consecutive defenses in his last win against Demian Maia.
That is not was everyone was talking about though, it was about Silva dancing around the octagon for five rounds. He took criticism from everyone, including UFC President Dana White.
I do not believe we are going to see that this time.
Silva typically will come out firing on all cylinders after a fight he “walked through.” Just ask James Irvin, who Silva KO’d in the first in just over a minute in at UFC Fight Night 14.
I am not saying he walked though the previous fight with Dan Henderson, but again, Silva can turn it on at any moment.
Silva is a Black Belt in BJJ and is in my opinion, the best striker in all of MMA.
This fight is highly anticipated, we are all waiting to see which Silva is going to show up, and if Chael’s mouth has gotten him into trouble with the most dangerous man in MMA.
Winner: Anderson Silva, second-round TKO.
There it is, my picks for UFC 117. I hope you enjoyed the read and look forward to your comments and picks as well.