UFC 125: Resolution from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 1, 2011 is highlighted by a lightweight championship fight between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard.
The co-main event includes two standup fighters; one brawler and one technical striker, between Chris Leben and Brian Stann.
Additional fighters competing include Brandon Vera, Thiago Silva, Nate Diaz, Clay Guida, Takanori Gomi and Phil Baroni.
An action-packed night of fights will welcome in the New Year.
Here are my picks for all the fights on the card.
Enjoy the fights and have a Happy New Year.
Follow me on Twitter @magnus06
The first matchup of UFC 125 slates Jacob "Christmas" Volkmann against Antonio "Mandingo" McKee in a lightweight fight.
Both fighters have established wrestling backgrounds, yet lack knockout power.
Volkmann is 11-2-0, with six submission victories, of which he is 2-2 in the UFC. Opposing Volkmann, McKee is much more experienced with a 25-3-2 overall MMA record with 18 decision victories.
Recently signing a four-fight contract in the UFC, "Mandingo" will be making his debut in the famed octagon after putting the entire lightweight division on notice. Possessing explosive take downs and a fierce ground and pound, McKee will need to deliver a top notch effort to earn a victory in his first UFC fight.
With two victories to his UFC resume, Jacob Volkmann also possesses a very solid wrestling pedigree. With tremendous cardiovascular conditioning and superior take downs, "Christmas" has exceptional take down defense, with a 62 percent defense rate.
Considering that both fighters are limited in their striking and have wrestling foundations, I believe this fight will go to the mat. Control in the guard with dominant ground and pound should be the theme of this fight.
In the end, I believe Volkmann's take down defense and abilities on the ground will nullify McKee's limited fight game.
My prediction: Jacob Volkmann
This welterweight contest is between Daniel "Ninja" Roberts and Greg Soto.
With an overall 11-1 MMA record, 2-1 in the UFC, Roberts debut in the octagon was short lived after a KO loss to John "Doomsday" Howard.
Placing the loss behind him, "Ninja" earned a decision victory over veteran Forrest Petz in his second UFC fight, followed by Submission of the Night honors after delivering a slick anaconda choke on Mike Guymon at UFC 121.
The southpaw Roberts possesses good take downs and very solid submissions.
Standing across the octagon will be a brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, Greg Soto.
8-1 as an ultimate fighter, Soto is 1-1 in the UFC with an illegal up kick loss and a decision victory.
Considering the similarities between both fighters skill sets, I believe this fight will be won on the ground.
In the end, Daniel "Ninja" Roberts will earn a victory over Greg Soto.
My prediction: Daniel Roberts
Potentially earning Fight of the Night honors, the matchup between former WEC lightweight champion, Mike Thomas Brown, and Diego Nunes possesses explosive possibilities.
Tremendously strong and powerful, Mike Brown's first victory over lightweight legend, Urijah Faber, was the result of a jaw rattling elbow that sent Faber flying in to the cage. Successfully defending his title against Faber a second time, Brown will ultimately lose his lightweight belt to current champion, Jose Aldo.
With a 15-1 overall MMA record, Diego "The Gun" Nunes epitomizes balance within the octagon. Equally versed with exceptional stand up skills as well as a purple belt in brazilian jiu-jitsu, Nunes has five KO and six submission victories.
Both fighters are well equipped with a balanced arsenal of stand up striking skills and ground game tactics. This fight should deliver the truest definition of mixed martial arts as both fighters possess all the abilities necessary to be a champion in the octagon.
My prediction: Mike Thomas Brown
Phil Baroni versus Brad Tavares will be a matchup of the old versus the new.
For the MMA purists, Baroni blasted onto the scene in his third UFC fight with a decisive KO victory over Dave Menne at UFC 39 in 2002. With lightning-quick hand speed, Phil has always possessed knockout power and explosiveness. Fighting worldwide, the "New York Bad Ass" has competed in all of the major mixed martial arts promotions including the UFC, Pride Fighting Championship, Elite XC and Strikeforce.
A tough, rugged striker with good hand speed and power of his own, Brad Tavares is 1-0 in the octagon with an overall 6-0 MMA record. Incorporating good leg kicks with effective take downs and a solid ground game, this Hawaiian mixed martial artist continues to develop a balanced skill set.
Phil Baroni's conditioning has always been suspect. Wanting to re-establish himself within the UFC, Baroni will come out strong and push the pace looking to deliver a knockout of the young and hungry Tavares. Unfortunately for the "New York Bad Ass," Tavares's stand up possesses equal power as Baroni and will match Phil strike for strike. As Baroni's conditioning tank runs on empty, the fight will favor Tavares.
Additionally, Tavares will be able to keep Baroni at bay with a variety of kicks and ultimately take this fight to the ground and deliver destructive ground and pound.
In the end, Phil Baroni's return to the UFC will be mired with a loss by Brad Tavares.
My prediction: Brad Tavares
With a 14-1 overall MMA record, Josh "The Fluke" Grispi's fight experience is very impressive.
Holding victories over Jens Pulver and Mark Hominick, Grispi has proven that he can stand and trade with some of the very best boxers within the featherweight division.
Solid in both boxing and brazilian jiu-jitsu, "The Fluke's" original opponent, current UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, had to pull out from this contest due to a back injury.
Stepping in to compete for Aldo is the 8-1, Dustin "The Diamond" Poirier.
Fighting twice in the WEC, this will be Poirier's toughest competition to date. With five overall (T)KO victories to his credit, "The Diamond" possesses knockout power in his strikes.
Overall, Grispi's experience and ability to out box some of the best in the featherweight division will be too much for Poirier to overcome. Look for this fight to be an outstanding stand up competition with glimmers of excellent jiu-jitsu mixed in.
My prediction: Josh Grispi
Competing in the UFC since 2006, Marcus "Irish Hand Grenade" Davis is a respectable 9-4 within the famed octagon. Earning five total awards for Fight of the Night, Knockout of the Night or Submission of the Night honors, Davis brings his A-game each and every time to the cage.
5-4 in the UFC with an overall 18-6 MMA record, Jeremy "Lil' Heathen" Stephens has never suffered a loss by a (T)KO. Heavy handed with tremendous striking skills, Stephens has earned victories over accomplished stand up strikers including Sam Stout.
Also earning Knockout of the Night (X2) and Fight of the Night honors, Jeremy Stephens never gives up and has a tremendous heart and willingness to stand and trade in the center of the octagon.
Making his lightweight debut, Marcus Davis will need to cut a considerable amount of weight to come in under the 155 pound weight ceiling for this fight. As a large welterweight, I feel this weight cut may diminish the cardiovascular conditioning of Davis.
With the ability to fight all three rounds at a full throttle pace, Jeremy Stephens' conditioning and excellent stand up striking will cause problems for Marcus Davis.
I expect this fight to possess many fireworks. When the sweat is wiped and the blood is clotted, the victory will go to the "Lil' Heathen."
My prediction: Jeremy Stephens
Possessing unlimited energy, Clay "The Carpenter" Guida is non-stop throughout the entirety of his fights. Constantly moving from his introduction to the decision, Guida has unrivaled conditioning and brings a high level of intensity and commitment to his fights.
With a mediocre 27-11 overall MMA record, 7-5 in the UFC, Guida continues to fight for Dana White because he is unrelenting and possesses the heart and character envied by the boss.
Earning three Fight of the Night and one Submission of the Night, as well as Fight of the Year honors, the fans and the UFC brass alike know that Clay Guida enters the octagon to give 110 percent each and every fight.
Opposing Guida will be Takanori "The Fireball Kid" Gomi. The last and only Pride Fighting Championships lightweight champion, Gomi has an overall, impressive 32-6 MMA record, of which 12 victories are by knockout.
1-1 in the UFC with a submission loss to Kenny Florian and a knockout victory over Tyson Griffin, Gomi's experience and overall skill set is why "The Dynamite Kid" is considered one of the best lightweights on the planet.
This exciting fight will match up the heart and incredible intensity of Clay Guida versus the tremendous boxing prowess and overall fight experience of Takanori Gomi.
Considering that "The Carpenter" has never lost due to a (T)KO, I believe his pace and unrelenting style will earn him a minor upset and a decision victory over "The Fireball Kid."
My prediction: Clay Guida
Never short on words or arrogance, Nate Diaz brings an 8-3 UFC record to the octagon against the undefeated, 13-0-1, Dong Hyun Kim in this outstanding welterweight matchup.
Known for his unorthodox, yet highly effective slap style boxing, Diaz is also a tremendously gifted ground tactician under Cesar Gracie with submission victories over Kurt Pelligrino, Melvin Guillard and Marcus Davis.
A fourth degree black belt in judo, Kim is 4-0-1 in the UFC. This South Korean mixed martial artist is extremely versatile with a balanced stand up game as well as solid ground skills. Physically larger than Diaz, Kim's strength and size can cause trouble for Diaz.
An interesting stylistic matchup, Diaz is the more technical striker. Even though Nate has sub par take down defense, his world class jiu-jitsu will provide him an advantage and can open up sweeps and submissions from the guard.
In the end, I believe that Nate Diaz will nullify Dong Hyun Kim's offensive arsenal and provide the South Korean with his first MMA defeat.
My prediction: Nate Diaz
Don't blink during this matchup. Potential Knockout of the Night honors could go to the victor of this fight.
At 6'3" 205 pounds, Brandon "The Truth" Vera stormed onto the UFC scene with thunderous (T)KO victories over Justin Eilers and Frank Mir. With a recent two fight losing skid, Vera will attempt to stay employed by the UFC with a victory over Silva and avoid a three fight losing streak.
Thiago Silva has endured a history of back problems and is now healthy and looking to make a run at the UFC light heavyweight championship.
Willing to stand and trade, Silva has a 16-2 overall MMA record with 11 knockouts. Absolutely crushing Keith Jardine with a short left hook at UFC 102, Silva possesses dynamite in his hands, feet and knees.
The muay thai talents of Brandon Vera will attempt to thwart the boxing prowess and explosiveness of Thiago Silva.
In the end, I believe Silva's overall abilities will earn him a (T)KO victory over "The Truth."
My prediction: Thiago Silva
The co-main event of the night matches up a brawler versus a stand up tactician.
Chris "The Crippler" Leben is 31-6 with 13 knockout victories overall as an ultimate fighter. Fighting for the UFC on 16 occasions, Leben's brawling style has earned him two Knockout of the Night and two Fight of the Night honors. With an iron chin, Leben's only (T)KO loss is to current UFC middleweight champion, Anderson Silva, back in 2006.
Standing across from Leben will be Brian "The All American" Stann. Formerly the WEC light heavyweight champion, Stann, like Leben, has dynamite in his hands and brings a heavy arsenal of stand up strikes to each fight. With a 3-2 UFC record, "The All American" will be climbing up the competition ladder to take on the heavy handed and always game "Crippler."
Looking to improve on his overall fight game, Brian Stann recently relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico to train with Greg Jackson and his group of accomplished mixed martial artists including Georges St. Pierre and Rashad Evans.
Possessing a non-sanctioned victory over Stann, this author and former fighter used his wrestling prowess and ground game to neutralize Brian's heavy hands and eek out a decision victory (www.mixedmartialarts.com/mma.cfm?go=stats.fightCard&eid=abb148a3-0fbc-4a31-9f41-0c7a5a4e26ec).
Realizing that this fight will not go to the ground, Brian Stann will attempt to land his crisp, tactical strikes before Leben delivers a powerful, wide hook.
This fight will showcase the very effective knockout power of both fighters with Chris Leben's iron chin being the difference maker.
Look for a number of technically sound strikes to be landed by Brian Stann without the expected knockout.
In the end, "The Crippler's" brawling style will earn him his fourth straight victory in the UFC and a (T)KO win over "The All American."
My prediction: Chris Leben
The co-main event of UFC 125 features the current UFC lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar versus the No. 1 contender, Gray Maynard.
Coming off of back to back victories over "The Prodigy" BJ Penn, Edgar will be looking to not only defend his lightweight championship belt, but avenge his only loss within the octagon to Maynard back in 2008.
A very accomplished wrestler, Edgar's tremendous conditioning blends nicely with his boxing skills allowing him to pick apart his opponents from a variety of angles and levels. Holding victories over top notch lightweights including Sean Sherk, Hermes Franca and the aforementioned, BJ Penn, Frankie Edgar's experience includes all styles of fighters.
Looking to defeat Edgar a second time, Gray Maynard is also a tremendous wrestler with unlimited stamina and the ability to box with the best in the division.
With victories over Kenny Florian, Nate Diaz and Roger Huerta, Maynard's strong frame at 155 pounds allows him to physically dominate most of his opponents from the clinch as well as on the ground.
Training at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Gray Maynard's training partners are some of the best of the best in the UFC including Randy Couture, Forrest Griffin and Evan Dunham.
Considering the wrestling pedigrees of both fighters, the winner of this lightweight championship will be determined in the stand up game.
I believe that Frankie Edgar's movement and unlimited stamina will allow him to pick his spots during the stand up exchanges earning him a decision victory in the end.
After this five-round championship battle, Edgar will retain the UFC lightweight championship and avenge his only loss within the octagon.
My prediction: Frankie Edgar