It is almost Saturday night and that means UFC 131 is closing in on us. An exciting night of fights culminating in a final, No. 1 heavyweight contender bout between Junior dos Santos and Shane Carwin.
Originally this fight was suppose to take place between JDS and former UFC heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar, but due to his second bout with diverticulitis, Lesnar pulled out.
That left room for the big hitter, Carwin, who is returning from injury and straight out of the gate earning a number one contender's bout.
Then you have a bout between Diego Nunes and the newest member to the featherweight division after a weight drop, Kenny Florian. Both fighters could be in the running for a title shot after Chad Mendes faces Jose Aldo, if Mendes wins at UFC 133 that is.
Also you have a fight between Demian Maia and Mark Munoz which could be interesting and possibly catapult Maia back into the UFC middleweight title picture.
Donald Cerrone: Standing, I think Cerrone has this one in the bag, which is scary considering Cerrone has no victories by knockout, but 12 of his 14 wins are by submission. Here though, against Vagner Rocha, won't be another submission victory.
Cerrone is in for a dangerous fight here if the fight goes to the ground. It isn't like Cerrone is an idiot on the ground though, so he should be well off regardless of where the fight ends up. Cerrone should try to keep this fight standing though.
Vagner Rocha: Rocha is a dangerous Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and could easily put away Cerrone on the ground. Rocha has four of his six victories by submission, and three of those submission victories are by armbar. Rocha's glaring weakness though is the stand-up so he should try to put this fight on the ground as fast as possible.
Overall Reflection: I think Cerrone definitely will beat Rocha and it will be by second round TKO. Cerrone should get his first win by knockout, staying away from the ground and not taking the fight to Rocha's one big advantage. Cerrone knows how to strike and gets the job done on Saturday.
Jon Olav Einemo: With Einemo you're getting a great Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter. Surprisingly, coming out of the Golden Glory team, it is exactly that BJJ knowledge that has won him fights.
It only leads me to wonder in the five years he has been out of the sport, has his striking improved with Golden Glory? I think this five years out of the ring will definitely have some sort of impact on Einemo.
Dave Herman: This spot was originally slated for Shane Carwin, but one of the newer members to the UFC, Herman can definitely win this fight. Out of his 20 wins, Herman has 14 by knockout. That shows you something about this man's striking.
He is 20-2 overall with his biggest win coming over a very old, but always great moustache'd man (yes I created a word for him), Don Frye. Or it could be against Yoshihiro "New Year's Eve Kiss of Death" Nakao. Depending on how you look at it.
Overall Reflection: Okay, this one is tough to call seeing as Einemo is coming off of five years away from the sport, and Herman is brand new to the UFC and doesn't exactly have a huge name victory.
Overall though Einemo probably takes this to the ground and tries his best to shake off the ring rust, but Herman somehow gets back up and starts to pick apart Einemo standing.
Demian Maia: Maia definitely wants this fight on the ground with him in control so he can showcase his world class Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Maia is a threat to be reckoned with on the ground and could have his hands full with Munoz, but I doubt that with Maia's BJJ skills.
Maia definitely wants to stay away from the striking of this fight. That is his one weakness in this fight.
Mark Munoz: Munoz is a great wrestler, but his hands are where his victories come from. Coming off of a big knockout victory against CB Dollaway at UFC Live in March, Munoz will want to take advantage of Maia's weakness in the striking department.
Munoz though has had trouble beating the bigger names he has faced with his only two losses coming against Yushin Okami and one at light heavyweight against Matt Hamill.
Overall Reflection: I think Maia definitely is a great fighter in the middleweight division, but I can't see Munoz ending up on the ground with his wrestling background.
With this fight staying standing it is all Munoz's game to lose as he should easily be able to beat Maia standing. Maia though is getting better in the stand-up department though, so we could be in for a surprise.
Kenny Florian: Florian is making his third drop in weight class in his career. Originally fighting at middleweight, this will be Florian's first fight at featherweight. Personally, after all the weight drops he should be use to changing weight, so he should be able to shake off any effects.
Florian has 10 wins by submission out of his 14 overall career victories. One big thing though is Florian has had trouble in the past beating top fighters in his division, Nunes is currently the seventh-ranked featherweight.
Diego Nunes: Nunes is going to be a tough out for Florian. Nunes is 16-1 in his career and the only loss he has was a unanimous decision loss to LC Davis back in November of 2009. Outside of that, 11 of his 16 wins have been finishes (Six by submission, five by knockout). Nunes is coming off of a big victory where he out-striked former WEC featherweight champion, Mike Brown.
Overall Reflection: Here I go again with more craziness, but Nunes should be able to handle Florian with title implications close for both fighters. This is a super tough fight for Florian in his first appearance at featherweight, but if he can get this fight to the ground, I don't see why he wouldn't win.
Standing though, I think Florian could be in some trouble and I think Nunes should be able to keep this fight standing. When you train with a fighter like Jose Aldo, you're normally in good shape. So I think Nunes should be able to handle Florian.
I'm actually excited for this fight because I do like KenFlo, but this will be a super interesting featherweight match in my opinion.
Junior dos Santos: What you get with JDS is a super striker with good athleticism for a heavyweight. JDS knows how to pick you apart standing and will do it.
He has proven time and time again against some good fighters, Roy Nelson (although he didn't KO him), Mirko Cro Cop and Gabriel Gonzaga. If the fight goes to the ground, we haven't seen a lot of JDS' ground skills, but I wouldn't be surprised if he has a very adept ground game.
Shane Carwin: Carwin is the same as JDS, a very good striker. Getting hit by a punch from Carwin is like the equivalent of being hit by a spaceship launching off, and that isn't an exaggeration. Carwin almost beat Brock Lesnar last year and is coming off of surgery, so it has yet to be seen if he has fully recovered. Another question mark is his cardio, can Carwin last longer then one round? Can he handle JDS?
Overall Reflection: I think JDS has this one. I wouldn't be shocked though if Carwin clips JDS and gets the TKO victory. I just think JDS has much better striking, and after seeing Carwin's cardio in his last fight, I think JDS will outlast Carwin. Carwin's a serious contender though, and again it wouldn't shock me if he won.