UFC 133 has been talked about as the most cursed card of all time. The main event was originally slated to be Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans.
Jones, however, was forced to withdraw from the card because of a possible surgery. He was replaced with Phil Davis, who also had to withdraw due to an injury just three weeks before the card is scheduled to take place.
After numerous rumors about who would replace Davis, including an all but confirmed Evans vs. Lyoto Machida rematch, the replacement ended up being Tito Ortiz, who has drawn with Evans in the past and most recently won his first fight in four years over Ryan Bader at UFC 132.
Then, with the card seemingly set, Antonio "Lil Nog" Nogueira pulled out of the card because of a shoulder injury, leaving Rich Franklin without an opponent. The whole fight was scratched and Vitor Belfort vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama became the new Co-Main Event.
Now, we are just days away from UFC 133 and we finally seem to be over with the injuries to fighters on the card.
With that being said, nothing is certain, but let's take a look at each fight scheduled for UFC 133 and make some predictions.
Chad Mendes (10-0) vs. Rani Yahya (16-6)
Mendes has received a lot of hype in the Featherweight division, and he is going to look to continue his undefeated career against former top contender at Bantamweight in Yahya.
Mendes is looking for a title shot soon, and I don't see Yahya putting a damper on that.
Winner: Mendes via UD
Matt Hammil (10-3) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (11-1)
This light heavyweight battle features two exciting fighters capable of finishing a fight. Hammil is coming off of a decision loss to top contender Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 130, while Gustafsson has won two strait over Cyrille Diabate and James Te-Huna.
At just 24 years old, Gustafsson is looking to continue his road back to the top since losing to Phil Davis and I think he continues his progression against Hammil.
Winner: Gustafsson via (T)KO Rd. 2
Rory MacDonald (11-1) vs. Mike Pyle (21-7)
MacDonald is coming off of a dominant decision victory over Nate Diaz at UFC 129. At 22 years old, MacDonald is one of the youngest fighters in the UFC. Pyle is on a three-fight win streak with wins over John Hathaway and Ricardo Almeida.
This is a case where the UFC is pitting an up-and-coming youngster against an established veteran. Judging by the way MacDonald handled himself against Diaz, I don't see him having too much trouble dispatching of Pyle.
Winner: MacDonald via UD
Jorge Rivera (19-8) vs. Constantinos Philippou (7-2)
Rivera is looking to prove that his TKO loss to Michael Bisping was largely because of the illegal knee and that he can compete with the best in the UFC.
Philippou was moved up from an undercard fight when Rivera's original opponent was injured. I see Rivera making a return to his winning ways in this one.
Winner: Rivera via (T)KO Rd. 1
Brian Ebersole (47-14-1) (1) vs. Dennis Hallman (50-13-2) (1)
This is a battle between two men who have fought more fights than most in the UFC. Ebersole is coming off of an upset win over Chris Lytle and is currently riding an eight fight win streak.
Hallman most recently beat Karo Parisyan and is looking to continue his two fight win streak. The biggest question about this fight, however, has nothing to do with fighting, but with hair.
Will Ebersole be able to continue his winning ways without the very popular "Hairrow" on his chest? I think so, as he is looking for a new design to shave into his chest hair.
Winner: Ebersole via Submission Rd. 3
Co-Main Event: Vitor Belfort (19-9) vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-3) (2)
Vitor Belfort is continuing his return to the octagon and is looking to get his first victory in the UFC at middleweight. In his first UFC fight at middleweight, Belfort fought for the title against Anderson Silva, a fight that ended with Belfort losing via first round TKO.
Akiyama has lost Chris Leben and Michael Bisping since entering the UFC with a debut win over Alan Belcher. With a loss to Belfort, Akiyama would be looking at three consecutive defeats and a possible title shot.
I see Belfort's hands being too quick and him pulling off the early finish over Akiyama.
Winner: Belfort via (T)KO Rd. 1
Main Event: Rashad Evans (15-1-1) vs. Tito Ortiz (16-8-1)
Both of these fighters have one draw on their records. That draw came at UFC 73, and although many feel like Tito won the fight, he was deducted a point for holding on to the fence and the official scorecard shows that neither fighter won the fight.
Now, Ortiz has won his first fight in four years and will be looking to take that momentum through Evans and land himself a title shot.
Evans, on the other hand, has been scheduled for two separate title fights since the last time that he has fought and has finally caved and taken a fight that isn't for the title to stay ready for when his time finally does come.
This is a case of ring rust vs. short lay-off, as Evans hasn't fought in over a year, while Ortiz will be fighting a month and four days after his first round victory over Ryan Bader.
Winner: Evans via UD
I'm Joe W.