UFC 139 storms into the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California this Saturday, November 19.
Headlining the action-packed card will be a light heavyweight matchup of epic proportions between newly-signed MMA veteran and recent Fedor Emelianenko destroyer Dan Henderson against former UFC and Pride champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
Main card action also includes a tremendous middleweight duel between the hard-hitting, aggressive Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva and the lethal Cung Le.
Bantamweight action continues with a bout between "The California Kid" Urijah Faber and Brian Bowles.
Returning to the Octagon after suffering an upset defeat at the hands of Charlie Brenneman, Rick Story will look to re-establish himself in the welterweight division as he challenges the crafty veteran Martin Kampmann.
Rounding out the main card action will be a light heavyweight bout between Stephan Bonnar and Kyle Kingsbury.
Please follow along as I dissect and predict the winners for the main card fights at UFC 139.
You can follow Todd Seyler at www.napalmfitness.com
Main card action begins with a tremendous light heavyweight duel between Stephan Bonnar and Kyle Kingsbury.
Bonnar, who was defeated by Forrest Griffin in the original Ultimate Fighter finale, has experienced mediocre success fighting under the UFC banner.
With a 7-6 UFC record, Bonnar has defeated the likes of Keith Jardine and Krzysztof Soszynski. Unfortunately, Bonnar has also suffered career-altering defeats at the hands of Jon Jones and Mark Coleman.
Known for his boxing prowess, Bonnar's quick hands in the stand-up exchanges earn points with the judges and may cause facial lacerations, but he lacks punching power, which has resulted in a limited offense inside the Octagon.
Needing a victory over Kingsbury to resurrect a once-promising career, Bonnar will look to exploit his opponent in the stand-up exchanges and finish this fight on their fight.
Kingsbury is an exceptional athlete with a well-rounded Muay Thai background and an excellent wrestling pedigree.
Successful in 48 percent of his takedown attempts, Kingsbury possesses the ability to take a fight to the mat as well as exchange on his feet.
Bonnar's 58 percent takedown defense will not prevent the stronger, more athletic Kingsbury from changing this matchup with a solid double-leg takedown.
Both combatants will stand and trade in the center of the Octagon. The difference in this matchup is Kingsbury's athleticism, strength and ability to control the fight with his takedowns.
In the end, Bonnar will drop to 7-7 within the UFC and Kingsbury will win his fifth consecutive bout in the famed Octagon.
Winner: Kyle Kingsbury via unanimous decision victory
Welterweight action overtakes the Octagon in the second main card matchup between Danish kickboxer Martin "Hitman" Kampmann and the American grappler Rick "The Horror" Story.
With two consecutive defeats inside the cage, Kampmann's future may be in jeopardy if he is defeated by Story this Saturday.
Always a gamer, Kampmann battles to the final bell each and every time he steps foot inside the Octagon.
Skilled in his stand-up exchanges, the "Hitman" will have a striking advantage over the wrestling-based Story at the HP Pavilion.
With seven knockout victories, Kampmann can be lethal on his feet. Additionally, the "Hitman's" above-average ground game has equated to six submission victories as well.
Combine Kampmann's well-rounded skill set with his urgency for a victory and "The Horror" will need to overcome a "I have nothing to lose" attitude by the "Hitman" to secure a win this Saturday.
Known for his wrestling pedigree, Story has been successful in 49 percent of his takedown attempts.
Possessing the ability to take a solid punch, the Washington native will eat a few shots as he works inside and drives his opponent up against the cage.
Following in the Randy Couture dirty boxing philosophy, Story is well-known for delivering solid punches from the clinch and dropping levels to take the fight to the ground.
Extremely strong, well-conditioned, possessing an iron chin and the competitive fire to battle regardless of the circumstances, "The Horror" is the epitome of a professional inside the Octagon.
Repeating his successful game plan that has worked so well in the UFC, Story will be willing to take a few punches to drive Kampmann up against the cage fence where he can wear down the Dutch kickboxer with inside punches, ultimately dropping levels and taking this fight to the ground.
Even though the "Hitman" is a brown belt in jiu-jitsu and is well-versed off of his back, Story's relentless pace, physical dominance and excellent ground-and-pound will be too much for Kampmann to endure and secure a submission victory.
In the end, Story's grind it out mentality will secure a victory and provide Kampmann with his third consecutive defeat under the UFC banner.
Winner: Rick Story via unanimous decision victory
A potential Fight of the Night matchup, bantamweight action ensues with a battle between "The California Kid" Urijah Faber and Brian Bowles.
Faber needs no introduction to MMA fans. A former WEC champion, "The California Kid" is solely responsible for placing the 145-pound division on the ultimate fighting map and introducing the world to the likes of the featherweight division.
Surging for his final run at championship gold, Faber will need to defeat Bowles this Saturday if he is going to once again battle Dominick Cruz for the bantamweight title in the future.
Both Faber and Bowles possess excellent stand-up skills. Both bantamweights are tremendously conditioned, are strong, powerful and relentless strikers. Ground games are similar between both competitors and their jiu-jitsu talents are almost identical.
Essentially, Faber and Bowles are mirror images of one another with respect to their skill sets.
The difference in this bantamweight clash is the experience that Faber brings inside the Octagon. With 30 professional fights versus Bowles' 11, "The California Kid" knows what it takes to be victorious on the world's biggest mixed martial arts stage.
Easily the biggest fight of Bowles' young career, the nerves and pressure of challenging the likes of Faber on the main card will be difficult to overcome.
"The California Kid" will push the pace from the opening bell and will not allow Bowles an opportunity to take a breath and remove himself from the pressure cooker of competing against a former champion on the main card.
This strategy will secure a victory for Faber as he continues to press forward to once again cinch the championship strap around his waist.
Winner: Urijah Faber via unanimous decision victory
This middleweight bout between two MMA veterans is a very interesting matchup.
Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva will bring his aggressive strikes and knockout power inside the cage against the technically proficient former Sanshou world champion Cung Le.
Interesting because of the paths both veterans have taken to meet at the HP Pavilion in UFC 139.
Silva has been reeling since his return to the UFC. Suffering a knockout defeat at the hands of Chris Leben in July, Silva's record in his previous six matchups is 3-3 with two losses by KO.
Alternatively, Le will be making his UFC debut this Saturday. Possessing a 7-1 overall MMA record, not only is Le a former Sanshou champion, he is also the former Strikeforce middleweight champion.
A contrast of fighting styles, "The Axe Murderer" waits patiently for his opportunity to strike and then unloads of barrage of wild hooks, devastating knees and jaw-rattling punches to secure knockout victories.
Conversely, Le is a tactical striker who picks apart his opposition with excellently placed kicks followed up with pinpoint punches.
Understanding Silva's offensive prowess, Le will keep his distance with well-placed kicks. Keeping his defense high, the former Sanshou champion will have success staying out of the range of "The Axe Murderer" and methodically picking apart the Brazilian.
Even though Le has admitted dietary and cardiovascular conditioning lapses in his past, he will arrive to the biggest fight of his MMA career in excellent shape.
A well-conditioned and focused Cung Le is a lethal striker and he will prove to be too much in the stand-up exchanges against the future Hall of Fame practitioner in Wanderlei Silva.
Saturday will serve as "The Axe Murderer's" exit from ultimate fighting as he provides closure on a tremendous career departing the UFC with his final defeat.
Winner: Cung Le Round 2 KO
The main event is an epic matchup between two MMA veterans, two former champions, two lethal strikers and two extremely talented mixed martial artists.
Dan "Hendo" Henderson brings his explosive right hand and iron jaw to the Octagon against the athletic ability and striking prowess of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
Henderson is coming off of his biggest victory to date with a first-round knockout of the immortal Fedor Emelianenko.
Riding a three-fight win streak, "Hendo" will be looking to add Rua to his list of fallen competitors.
After losing his title to Jon Jones in March, Shogun made quick work of Forrest Griffin with a first-round knockout victory in August.
There will be no surprises with respect to the fight strategy for both competitors. Hendo will patiently stalk Shogun, circling the cage waiting for his opportunity to deliver a bomb with an overhand right.
Conversely, Rua will utilize his footwork and athleticism to vary his striking angles delivering a variety of leg kicks, punches, elbows and knees to Henderson in the center of the Octagon.
Undoubtedly eating a few Shogun punches, Hendo will drive the former champion up against the cage fence where he will administer his barrage of inside strikes.
Leveraging his body weight against Rua, Hendo will look to wear down the Brazilian whose history of cardiovascular conditioning declines in the past are well documented.
Needing to keep his distance, Shogun will attack from a variety of angles and planes attempting to keep Henderson off balance. This game plan will prevent Hendo from getting inside and delivering his patented dirty boxing offense.
An exciting bout with back and forth action, Henderson will prove to be too much for Rua and ultimately wear down the former champion enabling the opportunity to deliver an explosive right hand finishing the night for Shogun.
In the end, Hendo's wave of momentum will continue as he provides Rua with his third defeat by knockout at UFC 139.
Winner: Dan Henderson via Round 3 KO