In just a few short days, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will close out an exceptional year with one of the most anticipated events in the history of the organization with UFC 141.
UFC 141 will take place at the sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. beginning at 7:00 p.m. PT and 10:00 p.m. ET.
In the main event of the evening, vicious ground-and-pound specialist Brock Lesnar will make his return to the Octagon after having been off for more than a year to take on UFC newcomer Alistair Overeem.
The main card consists of five spectacular fights that could help UFC 141 become one of the greatest fight cards of all time.
The following slides display betting odds and predictions for UFC 141.
Betting Odds: Nam Phan -210; Jim Hettes +170
In what will more than likely go down as an all-out-war type of fight, Nam Phan will look to feed off his recent victory over Leonard Garcia when he meets Jim Hettes at UFC 141.
However, Hettes has yet to lose a bout, as he's rapidly becoming one of the best submission artists in the UFC—all nine of his victories have come by way of tapout.
Phan will have to avoid the ground game at all costs, as he'll have more control in the stand-up.
If Phan can control the pace of the fight and establish his quality strike exchange, he'll have no problem giving Hettes his first defeat inside the Octagon.
Prediction: Phan by R2 TKO
Betting Odds: Alexander Gustafsson -325; Vladimir Matyushenko +250
In one of the strangest matchups at UFC 141, up-and-coming 205-pound Alexander Gustafsson will look to prove his worthiness in a battle with 40-year old Vladimir Matyushenko.
While Matyushenko is still putting up "W's" in the win column, he's not fighting legitimate competition.
It's likely Gustafsson will be the toughest opponent Matyushenko has faced since Jon Jones at the midpoint of 2010.
Matyushenko will need to prove early that he's more than just another Gustafsson victim.
If he can't, he'll be in for an early evening, which ultimately makes for a not-so-happy Las Vegas crowd.
Prediction: Gustafsson by R1 TKO
Betting Odds: Jon Fitch -210; Johny Hendricks +170
Despite his not-so-thrilling success, Jon Fitch remains arguably a top-three welterweight in the world, as he's lost just one fight in his UFC career.
However, Fitch will face an opponent in Johny Hendricks who could destroy any hopes of another title shot, as he specializes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling.
When push comes to shove, it's unlikely Fitch will be able to finish off Hendricks, giving his opponent an added opportunity to connect on that one blow that could end the fight in a matter of seconds.
While Hendricks certainly will be looking for that blow, it's whether or not he capitalizes on it.
If not, Fitch will ride the fight until the judges have made their decision.
Prediction: Fitch by Unanimous Decision
Betting Odds: Donald Cerrone -285; Nate Diaz +225
Donald Cerrone has proven time and time again why he is no man to mess with in the UFC's lightweight division.
"The Cowboy" is the clear favorite heading into action on December 30th, as he's currently in the best stretch of his MMA career.
However, Diaz is just as dangerous, as he's one of the top submission artists in the UFC today.
Cerrone will have to be on guard at all times since Diaz can end an opponent with just one wrong move.
If Cerrone can establish a well-thought-out game plan and control action from the ground position, he could capture his seventh consecutive win, pushing him closer to a 155-pound title shot.
Prediction: Cerrone by Unanimous Decision
Betting Odds: Alistair Overeem -135; Brock Lesnar +105
After being out of the Octagon for more than a year, former WWE superstar Brock Lesnar will make his return to take on highly regarded striker Alistair Overeem.
Due to his time off and inability to exchange strikes, Lesnar is the underdog by a small margin leading up to their main event of the evening at UFC 141.
However, Overeem is yet to prove he can defeat legitimate contenders in the UFC, as he'll be making his first-ever appearance since joining the organization earlier this year.
It's likely Lesnar will attempt to overwhelm Overeem and take him to the ground early.
If Overeem can stuff Lesnar's takedown attempt, he'll begin to unleash his world-class striking skills.
However, if Lesnar does put Overeem on his back, it could make for another quick heavyweight fight.
Prediction: Lesnar by R2 TKO
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