Oh boy. Do you feel that? It’s the excitement that only special fights bring upon us diehard MMA fans. When we know that no matter the outcome, we are going to witness something great. I’ve had that feeling for an entire five months. Finally it is upon us. UFC 168 is going down this Saturday, and the main event is something special. A rematch of epic proportions. Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva II. But who do I think will leave No Doubt? Here are my predictions on the fight, as well as the other fights on the card.
Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Championship Bout)
I’ve heard several people make the remark, and I will be one to regurgitate that remark on a consistent basis until the fight actually happens. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN IN THIS FIGHT! If you predict Anderson Silva wins by first round knockout, you could be right. If you say Weidman will win by first round knockout, well, that too would be a good prediction, considering how the last fight played out. Either guy could also pull off a submission during any point of the fight, and we could see an epic five round war where either guy gets the nod. Literally ANYTHING could happen.
Chris Weidman showed in the first fight that he is not afraid to keep the fight on the feet. He out struck Silva, and even baited Silva to throw punches by keeping his hands low. This confidence could give Weidman an edge in the fight, or it could lead to him getting knocked out cold. Weidman will probably look to take the fight to the ground in the first round. He has a very good change to do just that, as Anderson Silva has been taken down in the first round by Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen (twice) and Weidman himself.
Anderson Silva is the greatest fighter to ever walk on the planet earth. In his last fight, some people say he was clowning, and got knocked out because he was careless. Although I think he went too far in his tactics, I do also believe that Silva must do these tactics in order to entice his opponents to throw wild punches. Weidman was picking his shots, and wasn’t falling for Anderson’s tactics. Will we see a different Anderson Silva on Saturday? Well, if I were Anderson, I wouldn’t change the strategy that helped me win 16 straight in the UFC.
If Anderson Silva does change his strategy, and he keeps his hands up, it will only make it easier for Chris Weidman to take the former champion down. Weidman will dictate where this fight takes place, and I believe that the first round will be where the fight ends. Last fight, Weidman took Anderson down on his first attempt, but attempted a submission that lost his positioning. Before that, he was landing some hard ground and pound. I believe this time that Weidman will take Silva down right off the bat, pound his face in for three minutes, then finish the fight with a submission. But as I’ve said before, this fight could go ANY way.
Prediction: Chris Weidman def. Anderson Silva (1st Round Submission)
Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate (UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship Bout)
I spent a lot of time talking about the main event, so I’ll keep this prediction short and sweet, as it is an easier prediction with not as many possible outcomes. Miesha Tate was the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion until Rousey dominated her, submitting her with a brutal arm bar. Tate’s specialty is her grappling, and in the fight, she was out grappled by the best women’s fighter in the world.
Ronda Rousey is a one trick pony, but boy does she make that trick work. Seven wins, all submission, all arm bars and all first round. That is impressive. She is coming off of a win over Liz Carmouche, her first defence of her UFC championship. Tate is coming off a loss to Cat Zingano, where she was finished after a brutal knee in the clinch. This fight should end up going the same way as the first. Tate might be able to get out of the first round, but I doubt she’ll find a way to avoid the arm bar.
Prediction: Ronda Rousey def. Miesha Tate (1st Round Submission)
Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne (Heavyweight Bout)
This heavyweight fight is to determine who will face Fabricio Werdum in a number one contenders fight for the heavyweight championship. Both of these fighters are top heavyweights, and both have the potential to hold the UFC heavyweight title.
Barnett is as old school as it gets. From his pro-wrestling like banter, to his ruthless aggression in the cage, Barnett is more fighter than athlete.
Travis Browne is quite the opposite. A former basketball player, Hapa Browne is known for his giant stature and athletic ability. He moves like a lightweight, but strikes like a heavyweight. His unique style is a product of the Jackson/Winklejohn camp.
This is new school vs. old school, and although the odds makers are giving Barnett the edge, I see Browne making this his breakout performance. His only loss at heavyweight was due to a torn hamstring that occurred in the middle of the fight. If it weren’t for that injury, Browne might have been perfect at heavyweight. He finished Alistair Overeem in his last fight, so he has the strength to knock out elite heavyweights. I believe he’ll catch Browne off guard, land a devastating strike, and knock out the former UFC heavyweight champion.
Prediction: Travis Browne def. Josh Barnett (2nd Round KO)
Jim Miller vs. Fabricio Camoes (Lightweight Bout)
What a tough opponent the UFC has given Fabricio Camoes for his third fight since returning to the UFC. Jim Miller is known for only losing to the best, as the only losses on his record have come against Nate Diaz, Benson Henderson, Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar. All of those names were either champions at lightweight, or top contenders in the division.
Jim Miller was submitted in his last fight against Pat Healy, but the fight was later ruled a No Contest after Healy tested positive for marijuana. There’s no doubt though that Miller sees the fight as a huge loss, and he’ll be looking to rebound in spectacular fashion. A BJJ black belt and a Division I wrestler, Miller has all the credentials to be a nightmare on the ground for Camoes.
Camoes is a 3rd degree black belt in BJJ, but has been submitted many times throughout his MMA career. He is also coming off a decision loss to Melvin Guillard. Camoes will have a very hard time solving Miller, and I don’t see the fight going well for Camoes.
Prediction: Jim Miller def. Fabricio Camoes (Unanimous Decision)
Dustin Poirier vs. Diego Brandao
Poirier is one of the most talented fighters under 25 in the UFC. He has already fought the best of the best in the featherweight division, other than Jose Aldo, and has fared well against top competition. In his last fight, Poirier brutalized Erik Koch on the feet, knocking Koch down several times, almost stopping the fight.
Diego Brandao is on a three fight winning streak. The Brazilian has amazing speed, and is a wizard on the ground. Unlike Poirier though, he has yet to face the best of the featherweight division.
I believe that Poirier will bring the fight to Brandao, and overwhelm the TUF 14 winner with his stand-up. Poirier has huge potential, and this fight will be another fight to grow for The Diamond, and one that he should be able to win.
Prediction: Dustin Poirier def. Diego Brandao (2nd Round TKO)
Michael Hutchinson’s Main Card Prediction Record: 6-3
Front-Page Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor