The Ultimate Fighting Championship will close out 2012 with the UFC 155 fight card set for Dec. 29, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Here are my predictions for the entire fight card:
Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez
Dos Santos only needed 64 seconds to dethrone Velasquez at “UFC on Fox,” and the Brazilian seems confident he’ll emerge victorious once again.
Cain claims an ACL injury hindered his performance at UFC on Fox, and he vows to retrieve his belt on Dec. 29.
Dos Santos won their last encounter via knockout, so I have to give him the advantage in the striking department. Cain’s best bet would be to take the fight to the ground, but that’s easier said than done. Junior’s takedown defense is no joke, so putting him on his back and keeping him there won’t be an easy task. Cain should be able to make it more of a contest this time around, but the odds still seem to favor dos Santos.
Prediction: Dos Santos wins via TKO.
Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller
Both men will try to take a step closer to the lightweight title when they collide at UFC 155. Lauzon is coming off an impressive victory against Jamie Varner, but he’ll have his hands full against Miller. “J-Lau” had a hard time dealing with Varner’s wrestling during his last outing, and things would have probably gone differently if the latter didn’t gas.
Miller should be able to smother Lauzon with his wrestling as well, and I expect him to emerge victorious.
Prediction: Miller wins via decision
Tim Boetsch vs. Constantinos Philippou
Boetsch was originally scheduled to face Chris Weidman at UFC 155, but the latter pulled out due to a torn labrum. Philippou will now take Weidman’s spot on short notice, and it’ll be his toughest test in the UFC so far. Both men are currently on four-fight win streaks, but Boetsch has faced tougher opponents in the past. Philippou might have a slight advantage in the striking department, but Boetsch’s strength and wrestling skills should guide him to victory.
Prediction: Boetsch wins via decision
Alan Belcher vs. Yushin Okami
Both men met a while back at UFC 62, and Yushin was the better man. However, a lot has changed since then.
Belcher is currently on a tear, stopping three of his last four opponents in the first round. His BJJ looked awesome during his last outing against Rousimar Palhares, and he should be able to deal with Okami’s wrestling a lot better this time around.
Belcher is the better striker, and he should be able to pick Okami apart while standing. It should be a competitive fight, but I’m leaning towards “The Talent.”
Prediction: Belcher wins via TKO
Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson
Leben has been a bit inconsistent lately, but he couldn’t have asked for a better opponent than Brunson — who’ll be making his UFC debut. Brunson got knocked out by Ronaldo Souza — yes, the BJJ specialist — during his last outing, so it’s easy to imagine what would happen if Leben puts his hands on him. I don’t think Brunson’s grappling is good enough to consistently take Leben down and keep him on his back, so it’s only a matter of time before he runs into trouble.
Prediction: Leben wins via KO.
Brad Pickett defeats Eddie Wineland
Erik Perez defeats Byron Bloodworth
Melvin Guillard defeats Jamie Varner
Michael Johnson defeats Myles Jury
Todd Duffee defeats Philip De Fries
Chris Cariaso defeats John Moraga
Max Holloway defeats Leonard Garcia