At UFC 160, Cain Velasquez will defend the Ultimate Fighting Championship's heavyweight title for the first time since reclaiming it, while Junior dos Santos and Mark Hunt (visa issues have been cleared) will fight for the number one contender spot in the big boy division.
Here are my predictions for the entire UFC 160 fight card set for May 25, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev:
Cain Velasquez versus Antonio Silva
Velasquez (11-1-0, 9 KOs) ran right through "Bigfoot" during their UFC 146 encounter, turning the Brazilian behemoth into a bloody mess. Silva (18-4-0, 13 KOs) is coming off a knockout victory against former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, but he didn't look that good during the fight. Overeem dominated the first two rounds of their UFC 156 encounter, and the Dutchman would have easily won a decision if he didn't get caught during the third. What stood out the most to me during that fight was how easily Overeem was able to dominate Silva in the clinch, particularly against the cage. If Overeem was able to control Antonio with his grappling, Velazquez shouldn't have any problems manhandling Bigfoot once again.
Prediction: Velasquez wins via TKO.
Junior dos Santos versus Mark Hunt
Hunt (9-7-0, 6 KOs) is currently on a tear, racking up four consecutive wins, but he'll be in for his toughest test in the Ultimate Fighting Championship when he squares up against dos Santos (15-2-0, 11 KOs) at UFC 160. "Cigano" is coming of a humiliating loss to Velasquez, and he's highly motivated to get back to the winning side of things.
Both men are solid strikers, but Junior will have the advantage once the fight hits the canvas. The holes in Hunt's grappling were evident during his bout against Stefan Struve, weaknesses dos Santos should be able to exploit if he decides to take the fight to the ground.
Prediction: Dos Santos wins via TKO.
Glover Teixeira versus James Te Huna
Teixeira (20-2-0, 12 KOs) is arguably the fastest rising star in the UFC's light-heavyweight division, but Te Huna (16-5-0, 10 KOs) is no slouch either. However, Glover has faced tougher competition in the past, and he's seems to be the more-rounded MMA fighter on paper as well.
Prediction: Teixeira wins via submission.
Gray Maynard versus T.J. Grant
With the next shot at lightweight champion Benson Henderson on the line, expect fireworks when these two meet inside the Octagon at UFC 160. T.J. (20-5-0, 13 submissions) is pretty crafty with his submissions, but getting Maynard (11-1-1, 2 KOs) on the ground won't be easy. Gray should be able to dictate where the fight takes place with his wrestling, meaning both men will probably be standing up for the majority of their bout, and he should be able to dominate the striking exchanges as well.
Prediction: Maynard wins via decision.
Donald Cerrone versus K.J. Noons
Both men have had their share of tough times lately, but only one will get some redemption at UFC 160. While Cerrone (19-5-0, 13 submissions) is the favorite going into the bout, the matchup favors Noons (11-6-0, 8 KOs) in my opinion. K.J. (who'll be making his UFC debut) is the technically superior striker, and his takedown defense is good enough to keep the fight standing if Cerrone decides to switch things up.
Prediction: Noons wins via decision.
Mike Pyle defeats Rick Story
Dennis Bermudez defeats Max Holloway
Robert Whittaker defeats Colton Smith
Khabib Nurmagomedov defeats Abel Trujillo
Nah-Shon Burrell defeats Stephen Thompson
Brian Bowles defeats George Roop
Jeremy Stephens defeats Estevan Payan
Previous fight card predictions (UFC on FX 8): 12-1