UFC on Fox 10 is filled with intriguing matchups, and the winner of the main event featuring former lightweight champion Benson Henderson and Josh Thomson will have an excellent case for a title shot.
Here are my predictions for the entire UFC on Fox 10 fight card set for Jan. 25 at the United Center in Chicago, Ill:
Benson Henderson vs. Josh Thomson
After successfully defending the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight title three times, Henderson (19-3-0, 8 submissions) ran into problems when he faced Anthony Pettis last August, losing via armbar with 29 seconds left in the first round.
Thomson (20-5-0, 9 submissions) on the other hand made a strong statement during his last outing (his first fight in the UFC since 2004), knocking out the always game Nate Diaz during the second round of their UFC on Fox 7 encounter, snagging the event’s “Knockout of the Night” award. The victory instantly established Thomson as a force to be reckoned with in the lightweight division.
Benson is a 3:1 favorite heading into UFC on Fox 10, but that doesn’t mean you should count Josh out. Both men are competent wrestlers, meaning a majority of the fight will likely be contested standing up, where Thomson’s speed, footwork, and power should give him the edge.
Prediction: Thomson wins via decision.
Stipe Miocic vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
Miocic (10-1-0, 7 KOs) looked good during his last outing against Roy Nelson, bringing “Big Country’s” three-fight win streak to an end, winning via unanimous decision thanks to his superior boxing. Gonzaga (16-7-0, 9 KOs) has been just as impressive lately, knocking out Dave Herman and Shawn Jordan in a combined time of a minute and 50 seconds.
Miocic is the more technical striker, but Gonzaga holds the edge in the power department. The BJJ ace has more knockouts than submissions, some against well-respected strikers. Gonzaga will also have the advantage if the fight hits the canvas, but getting Miocic — who is a former NCAA division I wrestler — to the ground won’t be an easy task. It’s a tough fight to call, but Gabriel seems like the more likely victor.
Prediction: Gonzaga wins via TKO.
Donald Cerrone vs. Adriano Martins
Martins (25-6-0, 11 KOs) is currently on a six-fight win streak, but he’ll have his hands full when he squares off against Cerrone (21-6-0, 14 submissions) at UFC on Fox 10. Donald has a lot more experience against high-caliber opponents, and he’s a handful for anyone in the lightweight division when he brings his A-game.
Martins doesn’t have a whole lot of big names on his resume, but he’s paid his dues inside the cage as well, with 31 professional MMA fights under his belt. He displayed pin-point accurate strikes and solid BJJ during his UFC debut against Daron Cruickshank, and I expect him to do more of the same on Saturday.
Prediction: Martins wins via decision.
Darren Elkins vs. Jeremy Stephens
Elkins (17-3-0, 7 KOs) is a battle-tested veteran that has racked up wins against the likes of Pat Curran, Duane Ludwig, Diego Brandao, Steven Siler, and, most recently, Hatsu Hioki. Stephens (22-9-0, 15 KOs) on the other hand tends to struggle against high-level opposition, but he’s hasn’t lost a fight since he dropped down to the UFC’s featherweight division, with wins against Estevan Payan and Rony Jason.
Elkins might be the more-rounded fighter, but he likely will be forced to stand and trade with Stephens who packs a lot of power for a featherweight.
Prediction: Stephens wins via KO.
Alex Caceres defeats Sergio Pettis
Eddie Wineland defeats Yves Jabouin
Chico Camus defeats Yaotzin Meza
Hugo Viana defeats Junior Hernandez
Daron Cruickshank defeats Mike Rio
Mike Rhodes defeats George Sullivan
Walt Harris defeats Nikita Krylov