UFC on Fox 13 is another stacked fight card that has the potential to be one of the better events of the year. It will be headlined by a heavyweight tilt featuring former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos and Stipe Miocic, while Alistair Overeem takes on Stefan Struve in the co-main event.
Here are my UFC on Fox 13 predictions:
Junior dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic
Miocic (12-1-0, 8 KOs) has been on a roll lately, most recently knocking Fabio Maldonado out cold in Brazil. A win against dos Santos (16-3-0, 12 KOs) on Dec. 6 will establish him as a serious contender for the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s heavyweight title.
Dos Santos took a serious beating at the hands of Cain Velazquez during his last outing, and he desperately needs to remind MMA fans that he’s still one of the top heavyweights on the planet with a memorable performance at UFC on Fox 13.
Both men are good boxers with decent takedown defense, so there’s a solid chance a majority of this fight will be contested standing up. Dos Santos’s boxing technique is slightly sharper than Miocic’s, and he’s recently added a bunch of kicks to his arsenal, like the spinning heel kick he finished Mark Hunt with at UFC 160. He has demonstrated serious power in his hands and feet, with knockout victories against the likes of Cain Velasquez and Hunt.
Matter of fact, Velasquez is the only man that has been able to defeat dos Santos inside the Octagon, which is pretty impressive considering the fact Junior has faced most of the top heavyweights in the promotion.
The same can’t be said about Miocic.
Dos Santos has had more than enough time to recuperate from the beating Velasquez gave him, so I expect him to bounce right back with one of the best performances of his MMA career, and remind everyone he’s still the second best heavyweight in the UFC.
Prediction: Junior dos Santos wins via KO.
Nate Diaz vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Dos Anjos (22-7-0, 8 submissions) scored a huge victory during his last outing, becoming the first man to knockout former lightweight champion Benson Henderson. Diaz (17-9-0, 11 submissions) was almost as impressive during his last outing, scoring a brutal TKO victory against Gray Maynard.
The winner of this fight will take a giant step towards title contention.
Both men are seasoned grapplers, so it’s hard to see either man having a significant advantage in that department. However, Diaz should enjoy an advantage in the striking department. Nate will have a four-inch height advantage and six-inch reach edge, and that coupled with his high-volume, yet sharp, boxing might prove to be too much for dos Anjos.
The Brazilian will be a live underdog heading into this one, but Nick is the more dangerous fighter on paper.
Prediction: Nate Diaz wins via decision.
Alistair Overeem vs. Stefan Struve
Some might say Alistair Overeem (37-14-0, 19 submissions) has the worst luck in UFC history. Despite the fact “The Demolition Man” is clearly still one of the best strikers in the heavyweight division, his chin seems to be completely gone. He’s won two fights inside the Octagon, but he’s dropped three, all via knockout. In all three loses, Overeem was dominating his opponent before they eventually found his chin.
Struve (25-6-0, 16 submissions) isn’t exactly known for his iron jaw either, with all four of his losses coming via knockout. The Dutchman has battled a heart illness for a while, and his planed UFC 175 fight against Matt Mitrione was cancelled during the event when he passed out in his locker room.
Take Overeem’s suspect chin out of the equation, and this is a rather easy fight for him. His grappling is good enough to keep him safe from Struve’s submissions, and he’s a significantly better striker than Struve, landing 58 percent of his strikes to Struve’s 46. Overeem is also a lot better at evading strikes. However, he has a tendency to block hard hooks with his high guard instead of getting out of the way, which is a good defensive technique when wearing large boxing/kickboxing gloves, not so good when wearing small eight-ounce MMA gloves.
It’s a technical error Overeem keeps repeating, and it could lead to another frustrating night for him if he doesn’t make the necessary adjustments heading into UFC on Fox 13.
That’s one possibility, however, there’s a better chance Overeem will put Struve away with a vicious kick to the liver before any of that happens.
Prediction: Alistair Overeem wins via TKO.
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Matt Mitrione
Mitrione (8-3-0, 7 KOs) knocked out the last two men to share the Octagon with him, and he’ll be looking to add a third to his resume at UFC on Fox 13. Gonzaga (16-8-0, 9 submissions) wasn’t particularly impressive during his last outing as his cardio failed him during the latter rounds.
Mitrione clearly has power in his hands, and his striking technique seems to be consistently improving. If he’s able to force a standup battle, there a decent chance he’ll be able to get the better of the exchanges and, perhaps, put Gonzaga away.
However, if Mitrione isn’t able to stuff Gonzaga’s takedown attempts, he’ll be in a world of trouble. Gonzaga has a significant advantage striking wise, and there’s a decent chance he’ll lock up a submission if he’s able to put Mitrione on his back before he gasses out.
Gonzaga has been able to take much better grapplers than Mitrione down (dos Santos for example) in the past, so I expect him to eventually ground Mitrione.
Prediction: Gabriel Gonzaga wins via submission.
Remaining UFC on Fox 13 predictions:
John Moraga defeats Willie Gates
Claudia Gadelha defeats Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Ben Saunders defeats Joe Riggs
Jamie Varner defeats Drew Dober
Derek Brunson defeats Ed Herman
Joe Ellenberger defeats Bryan Barberena
David Michaud defeats Garett Whiteley
Henry Cejudo defeats Dustin Kimura
Anthony Birchak defeats Ian Entwistle
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.
Don’t forget to check out my UFC on Fox 13 Predictions FightPicks shortly before the prelims start. Up +17.94 units so far this year.