The Ultimate Fighting Championship will move to its new home on Aug. 17 for the inaugural UFC on Fox Sports 1 fight card. The event — which is arguably the most stacked card so far in 2013 — will be held at the TD Garden in Boston, Mass.
Here are my predictions for the entire UFC on Fox Sports 1 fight card:
Chael Sonnen vs. Maurício “Shogun” Rua
Rua (21-7-0, 18 KOs) is the more accomplished MMA fighter heading into their five-rounder, but that doesn’t mean victory is guaranteed for him at UFC on Fox Sports 1. Alexander Gustafsson was able to put Rua on his back several times at UFC on Fox 5, so it’s only rational to assume Sonnen (27-13-1, 7 KOs) will be able to do the same.
Given Chael’s aggressive style, Rua will probably have a hard time getting much done striking wise before he finds himself dealing with Sonnen’s crushing top game. However, Rua threatened Gustafsson with a few submissions during their tilt, so he won’t be completely helpless off his back.
It’ll probably come down to Sonnen’s submission defense as “The American Gangster” should emerge victorious if he doesn’t get caught in a sub for the ninth time in his professional MMA career.
Prediction: Sonnen wins via decision.
Alistair Overeem vs. Travis Browne
Overeem’s (36-12-0, 19 submissions) five-year unbeaten streak came to an end during his last bout against Antonio Silva, the same man who handed Browne (14-1-1, 10 KOs) his first professional MMA loss.
Some would say Overeem’s weak chin was to blame for his loss to Silva, but that really wasn’t the case. It was Alistair’s overconfidence and poor defense — keeping his hands too low — that cost him the bout. Not saying Overeem has an iron chin — he doesn’t, just saying it’s pretty hard to find his jaw when he’s focused.
Browne is a decent striker with devastating power behind his attacks, but he’ll likely struggle against Overeem’s world-class kickboxing.
Prediction: Overeem wins via decision.
Urijah Faber vs. Yuri Alcantara
Alcantara (28-4-0, 12 KOs) isn’t well-known by casual MMA fans, but he will be after UFC on Fox Sports 1. “Marajó” is a well-rounded fighter like Faber (28-6-0, 16 submissions), and he’s defeated his share of respectable names like Ricardo Lamas. It should be a close, competitive bout, and I expect Yuri to make a strong statement against “The California Kid.”
Prediction: Alcantara wins via TKO.
Matt Brown vs. Mike Pyle
Brown (17-11-0, 10 KOs) has looked pretty immortal inside the Octagon lately racking up five consecutive wins against decent competition — four by some form of knockout. Brown is guaranteed to entertain every time he steps inside the cage, and the fact Pyle (25-8-1, 16 submissions) also has a lot of momentum right now with four straight wins inside the Octagon, makes things even more interesting. Pyle should have the advantage if the fight hits the ground, but he’ll likely struggle with Brown’s intense aggression striking wise.
Prediction: Brown wins via TKO.
Uriah Hall vs. John Howard
Hall (7-3-0, 4 KOs) failed to live up to expectations during his last outing against Kelvin Gastelum, but he’ll get a chance to redeem himself against Howard (20-8-0, 9 KOs) at UFC on Fox Sports 1. Howard is battle-tested MMA veteran with lots of experience, so Urijah will be in for a long night if he isn’t 100 percent focused come fight time.
Prediction: Hall wins via decision.
Joe Lauzon vs. Michael Johnson
Johnson (12-8-0, 6 KOs) has been inconsistent lately. He looked good against Danny Castillo and Tony Ferguson, but struggled against Myles Jury and Reza Madadi. Lauzon (22-8-0, 16 submissions) has been just as inconsistent lately.
A majority of Johnson’s losses — and Lauzon’s wins — have come via submission, so he’ll be wise to use his wrestling to keep the fight upright. Michael is the faster fighter and he’ll enjoy a two-inch reach advantage against Lauzon. If he follows a smart gameplan and avoids getting into a BJJ match with Joe, he should emerge victorious.
Prediction: Johnson wins via decision.
Brad Pickett defeats Michael McDonald
Conor McGregor defeats Max Holloway
Mike Brown defeats Steven Siler
Daniel Pineda defeats Diego Brandao
Manvel Gamburyan defeats Cole Miller
Ovince St. Preux defeats Cody Donovan
Ramsey Nijem defeats James Vick
Previous fight card predictions (UFC 163): 7-5