I’m back… embarrassed, but I’m back. After going 3 and 2 for UFC 137, I really need a big card to redeem myself and get back on the winning track.
This is the fourth Saturday in a row the UFC has put on a show, with 138, the week after 137, and then, of course, the big FOX show last weekend… with UFC 139 headlined by a fight fans have wanted to see since 2005.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (20-5) vs. Dan Henderson (28-8)
These are two fighters who looked like they were at the peak of their careers, back in 2005, for Pride. Six years later and they are still two of the more dominant fighters in the 205lbs division.
Shogun is coming off a destructive win over Forrest Griffin, and wants to get back in the Light-Heavyweight title picture. A win over Hendo will do just that.
Henderson mean time is riding a three fight win streak – all three coming under the Strikeforce umbrella, and all three by knockout… Fedor Emelienko, Renato Sobral and Rafael Cavalcante.
Both of these guys have fantastic stand up. Shogun with his Muai Thai boxing and deadly knees in the clinch. Henderson with those hands that have left Wanderlei Silva, Michael Bisping and numerous others asleep.
Henderson has the wrestling advantage, while Shogun’s ju-jitsu is nothing to snuff at.
Henderson has never been knocked out and will look to clinch, hold Shogun against the cage and use his kicks to set up the big punch.
Shogun is considerably younger, but it’s still such a close fight, with Henderson almost taking over the Randy Couture role of not ever being counted out.
That being said, I’m going to take Shogun by decision.
Prediction: Shogun by decision
Wanderlei Silva (33-11-1) vs. Cung Le (7-1)
This fight pains me. This fight shouldn’t happen. Wanderlei Silva has been done for about five years now. The fact that he keeps fighting is painful to watch and scary too, with four BRUTAL knockout losses in his last eight fights.
And this match up fits perfectly into the hands, and feet of Le.
Le is a fantastic kick boxer… with all seven of his wins coming by knockout. He is a great counter puncher and his kicks are just lethal.
The knock against Le has always been whether he can compete against the top guys in the sport. But weather Wanderlei can be considered a top guy anymore is debatable. Especially after watching him lose to Chris Leben in 27 seconds, on a punch that wouldn’t faze any other fighter.
They say you can only have your ticket punched so many times. Wanderlei is well over his limit and even the lightest of shots can put him to sleep.
I see Cung Le doing just that in his UFC debut.
My heart pulls for Wandy though!
Prediction: Cung Le by 1st rd KO
Urijah Faber (25-5) vs. Brian Bowles (10-1)
I love the Bantamweights… especially when two of the top three bantamweights in the world are going at it. This has all the makings for fight of the night… if not fight of the year.
Faber is always exciting and never puts on a bad show. His title fight loss to Dominick Cruz was one of my favourite fights of the year. He has run into a tough stretch recently, going 4 and 4, in his last eight… but the four losses have come to Cruz, Mike Brown, who looked unbeatable at the time, and Jose Aldo, who is top five pound for pound in the world.
Bowles meantime is 2 and 0 since dropping the then WEC Bantamweight title to the current champ. Just one of his 11 career fights has gone to the distance. Eight of his 10 wins finished before the third round. Bowles deserves to be taken seriously, yet for some reason, many have Faber as the favourite.
This one is a coin flip to me. I lean towards Bowles, but it would not surprise me if Faber takes the win, based on his wrestling.
Prediction: Bowles by decision
Martin Kampmann (17-5) vs. Rick Story (13-4)
This is another interesting fight, with both guys right on the cusp of the top-10 in the Welterweight division.
Kampmann has lost two in a row, losing a debatable decision to Jake Shields and then following that up with a decision loss to Diego Sanchez.
Story, meantime, is coming off a loss to Charlie Brennemen, after a dominant win over Thiago Alves.
Story has the better wrestling, but Kampmann is a great striker and has a solid submission game.
I’ll take him to finish Story in the second round.
Prediction: Kampmann by 2nd rd. submission
Stephan Bonnar (13-7) vs. Kyle Kingsbury (11-2)
This fight doesn’t mean anything to the Light-Heavyweight division, but should be an exciting slug fest to kick off the show.
If there was ever an upset to take, this would be it. Kingsbury is the better technical striker and I see him finishing Bonnar with strikes.
Prediction: Kingsbury by 1st rd. (t)ko
Remember to follow me on Twitter @grohoman590 for live tweets throughout the show.