Preview by Anthony Springer Jr.
The UFC will end 2012 with a bang this weekend as the pair of heavyweights that ushered in the UFC on Fox era collide for a second time in a title tilt. Heavyweight champion and knockout artist Junior dos Santos faces Cain Velasquez at UFC 155. Let’s get right down to the predictions.
Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez
Forget everything you know about the first fight. It was a mere 64 seconds. In the run up to the rematch, both men said they were injured during the first go-round. That being said, it’s difficult to imagine this fight going any better than the last for Velasquez, save for the exception that it’ll last longer. Of Velasquez’ ten victories, nine come by way of knockout. The Arizona State University standout is a grinder who mixes ground and pound with punches and kicks standing. Yes, he looked outstanding pummeling Antonio Silva into dust, but dos Santos is 1) a durable fighter as evidenced by his scrap with Roy Nelson and 2) difficult to take down.
The champ, on the other hand, has one hitter quitter knockout power. He’s not going to go in and blow a healthy Velasquez out of the water, but should he find himself on the bottom, an untested jiu-jitsu game will keep him out of serious danger. When breaking down two dynamic strikers, this is simply a game of history and probability. In a 25-minute scrap, take the higher odds of dos Santos landing one fight changing punch than Velasquez wearing him down over the course of 3-4 rounds.
Prediction: Dos Santos via TKO
Alan Belcher vs. Yushin Okami
Two TKO losses in a row sort of killed the Okami mystique (that and he finally faced Anderson Silva in the first of those two TKO losses and got blown out). Okami is a grinder and wears down opponents. Belcher is a striker capable of finishing or outclassing opponents. Belcher keeps this one on the feet and rolls to a decision victory.
Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller
The theme for strikers versus grinders is prevalent on this card. Unlike the previous two bouts, Miller is a grinder that’s notoriously difficult to put away. Miller will wear Lauzon down en route to a decision victory but “J-Lau” will keep it interesting.
Tim Boetsch vs. Costa Phillipou
Fireworks written all over this one. The more durable Boetsch will keep the pressure on Phillipou to earn a stoppage via strikes.
Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson
My hunch is that a resurgent Chris Leben is good for the UFC. While Brunson is no slouch, “The Crippler” in top form is no joke. Brunson rides a two-fight losing streak into this bout and there’s no evidence that’s about to change. Leben wins this with a highlight reel KO.
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Coming up next: UFC 155: Dos Santos vs. Velasquez II is LIVE on PPV from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas at 7 PM PT/10 PM ET, Saturday, Dec. 29. Click here for more info.