Many of the match ups, on the all heavy weight main card, have been mixed and matched since the UFC had to pull Frank Mir from the undercard to face Dos Santos. The fights remain compelling never the less, so let's take a look at the card and make a few observations and predictions
Roy Nelson is a strong favorite heading into this fight with Dave Hermen
Roy Nelson (-220) vs. Dave Herman (+180): Roy is coming into this bout, against the upstart Herman, having lost three of his last four fights. Nelson badly needs a win if he is going to regain his footing in the heavyweight division and become more than just a gate keeper.
Herman on the other hand has won three of his last four fights, but is coming off a 2nd round TKO loss to Stefan Struve. Herman is young and still relatively green as a fighter. This fight is his chance to prove he belongs with the big fish of the division.
Herman is very capable of winning this fight, but it probably won’t be by knock out, since Nelson has faced some of the best strikers in the division and always left the octagon standing. This fight is going to come down to Nelson’s cardio. If he comes into the fight in poor shape like his last few outings, Herman can win a decision. But if Roy comes into the fight in shape and ready to go for three rounds, there is no reason why he shouldn’t win this fight. Prediction: Nelson by 2nd round KO.
Cain Velasquez (-380) vs. Antonio Silva (+280): The former UFC Heavyweight champ Velasquez has not fought since his 1st round TKO loss to Dos Santos back in November, which was the first loss of his career. Who knows if there will be any lingering psychological issues when he enters the octagon on Saturday, but either way this is Cain’s fight to lose.
Cain is ready to get back on track after his first round loss to Dos Santos
Junior Dos Santos (-500) vs. Frank Mir (+350): This may not have been the main event that the UFC was originally hoping for, but it is still a blockbuster fight with no shortage of storylines. Mir has defeated Minotauro Nogueira, Dos Santos’ trainer and mentor, twice since 2008 and broke his arm in their most recent fight at UFC 140. Dos Santos claims that revenge will not be a factor in this fight, but it’s hard to believe that it is not creeping in the back of his mind somewhere. Mir viciously broke Nogueira’s arm- it’s difficult to forget something like that.
Mir is a live underdog in this fight. If he can get Dos Santos to the ground (easier said than done) he should be able to submit or at least wear down the Champ. Dos Santos has never been taken to the ground, and even though he trains with the Nogueira brothers, his ground game is still questionable.
This fight is more about Mir than it is about Dos Santos. We know what Junior is capable of, but the big question will be weather Mir can stick to his game plan of boxing Dos Santos from the outside and trying to take the fight to the ground. Mir has always had a tendency to let his ego get the best of him when he decides to stand and trade blows but the division’s elite strikers. That plan may have worked against Kongo and Cro Cop, but standing in the middle of the octagon with Dos Santos will not work. Prediction: as much as I would love to pick Mir, Dos Santos is just on another level. Dos Santos by 1st round KO.