The bout, which has been a dream matchup for MMA fans for the last few years, is expected to be a lights-outs battle between two of the best fighters in the UFC. So, before we get wrapped up in the drama of Sunday’s game featuring two brothers coaching against each other, let’s take a look at this weekends fight card with predictions and analysis.
Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar will fight for the featherweight title in the main-event of UFC 156
Jose Aldo (-208) vs. Frankie Edgar (+168):
This fight may not carry the cache that it could have had, if it would have taken place as a champion versus champion bout a few years ago, but, it is still a fantastic matchup between two of the UFC’s top 10 pound-for-pound fighters.
Aldo may be the favorite in this fight, but the matchup will hinge on Frankie Edgars’ ability to control the pace and implement his wrestling and seemingly endless cardio. Aldo has gassed in fights before, and is coming off a year long lay off, so everything points to Edgar having the advantage in multiple areas. Expect this fight be a spectacular five-round affair no matter who ends up leaving the octagon with a victory.
Prediction: Frankie Edgar becomes the new featherweight champion via a close five-round decision.
Rashad Evans and Rogerio Nogueira face-off at the weight-ins before their bout on Saturday
Rashad Evan (-486) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+361):
There has been talk that if Rashad Evans is able to come away from his fight against Rogerio ‘lil Nog’ Nogueira with a victory, he will get the next shot at Anderson Silva. UFC president Dana White even went to far as to say that if Evans wins on Saturday and can make the 185lb weight limit, that he would be next in line to face ‘The Spider’.
Rogerio Nogueira is an MMA legend and has many out-of-this-world fights on his resume, but, the truth is, he is long past his prime. Evans is an elite light heavyweight, and is better at almost every aspect of the fight game. Expect this to be a one-sided fight.
Prediction: Evans via third-round KO.
Alistair Overeem makes his return to the heavyweight division after a nine-month suspension
Alistair Overeem (-377) vs. Antonio Silva (+277):
Alistair Overeem will be making his return to the octagon after being suspended for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs nine months ago. The ‘demolition man’ will be looking for a dominant knockout victory of ‘Big Foot’ Silva in order to regain the title shot that was stripped from him.
Expect this fight to showcase Overeem’s brutal striking skills, as he and Silva trade punches early in the first round. ‘Big foot’ is a very good heavyweight with size and power, but, unfortunately, he has run into the wrong opponent this Saturday in Las Vegas.
Prediction: Overeem via first round KO.
John Fitch and Damiam Maia face-off at the weigh-ins prior to UFC 156 on Saturday
John Fitch (-217) vs. Damian Maia (+167):
This matchup may be the second most exciting fight on the entire card—right behind the Aldo versus Edgar main-event. Fitch and Maia are both upper level welterweights and may be the second and third best guys in the division. The intriguing element of this matchup is that both fighters’ strengths are on the ground. Fitch is an outstanding wrestler who excels at top control and grinding down his opponents. Maia is, perhaps, the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in the UFC and excels at top control and grinding down his opponents with his bjj.
This fight will hinge on who can impose their game-plan without making any mistakes. If Fitch takes Maia to the grind but then makes a critical mistake, he just might get tapped. And if Maia has Fitch in a compromising position and loses positioning and control, then Fitch is just the guy to take advantage of that and lay on some brutal ground and pound.
Prediction: Expect an exciting three-round battle that end with a decision victory for Fitch.