Saturday, May 26, 2012
UFC 146: Heavyweights preview
Well, this card has gone through a ridiculous amount of alterations, but the all-heavyweight main card for UFC 146 will take place today.
Considering how many heavyweight fighters got replaced on this card, it actually says a lot about the development of the division that so many changes could be made and all 10 main card fighters are still in the weight class.
I will say that I am severely disappointed in the main event. It's nothing against Frank Mir, who will challenge for the UFC World Heavyweight Championship tonight against Junior dos Santos, but the JDS defense against Alistair Overeem was so hyped up that anything would feel like a let-down.
Not to mention, Cain Velazquez's bout with Antonio Silva tonight, while an interesting fight, is nowhere near as interesting as seeing the former champion fight Mir.
Nonetheless, let's look at JDS-Mir. This honestly will be a clash over where to take the fight. JDS wants to keep it standing where his knockout power is at its best, while Mir will want to use his wrestling background to bring the fight to the ground, and then use his strong submission game.
JDS has shown some ability to fight on the ground, but he really hasn't faced anyone of Mir's caliber. Moreover, he's only had to defend two takedowns in his UFC career, so an elite wrestler like Mir will be a challenge.
The problem for Mir, however, is that he will have to go in for a takedown, which means he will need to be in close range of JDS and in danger of a knockout. Shane Carwin, who won a national wrestling championship, didn't do much in terms of takedown attempts on JDS, as the man's punching prowess did a lot of damage.
JDS is a heavy favorite in this fight, and if I was advising you to bet, I'd say to put it on Mir because the fight is effectively a toss-up in my view. That said, Mir's camp had to change from training for Velazquez to JDS fairly recently, so I'm not going to make it my formal pick.
I say JDS wins by 3rd-round KO.
Cain Velazquez v. Antonio Silva
As I said, this co-main event lost a lot of luster when Silva had to come in and replace Mir. However, don't expect this to be an easy fight for Cain.
"Bigfoot" has gained a lot of notoriety for destroying Fedor Emelianenko, and he is a fairly well-rounded fighter.
The problem is that while he's good at everything, he's not great at any aspect. Daniel Cormier was able to manipulate him fairly easily, and Velazquez is basically a larger version of Cormier.
I will take Velazquez by decision, though I expect Silva to get in a few decent shots.
Rest of the main card (all Heavyweights)
Roy Nelson v. Dave Herman - Herman is a really hurried replacement here. With Nelson training a little more seriously, I'll take Nelson to get a decision.
Shane del Rosario v. Stipe Miocic - Both of these guys were highly touted upon their hire, but this is del Rosario's debut after being injured in an accident. Expect rust to be a factor somewhat, but if he's returning now, my guess is del Rosario is ready, and he will win by 2nd-round submission.
Stefan Struve v. Lavar Johnson - I was kind of hoping for Mark Hunt, but Johnson is a good replacement. He showed a lot in his bout against Pat Barry, and I'll take him to ride the wave of momentum to a 1st-round KO.
On an unrelated note, I certainly apologize for not getting you a preview of Bellator 70. Sadly, I could not get myself to turn onto my side in bed last night due to stomach problems.
Nonetheless, long-time readers and listeners of my radio show will remember I called the Cole Konrad victory weeks ago, so I am going to count that as a win.
For those curious, that moves my record for the year up to 78-52-1 (43-29-1 UFC). That means that I am picking with approximately 59 percent frequency.
I'll see you all next week for my Ultimate Finale picks!