UFC 155: Dos Santos vs. Velazuqez II will be airing live on PPV from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV this Saturday, Dec. 29th.
The Nation went 2 for 4 on his last set of UFC predictions and is now 40 of 64 over all.
“The Crippler” Chris Leben (22-8) vs. Derek Brunson (9-2): Chris Leben is fighting again for the first time in over a year, following his 1 year suspension for oxycodone and and oxymorphone. Leben is an exciting fighter, but when he’s not fit or when he’s head is not in it, it could get ugly. Brunson is the latest Strikeforce import, and is coming off 2 straight losses. I’m going to bet that Leben is in shape physically and mentally and have him winning. Prediction: Leben by KO
Alan “The Talent” Belcher (18-6) vs. Yushin “Thunder” Okami (27-7): These 2 first met back in 2006, with Okami winning by unanimous decision. Belcher has improved even more since then, but I think Okami’s wrestling game will prove to be the difference again. Prediction: Okami by decision.
“The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (16-4) vs. Costa Philippou (11-2-1): Boetsch has been undefeated since dropping down to 185, while Philippou has won 4 fights in a row. This is a tough one for me, but I’m going to go with Philippou, purely on a hunch. Prediction: Philippou by submission.
Joe Lauzon (22-7) vs. Jim Miller (21-4): This has the potential to be Fight of the Night, with the further potential of these two putting on a ground clinic. Lauzon has won 18 of his fights via submission, and is an Award Bonus machine, with 6 UFC Submission of the Night honors, 4 Fight of the Night honors, and 1 KO of the night honors. Miller, meanwhile, has won 12 of his fights by submission. He’s a very good fighter but comes up short against the very best fighters at 155; his losses have come against Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar (the current UFC lightweight champion and the guy he beat for that title, respectively), and Gray Maynard and Nate Diaz (2 fighters who have challenged for the UFC lightweight title and lost). Miller was never finished in a fight until his last fight with Diaz, and now he’s facing a submission machine in Lauzon. Can it be 2 submission losses in a row? I don’t think so. Prediction: Miller by submission.
For the UFC Heavyweight Championship – The Champion, Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos (15-1) vs. Cain Velasquez ( 10-1): These two first met in the very first ever UFC on Fox card in Nov. 2011, where Dos Santos knocked Velasquez out a minute into the fight to win the UFC Heavyweight title. Dos Santos re-wrote the future of the UFC with that win, as everyone was expecting Velasquez to rule the 265 lbs. division for years, not lose it in his very first title defense. Both have had one fight since then, with Junior destroying Frank Mir via 2nd round TKO back in May, and Cain doing the same to Antonia Silva in the 1st round on the same card. This is an interesting dynamic, and a must-win for Cain – what would be best for business is for Cain to win, and thus set up a 3rd fight between the two. If he loses again, he is pretty much out of the title picture until Junior loses the title. Basically, if Cain loses, he and the UFC are stuck between a rock and a hard place with him. He would clearly be the 2nd best heavyweight in the division, but can’t be placed in another title match vs. Junior. Nor can he be placed against other top contenders for the title since he would just knock them out of contention and take away challengers for Junior. In short, he would be the heavyweight equivalent of Rich Franklin after he lost twice to Anderson Silva, without the option of moving weight classes. Like I said, it’s a must win for Cain, and it would be best for business for him to do so and set up a 3rd fight. I just don’t think it will happen. Cain’s mindset is he’ll take a punch in order to get up close; he did so against Cheick Kongo and he was dropped a few times. And Kongo has nowhere near the power Junior has. Heck, even Brock Lesnar with his rudimentary stand up was able to touch up Cain’s face before Cain got to him. If he tries to take a punch against Junior, he will get knocked out. If he decides to stay outside and be more careful, he will get picked off by Junior, as he will end up staying within Junior’s range. that’s even worse for him. I just think Junior’s boxing will nullify Cain’s style again, and will be the difference. Prediction: Dos Santos by KO.