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MMANonstop Fight Night Picks: UFC 152 – Jones vs. Belfort

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September 22, 2012

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MMANonstop Fight Night Picks: UFC 152 – Jones vs. Belfort

After six weeks without a PPV, we are finally back and we have two title fights on tonight’s card. Jon “Bones” Jones defends his title against Vitor Belfort and Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez look to beco

me the first ever Flyweight Champion. Brian Stann and Michael Bisping should also be a great fight and can have a large impact on the Middleweight Division. Check out our picks below and be sure to leave your picks for the five main fights in the comments section. Good Luck!

Featherweight Fight: Cub Swanson vs. Charles Oliveira

Brian: Finally a fight…and a good one to start off UFC 151/152/Post Hendo-Jones-gate. Swanson is a tough guy, and can take a punch. He’s going to try to get his hands on Oliveira in a very aggressive way…if he does, this could end the fight. But he won’t. Oliveira by submission in the 2nd.
Brendan: Love this fight to kick off the PPV card, these two are going to meet in the center of the cage and throw fire until one gets rocked. I see most of this fight as a ground battle and ultimately I see Oliveira pulling out the UD based on his more dominant ground game.
Jordan: Both of these fighters are riding 2-fight win streaks coming into this fight. With a win, either fighter can cement their place in the Featherweight top 10. Oliveira will look to take this fight to the ground and show off his BJJ skills. We have seen great submissions from him in the past and expect him to get the finish again. Swanson will get his shots in early, but eventually Oliveira gets it to the ground and he pulls off the submission in the 2nd.
Mark: In the PPV opener, I expect to see quite a bit of action, but the key to me will be patience. Cub Swanson loves to go full speed right out of the gate and his aggression can be an advantage early. On the flip side, if he can’t cause enough damage, he opens himself up to counters and Oliveira won’t need much space to work his slick BJJ game. I like Swanson to take RD 1, but see Oliveira getting the fight to the ground and taking the W with a slick submission in RD 2. Oliveira by RD 2 armbar.

Light Heavyweight Fight: Matt Hamill vs. Roger Hollett

Brian: Let’s hope, for Hamill’s sake, that the Hammer is reinvented and he doesn’t come out as plodding and slow as he was pre-retirement. I give the Hamill the edge here in most categories, wrestling being the most important. Snoozer – Hamill by UD.
Brendan: Hamill’s 35 years old, coming out of retirement and likely to experience some cage-rust. Hollett is making is UFC debut, was booked for this fight on 11 days’ notice, and has been caught up in contract disputes with Bellator which are sure to affect his ability to focus on the task at hand. These factors make this a questionable fight for the PPV card, and difficult to predict; that said, I’ll take Hamill to use his outstanding wrestling pedigree to grind Hollett into making a mistake and getting TKO’d in the 2nd.
Jordan: As the only man to previously beat Jon Jones, Matt Hamill is probably wondering why he didn’t get the title shot. But seriously, not my favorite fight of the night, this one goes the distance, and in his return from retirement, Hamill picks up the win. I agree with Brian on this one, I might go get some food during the next 15 minutes.
Mark: The crowd should love this fight. Matt Hamill has one of the best stories in MMA and is making his return from his brief retirement against Canada’s own Roger Hollett. Hollett should face some UFC debut jitters and I expect Hamill to face his own ring rust, but I’ll go with experience in this one. Give me the Hammer by Unanimous Decision.

Middleweight Fight: Michael Bisping vs. Brian Stann

Brian: Bisping has been fun to watch ever since moving to middleweight back in 2008. This is the right place for him, and his only losses (besides the Hendo KO) have been decisions, and in two cases…he arguably won the fight. I always pick against him, and I am always wrong. Bisping by Unanimous Decision.
Brendan: This fight can’t come soon enough. Since UFC on FOX 3 back in May, Bisping has been pushing for this fight which he thinks is his best chance at getting to Anderson Silva. Stann could end things at any moment with his power, but Bisping will likely jump on his bicycle and try counter punch his way to victory. Tough call – I’ll take the Brit to ride his invisible bicycle to a split decision victory.
Jordan: For years we have been critical of Michael Bisping that he can’t defeat a top 10 contender and tonight he will have his chance to once again prove us wrong. Stann is a beast and can finish this fight standing or on the ground. Bisping is durable and I see him showing off the take down defense that he last displayed against Chael Sonnen to keep this fight standing. I typically pick against Bisping, but tomorrow night I see him coming out the victor. He will need an impressive win to be next in line for a title shot.
Mark: In the middleweight division, the #1 contender list seems to shift by the day. It’s not only good enough to win, you have to win impressively. Bisping has been lurking around the top of the division for years, but really needs a definitive, signature win to cement his place among the elite. Stann will give him that opportunity. I see Bisping using his footwork to move in and out and will rely on his take down defense to keep Stann at bay. Stann will land his share of damaging blows, but I think Bisping’s volume attack will sway the judges. I like Bisping by Unanimous Decision.

Flyweight Fight: Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson

Brian: Vin Diesel might as well make an appearance, this fight will be fast and furious. Benavidez will try to end it with a haymaker, but Mighty Mouse is so fast I am not sure he can land a finishing blow. 5 rounds of uncanny speed…Joe B wins the belt in impressive fashion.
Brendan: There’s a good chance I’ll have to watch this fight more than once…in slow-motion, just so I can see all of the action these two bring to the cage. Both fighters are incredible wrestlers who use their speed and angles to pick opponents apart, which could create a bit of a stalemate but isn’t likely. These two will beat the living tar out of each other for the full 5 rounds (smiling and laughing throughout), ultimately going to a decision. Benavidez will take the judges nod becoming the UFC’s inaugural Flyweight Champion.
Jordan: It’s too bad this fight is for a title because it would be a great way to kick off the PPV. These fighters are both exciting and will be all over the place during this fight. Although Mighty Mouse is fast, I don’t see him being elusive enough to stay away from a big shot from Benavidez. The Beefcake takes down Johnson throughout the middle rounds and finally gets the finish somewhere in the championship rounds. Give me Benavidez via 4th Round TKO.
Mark: This fight will be an absolute blur. We’ll need slow motion to see exactly what’s happening when these two get into range. Mighty Mouse will try to get Benavidez to the mat, but that will be easier said than down. I think Benavidez will move and counter well enough to slap on a guillotine that won’t finish Johnson, but will make him think twice about shooting in. From there, Benavidez will control the action and cruise to a dominant win while at the same time making history as the first UFC Flyweight Champion. Benavidez by Unanimous Decision.

Light Heavyweight Fight: Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort

Brian: UPSET alert. Vitor Belfort will win…….the first round. He will overwhelm the champ with aggression and tenacity, but will ultimately tire. He will land a few shots, but none will be enough to put Jones away. After Joe Rogan praises Vitor for having been the first guy since Lyoto Machida to win a round from Jon Jones, he’ll step into a Jones elbow and the lights go out. Jones by KO in the 2nd.
Brendan: I don’t see this as a major test for Jon Jones’ fighting ability, more so I see this as a test for his character. Will he be able to rise above all of the fan criticisms and the pressure to defeat Belfort in exciting fashion? I sure hope so. I think Belfort will start strong as he always does, but he will have a difficult time getting inside Jones’ reach to do any damage. I see Jones taking this fight into the 3rd round and finishing “the Phenom” via T/KO.
Jordan: Can Vitor Belfort win this fight? I guess anything is possible. Will Vitor Belfort win this fight? Absolutely not. I obviously didn’t go out on too much of a limb with that prediction, but Jones is going to have his way with Vitor. I have been listening to Vitor’s interviews and I don’t think even he believes he can beat him. Jones hasn’t finished a fight in the first round in any of his last 5 fights, but I have this streak ending. Jones picks up the win via 1st round submission.
Mark: Vitor Belfort is absolutely overmatched here. Physically, Jones have every advantage at his disposal. But don’t count out the challenger here. Jones is coming off of a PR nightmare and the boos will rain down louder than any cheers we’ll hear Saturday night. For someone as image conscious as the champ, that might have a tremendous negative impact on him. Vitor claims he’ll only need 5 minutes to finish the champ and if he does, it will rank up there with Matt Serra’s victory over GSP as one of the greatest upsets in MMA history. Belfort will certainly add to his legions of fans Saturday night, but it will be in a losing effort. Like we’ve seen before, Jones will be ever methodical and eventually find his spot for the finish. Give me Bones by 2nd RD TKO.

Submission of the Night

Brian: Charles Oliveira
Brendan: Charles Oliveira
Jordan: Jon Jones
Mark: Vinny Magalhaes

Knock out of the Night

Brian: Jon Jones
Brendan: Jon Jones
Jordan: Joseph Benavidez
Mark: Jon Jones

Fight of the Night

Brian: Michael Bisping vs. Brian Stann
Brendan: Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson
Jordan: Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson
Mark: Cub Swanson vs. Charles Oliveira

Overall Rankings

Brian (96-76) – Co-host of the MMANonstop Podcast and author of the series “The Book On…” exclusively at 192.185.4.33/~bchurch, follow him at twitter.com/bchurchin
Brendan (94-78) – Examines the Top 5 fighters in each weight class and is featured exclusively on 192.185.4.33/~bchurch. Follow him at twitter.com/bchurchin48
Mark (98-66) – Chief Editor and lead contributor to the MMANonstop Podcast, follow him at twitter.com/mmanonstopmark
Jordan (106-66) – Runs the MMANonstop twitter feed and co-host of the MMANonstop Podcast, follow him at twitter.com/nonstopmma

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About Author

Brendan

Brendan is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu purple belt and boxing practitioner who has followed all things MMA since watching the first UFC event over 20 years ago. In addition to his professional career, Brendan is currently an MBA student at Montclair State University who enjoys spending time with his wife Meredith and their dog Cha'lie when he's not training. Follow Brendan on Twitter @bchurchin48 and check out all his articles exclusively at MMANonstop.com.

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