UFC 155: dos Santos vs. Velasquez II Fight Night Picks
It is always excited when the heavyweights get in the Octagon and fight for a title. Tonight UFC 155 is live on PPV from Las Vegas and Junior dos Santos defends his title against former Champion Caiin Velasquez. Both of these Heavyweights looked unstoppable in their last fight and hopefully this time it last longer the 64 seconds. UFC 155 also features the return of Chris Leben and a co-main event that should be a great fight between two top Lightweights in Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller. Here are official picks for the fight tonight, feel free to add yours in the comments section below.
Middleweight Fight: Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson
Brian: He’s baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack. And he’ll be impressive. Leben’s not the kind of guy to take a situation like being off for so long lightly. He’ll be ready, and come in to make a statement. Leben by first round KO.
Brendan: I’m a big fan of Chris Leben, the guy is all heart and just moved forward like a rock’em-sock’em robot. He will take 3 shots to deliver his trademark overhand left that has been his saving grace in so many fights. I think he gets back to his winning ways in his return from another suspension. Leben by overhand left KO in the 2nd…it will take him a few minutes to get back into his groove.
Jordan: I am happy to see Chris Leben back in the cage after a year layoff. Chris has been battling some personal demons so it is great to see him fighting. I am great to see Derek Brunson make it to the UFC. The former Strikeforce fighter has had a few setbacks along the way, but this should be a good way to start the PPV. Leben needs to prove that mentally he can do this, and I think he gets the job done. It may take a bit for him to get adjusted to the cage, but give me Leben via 2nd round KO.
Mark: I’m always skeptical when a fighter comes off such a long layoff, but Chris Leben is no newcomer to the Octagon. Brunson will be making his UFC debut and the first fight jitters could likely play a factor. Though he’s been stopped in his last few fights, I think Leben’s chin will hold up and his granite left hand will not fail him. I like his chances for redemption so I’ll go with the Crippler. Leben via 1st rd KO.
Middleweight Fight: Yushin Okami vs. Alan Belcher
Brian: Okami has been looking big and strong lately, but 2012 was strong comeback for Alan Belcher, and I see a title shot run coming for him in 2013. Look for Belcher to dominate all aspects of this fight and come away with a TKO win in the second.
Brendan: Belcher will pick “Thunder” apart on the feet and keep this fight standing just long enough to send a statement to the upper echelon of middleweights that he’s back and ready to contend for the title. Belcher via T/KO in the 3rd.
Jordan: Belcher is riding a 4 fight win streak and is looking to put his name atop the rankings in the Middleweight division. Belcher has looked impressive since coming back from eye surgery. Okami is coming off a victory over Buddy Roberts back in August. Okami is the better wrestler, but I would leery of Belcher on the ground. I am taking Belcher via 2nd Round Submission.
Mark: Okami was able to right the ship in his last fight after dropping his previous two, but he’ll be stepping in against one of the hottest fighters going in Alan Belcher. Okami will have an advantage wrestling which he can use to control the fight, but if he fights at range or allows Belcher to put him on his back, he’ll be in deep trouble. I see Okami controlling the fight early, but think it’s only a matter of time before Belcher puts together a combination to end the fight. Give me Belcher via 2nd rd TKO.
Middleweight Fight: Tim Boetsch vs. Costa Phillipou
Brian: Costa Phillipou is heavy handed, and he is going to need to be against the Barbarian. Boetsch has been solid since moving down in weight, and impressive at times. While my mind says “Boetsch”, my gut is telling me ‘upset’. Phillipou is going to come out a man possessed and land one of those awkward shots behind the ear that puts everyone down for a second. Upset special!!! Phillipou by second round TKO.
Brendan: Boetsch will have to force his way inside Phillipou’s solid boxing defense and try to put him on his back, no easy task. Boetsch will need to avoid another lackluster performance and I see him being the aggressor in this fight but unable to finish. Boetsch by unanimous decision.
Jordan: After a great comeback victory against Yushin Okami back in February, Boetsch failed to impress in a tight victory over Hector Lombard in July. If Boetsch wants to be considered among the elite in the Middleweight division he will need to look impressive in this fight. Both of these fighters enter the fight after a four fight win streak. Phillipou will try to keep this fight standing, but I see Boetsch taking this fight to the ground and grounding out the unanimous victory. This will not be the impressive victory that Boetsch is looking for.
Mark: After a lackluster performance vs. Hector Lombard in his last outing, Tim Boetsch will surely be looking to impress especially in the crowded Middleweight title hunt. Phillipou has made great strides over his last few fights and is very dangerous at range, but Boetsch’s best will be clinching and overpowering the Cypriot. Expect the Barbarian to smother Phillipou throughout and cruise to a one sided dominant victory. Boetsch by Unanimous Decision.
Lightweight Fight: Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller
Brian: Jim Miller’s strengths play right in to where Joe Lauzon can be most effective. I don’t see Miller getting in close to land a big shot, and I actually don’t see him being able to take Lauzon down in this fight. Lauzon will keep his distance, get some points here and there, before a Miller takedown attempt turns into a Lauzon submission win late in the 2nd.
Brendan: Miller should look to work his way inside and pepper the body of Lauzon in order to take control and force the fight to the ground. I think these two will battle back and forth with Lauzon getting the better of the early exchanges just enough to rock Miller and create the opening to slap on a submission attempt that falls short. As the fight goes on, Miller will gain momentum and force the decision to swing his way. Miller by split decision.
Jordan: Let’s go ahead and pencil Joe Lauzon in for one of the fight night bonuses right now. I am really looking forward to this fight with Jim Miller, who also is no stranger to fight bonuses. This is my pick for fight of the night, and possibly sub of the night as well. Both of these guys are great on the ground, but I have to give the edge to Lauzon. Miller is tough, but I see him getting caught in one of the many submissions that Lauzon is capable of. Give Lauzon by 2nd round sub.
Mark: On paper, this fight is extremely even. Lauzon is rangier and likes to set up his submission attempts with volume strikes, but Miller holds the power advantage and has proven a tough man to finish (Nate Diaz notwithstanding). This one will be high paced and I can see the momentum swinging back and forth a few times before J-Lau finds his opening. I’ll go with Lauzon via 2nd rd shoulder lock.
UFC Heavyweight Championship: Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez
Brian: Velasquez has been looking awful beastly as of late, and JDS is proving to round out his striking game more and more as his fights progress. The champ has yet to show off his jiu jitsu, so it will be interesting to see if Cain can take him down and force a heavyweight grappling match. I see Can coming in here much more determined to fight smart and aggressive rather than scared, and take Junior down, where he will wrestle and GNP his way to a decision victory. New champ folks.
Brendan: I don’t care who wins, I just want to see a fight! No 60sec dancing and one-punch KO. JDS and Cain will battle for at least 2.5 rounds, and I see “Cigano” landing another devastating overhand right to repeat and retain his title. JDS via T/KO in the 3rd.
Jordan: I have high expectations for this fight; the first is that it lasts longer than 64 seconds. Both of these guys looked sharp in their last fight at UFC 146 in May. Velasquez destroyed Antonio Silva and showed the world that a healthy Cain Velasquez is still a force in the Heavyweight division. Dos Santos was also injured in their last fight so I am looking forward to seeing both of these guys at full strength. I have a hard time picking a winner for this fight, but I am going with dos Santos catching Velasquez in the 3rd round and putting him to sleep. JDS by 3rd round KO.
Mark: How hard is it to pick against JDS at this point? He’s been absolutely untouchable and dispatched Cain Velasquez in their first meeting without breaking a sweat. That said, my gut still tells me Velasquez is the baddest man on the planet and he’ll have learned from his previous fight. It’s clear from his absolute thrashing of Bigfoot Silva that once Velasquez sees an opening, he’s a relentless finisher. I believe JDS will land some power strikes throughout the fight, but think Velasquez will keep his wits and eventually get the fight to the ground where it will be a heavy dose of punches and elbows. It feels strange to pick against the champ, but I’ll go with the challenger. Give me Velasquez via 2nd rd TKO.
Submission of the Night
Brian: Joe Lauzon
Brendan: Phil de Fries
Jordan: Alan Belcher
Mark: Joe Lauzon
Knock out of the Night
Brian: Chris Leben
Brendan: Chris Leben
Jordan: Junior dos Santos
Mark: Chris Leben
Fight of the Night
Brian: Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller
Brendan: Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller
Jordan: Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller
Mark: Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner
Brian (104-83) – Co-host of the MMANonstop Podcast and author of the series “The Book On…” exclusively at 188.8.131.52/~bchurch, follow him at twitter.com/bchurchin
Brendan (104-83) – Examines the Top 5 fighters in each weight class and is featured exclusively on 184.108.40.206/~bchurch. Follow him at twitter.com/bchurchin48
Mark (109-70 – Chief Editor and lead contributor to the MMANonstop Podcast, follow him attwitter.com/mmanonstopmark
Jordan (117-7-) – Runs the MMANonstop twitter feed and co-host of the MMANonstop Podcast, follow him at twitter.com/nonstopmma