UFC128: Shogun vs Jones- Preview and Predictions

This card has some really close match-ups that are very hard to call, so for those of you who like to have a bet on the UFC fights, I would be very careful where you place your money. The highlights are obviously the Championship match between Shogun and Jon Jones and Urijah Fabers matchup with Eddie Wineland that could decide the next Bantamweight contender. Secreted away in the non-televised undercard (surprisingly) is another great Bantamweight match between WEC standout Joseph Benavidez and Ian Loveland. Many fans have expressed their disappointment that the always exciting Benavidez won’t even be given a slot on the facebook portion of the card. He is great to watch and hopefully we will at least get to see highlights as part of the TV slot.

A lot of focus has been put on the title fight and for good reason: We have possibly the greatest Light Heavyweight of all time in MMA against a young pretender who many are tipping to go on to be the sort of dominant champion that Anderson Silva and GSP have proven to be. The question is, is it Jones’ time now…. or will he have to wait?

This predictions post is going to be a little briefer than many of my previous ones, for the simple reason that work is a bitch right now and I cannot afford to spend the sort of time I normally do writing these out, when I have a deadline looming! So apologies if this lacks a little of the detail that I normally provide 🙂

Costantinos Philippou 7-1-0 vs. Nick Catone 8-2-0 – Catchweight 195lb Bout
Philippou is a last minute opponent after Dan Miller was bumped up to fight Marquardt following Akiyamas withdrawal. Phillipou was a TUF 11 contestant but didn’t make it past the elimination stage. I’m picking Catone to take this. Catone decision

Raphael Assuncao 15-3-0 vs. Erik Koch 11-1-0 – Featherweight
Wrestling vs BJJ – this time wrestling wins. I think Koch will finish this inside the distance. Koch TKO rd3

Joseph Benavidez 13-2-0 vs. Ian Loveland 14-7-0 – Bantamweight
I’m a big Benavidez fan, he has the right camp and the right skills to do the job here. Loveland has been on a tear recently but he hasn’t fought at the level that Benavidez has. I just think is slightly outmatched in every range in this fight. I got Benavidez taking this with one of his patented guillotines. Benavidez submission round 2

Facebook Fights
Kurt Pellegrino 15-5-0 vs. Gleison Tibau 21-7-0 – Lightweight
Quite often when two BJJ blackbelts meet in the Octagon you end up with a substandard display of striking as the two try to avoid each others strongest area. This fight will probably start out like that but I would expect to see some high-level positional exchanges taking place when this does hit the mat. Both men are hard to beat but I’m giving the edge to Pellegrino here. Pellegrino decision

Ricardo Almeida 13-4-0 vs. Mike Pyle 20-7-1 – Welterweight
Mike Pyle has put in some impressive shifts in the octagon lately. He has been around forever, but is really starting to make waves in the 170lbs division now. Almeida has a ground game that commands respect, but Pyle has the wrestling chops to partner his own high-level submission skills to make this a horrible night for Almeida. Pyle tied John Hathaway in knots and Hathaway is a freakishly strong guy. I think “the big dog” will be taking another loss in this fight. Pyle decision

Televised Prelims
Anthony Njokuani13-4-0-1(NC) vs. Edson Barboza Jr. 7-0-0 – Lightweight
This match has fireworks written all over it. Both men have a decent KO percentage on their records and this should play out on the feet for most of the fight. Barboza has some of the nastiest leg kicks out there right now and has finished his last 2 opponents with them. You don’t get too many guys winning fights with leg kicks so you know that he means business. Njokuani is more experienced for sure, but Barboza is a dangerous kid. I got Barboza taking this by TKO past the halfway mark of this fight. Barboza tko rd3

Luis Artur Cane Jr. 10-3-0-1(NC) vs. Eliot Marshall 11-2-1 – Light Heavyweight
This one could be the fight that gets Cane his marching orders if he loses. Fortunately Marshall doesn’t posess the sort of striking that has been Cane’s kryptonite in his last two back to back losses against little nog and cyrille diabate. A good thing really since his schedules opponent was KO machine Karlos Vemola. In Marshall he will be facing a fellow BJJ blackbelt, who doesn’t posess much of a striking game to speak of and certainly not one to bother the Brazilian. This is Canes for the taking and should serve as a confidence boost after his last two harsh losses. Cane KO round 1
Main Card

Mirko Filipovic 27-8-2-1(NC) vs. Brendan Schaub 7-1-0 – Heavyweight
Cro-cop again? Really? God loves a trier but Mirko needs to stop now, he is on seriously borrowed time in his MMA career. He really doesn’t look the sort of fighter he once was and was gone 4-4 in the Octagon since his debut with none of the wins being particularly impressive but a few of the losses being crushing. A green-belt in the hilariously named art of “defendo”, Schaub has the potenital to hand Mirko another one of those crushing defeats. He is a heavy hitter and has laid waste to all but 1 of his opponents in his winning fights. He specifically asked for Frank Mir or Cro-Cop and he got his wish in this fight. You don’t ask for fighters you don’t think you can beat and I predict a potential KO of the night victory for the Schaub. Please retire Mirko!!Schaub KO round 2

Nate Marquardt30-10-2 vs. Dan Miller13-4-1 – Middleweight
Miller was bumped up to the main card after Akiyama dropped out due to the horrific events in Japan recently. This fight sets up a potential Bisping vs Marquardt fight if he can get past Miller which he is almost certain to do. Miller is a mid-level fighter and Marquardt has been knocking on the door of the top 5 for a long time. If my MMA maths serves me correctly, I can predict the fight based on this equation: Maia beat miller + Marquardt smashed Maia = Marquardt destroys Miller. In other words the striking and wrestling of Marquardt > the submission skills of Miller. Marquardt decision

Jim Miller 19-2-0 vs. Kamal Shalorus 7-0-2 – Lightweight
Dan Millers brother Jim has had a better run that his brother with his only 2 career losses coming from the two men that are currently contesting the 155lbs championship (Maynard and Edgar if you aren’t keeping up!). Shalorus is a WEC acqusition and decorated wrestler but he has not fought at the level Miller has. I can’t see where he can win this fight, if he can use his wrestling to put Miller on his back then he could create problems for Miller, but Miller is very comfortable off his back and Shalorus has a tendency to want to strike a lot. I think Miller takes this by having a better gameplan and sharper skills, although he may have to weather a few hard shots from his opponent to make it through this fight. Miller decision

Urijah Faber 24-4-0 vs. Eddie Wineland 18-6-1 – Bantamweight
Former featherweight champ Faber will step into only his second Bantamweight match against Wineland this weekend. I love the fights in the lighter divisions and this one will be no exception. I expect a guns blazing tear-up with a high-pace maintained by both fighters throughout. Faber is a ridiculously strong guy and has superb wrestling which he uses to great effect on his opponents. He is also very hard to hold down if you do manage to get him on his back and this will create all sorts of problems for Wineland. There aren’t too many people giving Wineland much of a chance in this match and I am no exception. Whilst I don’t think it will be a walkover, at this weight i think Faber is going to be extremely hard to beat. I like Faber for the submission here. Faber submission round 2

Mauricio Rua 19-4-0 vs. Jon Jones 12-1-0 – UFC LightHeavyweight Championship
Onto the big one then! I think Jon Jones is going to go on and become one of MMA’s greats if he can keep his head and stay humble. I regard him as undefeated as he had the Hamill fight won and it should have been stopped before the illegal elbow came. He can strike, he can wrestle and he can choke you the fuck out. This guy is the full package and at only 23 years old it is scary to think where he will be when he refines his game and polishes his technique. He is a true athlete and a scary physical specimen. What he is up against though is an opponent who is nothing like anyone he has faced before. Shogun is an elite MMA fighter with an exceptional pedrigree. He is also the proud owner of the hardest kick ever recorded on the fight scienece program. He is a scary opponent and will be savvy enough to have formulated a great gameplan for this fight. He is a proud champion and will not have taken kindly to Jones expectations of being able to step-up and take his belt. The problems for Shogun are Jones athleticism and his range. The problems for Jones are Shoguns experience, excellent muay thai and his elite BJJ game (especially off his back). Whilst Shogun hasn’t submitted too many people in MMA fights, he has an excellent guard. Jones likes to put guys on their backs and punish them, but if he isn’t tight with his technique when doing this, Rua will exploit any holes and take any openings he is given…like this for instance (check out how much room Jones is giving Vera – probs to bloody elbow for the gif):

I really don’t know who takes this and the questions that need answering in determining who wins are these:
Is Jones really capable of being a world champion at 23? He’s never really been tested and has certainly never been hit like we know Rua can hit.
Is Rua too ring rusty? Quite possibly, he has also come off serious knee surgery and had a long layoff whereas Jones has been very active and is the far better athlete.

I’m totally torn on this one and I really don’t want to pick a winner. Surprisingly the bookies have the champ as the underdog so since the whole aim of this post is to pick a winner, I’m going to go with the underdog and pick Shogun. I reckon he may just be wiley enough to come away with the win. Certainly if he lands a kick that has 2000+lbs of force on Jones then we will really see how good ‘Bones’ is! If Jones gets through that, he deserves to be the champ. This one could be fight of the night and I can’t wait to watch it round my brothers on sunday night. See ya sunday bruv 🙂

******************** UPDATED WITH RESULTS *****************************
Nick Catone vs. Constantinos Philippou – My Pick:Catone decision Actual:Catone decision
Raphael Assunção vs. Erik Koch – My Pick:Koch TKO rd3 Actual: Koch KO rd1
Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian Loveland – My Pick:Benavidez sub rd 2 Actual:Benavidez decision
Kurt Pellegrino vs. Gleison Tibau – My Pick:Pellegrino decision Actual: Tibau decision
Ricardo Almeida vs. Mike Pyle – My Pick:Pyle decision Actual: Pyle decision
Edson Barboza vs. Anthony Njokuani – My Pick:Barboza TKO rd3 Actual:Barboza decision
Eliot Marshall vs. Luiz Cane – My Pick:Cane TKO rd1 Actual:Cane TKO rd1
Brendan Schaub vs. Mirko Filipovic – My Pick:Schaub TKO rd2 Actual:Schaub TKO rd3
Nate Marquardt vs. Dan Miller – My Pick:Marqaurdt decision Actual:Marquardt decision
Jim Miller vs. Kamal Shalorus – My Pick:Miller decision Actual:Miller TKO rd3
Urijah Faber vs. Eddie Wineland – My Pick:Faber sub rd2 Actual:Faber decision
Maurício Rua vs. Jon Jones – My Pick:Rua Actual:Jones TKo rd3


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