Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva
KELVIN HUNT: This fight will go about like the first fight..with Silva probably putting up more of a fight(how could he not). Velasquez has the speed, wrestling, and cardio advantage. Silva has a puncher’s chance at best. I think Velasquez puts Silva down and wins via TKO.
DENNY HODGE: Cain Velasquez will be dominant and he will be brutally efficient in the rematch. “Bigfoot” has little chance of repeating another shocking performance like when he finished Overeem. Velasquez is just too good everywhere. His speed will be apparent early as he connects out of the gate. Look for Velasquez to keep the pressure on and look for Silva to wilt under the onslaught early. Velasquez by TKO.
JAY CEE: I can see “Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2” going the same way that “Velasques vs. Bigfoot 1” went. I think Cain will be dominant in this fight and get the early finish. Bigfoot picked up an big win against Overeem in his last fight, but I honestly think Alistair underestimated Silva and didn’t prepare as well as he could have for that bout. Bigfoot is definitely a dangerous fighter and if he is given an opening he can finish fights, but I don’t think he has the skills to get past Velasquez. PICK: Cain Velasquez via TKO.
GARY THOMAS: How did Bigfoot get a rematch? Knocking fools out is how. Cain looked unstoppable against JDS and has already spilled Silva’s blood all over the canvas. Won’t need five rounds here, maybe 2. Pick – Velasquez via TKO round 2.
BRIAN FURBY: Cain Velasquez
JACK BRATCHER: Velasquez’s wrestling and speed will make the difference just like the first fight. Cain will put Bigfoot down and beat him up, maybe even cut him open again. Remember how bloody that first fight was? It was nasty. Here comes the return of the nasty. Cain via TKO.
Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt
KELVIN HUNT: Hunt has a puncher’s chance. JDS has the speed, reach, and cardio advantage. Hunt has the better chin when means Hunt will always be in the fight as long as the fight is on the feet. If JDS were smart….he’d take Hunt down and submit him..after all he’s well versed in that department under the Nogueira brother’s. I think JDS wins either a decision or via submission.
DENNY HODGE: I have learned to never count out Mark Hunt, but JDS won’t just stand in front of him and let him close distance to connect with power like Struve did. Dos Santos has a much better ability to control distance and use his reach, and his jab will be pinpoint accurate keeping the dangerous Hunt at bay. Hunt won’t go away easy but JDS will win in exchanges that he controls and will be too much in the long run. Dos Santos by decision.
JAY CEE: This is the fight I am most looking forward to watching on the card. Apparently JDS made some mistakes in training on the lead up to his last fight that cost him dearly in his matchup with Cain. Over-training supposedly left him with a low gas tank, which severely hampered his performance. I am pretty sure he won’t make that mistake again and I think that loss will act as lesson, which will make him an even better fighter. As long as confidence is not an issue, Santos’ high level boxing and height advantage should give him a good chance in this fight. Mark Hunt continues to defy the odds by beating some of the top guys in the heavyweight division. It will be interesting to see if he can add JDS to that list. The former K-1 champion has proven that he is no joke, so now it is time to prove he deserves a title shot. PICK: Mark Hunt via TKO.
GARY THOMAS: We can all breathe easy now that Hunt got his Visa. I would have rather seen Nelson/JDS II but we get to see Hunt test his luck. Hunt is on a roll but I don’t think he can do enough to get the win. JDS is a guy who has shown he can take a beating for five rounds and give one. Hunt won’t last the whole time. Pick – Dos Santos via TKO round 2.
BRIAN FURBY: Mark Hunt
JACK BRATCHER: JDS is going to try to stand and box against Mark Hunt. This is the fight most people are looking forward to. Will JDS’s combinations and speed be enough to overwhelm Hunt’s power? This is a tough fight to pick for me. I like both guys but I have to go with the Cinderella story just because it would be such an amazing story. I think Hunt’s gonna do it. Hunt wins via knockout!
Glover Teixeira vs. James Te Huna
KELVIN HUNT: Teixeira will be too much for Te Huna. He’s got a great chin and will be able to take Te Huna down and outclass him on the ground if he decides to do so. If he keeps it on the feet..Te Huna does has good power….but Teixeira will be too much…I’m going with a submission win for him.
DENNY HODGE: Te Huna is as tough as they come and has the power to exchange with Teixeira but it will come at a cost if he does. He has shown that he can survive an onslaught of punishment and he will need too. Teixeira will pepper Te Huna up on the feet but finish it on the floor with ground-and-pound and submission threats. Teixeira by submission.
JAY CEE: It is very hard to bet against Teixeira as he is an absolute beast! and he hasn’t lost since 2006! However, James Te-Huna definitely has the power and strength to cause Teixeira some problems. Both men have the ability to finish fights, so I can’t see this going the distance. I think we will see a first or second round TKO. Te-Huna is tough, but I can see Teixeira taking his campaign all the way to the top, so I am gonna go with Glover to win this one. PICK: Glover Teixeira via TKO.
GARY THOMAS: Heavy hands are on display for Teixeira and Te-Huna. Is Glover to be as feared as some perceive him to be. Te-Huna has been on a good run himself. They both have proven they can go the distance but for my upset pick I am going with Te-Huna via knockout.
BRIAN FURBY: Glover Teixeira
JACK BRATCHER: Te Huna has a pension for submission losses. Teixeira can knock you out or submit you. Teixeira wins this one by one or the other, TKO or submission for his 19th straight victory.
Gray Maynard vs. T.J. Grant
KELVIN HUNT: Hard fight to call because of the long layoff for Maynard. He hasn’t fought in almost a year…Grant has been really active. Normally I think Maynard would take it…but I wasn’t too impressed with his last outing…couple that with the layoff and I have to give the edge to Grant(plus Maynard doesn’t use the smartest gameplans). Grant via decision.
DENNY HODGE: There is a lot on the line for both fighters in this bout. Maynard is coming off a pretty long layoff and Grant has been on a roll. Grant will need to be in top form to overcome Maynard despite the layoff. Grant is dangerous on the ground but Maynard will not be controlled on the mat so that strength will be neutralized. Maynard will bully his way to yet another win by decision.
JAY CEE: TJ Grant is on a really good run at the moment and his recent performances have forced everyone to take notice. Gray Maynard sits firmly at the top end of the lightweight division and will really put Grant’s abilities to the test. If Grant can get past Maynard then it will prove he is a top contender and that his recent form was not just a fluke or luck. Grant is dangerous with his submissions, so Maynard will have to be sharp on the ground. If Grant allows Maynard to control the fight, then we could see him grind out a decision. This one will be interesting. PICK: Gray Maynard via Decision.
GARY THOMAS: With a title shot on the line Maynard and Grant have high hopes riding on this fight. This by far is the toughest fight for Grant. Maynard is no stranger to the pressure and on my cards defeated Frankie Edgar in their first scrap. Maynard will be too much for Grant although I see this one going to the judges. Pick – Maynard via Decision.
BRIAN FURBY: TJ Grant
JACK BRATCHER: Did you know 10 of Gray’s 12 wins have come by decision? I’m hoping his move to AKA will change some of that. He’s a bully and he’s going to run over TJ Grant. Winner gets a title shot. Maynard gets a title shot as he shows off some new skills in this fight. Maynard via TKO.
Donald Cerrone vs. KJ Noons
KELVIN HUNT: Interesting fight here. Cerrone had problems with a guy that used his boxing in Nate Diaz…Noons doesn’t have the same pressure style as Diaz…but he could still pose problems for Cerrone. Cerrone is better on the ground and has a more varied attack standing. I gotta go with Cerrone since he’s fought better competition and is more well rounded. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Noons won this fight either.
DENNY HODGE: There is no way that this fight won’t feature fireworks. Noons is out to prove that he is UFC material and Cerrone is… well… he’s Cerrone. He goes in there and bangs — win or lose. Noons will give Cerrone trouble on the feet with his technical striking. I see him dong better than some people think he might, especially on the feet. Cerrone is dangerous off his back as well but Noons likely won’t look to take the fight there unless he starts to get outclassed standing. Look for a back and forth battle on the feet with Cerrone taking the decision.
JAY CEE: KJ Noons really needs a win in this fight. He is about to make his UFC debut whilst on a two fight skid, so I think it is safe to assume that a loss puts him in a bad position employment wise. Being in this scenario could motivate Noon’s to pull an amazing performance out of the bag, or the pressure of needing a win coupled with octagon jitters could result in a poor performance on the night. We will have to see what happens as Donald Cerrone is a very dangerous opponent and he will be looking to bounce back from his loss against Pettis in January. PICK: Donald Cerrone via Decision.
GARY THOMAS: KJ Noons lost a squeaker to Ryan Couture, Couture gets dismantled in his UFC debut. Noons coming off a loss and now has to meet a Donald Cerrone coming off a loss. I don’t like the odds for Noons. If Cerrone comes out aggressive and on point he is hard to beat. I like for him to put Noons away and spoil the debut. Pick – Cerrone via 2nd round TKO.
BRIAN FURBY: Donald Cerrone
JACK BRATCHER: If Noons beats Cerrone I’ll poop my pants. Cerrone is too well-rounded. Noons is the better straight boxer and this should be one helluva fun fight but Cerrone should take it — unless Noons employs the Nate Diaz strategy of using constant pressure and smack talk to take Cerrone out of his gameplan. Cerrone via decision.