Anderson Silva (33-4) vs. Chris Weidman (9-0)
Fight Odds: Silva -260 vs Weidman +210
KELVIN HUNT: The long layoff will be a huge factor in this fight, not to mention that Weidman has never fought anyone remotely close to the skill level of Silva. Silva on contrast has fought fighters similar to Weidman, so he should have less adjustments to make. I also have questions about Weidman’s ability to take punishment from Silva, he hasn’t shown he’s willing to sell out on the takedown like Sonnen. He basically has a puncher’s chance, will have to fight a perfect fight, or somehow catch Silva in a submission while in a scramble situation. Otherwise…Silva via TKO and that’s what will happen.
BRIAN FURBY: Does Weidman have a shot to beat Silva? Of course, even better than just a shot. Will he beat Silva? No. The UFC hype machine does a good job of building up the contenders, and people seem to forget all the faces that Silva has smashed until he smashes the next one. A year off will not do Weidman well against the champ. Silva by KO in Round 2.
GARY THOMAS: How about the greatest of all time remains the greatest with ease. Anderson Silva wins with 2nd round TKO. Let the super fight talk continue.
JACK BRATCHER: Have you bought into the Weidman hype the UFC has been trying to sell? Look, Weidman is a great fighter. He’s a great wrestler with a very good submission game. But, he’s had nine pro fights. Has he looked Jon Jones-esque in his rise to becoming the No. 1 contender? No he hasn’t, and the only person that’s going to beat Anderson is someone on that type of “other level”. That’s my opinion. Look, Anderson let him hold his belt yesterday. Today he kissed him. Tomorrow he will spank him and call it a wrap. Andy via 1st round TKO.
JAN GAETJENS: The lead up to this fight has been frustrating; it seems like everyone has unanimously decided that Anderson Silva has run out of time at the top, and much of it boils down to just siding with the excitement of seeing the Spider dethroned. Without sounding conspiratorial, who you think wins this fight depends heavily on whether or not you believe Silva-Sonnen I was intentional gameplanning on Anderson’s part. Weidman by decision.
Frankie Edgar (15-4-1) vs. Charles Oliveira (16-3)
Fight Odds: Edgar -550 vs. Oliveira +400
KELVIN HUNT: Tough, but winnable fight for Edgar. He should use his speed and footwork to get the best of Oliveira on the feet. Although Oliveira has underrated striking skills IMO…he’s certainly a threat on the ground should the fight go there. I think Edgar fights the safe fight to avoid four straight losses. Edgar via decision.
BRIAN FURBY: Not a good fight for Oliveira. Sure, Edgar is coming off three losses, but two of those were to Ben Henderson and one to Jose Aldo. I hope Oliveira isn’t thinking he can do what two of the best fighters in the world weren’t capable of. This fight will get Edgar back on the right track. It will be an exciting one for the fans because both guys have great speed and solid skill-sets, but I’m confident enough to say Edgar will finish the fight early. Edgar by TKO in Round 1.
GARY THOMAS: Good on paper but won’t be close, watch for Frankie Edgar to outclass Charles Oliveira in all aspects. Edgar gets a finish and back in a title hunt. Pick- Edgar KO round 3.
JACK BRATCHER: Poor Frankie Edgar. He hasn’t won a fight since 2011, losing three straight decisions against two champion in two different weight classes. His footwork, boxing and wrestling will allow him to out-point practically any fighter not holding a title, and occasionally even finish them. Oliveira’s height and reach could pose some problems but Frankie’s a juggernaut and should be able to stick to his gameplan and grind out a decision.
JAN GAETJENS: This is really a test by Joe Silva to see if Edgar can reignite the fire in those brawl-ready hands of his. Edgar by (T)KO.
Tim Kennedy (15-4) vs. Roger Gracie (6-1)
Fight Odds: Kennedy -150 vs. Gracie +130
KELVIN HUNT: Simple. Kennedy keeps the fight on the feet he likely can win. If the fight goes to the ground he’s in serious danger of being submitted. Kennedy hasn’t shown that he’s too smart by making comments about fighter pay…maybe he’ll do so on Saturday night to win via decision.
BRIAN FURBY: I am Tim Kennedy fan. Always have, always will be. Gracie’s submission game presents a challenge to anyone, but Kennedy is acutely aware of this and will look to wear down Gracie from a distance before moving in to finish the fight. Kennedy by TKO in Round 3.
GARY THOMAS: Tim Kennedy will have to avoid the slick jiu jitsu of Roger Gracie but he should be able to finish him off if he can land some shots. Winner stays, loser finds a new home. Pick- Kennedy by TKO Round 3.
JACK BRATCHER: I like this fight. And I like Roger Gracie. And I like Tim Kennedy. I think Roger’s stand-up is improving. Tim is also very good on the ground but his submissions are not at Roger’s level by a longshot. Tim has the stand-up advantage but I see this fight going to the ground eventually and Roger getting the submission win.
JAN GAETJENS: As greatly as Roger’s stand up game has improved, Kennedy is still the true “mixed” martial artist in the.contest. Kennedy by decision.
Mark Munoz (12-3) vs. Tim Boetsch (16-5)
Fight Odds: Munoz -125 vs. Boetsch +105
KELVIN HUNT: I have real concerns with Munoz coming off the long layoff and losing over 60 pounds in just a few months when he was battling depression. However, I’ve always thought Boetsch was overrated as a middleweight. Munoz should be able to take him down as Boetsch begins to slow down. Munoz via decision or GNP TKO.
BRIAN FURBY: Munoz looks to bounce back after a beating at the hands (and elbows) of Chris Weidman just under a year ago. Boetsch wants to stay relevant after what some considered to be a surprise loss to Consta Philippou when he had beat Hector Lombard and Yushin Okami in his two prior fights. Boetsch has the heavier hands, but I think Munoz’s wresting will keep Boetsch frustrated for three rounds. Munoz by Unanimous Decision.
GARY THOMAS: I am a Mark Munoz fan but his lay off may be the deciding factor.If Boetsch can weather the wrestling and power striking I think he can edge Mark on points. Pick- Boetsch by decision.
JACK BRATCHER: This is another great fight. I am not sure if Munoz has mentally recovered from that knockout loss to Weidman. Boetsch is also coming off a loss but I believe his unorthodox striking and submission game is a step above Munoz. I see Boetsch stuffing the takedown and hurting Munoz with some dirty boxing for the TKO win.
JAN GAETJENS: Munoz is back, but not back enough to match the upward trajectory of Boetsch. Boetsch by (T)KO.
Cub Swanson (19-5) vs. Dennis Siver (21-8)
Fight Odds: Swanson -230 vs. Siver +190
KELVIN HUNT: Swanson is the more dangerous fighter here and has been fighting better competition as of late. Swanson via decision.
BRIAN FURBY: Kind of a tough fight to call. Swanson clearly favors his KO power and speed, but Siver has a solid chin and is by no means slow. Despite that, I see this going the way that Siver’s fight against Cerrone went. Some solid striking stuns Siver enough to allow Swanson to pick up his first submission win since 2009. Swanson by submission in Round 2.
GARY THOMAS: Siver comes in undefeated at 145 but Cub Swanson is riding a wave that may lead to a title shot. Swanson has too much in the tool box. Pick- Swanson via Submission
JACK BRATCHER: Swanson has been on a hell of a tear having won four in a row and three by knockout. Siver, who originally fought at 170, is down to 145 now and is 2-0 at this new weight class. He’s very strong, a solid striker with good submissions. But, I like Cub’s well-roundedness and he doesn’t fight as stiff as Siver. He’s more relaxed I think and he’s at the very top of his game right now. I think this is Cub’s fight to lose and have him winning via decision.
JAN GAETJENS: Swanson has been slowly but surely refining the technical aspects of his game. Swanson by decision.