It is Super Bowl weekend! The big game is set to kick off Sunday night but for all the fans in New Jersey that can get warm and check out UFC 169 in Newark. It is kind of a big deal with two titles on the line and most likely a loser leave town fight between two heavyweights. Overall this is a solid card worth the price of admission and pay per view. You know that we put our heads together here at ProMMAnow and offer up our picks. A new twist starting this week is that we bring on one of our significant others. This go around Lilly Higgins will challenge soon to be husband Jack Bratcher. What is on the line? I guess that stays between them.
This is how we see it. The current odds have been listed as well.
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Jamie Varner ( -130) vs. Abel Trujillo (Even)
Kelvin Hunt: Trujillo has a lot of potential…but Varner is fairly underrrated even though he has been in a game a long time. He’s also very tough and can mix it up with strikes and wrestling. The latter could be the difference in this three round fight. Varner with the decision.
Gary Thomas: It feels like Varner has been in a training camp forever. All of his fights have been exciting and if he’s as healthy as he can be he is fun to watch. Trujillo is a monster with heavy hands but I don’t think that will help him in this fight unless he gets lucky. I think Varner’s wrestling will be the key and he grinds this out.
Jason Kindschy: Yet again, kudos to the UFC matchmakers for choosing another great bout to kick-off the main card. Varner is a seasoned veteran with a diverse skill-set and he always leaves everything in the cage, but he’s been pretty inconsistent as of late. Tujillo has shown that his power and athleticism alone can win fights. Combine that with his growth at the Blackzilians and you’ve got another predator to add to the shark tank that is the UFC’s lightweight division. I feel the experience and heart of Varner will take this fight the distance, but I see Tujillo hurting Varner a few times, stuffing some take downs and getting the nod from all three judges.
Jack Bratcher: Varner has a lot more high level experience than Trujillo that’s for sure, however, he’s been hit-or-miss in his last few fights. This one’s a toss-up for me, but I’m leaning toward Varner.
John Lineker (+115) vs. Ali Bagautinov (-145)
Kelvin Hunt: Going with Lineker here.Hopefully he can make weight and prove that he’s a legit challenger for the flyweight belt.
Gary Thomas: If he does actually make weight I think Lineker brings the heat. He’s put away his last three opponents and while Bagautinov is tough, Lineker should be too much.
Jason Kindschy: This fight between Lineker and Bagautinov should probably be a No.1 contender fight and most of us agree, this one will not got the distance. Lineker has displayed some of the heaviest hands at flyweight, but the Brazilian has also struggled with the cut to 125. Bagautinov boasts top notch grappling credentials being a combat Sambo gold-medalist and has also shown greatly improved striking with two consecutive K.O.’s in the octagon. I expect both these men to swing for the fences early, Lineker starts to fade and Bagautinov gets the finish in the later rounds by overwhelming his opponent.
Jack Bratcher: Bagautinov has won both his UFC fights so far and is on a crazy win streak. Lineker has won his last four fights inside the Octagon. Bagautinov is ranked #7 flyweight, while Lineker is ranked #5. I’m going with the Russian, he’s training out of Jackson’s and so far so good. Bagautinov with the win.
Alistair Overeem (-360) vs. Frank Mir (+280)
Kelvin Hunt: Overeem via putting Mir against the cage and kneeing him into oblivion.
Gary Thomas: Mir on TRT. We are linked, almost like brothers. Overeem probably needs some. Looks like he’s lost a lot of mass. I think Mir can make him tap. Maybe not but that’s my hope.
Jason Kindschy: Many see this tilt as the classic striker-vs-grappler match. While it is cut and dry on paper, I think we are looking at two very well rounded monsters who are starving for a win. Overeem does tout the striking advantage and is absolutely deadly in the clinch, a position which Frank tends to suffer defeat. However, we all know Overeem doesn’t exactly have a great chin and Mir has some highlight-reel knockouts of his own. Obviously Mir has the grappling advantage and I’m sure he’s well aware of “The Reem’s” guillotine choke and we know he can pull off the huge comeback submissions. As a fan, I feel guilty making a choice but I’ll be realistic. Based on the renewed focus of Overeem and training in seclusion in Thailand, the fact that Mir wasn’t at Greg Jackson’s for this camp and primarily only worked with James McSweeney, coupled with Mir’s track-record against guys who are powerful in the clinch; I’m expecting the patented ü ber-knee to decide the outcome here.
Jack Bratcher: Frank Mir left Jackson’s and went back to Vegas for this camp. Overeem went to Thailand. This is do or die for both and I really don’t see Mir offering anything for Overeem, unless he can get his boxing off. But I see Overeem putting Mir against the cage and destroying him with knees and strikes. Overeem with the KO.
Jose Aldo (-675) vs. Ricardo Lamas (+475)
Kelvin Hunt: Aldo should win this one. I would like to see how Lamas fairs if he can draw Aldo into the deep waters to test his somewhat suspect cardio. Aldo via TKO earlybut don’t count Lamas out if he can get to the fourth round and get a fatigued Aldo on the ground.
Gary Thomas: I thought Ricardo Lamas was a guy in the old Highlander show. That was Lorenzo though and he has as much of a chance of beating Aldo as Ricardo does. Aldo is quietly one of the best to have ever held a title.
Jason Kindschy: Could Lamas be the man to dethrone the seemingly unstoppable Aldo? Most agree that Ricardo’s best bet is to take the Brazilian to deep water and try to drown him, but can he avoid the leg kicks and crazy double-flying knee’s of Aldo? No one can say for sure. I can say that Lamas will put up one hell of a fight, he has a solid all-around game, he has true confidence in his abilities and might even match Aldo in strength. Everyone knows what the champion is capable of, I expect Aldo to avoid being taken to the mat and look to land a devastating shot for the finish within the first 15. Although, if Lamas can weather the early storm and build some momentum in the later rounds, it could be a long night for the champ. Another tight match-up but I’ve got to go with Aldo getting the finish.
Jack Bratcher: If Lamas can take Aldo into deep waters he has a chance at a decision win. I don’t see him lasting that long though, Aldo with the finish inside of 4.
Urijah Faber (+220) vs. Renan Barao (-280)
Kelvin Hunt: I have to go with Barao. The two fought just over a year ago and Barao won pretty convincingly.Faber has improved his striking since then but Barao has improved overall as well. Faber on short notice for a beast like Barao= Barao keeping the belt, probably by decision as Faber is extremely tough to finish.
Gary Thomas: This is a hard one. Barao is great. He beat Faber fair and square, well minus the broken bones and all. Faber is 0’fer in title fights. He very well could be the Dan Marino of MMA. That being said he’s on a tear and now that he’s had some quality time with Bang Ludwig, he will get the nod. It will go five rounds and Buffer will be announcing the newwwwwwwww bantamweight champion.
Jason Kindschy: When I look at this main event, the first person that comes to mind is Duane Ludwig. I can’t deny the dominance of Barao and I sure don’t count him out in this fight, but I see a much different Faber compared to the first time these destroyers locked horns. With Ludwig in his corner and the quick turnaround from the win over McDonald, I expect to see a sharp, fast and explosive Urijah Faber to finally grab UFC gold. I anticipate Faber will check the leg kicks, counter and push the pace on Barao until his gets frustrated and starts to make mistakes. I’m not sure how this one ends either, but I’m feeling like a technical and driven Faber snags the scorecards for the upset.
Jack Bratcher:You can never really count Faber completely out. However, Barao has already proven once he could beat Faber. He seems to only be getting more dangerous and this time I think he finishes him. Barao with the win.Fight odds provided to ProMMANow by http://www.allpro.eu/