It’s pay per view time so that means we have all looked into our crystal ball to see who will come out winning Saturday night in Las Vegas at UFC 173. The big debate going on is if Renan Barao is one of the best fighters on the planet? Is he? My guess is probably so. He seems to be unstoppable but TJ Dillashaw is going to challenge him for the title. The light heavyweight division gets an interesting fight between Dan Henderson and Daniel Cormier. The winner may punch his ticket to the number one contender spot for the 205 pound title. SportsbookReview.com has Cormier the favorite going into the fight but how can you count out the man with the H-bomb.
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Jamie Varner (-190) vs. James Krause ( +155) – Lightweight
Jack Bratcher – I thought Varner had turned things around and was on the verge of doing some big things again, but he’s fallen flat as of late, whereas Krause had an eight fight win streak stopped by Bobby Green late last year. I’m leaning toward Krause in this one. Pick – James Krause by Decision.
Gary Thomas – Jack Bratcher is drunker than a bicycle if he thinks Varner has fallen flat. He has no regard for his body and puts himself out there each time. He has two “fight of the night” bonuses and delivers. Krause is super tough but I think Varner knows its time to win or go home. Pick – Jamie Varner by TKO in Round 2.
Francisco Rivera ( +145) vs. Takeya Mizugaki (-175) – Bantamweight
Jack Bratcher – This one is kind of a toss up for me, but I’m leaning toward Rivera. Pick – Francisco Rivera by Decision.
Gary Thomas – I remember researching Rivera for an early episode of Pro MMA Now Radio and then seeing him fight live back in 2012. Yes Mizugaki is tough and durable but I think “Cisco” is just too intense and too powerful. I think the striking will put Mizugaki away and Jack sees a decision but I see a finish, probably late. Pick – Francisco Rivera by TKO in Round 3.
Robbie Lawler ( -230) vs. Jake Ellenberger ( +180) – Welterweight
Jack Bratcher – Lawler should have beat Hendricks. He gave it away. Hopefully he learned from that. I see him beating Ellenberger either by KO or decision. Pick – Robbie Lawler.
Gary Thomas – Ellenberger has dealt with injures and probably that nagging feeling of a dud performance against Rory MacDonald. He has a lot to overcome if he wants to defeat the new version of Robbie Lawler. I think this fight will see Lawler push the pace and slowly erode any chance of Ellenberger to win. Pick – Robbie Lawler via KO in Round 3.
Daniel Cormier (-800) vs. Dan Henderson (+500) – Light Heavyweight
Jack Bratcher – Cormier is younger, faster, has more tools and doesn’t move like C-3PO. Yes Hendo has a right hand, but Cormier will be WELL prepared for that one punch. Pick – Daniel Cormier.
Gary Thomas – So the deck may be stacked against Hendo but I am one to cheer for the underdog. I think DC will try to press Henderson against the cage and wear him down to grind out a decision. At some point Henderson will have had enough and drop Cormier with the H-Bomb. No TRT, no problem! Pick – Dan Henderson by KO.
Renan Barao (-800) vs. TJ Dillashaw (+500) – Bantamweight Title Fight
Jack Bratcher – Barao is Barao. What more needs to be said. He just beat Dillashaw’s tribal chief and will now take Dillashaw out via stoppage. Pick – Renan Barao
Gary Thomas – And STILL UFC bantamweight champion of the world, Renan Barao. Why, because he’s that good. Lets go ahead and book Barao vs. Assuncao next. Probably the fight that should have been made to begin with. Pick – Renan Barao.