It must be a leap year, because the UFC has come to town – the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, to be exact. So what should we expect on Saturday night from our favorite brand of Octagon-contained combat? Another dose of “geez, this card sucks”? Aw, hells naw. Northeast fans are getting treated to a light-heavyweight championship bout between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and starry-eyed challenger Jon Jones, plus a bunch of other fighters who’ve probably never set foot in the Garden State in their life (and never will again). So! Predictions!
- Shogun vs. Jon Jones – Remember how Shogun won that Pride tournament, then came to the UFC and got his ass kicked by Forrest Griffin? Sure, the dude has since bounced back, and defeated the likes of the mighty Mark Coleman (er, what?) and the fearsome Chuck Liddell (what-what?) to earn a shot at then-champ Lyoto Machida, and sure it took Shogun two tries to defeat the “Dragon”. But really, he’s back to being a monster now. So Jon Jones, you better watch out. Because if you don’t use some of your utterly unorthodox technique and seemingly unending raw talent, you’re going to get hit. Maybe even in the face. Like, around the cheekbones or temple area. Oh yeah, Jones via TKO.
- Urijah Faber vs. Eddie Wineland – Former WEC featherweight superstar Urijah Faber looked damn good choking Takeya Mizugaki into oblivion in his first fight at bantamweight. Eddie Wineland, though, sure looked good defeating fighters nowhere near Mizugaki’s level. So, um, why was this match-up made? Faber via over-large chin.
- Jim Miller vs. Kamal Shalorus – Let me see… Kamal Shalorus squeaked by Jamie Varner and squeaked by Bart Palaszewski, and now he gets to take on Jim Miller, who in 21 fights has only lost to Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard? Methinks this is Joe Silva’s way of showing Shalorus the door. Miller by any goddamn submission he wants.
- Nate Marquardt vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama – When there’s a title or potential title-shot on the line, you can count on Nate Marquardt to screw it up. As there isn’t one in this case, expect him to beat on the durable Yoshihiro Akiyama for all three rounds to earn the decision.
- Brendan Schaub vs. Mirko CroCop – I’m not entirely sure Mirko CroCop even cares about fighting anymore. But I’m pretty positive that the young and hungry prospect Brendan Schaub does, so watch for him to KO the old Croatian warhorse at some point.
- Edson Barboza vs. Anthony Njokuani – If you were to take eleven deadly Muay Thai fighters from Thailand, boil them down in a pot and add some acai at the end, what you’d end up with is Edson Barboza. He’s going to kill Anthony Njokuani so bad, Dana White is going to award him the heretofore unheard of “Funeral of the Night” bonus.
- Ricardo Almeida vs. Mike Pyle – No one beats Ricardo Almeida on his home turf. No one. Almeida via submission.
- Kurt Pellegrino vs. Gleison Tibau – Ditto for Kurt Pellegrino. “Batman” via sub.