Once upon a time, UFC events had no weight classes, so everyone was either big or dead. Then the little guys began to dilute the product, so all the heavyweight fighters worth their salt migrated to Japan to fight in freak show fights, or they gorged themselves unto death at the nearest Sizzler buffet. Strikeforce promoter Scott Coker saw the lack of titans clashing in the cage and briefly remedied the situation with his organization's heavyweight grand prix. But that was about ten years ago, so here we are with UFC 146, an all-heavyweight main card lineup that features just about everyone under contract with Zuffa who weighs in excess of 206 pounds. Champ Junior dos Santos will be there, defending his belt against someone not Alistair Overeem, while a bunch of other dudes will be swinging for the fences for the first two minutes and then cuddling and breathing hard for the next thirteen. Don't believe me? Well, watch what happens when all these big guys battle it out in one night, one right after the other like some perverse science experiment. Statistically, we should see 1.5 exciting fights, two "meh" fights, and two fights that will make us miss the days when John Hess came out eye-gouging and Scott Ferrozzo wore a cape. Preview time.
-Junior dos Santos vs. Frank Mir - Up to and including the bout where he won the belt, dos Santos has been knocking fools into a realm of foolishness that far exceeds the normal levels of foolishness human beings can legitimately function at. In some alternate universe where no one cares about performance-enhancing drugs, the Brazilian will be facing the behemoth Dutchman Overeem on Saturday night. But alas, in this world, dos Santos gets to take on former champ and eternal stud Mir, who, in his last trip to the cage ripped Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's arm off and threw it into the audience. Can dos Santos KO Mir on the feet? Fo sheezy. However, if that scrap goes to the ground, someone is going to need surgery to get a limb reattached - and it won't be Mir.
-Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva - Velasquez was recently champ but got murked with a quickness and now the UFC title belongs to someone else. Silva mashed Fedor in the Strikeforce grand prix thingy, then met Daniel Cormier and got his dome dented in. Where does that leave us? With two giants who don't want to lose, who will never be king, and who can still retain some of their scariness if they perform. If he's not dealing with any nagging injuries, I see Velasquez outworking Silva and pecking away until the Brazilian crumbles. If there are injuries in the equation, hugfest.
-Roy Nelson vs. Dave Herman - At some point between winning TUF and when dos Santos used him as a punching bag, success for Nelson was no longer measured in wins but in the amount of punishment he could endure. Like, "Wow, that Nelson, he looked great in there getting beaten retarded." Okay, that's fine, the world needs resilient gatekeepers, but that kind of career does not lend itself toward longevity. Thankfully, Nelson isn't facing anyone who will rip off his head on Saturday night. In fact, he's only facing Herman, who thus far has yet to perform up to expectations in two trips into the Octagon. I can see Nelson getting the decision here, or even scoring a TKO.
-Shane del Rosario vs. Stipe Miocic - Del Rosario was the hottest heavyweight prospect coming out of Strikeforce Challengers, but a drunk driver and back injury put him on ice for a year, so now he gets a comeback fight against a tough boxer/wrestler hybrid in Miocic. Based on how easily del Rosario handled Lavar Johnson last year, I'm picking him to handle Miocic as well. Unfortunately, with back injuries, you never know. There's a very real chance del Rosario will take two steps, tumble to the canvas wincing in pain, and demand to go on workman's compensation.
-Lavar Johnson vs. Stefan Struve - Johnson. KO. All fucking day.