The UFC has continued to grow since it hit mainstream back in 2005. UFC president, Dana White, has brought the UFC from on the verge of bankruptcy to a multi-million (if not billion) dollar company. But this weekend’s pay-per-view card will bring a UFC first.
UFC 146 will be the first card to feature an all heavyweight main card. It is a pretty risky move by the UFC as history has shown that heavyweight bouts usually end quickly and can often become a bore. The division’s weight class is 206lbs to 265lbs. According to Sherdog.com’s most recent top 10 MMA heavyweight rankings, the UFC has eight of those fighters in its organization.
As one of the longest active titles in the UFC, the UFC Heavyweight title has changed hands quite often. Superstars like Randy Couture, Frank Mir, Brock Lensar, Andrei Arlovski, and Tim Sylvia have all held the title in the past ten years. However, the past ten titleholders haven’t held the title for more than two title bouts.
Many believe that with such big and powerful fighters (and their striking abilities), the heavyweight division is so unpredictable. A heavyweight bout can be over in a matter of moments as we saw the last time the title was defended (UFC on FOX 1 – Velasquez vs dos Santos). A majority of heavyweight fights finish by knockout and rarely will you see a bout end via submission.
The main event was scheduled to be Junior dos Santos defending his title against Alistair Overeem. Overeem defeated former UFC Heavyweight champion Brock Lensar in his first UFC fight, earning the title shot but had failed his pre-fight drug test in April. Frank Mir stepped in for the title fight after Overeem’s removal. Mir, who was already scheduled to have a bout at UFC 146, will now have a chance to win the UFC heavyweight title
Heavyweight Championship Bout: Junior dos Santos (C) (14-1-0) vs Frank Mir (16-5-0)
This is a matchup of the “new blood” of the UFC facing the “season veteran.” The “season veteran” Mir has more fights under his belt in the UFC than anyone currently in the heavyweight division. He has fought some of the division’s best like Lesnar (twice), Nogueira (twice), and Sylvia. Dos Santos will be defending the title for the first time after he defeated Cain Velasquez last November. Mir will be competing in his fifth heavyweight title bout and will look to regain the title for the third time. Dos Santos is known for his power striking but must be aware of Mir’s ability to submit his opponents.
PREDICTION: dos Santos (third round TKO)
Heavyweight bout: Cain Velasquez (9-1-0) vs Antonio Silva (16-3-0)
Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will be looking to get back on the right track. This will be Velasquez’s first fight since losing the title (to dos Santos) in November 2011 which was also his first loss as a MMA fighter. In the other corner, Silva is a cross-over from Strikeforce and is making his UFC debut.
PREDICTION: Velasquez (decision)
Heavyweight bout: Roy Nelson (17-7-0) vs Dave Herman (21-3-0)
Both fighters are coming off losses and will be looking to get back for a future title shot. Two of Nelson’s last three losses came from dos Santos and Mir. On the other hand, Herman has yet to face a “true” big name heavyweight fighter but lost to fellow UFC 146 fighter, Stefan Struve.
PREDICTION: Nelson (second round KO)
Heavyweight bout: Stipe Miocic (8-0-0) vs Shane del Rosario (11-0-0)
Both fighters come into the bout defeated and will look to make a name of themselves in the heavyweight division. This bout will be a clash of different styles. Miocic has a boxing and wrestling background and his opponent, del Rosario, is a former Muai Thai champion. A majority of Miocic’s victories have come via striking or punches. Del Rosario has the ability to submit his opponents as three of his 11 victories have come via submission.
PREDICTION: del Rosario (second round submission)
Heavyweight bout: Stefan Struve (27-5-0) vs Lavar Johnson (17-5-0)
Johnson is another heavyweight fighter that comes over from Strikeforce. He currently holds a two-fight winning streak after having a two fight losing streak. Struve is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He is currently the tallest fighter in the UFC, standing at 6 feet 11.5 inches tall. Johnson will likely outweigh Struve by a few pounds but must be able to overcome the reach advance Struve holds.
PREDICTION: Struve (first round KO)
Featherweight bout: Diego Brandao (19-7-0) vs Darren Elkins (14-2-0)
Lightweight bout: Edson Barboza (10-0-0) vs Jamie Varner (19-6-1, 2NC)
Middleweight bout: Jason Miller (24-9-0, 1NC) vs C.B Dollaway (12-5-0)
Welterweight bout: Dan Hardy (23-10-0, 1NC) vs Duane Ludwig (29-12-0)
Lightweight bout: Jacob Volkmann (14-2-0) vs Paul Sass (12-0-0)
Light Heavyweight bout: Kyle Kingsburg (11-3-0, 1NC) vs Glover Teixeira (17-2-0)
Featherweight bout: Mike Brown (25-8-0) vs Daniel Pineda (17-7-0)
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