UFC 159: The Fight We All Haven’t Been Waiting For!
As a self-proclaimed MMA fanatic, I am somewhat ashamed to say that this event is taking place just down the street from me in Newark, New Jersey and I will not be in attendance. The Bossman and I had made preliminary plans to attend, but with the squash match booked as the Main Event and an undercard that lacks any ‘must see’ tilts, we decided we would be much more comfortable watching from our respective couches rather than the nosebleeds in Newark. The whole card, from Facebook to Pay Per View is filled with interesting matchups and meaningful fights, but there isn’t a scrap on the card that I would empty my wallet to watch in person.
I’ll delve into my thoughts on the evening’s Main Event between Light Heavyweight Champ Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen a bit later, so prepare yourselves… Every other fight on the Main Card actually means something in relation to its division and each fighter will be looking to assert themselves as a legit contender come Saturday. With the likes of Jim Miller, Roy Nelson, and Michael Bisping on the card, there will be no lack of hype surrounding UFC 159. On to the Preview!
Jim Miller (22-4) v. Pat Healy (29-16)
Last December, we saw Miller perform a sanctioned blood letting on Joe Lauzon in a Fight of the Year candidate at UFC 155. Miller cemented himself as an elite Lightweight that night and will look to stay in the win column against Strikeforce import Pat Healy. Before the promotions slow and painful demise, Healy earned himself a title shot against Gilbert Melendez with a few consecutive wins. The fight was booked for the promotion’s farewell show, but never went down due to Melendez being forced off the card after sustaining a serious shoulder injury. With a place in the 155 pound hierarchy at stake, these two will be bringin the heat when Saturday’s Pay Per View kicks off. Much like Faber/Jorgensen a few weeks back, I see these two as almost identical fighters, but Miller is just a little bit better in every aspect of the fight game. I see a decision here for Miller, likely unanimous, but Healy won’t go down without a fight.
Phil Davis (10-1, 1 NC) v. Vinny Magalhaes (10-5, 1 NC)
Never let anyone say you can’t talk your way in to a fight. After a lengthy Twitter war, these two grapplers will finally be tangling in the Octagon this weekend. Phil is a big time Vegas favorite likely due to his experience with the cream of the crop in the Light Heavyweight division. Magalhaes was released from the UFC after a rough run following his TUF stint. In his return bout, he submitted vet Ikor Pokrajec. Davis is one of the best wrestlers in the division, but for some reason I have a feeling Vinny is going to pull off the upset this weekend. A combination of refining his all around MMA game and training regularly with wrestling ace Chael Sonnen, I see Magalhaes winning by 2nd round submission.
Cheick Kongo (18-7-2) v. Roy Nelson (18-7)
If you look at these two face off it is downright comical. The massive, chiseled Kongo versus the beer bellied, mullet wearing Nelson. Fortunately, this could be the first time that we get to see Roy’s long fabled ground game. These two are just about equal on the feet, Kongo having the better kickboxing technique, but Roy with the edge in sheer power. Watch out though, whenever this thing hits the ground, who the heck knows what is going to happen. Kongo has looked like a toddler getting mauled by a hungry lion at times on the ground, while Roy has barely spent any time there as of late. Regardless, Big Country is going to march closer to a UFC title shot with a 1st round TKO victory.
Michael Bisping (23-5) v. Alan Belcher (18-7)
I don’t know if it is March Madness withdrawal, but I keep picking upsets on this weekend’s card. We know that whenever Bisping enters the cage he is ready to go three rounds at full tilt. Belcher is a bit more of an unknown fitness wise, but he has had only two fights since his long injury lay off. Truth be told, his performances couldn’t have been any more different in the two. He dominated the vicious grappler Rousimar Palhares back in May of 2012, but then was Okami’d by Yushin Okami at UFC 155. The MMA community is giving Belcher a snowball’s chance at winning this fight, but I think he shuts the Brit’s mouth with a well rounded attack tomorrow. I think big things are happening over at that Duke Roufus camp. Belcher takes a unanimous decision.
Light Heavyweight Championship
Champion Jon Jones (17-1) v. Chael Sonnen (27-12-1)
Well, finally this thing is going to be done with come Sunday morning at around 1 AM. Due to the UFC 151 incident, this tilt has been basically booked since last September. Chad Dundas did a great job chronicling how this fight has hindered the division for the last six months, and truthfully, I will be very happy when we move past UFC 159. The planned “beef” between Sonnen and Jones turned into a lukewarm mutual respect after their TUF stint, and any massive PPV numbers that Zuffa was hoping to pull off this quarrel is likely squashed by the massive talent gap between these two. I respect Chael as a fighter, he gave the greatest of all time 22 minutes of hell back at UFC 117, but I just don’t see how in any possible alternate reality that he beats Jon Jones. Will Chael be able to take down Jones successfully and repeatedly? I doubt it. Will Chael be able to control the pace of the fight? I doubt it. Will Chael be able to ‘get inside’ and dirty box with Jones? I doubt it. I hate to sound like the bearer of bad news here, but Chael has little to offer Bones in the cage. This Main Event may not end quickly, but Jones will dominate throughout. My crystal ball is calling for a fourth round submission for Jones.
I will be on Twitter watching the fights, so feel free to shoot me a message if you are checking out the fights!