UFC 156 takes place tomorrow in Las Vegas and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights on the card for you below.
Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar
This is as close as we’ve had to a ‘superfight’ in the lower weight classes in recent times. Both men are very technical and well rounded, but only one can come out on top.
In the striking department I have to give the nod to Aldo. He’s certainly the harder-hitter of the two, has better kicks and is more unpredictable and versatile with his offense. Edgar likes to use his speed and movement to get in and out quickly with point scoring combinations, but I think that might not be quite as effective at 145lbs and against a striker of Aldo’s caliber.
Where Edgar will hold an advantage is in both the wrestling department and with his cardio. If he wants to get the fight to the mat then he certainly has the ability to do so and can utilize both ground and pound and submissions effectively.
Aldo has excellent BJJ though so I don’t think Edgar will concern himself too much with sub attempts and I suspect he’ll have trouble keeping him down – at least in the early rounds, though it’s possible his cardio advantage might enable him to utilize this kind of position more effectively in the championship rounds.
Edgar likes to strike though, and I think that could be his undoing here. He’s been hurt in several of his previous hard fought encounters at 155lbs and Aldo has the power and enough tricks up his sleeve to do likewise. Targeting Edgar’s legs with kicks could also be Aldo’s key to stopping him from coming on strong in the later rounds, and I think the champion will ultimately defend his title by decision after five competitive rounds.
Jose Aldo to win by decision.
Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio Silva
Overeem comes into this fight knowing a win will book him a title shot against Cain Velasquez, while ‘Bigfoot’ also has aspirations to one day get into the title mix.
Striking wise Overeem will have the edge. He’s got bigger power, but I think it’s also important to note that he has better defensive skills. That’s significant because both men’s chins have been questionable at times in the past. Overeem’s adapted to that though and always brings a stout defensive guard to the table these days. Silva’s a capable boxer, but I don’t feel is good enough to really concern him.
What Silva does have in his favor is a surprisingly good ground game for such a big man. Overeem’s takedown defense isn’t perfect, so there is an opportunity for Silva to take him down and feed ‘The Reem’ heavy punches from top position.
That’s certainly a route to victory for ‘Bigfoot’, especially if Overeem provides the kind of lethargic performance he did against Fabricio Werdum in his final Strikeforce fight, but I don’t think that’ll be the case and I’m opting for a determined Overeem to connect with some big strikes to bring this fight to an early conclusion.
Alistair Overeem to win by TKO in Rd1
Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
There’s a big incentive for Evans to win this one as rumors swirl that he could be the next title challenger for Anderson Silva in the middlweight division if he gets past Lil Nog.
I think Evans has a good chance to do so. Nogueira has good technical boxing, but Evans is far quicker and has explosive power. Evans also has a significant advantage in the wrestling department so he’s got several routes to victory.
If he does choose to take the fight to the canvas he’ll have to be wary though as Nogueira is very good off his back, both with submissions and sweeps. Evans has the top control to be able to deal with that though and I think with a mixture of stand-up and takedowns he’ll eventually wear down Lil Nog and claim a stoppage victory.
Rashad Evans to win by TKO in Rd2.
Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia
I’m curious to see how this fight is going to play out as both these men are specialists in their respective fields on the mat. Fitch’s ability to completely shut fighters down with his wrestling on the mat is well documented, but he’s never had to deal with someone with the level of jiu-jitsu that Maia brings to the table.
Having said that, despite a dominant start to his UFC career Maia has found it difficult in more recent times to really have his way with submissions as people have improved their defense, and I think he will find it tough to get much going against Fitch in that regard, particularly if he’s working from the bottom as he’ll get very little space to operate from.
There’s always the chance that the two men might respect each others ground games enough to keep this one standing though. If that’s the case then in all honesty neither man holds a clear advantage and we could be heading for a close decision on the scorecards.
I suspect Fitch won’t be able to resist the urge to grapple though and I see him playing it as cautious as he possibly can as he grinds out yet another dominant but dull decision win on the mat.
Jon Fitch to win by decision.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall
This should be a fun fight between two of the flyweight divisions top competitors who could be on the verge of another title shot with a win on Saturday night.
I’m expecting a closely fought encounter here as these two are pretty evenly matched. Both fight at a good pace, have decent punching power for the division, good wrestling and possess a submission threat.
With that in mind I’m paying more attention to outside influences than I might normally, and the fact that mcCall has made it clear in recent days that he’s having difficulties in his personal life at the moment and is eager to get this fight over and done with doesn’t bode well when coming up against someone of Benavidez’s caliber, and so that’s why I’m taking him to win by decision.
Joseph Benavidez to win by decision.
Evan Dunham vs. Gleison Tibau
Jay Hieron vs. Tyron Woodley
Bobby Green vs. Jacob Volkmann
Yves Edwards vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg
Chico Camus vs. Dustin Kimura
Edwin Figueroa vs. Francisco Rivera