UFC 163 takes place tomorrow night in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and we’ve got our predictions for all the night’s fights for you below.
Jose Aldo vs. Chan Sung Jung
With The Korean Zombie involved there’s always a good chance you’re going to get a fun fight, but it’s going to be tough for him to come out on top against Aldo. Part of what makes Jung so enjoyable to watch is that he fights with reckless abandon, but that’s not a good strategy against Aldo who’s a deadly mix of heavy-handed and clinical in the striking department. I actually believe that the Zombie will be a little more cautious than usual, but even so I don’t feel he’s technically good enough to get the better of the champion on the feet.
Jung has some nice submissions up his sleeve, but while Aldo favors the striking he’s also accomplished on the mat and so there’s no area of the fight where you get the sense that the Zombie has a real chance to make an impact. Perhaps his best bet will be to push the pace in the later rounds when Aldo tends to start slowing down, perhaps due to the tough weight cut he experiences to get down to 145lbs, but even then it’ll still be a tall order for him to really make an impact.
Aldo’s a big favorite in this fight and rightly so. I see him winning, it’s just a question of how and when. I think Aldo finds plenty of opportunities to land leather on Jung in the early stages of the fight as the two trade on the feet and earns a stoppage inside of two rounds.
Jose Aldo to win by TKO in Rd2.
Lyoto Machida vs. Phil Davis
I’ve never been overly convinced by the striking ability of Phil Davis, though he is slowly improving. He’s not a natural striker however, and that’s going to be a problem against an elusive, quick-thinking, fast-moving opponent like Machida who should see a lot of what Davis throws a mile off.
Therefore, there’s no doubt that Davis best chance to win this fight is to take Machida into his world on the mat where his high-level wrestling could really give the former champion problems. Closing the distance to initiate a successful takedown could well prove difficult however, and he’ll be facing laser-accurate counters as he does so.
Davis certainly has a way to win, but I think he’s going to get frustrated with his inability to lay hands on Machida who’ll happily dart in and out with point-scoring punches and kicks en-route to a decision victory.
Lyoto Machida to win by decision.
Cezar Ferreira vs. Thiago Santos
Santos comes in as a late replacement to make his debut against TUF: Brazil winner ‘Mutante’ in a fight which doesn’t immediately scream out as being PPV quality.
This is a bout that has a good chance of taking place largely on the feet and ‘Mutante’ has the edge in that department for my money. Look for him to be the more aggressive of the two and claim a TKO victory in the second round as a result.
Cezar Ferreira to win by TKO in Rd2.
Thales Leites vs. Tom Watson
So, Leites finally gets a chance to return to the UFC after previously being banished following a couple of underwhelming performances a few years ago.
Not too much has changed since then, with leites still being most comfortable on the mat dominating the grappling exchanges and threatening with submissions, and if he gets Watson down then he’ll have ample opportunity to do both.
Watson’s a hardy competitor with solid striking though, so leites could be in trouble if he’s drawn into extended spells on the feet. I doubt that’ll be the case though as Watson’s not got the best takedown defense and that’ll eventually lead to a late submission stoppage for Leites.
Thales Leites to win by submission in Rd3.
John Lineker vs. Jose Maria Tome
Lineker is an entertaining fighter to watch perform, thanks to an all-action fighting style based around his dangerous striking arsenal.
Tome is also known as a finisher and boasts a long-unbeaten run, but he’s making his UFC debut on Saturday night at short notice on the main card so there’s a real chance of Octagon jitters here and Lineker won’t afford him any time to find his bearings.
It’s always risky making a definitive pick when you’ve got two guys like this who have a similar offense-heavy approach, but I think the advantage does lie with Lineker and I’m tipping him to finish this one in a frantic first round fire-fight.
John Lineker to win by TKO in Rd1
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Vinny Magalhaes vs. Anthony Perosh
Amanda Nunes vs. Sheila Gaff
Sergio Moraes vs. Neil Magny
Ian McCall vs. Iliarde Santos
Rani Yahya vs. Josh Clopton
Viscardi Andrade vs. Bristol Marunde
Ednaldo Oliveira vs. Francimar Barroso