"I'm not laying underneath a grown man with my legs spread on worldwide TV. Some guys subscribe to that theory but I am a Republican and we don't do that." - Chael Sonnen
Dustin Poirier vs. Diego Brandao
Poirier vs. Brandao: The Diamond and the DB. Ordinarily I wouldn't really care about this fight, but at last night's weigh-in, Diego Brandao clocked in at seven pounds too fat for the featherweight division, or three pounds under for the lightweight division depending on how you measure a dude who ate too much Christmas ham before a fight. Poirier, who clocked in at 146, 1 lb. over, was furious. He reportedly told Diego Brandao that he was going to fucking break him. I believe him.
Prediction: Dustin Poirier wins by unanimous decision.
Jim Miller vs. Fabricio Camoes
Jim "Not Pat Healy" Miller is back in action tonight against Fabricio Camoes. I don't really understand why this is on the main card. Miller is decent enough, but Fabricio hasn't really beaten any top talent. He last faced Melvin Guillard and lost, so, eh. Miller was last seen being soundly defeated against his evil twin, Pat Healy. You can tell Pat is the evil one because he smokes the devil's reefer.
Anyway, I predict Jim Miller grinds out a decision win over an outmatched competitor to the delight of no one.
Prediction: Jim Miller wins by unanimous decision.
Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne
I predict that Travis Browne gets the roll up pin for the win while a distracted Josh Barnett is pointing and yelling at a snarling Brock Lesnar in the front row.
Ah, but not. I'm probably most excited about this fight. Barnett and Browne are both phenomenal fighters. Barnett's achievements are legendary, having defeated almost every relevant heavyweight outside of the UFC during the past ten years, and Browne's only loss came after his was injured during an angry Bigfoot assault. Of Browne's 15 victories, only two have been by decision. He's a knockout artist facing a man who has made a career of grounding out knockout artists. Here I give the edge to Barnett. Browne has amazing power, but Barnett can weather some very severe knuckle storms. If anyone in the division can test it, it's Browne. If Barnett takes this to the ground like I think he will, I see him working his way to another submission win. Barnett's subs come from all angles, but the arm-triangle seems to be the preferred method lately. I see him sinking one in late in the second round.
Prediction: Josh Barnett wins via arm-triangle choke in the second round.
Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate
When Cat Zingano was forced out of her coaching gig on The Ultimate Fighter, UFC brass replaced her with Rousey's most hated person ever, rival fighter Miesha Tate. The two gave us an entire season to debate which woman is the bigger bitch before we see them fight at UFC 168. Fans are torn. Rousey is basically a Diaz brother with prettier middle fingers and Tate suffers from bitchy resting face.
Rousey uses the same strategy in most of her fights. She comes out wild, and once her opponent is on the defensive, she's able to grab her. From there she works for either a toss to side control or a trip if she's not in position for a toss. From side control she mounts, from the mount she goes for the arm bar. Her open style leaves some holes in her game, such as when Tate briefly and Rousey's back in their first encounter. If Tate's team did their homework, they'll be able to exploit this. Neither fighter has a phenomenal stand up fighting style, but I give Tate the slight edge in this department. She cannot get caught up by Rousey, and if she does, she has to be the one on top. In overall athleticism, takedowns, and submissions, I give the edge to Rousey. Rousey has the skills to grind this out if she has to, but I wouldn't be surprised to see another arm bar.
Prediction: Ronda Rousey wins by second round arm bar.
Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva
Placing the name Anderson Silva on the right side of the vs. abbreviation is something that the English language hasn't done since around the same time it had to figure out what's a Borat, so I find writing this both confusing and maybe racist. Chris Weidman toppled the former middleweight champion after Silva danced mounted a counterattack strategy based solely on dancing like he was white girl wasted.
The questions going into this fight are flying. Are we going to see a focused Silva, or is he really just mentally done with the sport? What's Weidman's strategy going to be going into this one? Can a focused Silva defeat a fully healed Weidman? Will Silva still play mind games even though they failed him during their last fight, or will he come out ready to go to war like he did in the second Sonnen fight?
As always, Silva's best shot at winning is on the feet. He doesn't do takedowns and I doubt he's going to start now. His BJJ game is good enough to keep him out of serious danger, but Weidman's wrestling is top tier. Weidman will be looking to put Silva on his back and either submit or ground and pound his way to the win. Silva is either going to try to stay on the outside and sucker his opponent into his counter shots or come out furiously, but I see the former as the more likely option. Silva has never fought truly recklessly and until the first Sonnen fight remained largely unscathed because of it. If he can measure his opponent and work into a rhythm, using his range and kicks to pick apart Weidman, he's got this. Weidman's paths to victory are more numerous, but Silva's main path is focused like nobody else's in the sport. I think Weidman has the better shot in this one, but I'm torn as to whether or not he'll win by another KO or a decision. If it's even remotely close, I see the judges giving it to Silva just because this has been a year of controversy.