This Saturday, the wonderful people at the UFC will be offering us yet another great night of mixed martial arts. The card is stacked with 12 fights: three on Facebook (3:30 pm), four on FX (5 pm), and five on PPV (7 pm). Here are my UFC 159 PPV predictions.
-Pat Healy (31-15) vs Jim Miller (22-4)-
Pat "Bam Bam" Healy heads from Portland, Oregon to Newark, New Jersey to go to war with the grizzled Jim Miller. Of all twelve fights, this one is the one that is most likely to be Fight of the Night. With 72 professional fights between the two, the cage will be full of experience. And with that experience comes 45 combined finishes, including an astounding 27 submission victories. This fight will hit the mat. When it does, just sit back and enjoy what should be a very technical but aggressive display of world class grappling. On top of that, both fighters have excellent striking. This fight will most likely be a close one. "Bam Bam" is not only a local guy, but he's been one of my favorites for a long time. Pat Healy via split decision.
-Phil Davis (10-1) vs Vinny Magalhaes (10-5)-
Elite NCAA Division 1 wrestling champion versus an ADCC and Mundial world jiu jitsu champion. Well this one’s guaranteed to go to the ground … right? I think not. The entire world knows how deadly Magalhaes’s grappling is, including Davis. I think that Davis is going to try to utilize his wrestling skills to keep this fight standing and keep the submission ace at distance. His ability to stuff the takedown could ultimately decide how the entire fight plays out. If Magalhaes is able to initiate the clinch and create some trip takedowns, his jiu jitsu will be good enough to keep him down and work on earning another submission victory. My guess is that Davis stays standing, plants a bunch of jabs and a couple hooks, and cruises to a sweep. Phil Davis via 30-27 unanimous decision.
-Cheick Kongo (18-7-2) vs Roy Nelson (18-7)-
The third fight on the main card pits two heavyweights against one another. Roy "Big Country" Nelson has looked impressive as of late, winning 3 of his last 4 fights by (T)KO. He has always hit hard, but has never had any significant striking until recently, and it has shown. Aside from his crippling hooks, Big Country also carries around a dangerous jiu jitsu game, holding 5 submission victories and 0 submission defeats in 25 outings. Kongo himself is a former professional kickboxer. Out of 18 wins, 10 of those wins come by way of knockout. While Kongo is not known to be much of a submission artist, he holds multiple wins by way of tap out and has only been submitted once in his career. But for some reason, I don't think we're going to be seeing much ground game during this fight. I see these two measuring each other out for a couple of minutes, and then somebody is going to sleep in one big punch. That punch will be thrown by Nelson. Roy Nelson via KO in Round 1.
-Alan Belcher (18-7) vs Michael Bisping (23-5)-
In the co-main event, middleweights Alan "The Talent" Belcher and Michael "The Count" Bisping square off in an intriguing matchup. Belcher recently saw a 4-fight winning streak break with a decision loss against Yushin Okami. Bisping too is coming off of a loss, a TKO to middleweight contender Vitor Belfort. Both fighters are looking to get into title contention with a victory. This fight should be a technical and exciting mix of quick, calculated striking and well-timed takedowns and active scrambles. There are 23 T(KO) victories between the two fighters. Bisping will try to dance around the cage and pick Belcher apart round by round. Belcher, on the other hand, is seeking an aggressive finish to prove a point and move up in the division’s rankings. That will be his biggest mistake. We are going to see a collected Bisping use his crisp counter striking to earn a decently entertaining decision victory. Michael Bisping via unanimous decision. 30-27.
-Jon Jones (17-1) vs Chael Sonnen (27-12-1)-
Hailing out of West Linn, Chael Sonnen is the Oregon Gangster. A chiseled wrestler who has recently tuned his game to reach his prime, the political styled self-marketing machine has talked his way into a title fight against UFC Light Heavyweight kingpin Jon "Bones" Jones. Sonnen will be using his underrated boxing to work his way inside and do what he does best: go to work. We all know that Sonnen has the capability to take Jones down, and most likely will at some point in the fight. What he is able to do with that takedown is what matters. Will he be able to hold down and slowly break the will of the young superstar, or will Jones end another Sonnen title campaign and tie Tito Ortiz’s title defense record? Call me optimistic or call me a hometown fan, either way, I'm rooting for the one and only Chael P. Sonnen. Chael Sonnen via 48-47 unanimous decision.