UFC 139: Perfect Card? (w/Main Card Predictions)
UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos did very well for the promotion. It introduced many new, potential fans to the sport. It’s quick end (64 seconds) got people talking. And the advertising for UFC events, on Fox, Spike, Fuel and others, is only increasing its brand recognition.
All of which makes Saturday’s card, UFC 139, that much more important to solidify the viewers from the first Fox event and entice the people they bring in with a solid card of fights. And this may be the perfect card to do that. The two co-main events should be fantastic for the newbies and those that remember Pride as well:
Shogun vs. Hendo
A match for the ages! Even if that age was about five years ago! (I kid!) These are two guys …near… their prime who will perform at a perfect (read: not as quick as they used to) pace for people new to the sport. You know they’ll be dropping bombs, too! (You’ve seen footage of bombs, right? They drop from a plane and then fall, ever so slowly, toward their target?) The audience will get to see everything as it happens rather than wait for the slo-mo replay! (At least, that’s how I’ll imagine it until they prove otherwise…). Seriously, though, these guys are legends, and therefore mandatory for new fans to see fight, and they’re not far from title contention…
Prediction: Shogun. KO/TKO, He’s younger, faster and has more to prove.
Wanderlei Silva vs. Cung Le
While I’m not sure Cung Le qualifies as a legend, Wanderlei does and coming off of a big loss, he’s looking to re-establish himself here. (Insert the same “slow” jokes from above) He’ll have his hands full with Cung Le, though, whose style is confusing for many fighters who’ve never faced it before. Cung Le should be significantly quicker than Wanderlei, and has a distinct advantage in stand-up striking. But one good punch from Wandi hitting home and it’s a whole different story…
Prediction: Cung Le, TKO. Quicker, hard-to-defend style.
Urijah Faber vs. Brian Bowles
In the interest of honesty, I have to admit that the top two fights aren’t *my* main event. For me, Urijah Faber vs. Brian Bowles is what I’m really looking forward to. Faber didn’t quite live up to his potential (or his history in MMA) against Dominick Cruz, so he’ll be looking to put on a clinic against Bowles, who has to prove he can dominate a bout without breaking a hand. This could go either way, but either way it goes look for an all-out war!
Prediction: Faber. Decision. Safe choice, perhaps, but until Bowles can prove he can keep his skeletal structure together, Faber will have the advantage of full limb usage during the entire fight.
Martin Kampmann vs. Rick Story
These guys are total competitors, and each is coming off of fights that they can use to build from. Every time in the cage is a learning opportunity, and we’ll see who had absorbed the knowledge available to them. This is my pre-fight choice for most awkward match-up of the night.
Prediction: Kampmann, Decision. He’s bringing the most complete game. Story will make it close, but there’s a reason Story’s stand-up prowess shocked everyone, and I believe Kampmann exposes it.
Stephan Bonnar vs. Kyle Kingsbury
Stephan Bonnar’s profile has been raised by his appearances as an analyst and commentator for MMA events over the last year. He does give the impression that he’s ready to kill at any moment (I’ve seen him give that crazed look to his co-announcer for no apparent reason… I now wonder if it is an intentional thing to psyche out an opponent or if that’s just a natural look he inadvertently slips into once in a while… which, frankly, would make travel discomforting with the man…), but one has to wonder if all that cushy booth time has taken away his drive, or if his time spent analyzing has increased his knowledge of the sport.
Prediction: Kingsbury, TKO. Kyle has worked hard since his Ultimate Fighter defeats, and Bonnar is the perfect opponent for him to prove he’s ready to take the next step up in the division.
So those are my relatively unscientific predictions. The Spike TV and facebook prelims look to put a lot of pressure on the main card to put on a great show, featuring a slew of potential “fight of the night” candidates. Don’t miss any of the action!