UFC 128 (March 19, 2011) - Newark, New Jersey - Predictions and Analysis
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (Champ) vs. Jon “Bones” Jones
|Shogun||29||19-4||Won 1||6'1||205||Striking, Power, Aggressive|
|Jones||23||12-1||Won 3||6'4||205||Takedowns, Wrestling, Unpredictable|
The main event pits the ufc’s biggest rising star in Jon ‘Bones’ Jones vs Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua (the current Light Heavyweight Champion). It’s not often the challenger comes in as the odds on favourite, but this is indeed the case for Jones and with good reason. Jones has been tearing through the light heavyweight division in impressive fashion with his latest victory coming just 2 months ago vs. Ryan Bader. Jones dominated Bader in the 1st round and continued the onslaught in the 2nd, eventually sinking in a guillotine choke to finish him off and improve his record to 6–1 in the UFC. This is Shogun’s first title defense since his TKO win at the hands of former champ Lyoto Machida way back in May 2010. Rua’s win was sweet redemption for the champ as many felt he should have won the first contest vs. Machida...but he lost in a controversial decision by the judges. This will also be Shogun’s first fight back in the octagon since having reconstructive knee surgery shortly after the May 2010 fight vs. Machida. Shogun has tremendous punching power and 84% of his wins have come via TKO. Despite this though, Jones will be too quick for Rua and will use his huge reach advantage to stay away from Shogun’s power. Jones will look to take Shogun down and end the fight with one of his many tools either by vicious elbows or submission tapout. Although there is good value in taking the underdog champ in Rua, it’s hard to predict how his knee will hold up or if he even still possesses the TKO power he has previously displayed. Although Jon ‘Bones’ Jones is taking this fight on short notice he’ll be more than prepared to take advantage of this huge opportunity at such a young age.
Pick: Jon “Bones” Jones
Urijah Faber vs. Eddie Wineland
|Faber||31||24-4||Won 1||5’6||135||Takedowns, Hand Speed, Submissions|
|Wineland||26||18-6-1||Won 4||5’7||135||Striking, KO Power|
The undercard sees the debut of two former WEC fighters with Faber and Wineland in the Bantamweight division. Faber, once the featherweight champ in the WEC, has recently had a rocky road alternating wins and losses in his last 6 fights. His last fight was a submission win vs. Takeya Mizugaki and was his bantamweight debut earning him "submission of the night" honors. Faber is a wrestling specialist with 88% of his wins coming by the way of submission. Wineland is the former WEC bantamweight champion and is currently riding a 4 match win streak, with the last 2 earning him knockouts of the night. While wineland does possess some upset potential with his KO power, look for Faber to take him down and keep him there eventually grinding out a victory or forcing a tapout by submission.
Pick: Urijah Faber
Jim Miller vs. Kamal Shalorus
|Miller||27||19-2||Won 6||5’8||155||Wrestling, Submissions|
Jim Miller comes into this fight on fire winning his last six fights and putting on dominate performances vs. Mark Bocek and Gleison Tibeau. He won his last fight against prospect Charles Oliveira via kneebar earning him "submission of the night". Shalorus makes his UFC debut coming from the WEC where he posted a record of 3 wins and 1 draw. Miller's experience and jiu-jitsu skills should be enough to win a decision over Shalorus and might earn him a shot at title contention.
Pick: Jim Miller
Dan Miller vs. Nate “The Great” Marquardt
|Marquardt||31||33-10-2||Lost 1||6'0||185||Takedowns, Well Rounded|
Dan Miller steps in for Akiyama who withdrew from the fight due to the tsunami disaster in Japan. Although Miller is on a modest 2 fight win streak, it is a tough task to ask for him to come away with a victory over veteran Nate Marquardt. With superior wrestling and jiu-jitsu skills and no time for Miller to prepare, Nate the Great should come away with the victory in this one likely by TKO.
Pick: Nate Marquardt
Mirko Cro Cop vs. Brendan Schaub
|Cro Cop||36||27-8-2||Lost 1||6'2||220||Striking, Leg Kicks|
|Schaub||27||8-1||Won 3||6'4||240||Striking, KO Power|
The opening fight of the main card has MMA veteran Mirko Cro Cop taking on up-and-comer Brendan Schaub. Although Cro Cop has managed to put together a couple wins in his last few fights, his best days in the octagon are far behind him. His last fight vs Frank Mir was a sleeper and he eventually got caught by a knee in the final round. Schaub has shown the power to end fights with one punch and with a questionable Cro Cop, "The Hybrid" could easily catch the legendary Cro Cop on the chin and finally put an end to his long career.
Pick: Brendan Schaub