Preliminary fight (Facebook)
Lightweight bout: Rafaello Oliveira vs. Yoislandy Izquierdo
The first fight of the night is the only one set to air on Facebook before things get started on cable television. These guys deserve to be on Facebook though, seeing as how neither fighter has fared well under the bright lights of the UFC promotion. The loser of this match-up will likely be cut from the 155 lb. roster. That being said, I’m going with experience here. Oliveira is the only one with an actual UFC win and on top of that he has been around top-level competition four years in a row. Don’t be too upset if you miss out on this fight, but I’ve got Oliveira grinding this one out for three rounds.
The crimson-eyed foresight – Oliveira by Unanimous decision
Preliminary fights on cable television (FX)
Lightweight bout: John Alessio vs. Shane Roller
The talent level surely ramps up for the rest of the night when things get underway on the FX card. The highly experienced Alessio (34-15) has been around the block and back, having his 1st ever UFC fight be a title bout loss against the legendary Pat Miletich in 2000. Since then, John Alessio has competed for a hand-full of smaller promotions before finally starting a new contract with the UFC at the beginning of this year. Across from him in the cage will be a three-time all-American wrestler (Oklahoma State University) in Shane Roller. Although Roller has a record of 10-6, he is not one to be taken lightly. He has faced top-level lightweights for the majority of his career and has significant victories over current UFC fighters; Danny Castillo, Anthony Njokuani, Jamie Varner, and Thiago Tavares. Roller is coming into Saturday night with a 3-fight losing streak on his back and will be throwing that extra weight with each of his strikes.
The crimson-eyed foresight – Roller via 3rd rd. submission (RNC)
Middleweight bout: Constantinos Phillipou vs. Riki Fukuda
This is a wonderful pairing. Two fairly unknown middleweights who will gain a lot of new fans after their fight Saturday night. Both of these guys have been on a steady climb through the middleweight ranks and seem to be meeting each other in the cage at just the right time. While Fukuda has the ability to keep this fight close, distance-wise, I fear he will start getting too desperate for takedown attempts and cost himself this fight. Phillipou is a fighter that nobody wants to stand and trade punches with. He possesses scary boxing power and will showcase it here.
The crimson-eyed foresight – Phillipou via 2nd rd. TKO
Lightweight bout: Melvin Guillard vs. Fabricio Camoes
New Orleans native and UFC veteran, Melvin Guillard, has had a roller-coaster ride of a run through the lightweight division since signing with the promotion in 2005. Guillard was heavily supported by his father all throughout his career, until his Dad passed away just after Hurricane Katrina devastated his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana and just before Guillard entered his 1st fight with the then still-growing UFC. As a result, Guillard has not only battled fierce competition inside the cage, but has struggled mightily with depression and drug addiction in different points of his career. Still, Melvin has a strong fan base behind him, and is one of the more charismatic lightweights on the roster. Camoes will be a tough customer for Guillard to deal with this weekend, as he is a submission specialist. That has to be in Melvin’s head since he is coming off back-to-back QUICK submission losses against Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller.
The crimson-eyed foresight – Guillard via 1st Rd. KO
Lightweight bout: Gleison Tibau vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov
The last fight to air on FX features two wrestlers, although it should be noted that Nurmagomedov does have a black belt in Judo, as well. A common theme we’re finding in these prelims is experience against rising talent. This will be Tibau’s 16th fight in the UFC, while it is only the 2nd for Khabib Nurmagomedov, who has an undefeated professional record of 17-0. Even if it is only his 2nd fight for the promotion, a win over Tibau would be a huge stepping stone in terms of advancing his rank within the division. It’s hard to go against such an impressive undefeated streak, even if it is against lower-level competition.
The crimson-eyed foresight – Nurmagomedov via unanimous decision
Main Card (Pay-Per-View)
Bantamweight bout: Ivan Menjivar vs. Mike Easton
The stacked main card of UFC 148 begins with this bantamweight clash of two well-conditioned athletes. Easton is coming into the night on a 7-fight win streak, 2-0 since joining the UFC last year. He is a fast, explosive 135-pounder, as most of them tend to be. Easton also has earned black belts in two different practices of martial arts; Tae Kwon Doe, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. While all of that is impressive for Easton, his opponent Ivan Menjivar has the experience under his belt of fighting former champions such as Georges St. Pierre, Matt Serra, and Urijah Faber. I feel the executives at UFC are moving Easton up in the division too far and too soon, and it will cost him in this fight.
The crimson-eyed foresight – Menjivar via unanimous decision
Featherweight bout: Chad Mendes vs. Cody McKenzie
Chad “money” Mendes is coming off his first ever professional loss at the hands of Jose Aldo, in a heartbreaking last-second K.O. It’s important that the loss did not affect his mentality too much because he is still a top-5 featherweight without a doubt. For McKenzie, this fight is really a tall order for someone making the shift to 145 lbs. It’s a major jump in competition from what he was facing in the lightweight division, where he had a mediocre run, at best. I see this as being the most one-sided fight of the entire night, maybe McKenzie can prove me wrong and hold his own against “money” Mendes.
The crimson-eyed foresight – Mendes via 2nd rd. submission
Welterweight bout: Dong-Hyun Kim vs. Demian Maia
This will be Demian Maia’s first fight since making the shift from 185 to 170 lbs in the UFC. He’s had tough luck against crisp strikers with good takedown defense. Unfortunately for Maia, “Stun-gun” Kim has a very talented stand-up game and will utilize it when Maia looks to shoot for takedowns. Those takedowns will be key, as Maia needs this fight to go to the mat where he can control any fighter via his expert grappling skills. Maia has impressed me in the past, but I see his MMA career on the decline as of now.
The crimson-eyed foresight – Kim via 3rd rd. TKO
Middleweight bout: Patrick Cote vs. Cung Le
Welcome back to the UFC, Patrick Cote! He was released from the promotion after a 3-fight losing streak two years ago, and has reeled off four straight victories to earn another contract fighting against the best in the world. Standing across Cote in the cage will be the 40-year old Sanshou kick-boxer, Cung Le, who is known for putting on exciting fights. Le is one of the best in the world when it comes to kickboxing, but in the world of MMA, Cote is the more polished, well-rounded fighter. Cote could be more motivated for this fight than Le, in fact Cote WILL be more motivated.
The crimson-eyed foresight: Cote via unanimous decision
Light-heavyweight bout: Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin
If you didn’t know already, this will be the last time we ever see Tito Ortiz in the octagon. He’s vowed to retire regardless of the outcome from Saturday night’s fight. He’s also been given the honor of being inducted into the UFC hall of fame, and rightfully so. Ortiz is one of the original faces of the UFC as it began to grow in the 1990’s. Despite his ugly record, (16-10-1) Ortiz has faced top-level competition since the beginning of his career and holds the record for most title defenses in the 205 lb. division. Meanwhile, the other side of this rubber match features original T.U.F. winner and fan favorite, Forrest Griffin. Griffin has also been on a decline in his career, albeit, not as severe as his opponent. He certainly has better conditioning than Ortiz, but hasn’t fought in nearly a year. We’ll see if the ring rust plays a role. If it does, prepare to see one of the more memorable moments in UFC history, as Tito Ortiz will be overwhelmingly emotional.
The crimson-eyed foresight: Ortiz via 2nd rd. TKO
Main Event – Middleweight title bout: Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva
The #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world against the #1 trash-talking athlete in the world. If you didn’t see their 1st fight two years ago, I highly suggest looking around online and watching it if possible. Sonnen took the fight to the champion for over 22 minutes, putting Silva on his back and landing 320 strikes over the course of the fight. As the final bell neared, Silva wrapped up a quick triangle armbar and forced Sonnen to submit. Since then, Sonnen has talked even more trash to the champion, all while earning enough victories for one more shot at his goal. Diehard MMA fans will agree, this is one of the most anticipated fights of 2012. Prepare to be entertained.
The crimson-eyed foresight: Silva via 3rd rd. TKO (viciously)