The Middleweight and Lightweight kings are back in the octagon defending their titles. For the first time, UFC will be holding their first event in Abu Dhabi in an outdoor arena. Fighters will be fighting in the open environment, so let’s hope it doesn’t rain.
Anderson Silva vs Demian Maia
Anderson Silva was slated to face fellow Brazilian Vitor Belfort, but due to a shoulder injury Demian Maia has stepped up to take his place to fight for the title. I think Maia makes a more dangerous opponent than Belfort. Maia’s BBJ is world-class and is second to none in MMA. Silva’s ground game is underrated and he’ll prove that this Saturday. Maia’s only advantage is taking the fight to the ground, but that’s easier said than done when the Champ is considered the best striker in all of MMA. It’s not to say that it’s an impossible task as other fighters in the past have managed to take Silva down such as Dan Henderson and Travis Lutter. In reality there is no perfect game plan against Anderson Silva. Maia will have to close the distance to even attempt a take down, and even then, that’s where the Champ is the most dangerous with this Thai clinch and knees. I see this fight ending in a boring decision with Maia evading the striking prowess of Silva or a devastating KO by the hands or knees of the Middleweight champ.
BJ Penn vs Frankie Edgar
BJ Penn has truly focused on his career establishing himself as the best Lightweight fighter of all time. Penn has defended his title 3 times with ease. And on Saturday he will be facing a fighter with fast hands and great wrestling, Frankie Edgar. Edgar is one of the few fighters in MMA that mixes this quick crisp boxing with his wrestling very well. But the same can be said about BJ Penn about his boxing and BJJ. The only thing that Edgar brings to the table on Saturday is his fast hands. As of late, Penn’s stand-up has been giving all his opponents trouble, and it’s where he wears down his foes and finishes them off on the ground. So fast hands won’t be enough to take the belt from the Prodigy. Edgar will need a game plan that forces Penn to pick up the pace in the fight and draw it out into the championship rounds. I haven’t been sold on his “improved cardio”. If Edgar can avoid the ground game and push the pace for the first few rounds he can capitalize on a very tired BJ Penn in rounds 4 and 5. Unfortunately the only person with the skill-set that can implement that plan is currently holding the Welterweight title. I see this fight ending via TKO or submission with Penn licking his glove and the belt still around his waist.
Anderson Silva beats Demian Maia
BJ Penn beats Frankie Edgar
Renzo Gracie beats Matt Hughes
Terry Etim beats Rafael Dos Anjos
Mark Munoz beats Kendall Grove
Paul Taylor beats John Gunderson
Matt Veach beats Paul Kelly