Two titles are on the line. Frankie Edgar will be defending his Lightweight title against Gray Maynard in a rematch that ended in a controversial draw in their last bout. And Jose Aldo will try to retain his title against the veteran Kenny Florian whose been trying to capture a title of his own the past few years.
Edgar vs. Maynard
This will be their third fight against each other with Maynard holding a win over Edgar in their first fight. In their last fight, Maynard was so close to finishing the fight in the first round, but Edgar was able to weather the storm and took control of the fight to even it up on the score card.
Expect Maynard to come into this fight with a controlled game plan. He will use is physical strength and wrestling to control his opponent. He’ll want to take the fight to the ground and wear the New Jersey native down. But it won’t be easy as Edgar’s foot movement and quick hands will be the deciding factor of this fight. If Edgar can keep the fight on the feet, he will retain the title. Both are good wrestlers and in the end I see Edgar fending off Maynard’s takedowns and utilize his quickness to keep Maynard at bay and score points with this hands.
Aldo vs. Florian
Aldo has dominated all his opponents since he debuted in the WEC. Since holding the Featherweight title he looked untouchable. In his last fight against Mark Hominick, Aldo seemed to exposed a weaknesses. It was his cardio. Some were saying Aldo had an injury that forced him to make a big weight cut right before the fight, but who knows?
Florian has made an unprecedented move by dropping to a fourth weight class. He was able to prove that he belongs in the division by beating a tough and top contender, Diego Nunes. Florian will be Aldo’s toughest opponent yet. Well-rounded with tons of experience Florian will force the Champion to bring his A-Game.
I’m excited for this fight as Aldo is one of the most explosive fighters in MMA. His striking is phenomenal and his team mates say his ground game is just as good. We haven’t seen it yet as he has not have the opportunities to use it in the octagon. I believe Florian’s striking is good too, but not at the level that Aldo has displayed. I expect Florian to use his reach advantage, but when the opportunities are there he will try to stifle Aldo by keeping him up against the cage. Keeping the fight in tight quarters where Florian can use his knees and elbows is key to scoring points and maintain control. It’s out in the middle of the octagon is where Aldo can blast those big leg kicks and crushing knees. I see Florian struggling to control the Brazilian phenom. Aldo will be just too fast and powerful in the striking game.
Frankie Edgar beats Gray Maynard
Jose Aldo beats Kenny Florian
Chael Sonnen beats Brian Stann
Nam Phan beats Leonard Garcia
Melvin Guillard beats Joe Lauzon
Demian Maia beats Jorge Santiago
Jeremy Stephens beats Anthony Pettis
Zhang Tiequan beats Darren Elkins
Eric Schafer beats Aaron Simpson
BJ Penn vs Kenny Florian
With the return of BJ Penn the lightweight title will be on the line as he will be defending it from Kenny Florian. On paper Penn is considered the heavy favorite, but for the last two years Florian has shown tremendous growth and improvement in his standup and ground game.
This will be Florian’s toughest fight to date. Penn is one of the most well-rounded fighters in MMA, but Florian is almost just as dangerous. When it comes to his striking, Florian’s Muay Thai is solid and will surprise Penn if he keeps the fight standing. Kenny will be utilizing his kicks to slow down his opponent, so expect Penn to shoot in for takedowns. It’s on the ground where Penn will have a big advantage. Penn’s slick BJJ is world-class and he is just as dangerous being on his back as he is on the top position. The odds are against Florian, but with the right strategy he can pull off an upset.
What does Florian need to do? Florian needs to keep the fight standing and use his menacing elbows during the clinches. A Machida tactic of hit and run would be best against Penn. Penn has the propensity of engaging his opponents and pushing the action. With good lateral movement it would set plenty of opportunities for countering. With all that said Will Kenny Florian win? I guess we’ll have to wait an find out. I like rooting for the underdog, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Florian grabs the decision or even get a KO.
Anderson Silva vs Forrest Griffin
There is really no worthy opponent for Anderson Silva in the middleweight division so moving up to 205 for competitive fights is very balsy. This is why he’s considered to be the number 1 pound for pound fighter in the world. This bout with Forrest will push Silva to his limit. Forrest is a huge 205-er. What makes Forrest Griffin different from Silva’s previous opponents is that Griffin feeds off the challenge. As the fight goes into the later rounds Griffin seems to get stronger.
Anderson Silva will have his hands full and don’t expect him to engage full force at the beginning. It’s common knowledged that the first half of the round you will see Silva running around throwing some jabs and a few kicks until he finds his range. From there you’ll see Silva picking apart is opponent. Once his opponent is hurt, Silva pounces for the kill. Looking back at at Silva’s previous fights he has trouble being on his back, but that doesn’t necessarily means it’s his weakness. It can mean that his ground game is not as strong as his standup. So Forrest should take the fight to the ground as often as he can but still remain cautious. Forrest needs to put Silva up against the fence and drag him down and get into side control or full mount that way he can avoid Silva’s long legs.
This fight has a ton of potential to be FOTY, I just hope it delivers. If Silva wins it’ll solidify him as an all time greatest fighter of all time. And if Griffin pulls the win he gets to be the first to prove that Silva needs to stay in his own weight class.
BJ Penn beats Kenny Florian
Anderson Silva beats Forrest Griffin
Kendall Grove beats Ricardo Almeida
Kurt Pellegrino beats Josh Neer
Johny Hendricks beats Amir Soddollah