Wow, what a great fight card Dana White & Co. have put together for UFC 159 at the Rock, in Newark, New Jersey. All five fights on the Main card have the potential to be very good fights in my humble opinion.
Light Heavyweight Championship
Champion Jon Jones (-925) vs. Chael Sonnen (+725)
Jon “Bones” Jones is a heavy favorite and justifiably so, but I still find this fight very intriguing because I think Sonnen’s may, and I emphasize the word “may”, be able to find a way exploit a weakness in Jones that we have not seen yet. Sonnen is a very smart, well-rounded fighter and he is fearless and relentless. This a classic clash between Sonnen, a crafty veteran who is still at or near his peak as a fighter, and Jones, a young champion who has been able to defeat all challengers to date ( not counting the controversial fight he lost to Matt Hamill by DQ for illegal elbow strikes prior to becoming champion). Jones combines a very rounded MMA skill set with truly exceptional athletic ability. He is also extremely well coached by the now famous (at least in MMA circles) Greg Jackson of New Mexico.
I am a fan of both fighters and have been for a long time. I think Jones will probably win, but he is such a heavy favorite that I would not want to bet on him at -900 or -1000. The risk/reward is not favorable because crazy Chael Sonnen just might find a way to deliver the huge upset.
Jones wins by TKO in the third round.
Michael Bisping (-170) vs. Alan Belcher (+160)
These two guys are both desperate to win and stay in the mix among the contenders in this division. They also seem to really hate each other. Forget these fighters taking a conservative approach. I expect a lot of fists to fly early in this fight.
Bisping wins by TKO in the 3rd.
Roy Nelson (-230) vs. Cheick Kongo (+210)
Roy “The Belly” Nelson will prove to be too much for Kongo imo. Nelson doesn’t look like much an athlete, but he is really an exceptional wrestler and packs real power in this fists. Kongo is very strong too, but I don’t think he is nearly as polished a fighter as Nelson.
Roy Nelson wins by KO in the 2nd Round.
Phil Davis (-280) vs. Vinny Magalhaes (+255)
I am very tempted to go with Magalhaes, the underdog, here. Davis is a great athlete and a top notch wrestler, but I still think other parts of his MMA skill set need work. However, I’m going to pick Davis to win because I don’t think Magalhaes is quite good enough to defeat Davis. Magalhaes has a strong ground game, but it is hard to see how he will be able to take down Davis, who was a D-1 wrestling champ at Penn State.
Davis wins by decision.
Jim Miller (-260) vs. Pat Healy (+240)
This fight should be a very tough scrap. I expect Miller, a Jersey guy, to be a little extra motivated fighting in front of the home crowd. Healy is a former Strikeforce champ and I expect him to give Miller a very serious challenge. Most of the Strikeforce fighters that were invited to join the UFC have acquitted themselves very so far in the Octagon and I think we will see Healy continue that trend. However, I just don’t think Healy will be able to defeat the extremely tenacious Miller, who owns a multifaceted MMA game and can win standing or on the ground.
Miller wins by decision.