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UFC 152 Preview – Vitor Belfort Vs. Jon Jones

Thanks to UFC 151 not happening, this is the first time in a while that I’ve actually missed the UFC. It’s not that I don’t look forward to it. I still do for most of the major cards. And it’s not to say that canceling UFC 151 was good for business either. It obviously wasn’t and not just for the company. Many undercard fighters lost pay days and even though they’ll make up for them, I’m sure most were counting on the money at that time.

But thanks to over-saturation and lackluster main events partially because of bad luck, I haven’t truly looked forward to most UFC shows this year like I have in past years. I won’t say that this card has me stoked, because it doesn’t. But it feels good to have the UFC back this weekend. It feels right again, much like the rhythms of 2007 and 2008 did.

In addition to the regular cast of characters from FGB, joining us with their picks are regular guest, Stevie J from Angry Marks, and a new guest, Heidi Fang from MMA Fight Corner.

Brian Stann vs. Michael Bisping

Big D says: Bisping by decision

I don’t like Michael Bisping, but yet I do. I’ve always thought of him as a prick, but the fact that he knows he is a prick and plays it so well has earned my respect. Besides that, he’s taken champs like Chael Sonnen and Rashad Evans to the limit. His opponent is Brian Stann, who is very likeable, but hasn’t really impressed me. He’s got talent, but he seems to have issues dealing with wrestlers despite having solid training. The fact that Bisping damn near beat Chael and Chael annihilated Stann sort of tells me that Stann will have lots of trouble with the Count’s wrestling, and it will be his undoing.

GG says: Bisping by decision

This is a huge fight for both guys. For Bisping, a win could put him next in line for a shot at the middleweight title, whenever Anderson Silva and Dana White decides it will be defended. For Stann, he was on a nice roll before being upended by Chael Sonnen, like D mentioned above and a win puts him back in contention. While I don’t think it will be as clear a victory as D suggests, I do think Bisping ekes it out. I think Stann surprises Bisping with his strength and makes Bisping change strategy mid-fight. Bisping’s going to have to do a lot more sticking and moving I believe to beat Stann. I would not be surprised if Stann surprises us here.

Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson

Heidi says: Benavidez by 5th round stoppage

Benavidez has already proven he has the ability to finish which is not just in the power that he has, but also in the accuracy he’s able to put behind his strikes. Though Demetrious attempts more takedowns in a round than any other fighter in the UFC, Benavidez has top-notch wrestling and ability to defend those takedowns. Once it’s on the ground, Benavidez proved in the Miguel Torres fight in the WEC, that he can end a fight using his submissions also. Benavidez’s only two losses in his career were to Dominick Cruz in the WEC and the second fight, which was for the WEC bantamweight title, was extremely close. I think this time, he gets over that hump. I’m excited to see the action the flyweights bring to table and I’m hoping for a late finish in the 5th round and Fight of the Night with this one.

Heidi recently interviewed Johnson on Thursday at MMA Fight Corner.

Stevie J says: Johnson by decision

Benavidez is the favorite with oddsmakers and pundits going in. He had the most dominant win of the flyweight tournament, a TKO of Yasuhiro Urushitani 0:11 into the second round. On top of that Benavidez had piled up an impressive 14-2 record in WEC and UFC before that, with a who’s who list of wins over guys like Rani Yahya, Miguel Torres, Wagnney Fabiano and Eddie Wineland. The only black mark on his career so far is Dominick Cruz, who he faced twice and lost to twice, going the scheduled distance each time. That may not be a lot to hang your hat on if you favor Demetrious Johnson, but as they both only have 2 losses and Cruz is one in common, I find it a little incredulous that some people consider Benavidez a 3-1 favorite. It may be true that Johnson wins more fights by decision than knockout (6 to 3) but if the way to beat Benavidez is to simply outlast him the aptly named “Mighty Mouse” has proven he has boundless energy and if anything has looked quicker and stronger since moving from bantamweight to flyweight. And even though the only submission we’ve seen in his Zuffa career is Damacio Page, he does have as many submissions as decisions, so even Benavidez may be overlooking a chance of being tapped out. Regardless of which way it goes it’s going to be an incredibly exciting fight, and as the co-main event before a Jon Jones fight, it’s finally the kind of showcase UFC’s flyweights need to get over with more than just the hardcore MMA fans.It is literally a can’t miss fight because if you blink even once you’ll miss something good.

Victor Belfort vs. Jon Jones

Duan says: Jones by 2nd round submission

Belfort is out of his division, outsized and outmatched. If he’s going to pull the upset, it’s got to be a big time smash and grab effort that does it. He needs to take the play away from Jones early before he settles. His chances fade fast with each additional second that comes off that clock.

I believe Vitor knows the predicament he’s in here, and I’m certain his team does too, so I think he will roll the dice on this one. The good news for him is that he has the handspeed, power and finishing skills to have a shot. Belfort’s a dynamite puncher. He might not even need a clean connection to finish this; a grazing shot could get the job done or at least be enough to swing the fight.

Jones knows what to expect though. He will have his wits about him early, fight cautiously and wait for the opening to come. He weathers Belfort’s barrage early, breaks him down, and taps him out in two.

Cactus Jim says: Jones by 3rd round submission

Unless you’ve been in a coma for the last month, you know that the once lauded and much loved Jon Jones comes into this fight as the UFC’s #1 heel following his decision to decline a last minute replacement fight with Chael Sonnen following Dan Henderson’s injury in training at UFC 151. Will this new found hate and all the negative energy get into his head and throw him off his game? In my opinion, Dan Henderson was an interesting opponent for Jones because of his KO power and his solid wrestling ability. Vitor Belfort comes into this fight lacking that strong wrestling background and possibly some of the one punch KO power Henderson possesses. However, Vitor has incredible hand speed and more than enough power to put a guy to sleep quite handily. In order to win this fight, Vitor will need to utilize that speed and get after Jones, not allowing him to settle into the fight and get comfortable. Unfortunately for Vitor, Jon Jones has a huge reach advantage and getting close enough to utilize that speed will prove both difficult and dangerous. Jon Jones can stay on the outside and use his length and unorthodox striking to keep Vitor at bay. If Vitor does get inside I would expect Jones to tie him up, take it to the ground, and likely choke Vitor out somewhere in the middle rounds. Jones will push through the negativity, make a public apology post fight, and after another exciting fight or two the fans will soon forget his selfishness and Josh Koscheck can return to the top of the most hated list.

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