UFC is back this weekend with a heavyweight title fight.
UFC 188 is in Arena Ciudad de México in Mexico City, Mexico on Saturday. It features the return of Cain Velasquez who last fought over a year and a half ago. In the semi-main are Gilbert Melendez and Eddie Alvarez in a fight that many think may be fight of the year calibur.
In addition to the FGB crew, included in our picks are John LaRocca, president of Premier Wrestling, the hardest working woman in MMA, Heidi Fang, and my own personal bodyguard, Alex Goff.
Here’s how we’re doing so far:
Here’s our UFC 188 preview:
Tecia Torres Vs Angela Hill
Duan: Tecia Torres
Alan: Angela Hill
John: Tecia Torres
Heidi: Angela Hill
Alex: Tecia Torres
Jim: Tecia Torres
GG: Tecia Torres
Yair Rodríguez Vs Charles Rosa
Duan: Charles Rosa
Alan: Charles Rosa
John: Yair Rodríguez
Heidi: Charles Rosa
Alex: Charles Rosa
Jim: Charles Rosa
GG: Charles Rosa
Kelvin Gastelum Vs Nate Marquardt
Duan: Kelvin Gastelum
Alan: Kelvin Gastelum
John: Kelvin Gastelum
Heidi: Kelvin Gastelum
Alex: Kelvin Gastelum
Jim: Kelvin Gastelum
GG: Kelvin Gastelum
Gilbert Melendez Vs Eddie Alvarez
Alan: Eddie Alvarez by decision
A dream match in the truest sense of the word. I really wanted Gil and Alvarez to fight during their days in Japan but now we’re getting it here in 2015. It might be a stretch to say either fighter is in their prime but they’re certainly not far out of it. Neither have been losing to tomato cans either with both their recent losses coming to elite fighters. They’re both going to want to rebound in a big way, and know that a victory here will put them right back in the mix. Alvarez would love to get that first UFC win under his belt so perhaps there is slightly more pressure on him.
There is nothing between these guys in any area. Neither guy has holes in their game, they’re both athletic as hell, they’re super fast and they have the ability to finish fights. But I think this one goes the distance, as the respect both men have for each other will cause them to avoid taking chances. That’s not to say that this will be a boring “play it safe” kind of fight. On the contrary, I think we’ll see 15 minutes of fantastic back of forth action, on the feet and on the ground. Who gets the nod from the judges? That may as well be a coin flip. I like both guys a ton, but I think my heart wants Alvarez to get this win and show UFC how great he is. So I’ll go with the heart.
Alex: Gilbert Melendez by decision
Eddie Alvarez and Gilbert Melendez are finally being brought together because MMA’s main event monopoly system is effective at matching up the top guys. These two men were considered potentially elite fighters that were just outside of the UFC’s promotional scope. No fight could be made when they were the kings of their separate promotions. Now with a little bit of luster knocked off both men due to losses, the two men meet up. Neither man is currently in the conversation for an opportunity to prove themselves as best in the division, but don’t let that fool you. This will be an exciting fight, and a treat for long time fans of the sport. Both men are skilled everywhere and this may be one of the best contests all year.
Heidi: Gilbert Melendez
Duan: Gilbert Melendez
John: Gilbert Melendez
Jim: Gilbert Melendez
GG: Gilbert Melendez
Cain Velasquez Vs Fabrício Werdum
Duan: Cain Velasquez by 4th round TKO
I don’t know if there’s a fighter out there who could spend twenty months on the shelf and come back the same as they were before. If there is somebody who can do it though, it would be a guy like Cain Velasquez. Someone with exceptional talent but someone who is also an exceptionally hard worker. I know Cain will have left absolutely nothing to chance in preparation for this bout. He will have done everything he can to get himself back as close to 100% as possible, and that’s crucial here, because this is no walkover opponent.
It is definitely a styles match up which favours Velasquez, but Werdum is still going to be dangerous wherever this fight lands, so Cain can ill afford to show any lapses in concentration or signs of ring rust. I expect him to be a little more cautious than usual for that reason. He will fall back on his tried and trusted wrestling skills to secure the takedown. Once he’s got the fight grounded, he will take few risks. He will be measured in his attacks and he will use the five rounds available to him to gradually break down the challenger.
Heidi: Cain Velasquez by decision
It’s hard to expect what we may see from Cain Velasquez being that he’s had an extended hiatus due to injury. If he stays true to what we’ve seen in the past, Fabricio Werdum will have a formidable opponent on his hands. While Werdum has exceptional grappling that could end even the most storied heavyweight’s night unexpectedly (Fedor), I still give Velasquez the edge with his wrestling and striking.
GG: Cain Velasquez by 3rd round TKO
It would be quite the upset if Fabricio Werdum upsets the champ. But it wouldn’t be all that hard to explain simply based on injury and the Velasquez’s amount of time away from the cage over the last year and a half. And while I think it’s a plausible factor in looking at this fight, I still think a cold Velasquez is far too talented to lose this fight. Werdum is as formidable as they come, but I saw this man take a couple of years off of Junior Dos Santos’ life. That’s enough for me to give him the edge.
Alan: Cain Velasquez
John: Cain Velasquez
Alex: Cain Velasquez
Jim: Cain Velasquez