205#: Gian Villante vs Ovince St. Preux wins by Unanimous Decision!
135#: Sara McMann vs Sheila Gaff wins by TKO in RD1!
155#: Rustam Khabilov vs Yancy Medeiros wins by TKO in RD1!
145#: Leonard Garcia vs Cody McKenzie wins by Unanimous Decision!
170#: Nick Catone vs James Head canceled due to dehydration of Catone.
145#: Steven Siler vs Kurt Holobaugh wins by Unanimous Decision!
Ultimate Fighting Championship 159 takes place on April 27, 2013 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. Facebook fights start at 6:30 p.m. EST. To watch the FREE prelims on Facebook simply visit their Facebook page and “like.” Preliminary card starts at 8 p.m. EST on FX Channel and Fox Deportes for Spanish language broadcast. PPV begins at 10 p.m. EST. Watch the official weigh-ins LIVE on Friday, March 13th at 4 p.m. EST and The ‘Countdown to UFC 159’ show which is a 30 minute show that follows the fighters behind the scenes leading up to the fight can be watched on FUEL TV, Tuesday, April 23, at 9 p.m. E.T. Replays of that show are Wednesday, April 24 at 5 a.m., 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., Thurs., April 25 at 11 p.m., Fri., April 26 at 3 p.m. and Sat., April 27 at 7 p.m.
Jon Jones vs Chael Sonnen
I am not particularly fond of the drama and soap opera that becomes a backstory for many fights. Half of it is promotional and not even genuinely motivated and the rest is just WWE antics. I think it distracts from the real elements that make fights. If you weren’t going to watch a fight until someone insulted someone else and now they are angry, then you aren’t a real fan of the sport. I find the dynamics of each fighter’s style clashing to be far more interesting.
Jon Jones is not only a prodigy when it comes to the sport – he became a champion after a few years of training – but he has a real, solid work ethic, a world class team and coach, and a physical frame (6’4″ at 205#s) that combine to make a champion that will be hard for anyone to beat. Throw in some real challenges, experience, overcoming some adversity and he will likely go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest fighter in the history. Currently, that distinction goes to Anderson Silva or Fedor Emelianenko, but Jones is treading the path in that direction. He’s young, just getting started, fights regularly against the best, and has an eye on moving up to the Heavyweight division. All the things are in place for him to become the greatest fighter in history. His ony downfall could be himself. We’ve seen young fighters become wealthy and what it does to them. As long as he keeps his head screwed on straight, he’ll fulfill his potential.
Jones is a multi-faceted fighter who really can do it all. He can knock you out, he can slam you at will and he can put you to sleep. His physical frame presents a massive difficulty for opponents. Want to strike? He’s too far away and can still hit you. Want to wrestle? He’s too far away to grab. Jones’ finished over top fighters Lyoto Machida (Front Naked Choke), Vitor Belfort (Top Wrist Lock), Rampage Jackson (Rear Naked Choke), Ryan Bader (Guillotine) and Technical Knockout victories over Brendan Vera and Shogun Rua show that he can finish anyone, no matter how good you are. A decision is not a priority.
Chael Sonnen is mostly known for his mouth. He is an MMA heel and many love to hate him. I’m not that person. I am a big fan of Chael. He steps up. He’ll fight anyone. He talks his talk, but he also backs it up. While known for great wrestling, his striking sneaks under the radar for some reason. He held his own and even blasted Middleweight champ and Pound-For-Pound best Anderson Silva a few times. While Sonnen does have submissions, like the Arm Triangle he got on Brian Stann, they are rare occurrences. Chael uses a grinding method of fight to win. He will use strikes to set up a tackle or clinch and work to take his opponent and Ground and Pound them, or keep them on their back while he punches and elbows. Unfortunately, Chael is susceptible to being submitted himself and stylistically it is a bad tactic to take down a 6’4″ opponent who is great at submissions, especially chokes. Having said that I don’t rule out the possibility of Sonnen making this a competitive fight for at least a round or two. He may even have his moments.
NBG Pick: Jon Jones.
Alan Belcher vs Michael Bisping
This is a fight that is about 5 years in the making. Both fighters have lingered a the edge of the top ten rankings for years. Only Bisping has arguably cracked that top ten list with a win over Brian Stann. However, the other 4 times he has fought a top ten opponent he has lost. In his last fight against Vitor Belfort, he was undeservedly going to be given a title shot against current champion Anderson Silva. The universe decided that this would be an injustice to go from maybe beating a top ten fighter to fighting for the championship belt. This would never fly in Boxing, where you have to at least prove you are the #1 contender. MMA is still a young sport and matchmaker Joe Silva and President Dana White emphasize fights that fans want to see and will sell tickets, rather than go by what is right in terms of rankings.
Bisping is hardy, gritty workhorse and wins his fights by using movement and a high volume of strikes. He won’t knock you out, but he will hit you 30 times until the referee jumps in and stops it. Lately, he has demonstrated some wrestling offense in a clear attempt to evolve. Belcher is a big, strong, individual who has finishing power in his hands and very good wrestling. In fact, he has a high 89% finish rate. This fight stylistically seems to work into Bisping’s favor. I can see his movement and volume striking being very frustrating to Belcher. However, Bisping has developed this style of movement because his chin cannot handle exchanges of punches. While I think Bisping makes a far better account of himself in this fight than he did in the Belfort fight, I think Belcher eventually catches him.
NBG Pick: Alan Belcher
Roy Nelson vs Cheick Kongo
Roy Nelson is the “fat guy” that makes wise cracks. Everyone laughed at him, until he started knocking out people with one punch. Nelson’s right hand is so loaded with dynamite that 99% of the division will be hurt or sleeping if he lands it flush. Nelson also has one of the best chins in the sport. He also has a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, that we never see him utilize because of his predilection to striking. Who can blame him? If you can KO people with one punch and get a win bonus of $75,000, why the heck not? He has won his last to fights using that hand, so is starting to roll. His opponent Cheick Kongo has gone 1-1 this year, being TKOed by Mark Hunt and most recently winning a decision against Shawn Jordan. Kongo had experience in kickboxing before his MMA career and also prefers to strike. He also has power in his hands and can take his opponent out in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately for Kongo, he is tall. Nelson excels against tall fighters since his KO punch is an overhand right, which is a perfect counter to a tall opponent and people who jab lazily. Kongo better be wise about jabbing and be aware of Nelson’s right or it’ll be another KO victory on Nelson’s belt.
NBG Pick: Roy Nelson
Phil Davis vs Vinny Magahlaes
This is a classic wrestler versus Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu proponent bout. Phil Davis is a 5 time NCAA D1 and All-American champion. Vinny Magahlaes is multiple time Mundials world champion and ADCC gold medalist. The funny thing about this fight is I doubt either person will wrestle! Both have shown that they also like to strike. Magahlaes is good enough to submit any person of any size on planet earth. If he can get this fight to the ground, he can certainly finish Davis. The problem is taking down one of the most decorated wrestlers in the sport is no easy task. Of course, if Davis decides he wants to take the fight to the mat, he can at any time, but that may play into Magahlaes’ strength. I’d expect Davis keeps it standing and strikes and there is very little Magahlaes can do about it. So we should have a Boxing match between grapplers….which may not be a good thing.
NBG Pick is: Phil Davis
Pat Healy vs Jim Miller
This fight has Fight of the Night honors written all over it. Pat Healy is a Rocky Balboa. You punch him and hurt him and he keeps coming. And coming. And coming. He simply tries to overwhelm you with his will. He grinds and grinds and wins fights that he is not “supposed” to win. He’s here to make it ugly and ruin it for anyone who planned on using him as a stepping stone. He’s great fun to watch. His opponent Jim Miller, is a UFC veteran. He has a more finesse based approach. He is a technically sound striker and his submission abilities are some of the best in the division. Being a bit shorter than Healy, it may be more prudent to get inside and try to take Healy down. Healy is great at scrambles, but often risks himself. It is in one of these scrambles that I think Miller catches Healy in a submission.
NBG Pick: Jim Miller
Come back for the results, updates and animated gifs. What are your picks for the headline fight between Jones and Sonnen? Will Sonnen pull off the upset or will Jones do what everyone expects him to do? Who wins the bonuses?