Jose Aldo is fighting Frankie Edgar and that alone got me to reserve a seat for this one.
I figured for this event I had to step out in style and see what ever one else thought about the card. The nice thing about having a radio show and being on television, people recognize me while I am out and want to talk fights. I'm down with that.
The quick hits on this night are a fun bunch. You have a title fight and one of the most controversial returns to sport since, well, Lance Armstrong. Just so we are clear Alistair Overeem tested positive, was banned, and is fighting again. He has spent a big part of his career training on drugs. Even if he is clean right now, his strength gains are unfair. That said, here are the winners picked by me as quick as possible.
Underrated Jacob Volkmann is facing Bobby Green. This happens early in the night, so do not miss it. Martin Kampann handed Volkmann a loss three years ago, and Paul Sass did the same less than two years ago. Volkmann is 6-2 in his last eight fights, and it seems to be a weakness for submissions for Volkmann.
I don't think Green has the same high level experience coming out of Strikeforce that Volkmann does. He does have submission wins, but will he be able to lock them down on Volkmann? I don't think so. Volkmann will win this with a decision.
Yves Edwards just can't seem to get the respect or the right wins to move up the ladder at lightweight. At 42-18 he is facing off against Isaac Vallie-Flagg. Isaac is a newcomer in comparison to Yves. At 13-3 he hasn't had nearly the MMA experience as the Thugjitsu Master.
Vallie-Flagg has been in two Strikeforce fights in his career. I think it's going to be a rough night for him, Edwards will end this fairly quickly. Look for a TKO in the second round from Edwards.
There is a distinct taste of Strikeforce on the night. The fight between Tyron Woodley and Jay Hieron is no exception. It seems that UFC 156 is the night the UFC looks to “place” the Strikeforce crew in the rankings.
I like Hieron in this one, for no other reason than his experience and solid striking. Woodley wins fights when he can dominate the pace and the standup. When a striker faces Tyron it usually goes the distance. I think Hieron wins a split decision and these two stay middle of the pack as UFC welterweights.
Gleison Tibau and Evan Dunham are set to square off. Dunham hasn't been living up to his potential. I really believe he has a lot more in him than we have seen lately. His armbar submission on Efrain Escudero had me hoping for big things. When he beat Tyson Griffin in a hard fought decision I thought he would be challenging for a title one day. Instead the slide started 2-3 in his last five fights.
Dunham is on his last legs in the UFC. Losing records don't stick around. With all that said, I think Gleison wins this with a decision. Will be a lot of action, but I expect the stronger Tibau to win it.
Jon Fitch is going to out wrestle Demian Maia. This fight will be controlled by wrestling and Fitch will make his way back to the top of the contenders list. Expect him to be fighting Kampmann next, then winner of MacDonald vs. Condit. His run will start with this fight.
Alistair Overeem finally returns to the Octagon against Antionio Silva. “Reem” wins this every single time. The question is, does he test positive after the fight? The other question is, do fans care? Right now, he's as tainted as Lance Armstrong, none of his accomplishments mean anything. Great kick to end Brock Lesner's run, but so what he was on drugs, potentially. I guess I can't say it because it's not proved.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is fighting Rashad Evans. This is little Nog, not the one who got his arm absolutely snapped by Frank Mir December of 2011. Little Nog doesn't have the same power as his older brother, and his speed just isn't there to compete with Rashad.
Evans and I both spent the last 90 days changing our fitness levels. Not together, but I did the same fitness program as him. I'm doing another 90 days with a group of Pro athletes in Winnipeg. It's where Pros lend their voice and name to inspire people to lose weight and get focused on short term fitness goals for long term health.
Evans has said he is coming into this fight in the best shape of his life, this last camp has been 90 days in the making. That's saying a lot, as he always comes ready to compete. He is usually faster than his opponent, that's the case here. If anyone remembers the Chuck Liddell knockout, had it been anyone but Rashad, Liddell's punch would have hit first. Rashad got his punch of second, but hit Chuck first. Rashad's list of wins is impressive, so is his recent 4-1 record. The only loss in the last five fights was to Jon Jones, and he took that to a decision.
This fight won't go the distance, Rashad won't have to use his new found fitness. Look for a solid second round knockout and an excellent first round of boxing. This fight will be a great warm up for the main event. This is going to be a quick one. The title event is going to be a long, drawn out brawl.
Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar are going to put on a show. They are both getting some great pay outs, with rumors of pay-per-view royalties. With that on the line, you know these guys are going to put on an absolute show.
Aldo has leg kicked absolutely everyone. Those leg kicks can take the spring out of everyone's step. For a guy like Edgar, that's not a good thing. His movement in the Octagon is key to his wins. So the hope here is that Frankie has learned how to check world class leg kicks.
Frankie has a few submission wins, and that seems to be the only shot anyone has against Aldo. Eight years ago, Aldo lost to a rear-naked choke. Other than that, he seems to have an answer for everyone. His 13 knockout wins are absolutely impressive. Especially when you look at who was on the other end.
We all talk about GSP and Anderson Silva. Soon Jose Aldo will be in that category. He is on an eight-year win streak. That's almost a decade of dominance.
Frankie is a very skilled fighter, but I don't see him finishing this one. I also don't think Aldo is going to knock him out, this will be a long night for both fighters. Leg kicks will be the difference in the decision. It's definitely going to be worth the price of a pay-per-view. You have to love the featherweights.
Jordan Cieciwa can be heard on TSN Radio 1290 every Saturday at 11:30am ct with his show The Weigh-In. You can also follow Jordan at www.twitter.com/FitCityJordan and get all your fitness tips at www.onefitcity.com.