Jordan is tied up in a chokehold so #TeamJC is tapping out this week. #TeamLynch is riding solo on the keyboard for this UFC 160 edition of the Takedown.
Many questions linger ahead of Saturday night's anticipated event. Will favorites such as Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos come through? Can T.J Grant pull off the upset against Gray Maynard? Will K.J. Noons make a successful UFC debut?
Let's break this down.
Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva
(Heavyweight title bout)
James Lynch, TSN.ca (@LynchOnSports): In a rematch of their UFC 146 bout nearly a year ago, the 6-foot-4 Brazilian eye's revenge against the current UFC heavyweight champion.
Prior to UFC 156, it was almost certain former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem would be facing Velasquez this Saturday night. Instead the Dutchman suffered a third round knockout loss to the ATT product, in what was a considerable upset.
The 33-year old hopes back-to-back knockout wins over Travis Browne and the "Reem" will give him the confidence to dethrone the San Jose native. Meanwhile Velasquez makes his first title defence since claiming the title in a dominating victory over Junior Dos Santos at UFC 155.
Aside from the one blemish on his record against Dos Santos at UFC on FOX 1, the 30-year old Velasquez has looked unstoppable at heavyweight. With a win already over Silva just a year ago and the fact his teammate Daniel Cormier has also knocked out Bigfoot, Velasquez has a considerable advantage heading into this fight.
With that said, the former NCAA Division I wrestler should use his superior conditioning and exceptional standup skills to knockout the Brazilian sometime in the second round.
Velasquez via second round TKO
Junior Dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt
The New Zealand native has the opportunity of a lifetime as he looks to upset the former UFC heavyweight champion this Saturday night.
Playing the role of a modern day Rocky Balboa, Hunt has surprised many pundits amassing a five-fight win streak after losing six straight prior to joining the UFC. His "Average Joe" physique and most recent knockout victories over Cheick Kongo and Stefan Struve have made him a fan favorite.
His opponent, the 29-year old Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt looks to get back on the winning track after losing his belt back at UFC 155. While 39-year old Hunt does have a punchers chance in this fight, he won't have the cardio or the exceptional ground game of the Team Nogueira product.
This fight should play out similar to Dos Santos vs. Roy Nelson at UFC 117, where the Brazilian used his height and reach advantage over three rounds to batter his opponent. Because of Hunt's cardio issues its likely Dos Santos will finish Hunt sometime in the third round.
Dos Santos via third round TKO
James Te Huna vs. Glover Teixeira
In a matchup that could easily produce "Fight of the Night" honors (with 22 knockout victories between the two of them) the Brazilian Teixeira clashes with the New Zelander Te Huna.
The “Pit” fighter Teixeira has some of the best boxing in the division, which he displayed in his last fight outpointing former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson over three rounds. The 33-year old is currently riding a 17-fight win streak which dates back to a May 2005 loss to Ed Herman.
His opponent, the 31-year old Athletics All-stars pupil is currently 5-1 inside the octagon, with wins over former MFC light heavyweight champion Ryan Jimmo and Igor Pokrajac.
The question is, will the Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt Teixeira keep this fight standing and test the chin of his opponent? Or will he capitalize on Te Huna's weakness and fish for a submission? (Four of Te Huna's five losses have come by way of submission).
Either way, Teixeira should have a slight edge in the standup and a considerable advantage on the ground which doesn't bode well for Te Huna.
Teixeira via unanimous decision
T.J Grant vs. Gray Maynard
The Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia native Grant aims to become the first Canadian in UFC history to earn a lightweight title shot if he can upset the TUF 5 contestant. Since his drop to lightweight, the Canadian has quietly gone on a four-fight win streak with impressive victories over Shane Roller, Evan Dunham and most recently Matt Wiman at UFC on FOX 6.
Maynard meanwhile is coming off a very lackluster win (not on his own accord) over Clay Guida, in which his opponent literally ran away from every exchange. The former NCAA Division I wrestler's nickname is the “Bully” but in this fight it will be the other way around as Grant has both the height and reach advantage.
Both fighters are extremely versatile with the AKA member having the wrestling advantage and Grant having the edge on the ground.
One factor worth nothing is the 34-year old Maynard has only fought four times in the last three years due to injuries, while Grant has been very active. Canadian bias aside, the 29-year old has a huge opportunity Saturday night and it's very possible he can pull through with the win.
Grant via unanimous decision
Donald Cerrone vs. K.J. Noons
Looking to bounce back from his devastating loss to Anthony Pettis, the former WEC title challenger Cerrone looks to make a statement by taking out the Strikeforce import Noons.
While this should be an entertaining fight, “Cowboy” has the edge in all facets of the fight both in the standup and on the mat. The former Elite XC lightweight champion will try to make this competitive, but will ultimately come up short over three rounds.
Cerrone via unanimous decision
Undercard Picks: Pyle, Bermudez, Smith, Nurmagomedov, Thompson, Bowles, Stephens
Agree or Disagree? Let us know what you think, tweet me @lynchonsports with your own picks for #UFC160