I’m sure you’ve heard of the expression “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but that’s exactly what I’ll be doing for this monumental card taking place Saturday. UFC 167 will house some extraordinary fights between the crème-of-the-crop in the UFC. Let’s take a look at what we could expect this Saturday.
Fight of the Night: Donald Cerrone vs. Evan Dunham
It’s pretty much a given for both of these guys that whatever fight they get in, it’ll be a good one. Both Cerrone and Dunham possess well-rounded skillsets, but most importantly, go for the finish. I’m expecting this fight to be a war wherever the fight goes. There isn’t a fight on this card that is as assuring of an awesome bout as this is.
Submission of the Night: Thales Leites
Leites is essentially the only high-caliber grappler on this card, so expecting him to get the submission of the night bonus when he’s fighting a fellow grappler isn’t too much of a speculation. Leites has made a successful return to the UFC, so look for him to continue his momentum and look for that submission of the night bonus that is arguably up for grabs considering there aren’t any other high-level grapplers on the card.
Knockout of the Night: Robbie Lawler, Ali Bagautinov, or Johny Hendricks
This is quite a list for potential knockout of the night candidates, but I’m feeling confident that atleast one of these guys will get it. Both Lawler and Hendricks find themselves as the underdogs in their bouts, so even a bleak TKO stoppage could potentially warrant the bonus considering the great odds put against them and the caliber of their opponent. Bagautinov on the other hand is matched up in a fairly competitive bout where he has great odds in beheading his opponent. These three heavy-handed sluggers pack the punch and the stylistic match-ups to put their opponents unconscious on the mat, but to be safe, I think the best bet would be Ali Bagautinov.
Snoozer of the Night: Ebersole/Story, Koscheck/Woodley, or GSP/Hendricks
Another lengthy list here for what could be the snoozer of the bout, or in other words, the least exciting fight. Usually, Brian Ebersole is an exciting fighter. However, he’s coming off of a long lay-off and we all know how non-exciting he can get when he’s facing a stiff opponent who doesn’t budge. Rick Story is exactly the type of fighter that is satisfied with grinding out a decision. Then we get to Koschech/Woodley which definitely seems like the bout to be a snooze-fest. Both Koscheck and Woodley are high caliber wrestlers who use their dominant clinch work and takedowns to win bouts. You put them both against eachother, and you have the formula for an impromptu snack run. Last up is the main event, and only for one reason; GSP. We all know Georges has the immediate control to turn this bout into everyother one of his bouts. The fact that Hendricks has so much power scares me into thinking Georges will not want anything to with it, and resort to defensive fighting for 25 minutes; unless Hendricks can do something about it.
Upset of the Night: Will Campuzano or Johny Hendricks
Down at the prelims on Facebook/YouTube we have a bantamweight bout welcoming the return of Will Campuzano, and the UFC debut of rising star Sergio Pettis, the brother to lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis. Sergio is a proven finisher with an undefeated record, but his opponents haven’t been of very stout competition. Campuzano on the other hand has been tested in the Octagon several times before. Pettis may have the momentum and the more impressive finishes, but Campuzano has the experience. On the complete other side of the card, Johny Hendricks meets the welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight strap. While Hendricks has done his fair share in making him appear to be best match-up against GSP, he still falls behind as an underdog. With that said, Hendricks has the power to end GSP’s title reign in one punch. If Hendricks were to upset GSP and finish him, it would be one of the largest victories in welterweight history.