There’s nothing better than a big UFC on the horizon. And UFC 121 is the biggest UFC since… UFC 116, which is the last time Brock Lesnar fought. At UFC 116, Shane Carwin had Brock Lesnar rocked and many would say the referee should have stopped it, but Brock came back in the second round to submit Shane Carwin with an arm triangle choke.
But before we get to the main event, we are going to go over the very solid UFC 121 undercard, which features a UFC debut of a former champion, the return of a long-time Light Heavyweight Champion, an Ultimate Fighter 1 vet and some up-and-comers as well.
Gabriel Gonzaga (-185) vs. Brendan Schaub (+155)
Though Roy Nelson knocked him out in the Ultimate Fighter 10 finals, Brendan Schaub has looked great every time we’ve seen him since with two knockouts in around a minute. None of the fighters he knocked out were on the level of Gabriel Gonzaga, but they were impressive nonetheless. Ever since Gonzaga lost to Randy Couture in a title fight in 2007, he has beaten everyone he should beat and lost to everyone he shouldn’t beat, making him the epitome of a gatekeeper. Gonzaga is easily the biggest test for Schaub here, who comes from the Greg Jackson camp, which may be the best in the world right now.
When a fight looks close, we tend to side with the underdog in MMA, so we are going to pick Brendan Schaub for this one by knockout. The best odds for Brendan Schaub are at Bovada.
Tito Ortiz (+140) vs. Matt Hamill (-155)
Tito Ortiz? He’s still around? Yes and he’s fighting Matt Hamill, who is coming off a decent victory over Keith Jardine. Both guys have wrestling bases, which could neutralize eachother or one guy could show that he is the superior wrestler in an MMA setting. Tito hasn’t shown much in a long time aside from bullshit about being injury-free and there is a reason he is the underdog in this battle.
Hamill is by no means a top of the heap 205er, but the only time he was dominated is by Jon Jones, who would kill Tito. We are confident enough to solidly pick Matt Hamill here by decision. The best odds for Matt Hamill are at Bovada.
Diego Sanchez (-110) vs. Paulo Thiago (-120)
Paulo Thiago stunned the MMA world by knocking out Josh Koscheck at UFC 95. On the same card, Diego Sanchez was making his debut at lightweight. Since that time, Paulo Thiago has run over Mike Swick and lost to Jon Fitch (who everyone loses to, including Diego) and Martin Kampmann. After a brief campaign at 155, Diego inexplicably moved back up to 170 and lost to John Hathaway and looked horrible in the process. That performance is enough to convince us that nothing has changed and that Sanchez is best suited for 155.
This may be a close one, but we expect the Brazilian Paulo Thiago to defeat Diego Sanchez one way or another. You can find the best odds for Paulo Thiago at Bovada.
Jake Shields (-260) vs. Martin Kampmann (+200)
Here is where it gets interesting! A classic striker vs. grappler battle. Martin Kampmann looked amazing in defeating Paulo Thiago at UFC 115 in June, so much so that he is now in the running for a title shot. But to get it, he is going to have to get past Jake Shields who is coming off a 13-fight winning streak. Shields hasn’t lost since 2004 and has defeated names such as Dan Henderson, Mayhem Miller, Robbie Lawler, Paul Daley and Carlos Condit. So even though he is new to the UFC, he is not new to tough competition. There is no secret what the gameplans in the fight are going to be – Kampmann wants it on the feet, Shields wants it on the ground. However, Kampmann can hold his own on the ground whereas Shields has taken beatings whenever fights stay standing, like with Henderson and Daley. The key is that Shields has the advantage in wrestling, so we expect he will be able to get Kampmann to the mat.
Shields has not lost in almost 5 years and we expect no different on Saturday night. Kampmann has never been submitted, so this very well may go the distance, but Jake Shields should be able to stay on top and grind out a decision. Most oddsmakers have Shields the strong favourite (which we don’t quite agree with), so if you want to bet on Shields, you can get the best odds at Bovada.
Brock Lesnar (-150) vs. Cain Velasquez (+120)
Oh boy… I am excited simply writing about this one! Brock Lesnar in his third defense of the UFC Heavyweight Championship against the undefeated phenom Cain Velasquez! When you look at this fight, each fighter has obvious advantages in many of the different areas, while there are some that we won’t find out till fight time. Brock is bigger and stronger. Cain has better cardio. Cain may be faster, but Brock combines speed with his size better than any other fighter in the history of the UFC Heavyweight division. Cain has faster hands, but Brock’s are more powerful. Cain is the more skilled fighter, but Lesnar has got the athleticism and the heart of the champion that can easily fill in the gaps. Cain has shown maybe one weakness in his entire UFC career and that is he may not have the best head movement. Cheick Kongo was able to rock him a few times in their fight, but Cain was able to fight through it and get the takedown every time. Brock Lesnar has also been on the receiving end of some heavy shots – in his case by Shane Carwin. And unlike everyone else who Shane Carwin has hit, he not only survived the first round, but he also went on to submit him.
Everyone who breaks down this fight will likely tell you one thing – if Brock wins, it will be in the early part of this 5 round, 25 minute fight. If this fight goes into the deep waters, Cain with his insane cardio and superior skillset will be able to pull ahead and take over the fight. We have to admit that we don’t know what’s going to happen here, but we think the odds are too far in the favour of the champion Brock Lesnar. Therefore, we believe the smarter bet here is on Cain Velasquez. You can get the best odds to bet on either fighter at Bovada.