Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 128
Main event fights will be aired via PPV and the televised portion of the prelim card will be aired in Canada on Spike TV and in HD on Rogers Sportsnet.
Here is the Top MMA News breakdown:
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (+145) vs. Jon “Bones” Jones(-208)
Despite the fact that Jones has yet to face any of the very top echelon fighters in the Light-Heavyweight division, I think the timing is right for Jones in this fight. He proved in his recent win over Ryan Bader that he may possess the very best wrestling in the division. He stays loose, calm and composed in the octagon which makes him a perfect tool in the hands Jones’ trainer and master strategist Greg Jackson. Jon has shown weakness in his conditioning during his fight against Stephan Bonnar, so it will be interesting to see how well he performs if Shogun can take him into the championship rounds.
Shogun has defeated elite strikers in Chuck Liddell, Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida and Alistair Overeem; elite wrestlers in Kevin Randleman and Mark Coleman; and elite jiu-jitsu practitioners in Ricardo Arona and “Little Nog”. His crowning achievement, however, was back in 2005 when Mauricio won the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix tournament which, to this day, remains one of the greatest mixed martial arts tournaments of all time. Shogun does not have any weaknesses in technique but he will be facing a size and possibly a speed disadvantage against Jones.
I think an early finish for Jones in this fight is extremely unlikely against a veteran like Shogun. The key for Jones here is to use his wrestling to nullify Shogun’s Muay Thai in the early rounds. If he can exhaust Shogun, his unorthodox striking will be a lot more effective and he may finish this fight by TKO. Shogun needs to defend Jones takedown attempts and punish Jon early with leg and body kicks. If Shogun can slow Jones down and get in his head mentally, Shogun will dominate the later rounds with his crisp and disciplined Muay Thai technique.
This is an awesome match up and it will be an incredibly interesting fight no matter what the outcome. I think raw young talent of Jon is entertaining and exciting but will it falter against an experienced well rounded champion like Shogun?
Prediction: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua by Fourth Round TKO
Urijah Faber (-500) vs. Eddie Wineland (+305)
Former WEC Featherweight champion Urijah Faber is finally making his octagon debut against Eddie Wineland and I will be shocked if this bout does not earn Fight of the Night or Knockout of the Night honors. Urijah’s speed at this weight is off the charts. He also proved in his recent fight against current Featherweight champion Jose Aldo that no amount of punishment will break him mentally in a fight.
Wineland, a former WEC Bantamweight champion, is a durable boxing specialist with excellent head movement and heavy hands. Eddie is riding a four fight win streak but has yet to face someone the caliber of Urijah Faber in his mixed martial arts career.
I have a feeling that Urijah accepted this fight against a fellow striker because he wants to show off just how fast and crisp his hands are at this weight. Expect a war with both fighters dealing damage as well as they can take it.
Prediction: Urijah Faber by Third Round Choke
Jim Miller (-263) vs. Kamal Shalorus (+180)
After his last victory over submission artist Charles Oliveira, Jim Miller made it clear that he wants a shot at the Lightweight title. Jim has racked up a six fight win streak and the only two losses of his career were at the hands of current champ Frankie Edgar and number one contender Gray Maynard.
Kamal is a ground and pound fighter with excellent wrestling. Shalorus is undefeated and recently earned a draw against former WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner at WEC 49 despite being docked one point for repeated groin strikes.
After asking for a title shot, the UFC instead gave Miller every fighter’s worst nightmare: An elite wrestler with no name recognition. I think this will be a close fight with Miller’s relentless pace eventually tiring out Kamal in the third round.
Prediction: Jim Miller by Third Round Arm Lock
Nate Marquardt (-357) vs. Dan Miller (+235)
Dan Miller has been brought in as a late replacement opponent for Marquardt after Yoshihiro Akiyama withdrew from the fight after hearing news of the disastrous earthquake that struck his homeland of Japan. Coming in as a late replacement is a risky move for athletes fighting at this level but Miller is a gritty, well rounded and experienced fighter who is getting an incredible opportunity with this fight to jump up the Middleweight rankings.
Marquardt, who is coming off a decision loss to Yushin Okami, will probably have an advantage in both striking and wrestling against Miller. I think this fight will go the distance with Nate heavily out striking Miller for all three rounds.
Prediction: Nate marquardt via Unanimous Decision
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović (+210) vs. Brendan Schaub (-312)
I think this is a very tough match up for Ultimate Fighter 10 alumnus Brendan Schaub. Brendan has put together three wins in a row since his knockout loss at the hands of “Big Country” Roy Nelson, including an impressive decision win over veteran Gabriel Gonzaga. Brendan has fast hands for a Heavyweight and I expect that his game plan will be to use those hands to knock out Mirko.
Cro Cop walked away with a loss in his last fight against Frank Mir but in that fight he did prove that he still has great takedown defense. I do not think Brendan will be able to take Cro Cop down even if he wants too. This fight could go either way but I think Mirko’s striking is still a few levels higher than the relatively inexperienced Brendan Shaub’s.
Prediction: Mirko “Cro Cop” by Second Round KO
Be sure to watch Edson Barboza vs. Anothony Njokuani on the televised undercard. Barboza has been tearing through his opponents in the Lightweight division flaunting an extremely elite level of Muay Thai proficiency.