UFC 117 offers a heavily stacked list of matchups that can cause a betting nightmare. The undercard has a solid lineup of fighters that include a UFC legend, title contenders and a new generation of rising MMA stars. Tonight at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, we will witness another major UFC event.
UFC Middleweight Anderson Silva is expected to successfully defend this title against trash talking Chael Sonnen. The fight may not last more than one round as Silva can make Sonnen an easy target for solid striking using elbows and knees to the face.
Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos is favored to defeat TUF winner Roy “Big Country” Nelson. Nelson has a well-rounded game combining sound striking and grappling skills but JDS has the hand speed and his underrated jiu-jitsu may come into play if Nelson takes the fight to the ground. Most of Cigano’s fights end within the first round and this should be no different.
In the welterweight match featuring legendary fighter Matt Hughes against Gracie student Ricardo Almeida, the younger Almeida is a betting favorite. The emotional favorite would still be Hughes but he has been far from impressive in the last two years. After his second loss to Georges St. Pierre by armbar submission, Hughes has gone 2-1 beating Matt Sera by decision at UFC 98 and Renzo Gracie at UFC 112 by 3rd round TKO. Almeida will be a different animal from Serra and Gracie. Almeida should make Hughes realize that it is time to call it a career.
The Clay Guida matchup with Rafael Dos Anjos is a leading candidate for Fight of the Night honors. Both fighters are known to be exciting fighters the term “boredom” has never been associated with them. Expect a bloody mess in this fight but Guida should be able to hack out a close decision win. Dos Anjos would need to knock Guida out early if he wants to prove me wrong.
In another welterweight bout which has become a catchweight bout, Thiago Alves and Jon Fitch meet again for top contender position. Both are tough fighters with Fitch leading their matchup on a TKO win over Alves four years ago. Alves since then has vastly improved and should be favored to win this time via stoppage. Fitch has a slight chance of winning, granted that Alves shows some ring rust from being inactive in the Octagon.
It appears that the lineup pits five pairs of USA vs. Brazil bouts with more Brazilian fighters (4 out of 5) favored to prevail.