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UFC 159: Jones Vs. Sonnen Predictions From FightLine Staff

The UFC returns to pay-per-view this Saturday night with UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen. The event takes place from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

In the main event, Jon Jones defends his UFC light heavyweight title against Chael Sonnen. With a win, Jones will tie Tito Ortiz for the most successful defenses of the 205-pound belt.

Also, Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher square off in a middleweight grudge match, while heavyweights Roy Nelson and Cheick Kongo tangle.

Rounding out the main card will be Vinny Magalhaes and Phil Davis at light heavyweight, and Patrick Healy vs. Jim Miller at lightweight.

FightLine main writer Dana Becker and staff writer Joseph Lisnow offer up their predictions on those five fights below:

Jim Miller vs. Pat Healy

Dana: Talk about a tremendous way to kick-start the PPV, as these two lightweights are going to throw everything they can at one another. Jim Miller became one of my all-time faves after his war with Joe Lauzon. But, how much did that take out of him – in terms of his overall career? Pat Healy, meanwhile, was viewed as a title contender in Strikeforce, but he’ll need to start over in the UFC. If this one goes three full rounds, we could see a reenactment of Miller-Lauzon. Jim Miller via second round submission (rear-naked choke)

Joseph: The crowd will have Jim Miller’s back as the New Jersey native looks to end the rush that Pay Healy brings from Strikeforce. I see Miller wanting an arm to bend as Healy continues to find his groove as lightweight. I need to go with the hometown fighter in this one. Jim Miller via second round submission (armbar)

Phil Davis vs. Vinny Magalhaes

Dana: Much like Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher, these two provided themselves with a bigger role on this card due to their trash-talking and Twitter battles. Phil Davis is on the cusp of being an elite light heavyweight, but he can’t afford a stumble now. A win and he is likely right back in a No. 1 contender match. Phil Davis via first round submission (Anaconda choke)

Joseph: Phil Davis will look to wrestle this one as Vinny Magalhaes wants to grab a limb. The way they’ve been arguing, this should be a heated one from the start. Davis isn’t championship material, but he’s better than Magalhaes. Phil Davis via decision

Roy Nelson vs. Cheick Kongo

Dana: Oh, boy, we are in for a treat here. Roy Nelson is one of the more entertaining fighters out there, especially in the heavyweight division. He, though, is also a true fighter and will put on a striking display vs. Cheick Kongo. This one will be over quickly if “Big Country” finds his range. Roy Nelson via first round KO

Joseph: Roy Nelson turned heads last year with a pair of round one knockouts. If he does the same to Cheick Kongo, he moves real close to a title shot. The mullet sporting TUF winner should get the victor of Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt, but first he will probably need the full three rounds to beat Kongo. Roy Nelson via decision

Michael Bisping vs. Alan Belcher

Dana: Honestly, Michael Bisping does not bother me like he does a lot of others. The guy sells fights, and he found a worthy opponent in Alan Belcher to sell this as a co-main event fight on a pay-per-view. Both are coming off losses, but none of that matters after the war of words they have put on. Once the bell sounds, look for Bisping to use a more emotion-less approach, while Belcher goes for the one-punch or one-kick knockout. Michael Bisping via third round TKO (strikes)

Joseph: The winner narrows in on a title shot and the loser might not ever get one. Since Alan Belcher returned, he’s looked great and if he catches Michael Bisping on a slip he won’t give-up that ground game. There’s been lot’s of talk between them, so let’s see what it yields. Alan Belcher via first round submission (rear-naked choke)

Jon Jones (c) vs. Chael Sonnen for the UFC light heavyweight title

Dana: Does Chael Sonnen have anything more than a puncher’s chance? No, not really. But, this is MMA, and anything can happen. The guy pushed Anderson Silva like nobody else has. He’s beaten plenty of fighters ranked inside the Top-10. However, this is Jon Jones, and this is his time. Jones, I feel, wants Silva in a super-fight, and he’ll finish Sonnen early. Jon Jones via first round TKO (strikes)

Joseph: Chael Sonnen has been his typical smack talking self, but he seems to be missing true confidence. Jon Jones has remained calm since Sonnen called him out in September. Jones has taken apart better fighters and this one should be no different. After a decade as middleweight, to make the transition into a much heavier weight class could be the difference maker. As for the actual fight, Sonnen will look to put this on the ground and it’ll be interesting to see how Jones handles being on his back. The verbal attack of Sonnen didn’t work and neither will the physical part. Jon Jones via second round submission (guillotine choke)