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UFC 165 Predictions From FightLine

UFC 165 takes place Saturday night from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

In the main event, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones faces Alexander Gustafsson. With a win, Jones will surpass Tito Ortiz for the most successful defenses of the 205-pound title.

Also, Renan Barao puts his interim UFC bantamweight belt on the line against Eddie Wineland.

FightLine main writer Dana Becker and staff writer Joseph Lisnow offer up their predictions on those two bouts, along with the other three main card fights, below.

As always, FightLine will have complete coverage of the entire card Saturday beginning with the Facebook prelims at 6 p.m. ET.

Jon Jones (c) vs. Alexander Gustafsson for UFC light heavyweight championship

Dana Becker: Can Alexander Gustafsson do what Vitor Belfort, Shogun Rua, Quinton Jackson, Rashad Evans, Chael Sonnen and Lyoto Machida before him couldn’t? Nope, not on this night. Despite a pair of titles changing hands over the summer, the 205-pound belt will remain around the waist of Jon Jones after Saturday night. “Bones” is at a stage in his career that Anderson Silva was a few years ago, and that stage is called invincible. Unless Gustafsson has found some magical power – Matt Serra vs. Georges St-Pierre from years ago – this one should be all Jones. Expect the champion to remain cautious early before going for the kill in either the second or third round. Jon Jones via second round TKO

Joseph Lisnow: People can’t cry Jon Jones is dominating every challenger because of his height and reach in this one as Alexander Gustafsson is nearly identical. Despite that, I don’t see another championship upset happening. Jones is simply a freak of nature as he calmly enters a fight which he controls from the moment the bell sounds. His mental game makes him so dangerous. Gustafsson’s best bet is to try and connect with a shot while avoiding an elbow from Jones. Jon Jones via third round submission

Renan Barao (ic) vs. Eddie Wineland for interim UFC bantamweight championship

Dana: The winner of this could very well be called the next undisputed bantamweight champion if Dominick Cruz can’t return to action. While I expect Cruz to do so, he will be facing Renan Barao I feel. Barao has a skill-set that is perfect for the bantamweight division, and Eddie Wineland just doesn’t have what it takes to go toe-to-toe with him. Michael McDonald wasn’t able to get through the defense of Barao, and neither will Wineland. Renan Barao via third round TKO

Joseph: Renan Barao deserves to be the official bantamweight champion, but that will come hopefully early next year.  Never count out a former champion like Eddie Wineland, but if Barao’s foot is healthy this should be an easy win. Renan Barao via decision

Brendan Schaub vs. Matt Mitrione

Dana: An interesting heavyweight contest, but at this point in their careers, it is Matt Mitrione that is the stronger fighter. Brendan Schaub has all the makings of a contender, but since that loss to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, he hasn’t looked the same. Matt Mitrione via first round KO

Joseph: Honestly, these two being this high on the main card of a pay-per-view is a joke. The only interesting part about this fight is that the pair were on the same season of The Ultimate Fighter. I think Matt Mitrione’s last win was a lucky blow that saved his career. Brendan Schaub via first round TKO

Costa Philippou vs. Francis Carmont

Dana: This bout has gotten overshadowed on the card, but it could be an exciting 15-minute affair. Both Costa Philippou and Francis Carmont are well-rounded fighters, but I see Carmont doing enough to score the victory. Francis Carmont via unanimous decision

Joseph: Both fighters are evenly matched and riding a win streak. Costa Philippou is more dangerous standing and Francis Carmont has great ground game and will have a decent height advantage. Francis Carmont via unanimous decision

Pat Healy vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Dana: Lightweights are a perfect way to kick-start a PPV, and both Pat Healy and Khabib Nurmagomedov will deliver. I love watching Healy go to war, but there is just something special about Nurmagomedov. Khabib Nurmagomedov via second round TKO

Joseph: If Pat Healy didn’t test positive for marijuana in his initial UFC win against Jim Miller, he would be ranked much higher in the division. Khabib Nurmagomedov has a lot of confidence mixed with attitude, but this is clearly the biggest test to date for the Russian. Pat Healy via first round submission