I have said it too many times, but this type of hype for a fight only comes once in a while. UFC 168 is the most anticipated rematch in UFC history, and no matter what happens in the main event, it will go down as one of the greatest encounters in MMA. All of the fun on the main card is being supported by a decent preliminary card, with many interesting fights, as well as a main event that is being billed as a loser gets cut match. Onto the predictions!
Uriah Hall vs. Chris Leben (Middleweight Bout)
If you bet on MMA, you would know that putting money on Uriah Hall is a terrible decision. In his first two fights in the UFC, Hall came in as the heavy favourite, and lost both fights while looking terrible. Yet again, Hall comes into this fight as the favourite on all of the betting lines. This time though, Hall has a fire lit under his ass from the UFC president Dana White. White has said that Hall is not a fighter, and Hall now knows he is in a must win situation.
Leben is also in that situation, but has already been completed a somewhat successful UFC career. Hall is right at the beginning of his, and will look to stop Leben. Hall’s stand-up is tailor made to pick Leben’s striking apart. Leben leaves right holes in his defence, and loves to move forward. He will also take two punches to land one.
Unfortunately for Leben, Hall can end the fight with those two punches. I would keep my money in my pocket for this fight, but within the first 20 seconds of this fight, we should get the sense of whether Hall came to fight, or if he really isn’t a fighter. I predict that Hall will come out as a fighter, and win in stunning fashion.
Prediction: Uriah Hall def. Chris Leben (1st Round Knockout)
Gleison Tibau vs. Michael Johnson (Lightweight Bout)
Gleison Tibau is about as much as a veteran fighter as you can get in the UFC’s lightweight division. He has fought 20 times in the UFC, and is only 30 years old. He has fought practically every mid-level fighter that the lightweight division has ever had, and has superior submission skills to most lightweights.
Michael Johnson is coming off of a very impressive performance against Joe Lauzon at UFC Fight Night 27. Johnson used his wrestling to keep the fight standing, and did a good job of landing shots against the veteran Lauzon. Training with the Blackzilians has done wonders for Johnson’s overall MMA game
Michael Johnson’s kryptonite is submissions. Gleison Tibau’s specialty is submissions. Michael Johnson was able to stop a vertern submission specialist in his last fight, and I believe he’ll be able to do it again by keeping the fight on the feet, out landing Tibau and getting the win.
Prediction: Michael Johnson def. Gleison Tibau (Unanimous Decision)
Dennis Siver vs. Manvel Gamburyan (Featherweight)
Siver made a great showing in his first two UFC fights after dropping down to featherweight. That hot streak ended when he ran into top contender Cub Swanson. Swanson lit Siver up on the feet, eventually knocking the Russian-German fighter down, finishing him by TKO. Siver has a great stand-up game, and his spinning back kicks are second to none in the UFC. He has also fought some of the best in both the featherweight and lightweight division.
Manvel Gamburyan also has experience on his side. Manny has fought UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, and knows what it is like to fight the best of the division, Gamburyan hasn’t had the most successful career though. In his past 10 fights, he is 5-5, going on streaks of both winning and losing. Manny is currently on a winning streak, having beaten Cole Miller in his last fight to extend that streak to two.
Siver has outstanding striking, and has the power of a welterweight fighter. He should be able to stop Gambuyan from getting the fight to the ground, and should have an easy time out striking him on the feet. I don’t see this fight ending in a finish, but I do see Siver controlling the fight on the feet, landing some hard shots that doesn’t allow Manny to get into the fight.
Prediction: Dennis Siver def. Manvel Gamburyan (Unanimous Decision)
Siyar Bahadurzada def. John Howard (2nd TKO)
Bobby Voelker def. William Macario (2nd TKO)
Robbie Peralto def. Estevan Payan (Unanimous Decision)
Michael Hutchinson’s Preliminary Prediction Record: 4-8