UFC 146 is bringing out the big guns this weekend as we get to see an entire main card filled with heavyweight fights. The Heavyweight title will also be on the line as Junior Dos Santos and perennial top 5 HW Frank Mir will go toe to toe. It will also be the debut of Shane Del Rosario and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, who are coming over from Strikeforce. Bigfoot will be facing former champ Cain Velazquez. This should be one of the biggest cards this year and here is our preview for Saturday night.
Stefan Struve (23-5) vs. Lavar Johnson (17-5)
Struve aka “Skyscraper” enters this fight on a two fight winning streak. His last two fights made it look like he has finally learned how to use his reach and lengthy limbs to his advantage. He comes from a striking background but he also has a good ground game for a long fighter. He is going to have to come in with a good game plan is he expects to exit the cage with his hands held high this weekend though.
Lavar Johnson is a late replacement for an injured Mark Hunt. His last fight was only a few weeks ago when he KO’d Pat Barry at the end of the first round. Johnson has real heavy hands and if he stays patient he will be able to topple Struve. However, he has a big weakness on the ground and if his last opponent was not Pat Barry he would have been submitted early in the first. Look for Lavar to load up some bombs to topple the Skyscraper.
Prediction: As I mentioned earlier Struve has to come in with a good game plan and fight and smart battle. Lavar has a big hole in his game and that is on the ground. Struve should look for the early takedown and look for a limb to end this fight. Lavar will be head hunting for most of the fight, but I think Struve will find a way and win by submission. Stefan Struve by Submission.
Shane Del Rosario (11-0) vs. Stipe Miocic (8-0)
Shane comes in to this fight as a Strikeforce import for the UFC heavyweight division. It will be his UFC debut and he enters with an unblemished 11-0 record. Shane is a very well rounded fighter who is comfortable fighting anywhere in the cage. He will be better suited trying to keep this one standing though.
Stipe Miocic also enters the octagon with a perfect record. He is currently 8-0 and this will be his third fight in the UFC. He comes from a strong wrestling background and that will be his best tactic if he expects to beat SDR this weekend.
Prediction: This is probably the toughest fight to call on the main card. Both guys are young in their careers so this fight will be based on who has made the most improvements since their last fight. I am giving this one to Stipe because of his UFC experience and wrestling background. Stipe Miocic by Decision.
Roy Nelson (16-7) vs. Dave Herman (21-3)
Big Country will be looking to get back to his winning ways against another tough fighter this weekend. I can not tell if the UFC loves or hates this guy because he is constantly given the toughest challenges in his division. The best part though, Roy always shows up to fight. He can be out gunned and out skilled every time out but the man has heart and a skull as thick as prison walls.
Dave “Pee Wee” Herman is coming in to this fight with a 1-1 UFC record. The heavy handed heavyweight will be looking to get a win to stay relevant in the UFC. This fight with Nelson will be one of his toughest to date and if he improved his conditioning from the last fight he will be in good shape.
Prediction: This fight has Fight of The Night written all over it. Expect these two to come out swinging for the fences. I am giving the fight to Big Country because Herman might not be able to hang too long after taking one of Nelson’s big punches. Do not get me wrong here, Herman can win but my gut says go with Nelson. Nelson also has the ground advantage. Roy Nelson by Decision.
Cain Velazquez (9-1) vs. Antonio ‘BigFoot’ Silva (16-3)
Cain Velazquez finally makes his return to the cage following his loss to JDS back in November. He will be looking to get back on track with a win over one of the Strikeforce heavyweight imports, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. This is a good matchup for Cain, who should look to use his speed and wrestling abilities to win this fight.
Bigfoot finally makes his UFC debut. I have personally been waiting for this for a few years now. Silva is a monster, and used to have trouble making the 265 lbs. weight limit. He will be one of the bigger fighters that anyone unfamiliar with him has ever seen. He likes to keep the fight on his feet too which will make for good fights on most nights. He is not the fastest fighter but if he connects he can end any fight early.
Prediction: On Paper this is a great matchup but once the bell rings Bigfoot is going to have a lot of trouble keeping up with the speed of Cain Velazquez. Silva’s best chance of winning is to put Cain up against the fence and dirty box him. He will need to wear him down without wearing himself out. Unfortunately, I do not see this happening. Cain will run circles around him, take him down, and finish him with strikes on the ground or ride a dominating 3 round decision. Cain Velazquez by TKO.
Junior Dos Santos (14-1) vs. Frank Mir (16-5)
The current UFC Heavyweight champion, JDS, has completely destroyed every man he has faced in the cage so far. He holds a perfect 8-0 record in the UFC and will look to improve that record against another top heavyweight in Frank Mir this weekend. He was originally scheduled to face Alistair Overeem but due to "The Reems" recent PED allegations, Mir was tabbed as a replacement.
Frank Mir is coming off the most impressive win of his career. Not only did he defeat Big Nog for the second time at UFC 140, but he damn near tore his arm off. He has an amazing skill set on the ground, and the last win proved that he could be the best in the entire division. Mir has won his last three so being tagged as a late replacement for Overeem made sense here.
The Prediction: Again, on paper this looks like a really good matchup. In reality though, JDS is going to walk through Frank Mir. Frank is a bone collector and a very solid fighter but he has not shown up for an important match since his title victory over Tim Sylvia back in 2004. Besides, JDS will be looking to get revenge for his friend Big Nog. Expect JDS to knock Mir in to another dimension by the end of the 2nd round. Junior Dos Santos by KO.
Make sure to watch UFC 146 live on PPV this Saturday at 10pm. As well as the prelims on FX and Facebook.
Article by Joe Santeusanio
On Twitter @Santeusanio