Main cards in the UFC don't get much stronger than the one UFC 156 will deliver on Saturday from Las Vegas.
The night of fights is highlighted by the amazing featherweight title match between champion Jose Aldo and former lightweight king Frankie Edgar.
Rarely do you find a main event that requires no pardon of recent fall-off for either combatant. Aldo is 21-1 and hasn't lost a fight in more than seven years. Edgar is 14-3-1, and although he did drop his rematch with Benson Henderson, many believe he deserved to win the decision.
This fight is as big as they come in MMA.
There are other major names scheduled to be in action in Las Vegas. Here is a breakdown of the promising event.
When: Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. Preliminaries start at 6:35 p.m. ET, main card begins at 9 p.m. ET
Where: Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas
TV: FX for prelims and several PPV options detailed here
Edwin Figueroa vs. Francisco Rivera, Bantamweights
Chico Camus vs. Dustin Kimura, Bantamweights
FX TV Preliminaries
Yves Edwards vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg, Lightweights
Jacob Volkmann vs. Bobby Green, Lightweights
Tyron Woodley vs. Jay Hieron, Welterweights
Gleison Tibau vs. Evan Dunham, Lightweights
Predictions for the Main Card
Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall, Flyweights
Benavidez is beginning his trek back up the flyweight mountain after losing to Demetrious Johnson in the inaugural Flyweight championship bout at UFC 152.
He is incredibly skilled, but he lacks the speed to knock off Johnson. McCall has also come up short against the featherweight champion. He lost a unanimous decision to him at UFC on FX 3, and he drew with him at UFC on FX 2.
It's easy to imagine the winner of this fight getting another shot at Johnson in the near future.
I'm taking Benavidez in this one. I've always been impressed with the way he improves from fight to fight, and I see him winning a close decision over McCall.
Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia, Welterweights
Fitch has always been a bit overrated. He has a sparkling 24-4 record, but he has routinely come up short against the top fighters.
Most recently, Johny Hendricks knocked him out at UFC 141. Fortunately for him, Maia isn't a major striker. He is, however, one of the premier submission artists in the sport.
Fitch will want to keep this fight standing, but he'll be unsuccessful. Maia will get him on the mat and tap him out.
Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio Silva
This is where the card gets really good. Silva is a massive man with a great chin, but Overeem is one of the most devastating strikers in MMA.
Silva has to get Overeem on the ground to have a shot, but he doesn't have the quickness to slip and shoot the Reem's legs.
Perhaps Silva's best trait is his chin. That will probably protect him from the huge one-punch KO, but he'll be punished and pounded out via ground and pound.
Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Noguiera
Nogueira is incredibly experienced and a legendary grappler, but let's not forget how talented Evans is. Jon Jones dismantled him, and Lyoto Machida knocked him senseless, but both possess the elite striking ability that Nogueira doesn't.
Look for Evans speed to be the difference in this one. He'll win by unanimous decision.
(c) Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar
Scarface is perhaps the most complete fighter in the world. He's quick and dynamic as a striker. He's more than proficient in grappling and submissions. By most accounts, he doesn't really have a weakness.
Most believe featherweight is the best weight class for Edgar, but he'll still need to be at his best to handle Aldo.
Both of these men can handle themselves on the ground, but I expect this to be a stand-up battle. In that world, very few can keep pace with Aldo.
He'll out-strike Edgar and stop him late in a great fight.
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