UFC 156 Predictions: Fighters Who Will Emerge from Underrated Matchups

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2013

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27:  Jon Fitch of the USA looks at the big screen after the first round in his fight against BJ Penn of the USA during their welterweight bout part of  UFC 127 at Acer Arena on February 27, 2011 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Lost in the hype of a huge featherweight title fight and the return of Alistair Overeem is a UFC 156 card that is stellar from top to bottom. 

Fight fans will want to tune in from the time the prelims start to the very end of the night as Saturday promises to deliver a great night of fights. 

With the huge Jose Aldo-Frankie Edgar bout highlighting the evening, fighters in the less hyped matchups have the opportunity to steal the spotlight for themselves. These are the best fights that aren't receiving much attention, but will deliver in a big way.


Tyron Woodley vs. Jay Hieron

Considering Woodley was a star in Strikeforce and Hieron was nearly the Bellator welterweight champion, it will be odd seeing these two meet in the Octagon of the UFC.

However, fight fans will be glad that these two found their way to the organization. 

Hieron was on the receiving end of a rude welcoming to the promotion when he lost a unanimous decision to Jake Ellenberger in his UFC debut. He'll look to do the same to Woodley in his promotional debut. 

Woodley comes into the fight looking to bounce back from his first career loss at the hands of former UFC contender, Nate Marquardt. 

Both fighters have similar resumes outside of the organization and will look to prove that they can make some noise in the welterweight division. 


Woodley suffered a setback against Marquardt, but has major wrestling chops and an unblemished record otherwise. Look for him to wear out Hieron and win by decision. 


Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall

If the short history of the UFC flyweight division is any indication, this will be a bona fide Fight of the Night candidate. 

Benavidez and McCall were both strong participants in the inaugural flyweight tournament that ultimately saw Demetrious Johnson become champion, so either fighter would put themselves in position for a rematch with a win. 

Both fighters love to set a frenetic pace and have the cardio to give fans three rounds of action. Edgar-Aldo may snag all the headlines, but this could very well outdo that fight in terms of entertainment. 


Benavidez brings the same kind of tenacity and relentlessness that Demetrious Johnson utilized in the wrestling department to outpoint McCall in their title fight rematch. McCall has the quickness and stand-up to make things interesting, but Benavidez will use his wrestling to earn the hard-fought decision.


Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia

If you're wearing a "Just Bleed" shirt and are the type that starts booing when a fight hits the mat, feel free to change the channel during this fight. Nothing to see here. 

If you love a good old-fashioned grappling battle, then this is the fight for you. 

Fitch is one of the best pure wrestlers in the sport. He receives his fair share of criticism for his "boring" style, but the fact of the matter is he can grapple with anyone at 170 pounds. 

Maia has long been one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in the sport and looks even more dangerous since making the move from 185 to 170. 


This is a classic wrestling vs. jiu-jitsu matchup, and in this case the wrestler is extremely difficult to submit. Fitch only has one submission loss in his career and that was in 2002. Judges usually favor the guy on top and that should be Fitch.