By Bobby Roberts
I haven’t been as excited for an upcoming UFC pay-per-view in a long time. UFC 148 has two marquee rematches with the second fight between UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen and a rubber match between Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin.
Silva and Sonnen have both been vocal about the punishment they want to give out during their fight. Silva said that he wants to break every bone in Sonnen’s body and make him swallow his teeth. Sonnen has been his usual self and quick to make a snarky comeback. The fight is sure to be a bloodbath and possibly 2012’s fight of the year.
Projected Winner: Anderson Silva
Forrest Griffin (18-7-0) vs. Tito Ortiz (17-10-1) – Light Heavyweight
In 2006, the first time these two squared off, it received the ‘Fight of the Year’ accolade. Ortiz won a controversial decision, but Griffin earned the respect of the hardcore MMA fan. The two faced each other in 2009 when Griffin filled in for an injured Mark Coleman. Griffin evened up the series with a split decision. This third and final meeting between the two will also be Ortiz’s final fight in the UFC. He is 1-6-1 in his last eight fights. It should be an entertaining fight, but Griffin’s got this one.
Projected Winner: Forrest Griffin
Cung Le (7-2-0) vs. Patrick Cote (18-7-0) – Middleweight
You have a fight between two guys who haven’t had much recent success in the UFC. Le is coming off a loss to Wanderlei Silva and Cote has lost his last three UFC fights (although has won his last four non-UFC MMA fights). Cote should be coming into UFC 148 with his confidence up, but he didn’t face elite talent. Le has a better stand-up than Cote and will be able to land some powerful kicks. Le, who is technically the underdog, will bounce back and win this contest via TKO.
Projected Winner: Cung Le
Dong Hyun Kim (15-1-1) vs. Demian Maia (15-4-0) – Welterweight
You have a fighter who is moving down a weight class (Maia) and a fighter whose power at welterweight cannot be overlooked (DHK). Maia will need to focus on submissions if he wants to come out of this fight with a victory. His last eight fights have all went the distance, but he is 4-4 in those contests. He hasn’t won via submission since February of 2009. DHK is a powerful fighter and wins with his stand-up. I don’t usually like fighters who move down a weight class, but Maia has a tough chin. DHK is an aggressive fighter and that could leave him vulnerable to submissions. I am hoping that Maia’s next fight will be the long awaited bout against Michael Bisping.
Projected Winner: Demian Maia
Chad Mendes (11-1-0) vs. Cody McKenzie (13-2-0) – Featherweight
For those who watch the WWE and are not knowledgeable of the UFC, this will be like Ryback facing a local jobber. Mendes is on a completely different level than McKenzie. I don’t mean to completely slight McKenzie, but Mendes’ wrestling ability is beyond elite. I don’t look for this fight to go past the first round.
Projected Winner: Chad Mendes
Ivan Menjivar (24-8-0) vs. Mike Easton (12-1-0) – Bantamweight
This fight is as unpredictable as they come. I can vision very plausible scenarios where either fighter could dominate if the other makes a small mistake. I love Easton’s striking ability and his overall defense is better than Menjivar. Menjivar is ‘good’ at a lot of things, but Easton’s power will be hard to overcome. This will be Easton’s first appearance on the UFC PPV main card, he’ll be jacked.
Projected Winner: Mike Easton
Melvin Guillard (46-11-3) vs. Fabricio Camoes (13-6-1) – Lightweight
Guillard needs to get his confidence back and a fight against Camoes could be what the doctor ordered. Guillard has lost his last two fights in the first round and Camoes has struggled to stay in the UFC. The UFC needs Guillard to regain his past form. He will maintain his popularity in the lightweight division if he can string a few fights together. He will need to avoid getting caught in a submission, but I see Guillard walking out of UFC 148 with the win.
Projected Winner: Melvin Guillard
Constantinos Philippou (10-2-0) vs. Riki Fukuda (18-5-0) – Middleweight
This is the lone middleweight fight in the prelims and it’s could be a long one. Philippou (boxing) and Fukuda (wrestling) have two different styles. I think this one will go the distance with Fukuda trying to shoot and Philippou trying to keep the fight on their feet. Fukuda seriously injured his knee in a car accident a year ago, but it didn’t seem to bother him when he defeated Steve Cantwell earlier this year. It is still a question mark and Philippou will test the knee by making Fukuda fight on his feet.
Projected Winner: Constantinos Philippou
Shane Roller (10-6-0) vs. John Alessio (34-15-0) – Lightweight
I kind of hate this fight. Roller is on a major losing streak and is looking to put it to rest. I respect Alessio for being in the game for twenty years, but he hasn’t impressed me since I’ve been an MMA fan. The loser could find himself outside of the UFC. This fight will be on the ground and Alessio’s experience could pay off. I think it’s a coin flip, but I’ll take Roller because he doesn’t have as many miles on his body.
Projected Winner: Shane Roller