Following the success of the last B.S. Predictions column for UFC Fight Night 35, I was excited to get right back to the magic. This week we have another stellar free fight card from the UFC. It’ll be headlined by a very important lightweight matchup between former lightweight champion Benson Henderson and Josh Thomson. Of course Henderson lost his belt the last time out to Anthony Pettis, while Thomson shocked fans with a TKO of Nate Diaz in his return to the UFC. Along with 3 other main card bouts this event will not disappoint, so let’s get to it.
Donald Cerrone vs. Adriano Martins
On paper I think Donald Cerrone is the better fighter in this matchup. However, when you take a closer look it’s not so clear cut. Adriano Marins is a very talented Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and he did take out a dangerous striker in Daron Cruickshank when he made his UFC debut in November of last year. It probably helped that Martins was fighting in his home country of Brazil, while he’ll be facing Cerrone on American soil. But, the difference maker is going to be the level of competition Cerrone has faced thus far in his career. He’s shared the cage with some very tough and talented fighters. It might take “Cowboy” a round or so to get comfortable and when he does he’ll be able to easily outpoint Adriano Martins for a unanimous decision victory.
Prediction: Donald Cerrone via Unanimous Decision
Darren Elkins vs. Jeremy Stephens
Now here’s a striker vs. grappler matchup I can get into. Darren Elkins is a grinder with the ability to wear down anyone in the UFC’s 145lb division. Meanwhile, Jeremy Stephens hits very hard and he’s always looking for the finish. Since dropping from lightweight to featherweight, Stephens has been on fire. In his last bout he went into Brazil and absolutely destroyed Rony Jason. The only trouble Darren Elkins has run into in his last 7 fights was when he was stopped by Chad Mendes, another hard hitting featherweight. I actually have Elkins as a slight favorite in this one, but I’m going to say Jeremy Stephens will pull off the upset.
Prediction: Jeremy Stephens via TKO Round 2
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Stipe Miocic
The co-main event at UFC on FOX 10 is an interesting heavyweight bout between Gabriel Gonzaga and Stipe Miocic. Other than a knockout loss to Travis Browne, Gonzaga is experiencing a career resurgence as of late with 4 wins in his last 5 UFC appearances. However, Miocic looked ultra-impressive in his June 2013 victory over Roy “Big Country” Nelson. He was able to avoid Nelson’s power punches and was the superior boxer inside the cage on that night. Although Gonzaga is likely faster than Roy Nelson, I still think Miocic can out strike him and his defensive wrestling should be good enough to keep the fight standing. Miocic will once again surprise many people on his way to a unanimous decision win.
Prediction: Stipe Miocic via Unanimous Decision
Benson Henderson vs. Josh Thomson
Josh Thomson shocked MMA fans when he defeated Nate Diaz in his UFC return. It wasn’t so much the fact that he won that was shocking, but the way Thomson did it. The former Strikeforce champion became the first man to finish Diaz by TKO, which is something his next opponent Benson Henderson was not able to do. That doesn’t necessarily give Thomson an edge over Henderson, especially since Benson is coming off his first UFC loss. It wasn’t just a normal loss either, it cost Henderson his UFC lightweight title and made him winless in two fights against Anthony Pettis. It is definitely the kind of loss that stings. We can expect “Smooth” to show up on January 25th with something extra to prove. The winner of this fight could be next in line for a title shot, seeing as Thomson was originally scheduled to face Anthony Pettis for the title in December of last year before the champ pulled out due to injury. Benson Henderson is my choice to get his hand raised at UFC on FOX 10, but it won’t come easily. Thomson is going to give him all he can handle and it could very well end up being another one of those infamous split decision victories that Henderson has become known for in his UFC career.
Prediction: Benson Henderson via Split Decision
Pro Fighting Fans Staff Writer