Here are my UFC 136 Prelim Predictions. This fight card in my opinion is absolutely stacked. From the 2 title fights on the main card to this amazing undercard. I wish I had tickets to the fight.
Demian Maia vs Jorge Santiago
Both men are coming into this contest off of a loss. However, I feel like this should be a gimme fight for Maia. Santiago is now in his second stint in the UFC but has not fought the level of competition that Maia has and he has lost to most of the middle level fighters he's faced.
The interesting aspect of this fight is that Santiago is more of a submission specialist than striker and we all know that Maia is a Brazilian jiu jitsu master. This fight could very well be a jiu jitsu battle.
My prediction is Maia via 2nd round rear naked choke.
Anthony Pettis vs Jeremy Stephens
This will be a war. 2 amazing strikers that will stand toe-to-toe until someone gets knocked out or time expires. Expect fireworks from this fight. How this fight isn't on the main card I'll never understand.
Pettis is coming in off his loss to Clay Guida and Stephens will be riding a 2 fight win streak into this fight. As I've said, both men like to bang so don't expect this fight to go to the ground.
My prediction is that Stephens by 2nd round TKO.
Joey Beltran vs Stipe Miocic
Another fight with 2 strikers looking for the knockout. Beltran, a UFC veteran will take on newcomer Miocic. This fight will only go to the ground if one of them gets knocked out. I've got to think that Miocic will have some jitters making his UFC debut.
My prediction is Beltran utilizes his experience and scores a 3rd knockout.
Tiequan Zhang vs Darren Elkins
This fight should be interesting. Elkins is a solid well-rounded fighter, while Zhang is a submission machine. Expect Zhang to try and push this fight to the ground while Elkins will probably not want to test Zhang's ground game.
In their combined 30 fights, only 4 times has either man gone the distance. I expect that this fight won't see a decision either.
My prediction is Tiequan Zhang via rear naked choke.
Aaron Simpson vs Eric Schafer
This fight card is stacked when this fight is almost the first fight of the night. Aaron Simpson will look to utilize his great wrestling in this battle. Eric Schafer is no slouch on the ground and has some good jiu jitsu.
I think this fight could be a test of wills. I expect both men to test each other on the feet. Once the first big shot is landed, I expect the recipient of that shot to attempt to take the fight to the ground.
My prediction is Eric Schafer by split decision.
Steve Cantwell vs Mike Massenzio
Not sure how this is the first fight of the night, but Cantwell, the former WEC light heavyweight champion will take on Massenzio. I believe Cantwell is the better striker of the 2 and I believe Massenzio will want this fight on the ground. Both men are well-rounded but I believe Massenzio will look for a ground battle where he'll be more comfortable.
Cantwell is no stranger to the ground and has several wins via submission. But I believe Cantwell will look to keep the fight standing and use his power.
My prediction is Cantwell by 2nd round knockout.
So, these are my predictions for the UFC 136 prelims.