Here are my UFC 137 Main Card Predictions.
BJ Penn vs Nick Diaz
The new Main Event, BJ Penn versus Nick Diaz. This is one of the most talked about fights of the year. Nick Diaz making his way back to the UFC after a very successful reign as the Strikeforce welterweight champion. To welcome him back was initially going to be UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. But due to his crazy no-shows to consecutive press conferences, he was pulled from that fight and will now face 2 time champion BJ Penn. This will be a good test to see if Diaz was truly deserving of his title shot.
Penn and Diaz, in my opinion, are mirror images of each other. Both possess lethal striking skills and both have high level, world class Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I would love to see how this fight would pan out on the ground. But I have a feeling that the 2 men will stand and trade with one another.
Now the biggest X factor in this fight is always Penn's cardio. If Penn has trained properly, this fight could be a very entertaining event. If Penn gasses out, I could see Diaz stealing this fight in the later rounds.
However, in my opinion, Penn is the better fighter and he has most definitely faced the tougher competition in his career. This will be an uphill battle for Diaz. I expect that Penn's experience and cage savvy will be too much for Diaz, who will find himself in serious trouble in this fight.
My prediction is that Penn will rock Diaz with a big shot, Diaz will fold and Penn will jump on him and choke him out with a 2nd round rear naked choke.
Cheick Kongo vs Matt Mitrione
The wily veteran versus the up-and-comer. Kongo is coming into this fight on-the-heels of his hailmary knockout win over Pat Barry. Mitrione is undefeated at 5-0 and taking his first serious step up in competition. Now going into this fight, Mitrione and Kongo have talked about standing and trading. Mitrione definitely doesn't lack confidence. Knowing Kongo, he will try to utilize some offensive wrestling and work some ground-and-pound. I expect Mitrione to see that coming and utilize takedown defense and if he does go down, I think he'll be strong enough to get back to this feet.
So this fight boils down to who lands that big shot first. As we've seen, Kongo can come back if you don't finish him when the opportunity presents itself. Now I like Mitrione, and think he has a great future in this sport, but this fight is a big step in competition.
My prediction is that Kongo utilizes his experience and great striking and knocks Mitrione out in the 2nd round.
Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic vs Roy Nelson
Loser gets shown the door fight, in my opinion. Both men are entering this fight on a 2 fight losing skid. I believe that whoever loses will get cut by the UFC. That makes this fight prediction for me difficult because I like both fighters and hope they both find success.
The fight boils down to who lands the big shot first. Cro Cop has legendary power in his legs and Nelson has a big overhand right. On paper, Nelson's ground game is way above Cro Cop's abilities but Nelson rarely utilizes it, preferring to stand and trade with opponents. Nelson hasn't won by submission since 2006. We'll see if Nelson tries to take this fight to the ground.
If Nelson doesn't pressure Cro Cop and let's him pick his shots, Nelson could wake up from his coma, cut from the UFC. I believe Big Country Nelson is smart enough to know he can't just stand in front of Cro Cop and trade. I expect him to get this fight to the ground.
My prediction is Roy Nelson finally wears Cro Cop down and submits him late in the 3rd round via arm triangle.
Scott Jorgensen vs Jeff Curran
Jeff Curran is finally making his return to the UFC after 7 years. His only UFC appearance was a loss to Matt Serra at UFC 46. Curran is a veteran to say the least. He's fought in every major promotion on the planet at one time or another to include: UFC, WEC, Pride, Bellator, Strikeforce and KOTC. He's fought everywhere.
His opponent to welcome him back is Scott Jorgensen. Jorgensen is no easy opponent even though he doesn't have anything near the amount of experience Curran does. This fight will be determined on where it takes place. Jorgensen has ground skills, but prefers to stand and trade. Curran has a single knockout to his credit in 33 wins, in contrast to his 19 victories via submission. He definitely wants this fight on the ground where his jiu jitsu can dominate.
As much as I would like to see Curran get a win, I believe that Jorgensen is the better fighter. My prediction is Jorgensen to win via unanimous decision.
Hatsu Hioki vs George Roop
Hioki is on most top 10 featherweight lists, some even as high as number 2. I believe that if Hioki can finish Roop he could be a on short path to a title shot. Roop on the other hand is still a mid-pack fighter in the featherweight division. A win here would be tremendous for Roop's career. The key to this fight is where it takes place. Hioki is a submission fighter winning half of his 24 wins via submission. Roop does not want to end up on the ground with Hioki and will look to use his takedown defense and superior striking.
My prediction is that Hioki will be too much. He will get this fight to the ground and submit Roop in the 2nd round via armbar.
There are my UFC 137 Main Card Predictions. Also check out my UFC 137 Prelim Predictions here.