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UFC 146: Predicting Knockout, Submission and Fight of the Night

It’s fight week for the UFC, and with a five-fight main card packed with heavyweights, fans are expecting it to be one of the best shows of the year. In the main event, former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir gets another chance at the title when he takes on reigning champion Junior dos Santos. Santos, a Brazilian power-puncher, won the title last November and has gone unbeaten throughout his UFC career. Mir, who is stepping up as a late replacement for Alistair Overeem, is coming off three wins, including a brutal and impressive finish of Santos’ mentor, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. In the co-main event, Cain Velasquez and Antonio Silva will square off in a duel between two fighters looking to prove they still belong at the top of the division. Other main card bouts include Shane del Rosario vs. Stipe Miocic, Roy Nelson vs. Dave Herman and Lavar Johnson vs. Stefan Struve. These are my predictions for submission, knockout and fight of the night.  Knockout of the Night: Junior dos Santos With 10 heavyweights on the card, it’s hard to think none of them will end by knockout. If JDS is to get past Mir, there is no question how the victory will come. Of his eight UFC victories, five have come by knockout, including those over Velasquez, Struve and Fabricio Werdum. Of Mir’s five losses, all have come by knockout. He was even dropped by Nogueira in their second fight before showing better recovery than he has in the past to get the victory. Many consider Mir to have a weak chin, but this is the heavyweight division, and he usually doesn’t get knocked out with the first punch. It often takes a barrage of punches to put him away for good. Just look at the amount of damage done to him in his losses. This is a bad style matchup for Mir, and it will show early with a KO win for dos Santos.   Submission of the Night: Diego Brandao Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and Ultimate Fighter winner Diego Brandao is no stranger to getting post-fight bonuses, and his latest victory over Dennis Bermudez earned him two awards, including fight of the night and submission of the night. His opponent, Darren Elkins, is 3-1 in the UFC with his only loss having come by an armbar submission in 41 seconds. Training out of Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Brandao will have the gameplan to get the job done the best way possible in this fight. Elkins looked good in his last fight, but his win over Michihiro Omigawa was considered a robbery by many, and his other bout versus Duane Ludwig ended when Ludwig injured his ankle. As long as he can get it to the mat, Brandao should be able to get the ninth submission win of his career.   Fight of the Night: Edson Barboza vs. Jamie Varner Can Edson Barboza make it four fight of the night bonuses in a row? Despite a late change in opponents, former WEC Champion Jamie Varner is a solid test for Barboza, who is considered by many to be one of the best rising contenders in the lightweight division. With his brutal kicks, Barboza is able to wear his opponents down and take over late in his fights. It payed off his last fight where he knocked Terry Etim out with a spinning heel kick in the third round. Varner is 1-1 in the UFC from two bouts in 2006-2007. Since then, he has put on some of the more entertaining fights. Even in defeat, his two fights against Donald Cerrone and Benson Henderson were fun to watch. Barboza is undefeated and Varner has never been knocked out, so this is one of the better candidates for a fight that goes the distance or long enough to have some exciting shifts in momentum.

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