A rematch for the ages is about to go down, as Benson Henderson looks to defend his lightweight title against the last man to defeat him, Anthony Pettis at UFC 164.
UFC 164 goes down live, this Saturday August 31 from the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In the co-main event, Frank Mir welcomes Josh Barnett back to the Octagon in a heavyweight showdown. Also on the main card is Chad Mendes vs. Clay Guida, Ben Rothwell vs. Brandon Vera and Erik Koch vs. Dustin Poirier.
MMASucka.com has decided to bring back one of our favorite pieces, ‘Staff Predictions’. Since the last time we wrote one of these things up, the staff at MMASucka has come and gone, so you will be in for some new perspectives.
Check out all of our predictions below and let us know whether you agree or disagree.
Jeremy – 0-0
Allen – 0-0
Henry – 0-0
Justin – 0-0
Benson Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis
Jeremy – When I heard this fight was being made, I was upset about T.J. Grant being pulled due to injury, however I was stoked because the first go-round was probably my favourite fight in WEC history. I feel in the eye of many that Henderson has done much better than Pettis since their first fight. He may have won more, but Pettis has faced much adversity after being promised title shots over and over. I feel his time has come to show the world why he deserves this shot. My pick is Anthony Pettis by Unanimous Decision.
Allen – Benson Henderson via unanimous decision. The more complete fighter will win and that is Henderson. His wrestling and under appreciated striking will earn him a defining victory.
Henry – Both fighters have grown a lot since their first fight in the WEC finale but I think Henderson’s ability to take the fight to the ground will give him the advantage. Henderson by Decision
Justin – Statistically, you can’t ask for a much more even match-up. Even the takedown accuracies of both men are fairly close, though that is more due to Pettis making his lesser number count as opposed to Henderson’s success through volume. With that said, I feel like Pettis still has that mental edge, driving forward for the finish, that will get him the decision victory here.
Josh Barnett vs. Frank Mir
Jeremy – There is no doubt in my mind that this fight will be a ground battle. Mir will be on his back, while Barnett controls the top position. If Barnett’s experience can keep him out of danger from Mir’s bottom game then this fight is his to win. My pick is Josh Barnett by Unanimous Decision.
Allen – Frank Mir via 2nd round guillotine. This was back and forth, but I’m going for Mir and his better conditioning. Barnett’s over confidence will cost him.
Henry – This is a battle of heavyweights with strong ground games. However, I think Barnett has an advantage in the wrestling department and has enough submission defense to nullify Mir’s BJJ. Given Barnett’s history, I really hope this doesn’t turn into a no contest. Barnett by Decision
Justin: This is a tough bout to call. I don’t think that Mir is as big of an underdog as some groups peg him as, but if there’s one thing that can give BJJ guys trouble, it’s catch wrestlers. Even if many of the finishes are the same, the set-ups are way different, and my gut is telling me that one of those set-ups is going to catch Frank unprepared. “The Warmaster” by 3rd round submission.
Clay Guida vs. Chad Mendes
Jeremy – Mendes will continue the streak that has been happening since Ludwig has taken over as head coach at Team Alpha Male. The question at hand is when will the fight finish? I see Guida using his footwork and speed to avoid a bunch of Mendes’ attacks early on, but later in the fight the Team Alpha Male product will begin to dominate from top position and take the fight. My pick is Chad Mendes by Unanimous Decision.
Allen – Chad Mendes via unanimous decision. There will be a few close calls, but Guida’s chin is full of steel. As powerful as Mendes is, I can’t see him knocking out Guida.
Henry – Since “Bang” Ludwig has taken a striking coach role with the Alpha Male team, their fighters have been pretty impressive. I think Mendes will win the standup and will be able to use his wrestling to defend Guida’s takedowns. However, Guida is a tough guy so it’ll be hard for Mendes to finish him off. Mendes by Decision
Justin – I have to go with the consensus pick here and say Mendes by Unanimous Decision. Clay’s a tough wrestler, but he’s no Team Alpha Male member, and his herky jerky stand-up style will only lead to “Money’s” improved striking catching him upside the head.
Ben Rothwell vs. Brandon Vera
Jeremy – This fight is Brandon Vera’s to lose. He will utilize his great Muay Thai prowess to pick Rothwell apart. I don’t think he will be able to finish him, but he will punish his legs to earn him the judges nod. My pick is Brandon Vera by Unanimous Decision.
Allen – Brandon Vera wins via unnamious decision. His pace and leg kicks will be too much for Rothwell. His cardio has always been a problem, while Vera knows this is do or die for him.
Henry – Vera makes his return back to the heavyweight division so without the weight cut, I expect Vera to come in better conditioned than his previous fights. I expect him to use his Muay Thai to chop Rothwell down. Vera by second round TKO
Justin- You know how everybody says that a “Shogun” Rua victory depends on which version shows up? The same can be said about Ben Rothwell. Generally, we get the plodding heavyweight we’ve seen so many times in the past, but there are occasions we get a focused killing machine. Those occasions are rare, though. With Vera moving back up to heavyweight and in desperation mode to keep his job, I predict he’ll chop down Rothwell with leg kicks for the TKO in the 3rd round.
Erik Koch vs. Dustin Poirier
Jeremy – If any fight other than the main event has the chances of “Fight of the Night” then it is this one. The thing that interests me most about this fight is how similar these two combatants are. I think a finish will occur, but not until late in the 2nd or early in the 3rd. My pick is Erik Koch by third round TKO.
Allen – Dustin Poirier wins via 3rd round rear naked choke. It will be a competitive fight, but the ground game of Poirier will be too much to overcome.
Henry – This one is a close one. Both have very similar skill sets. However, when it’s this close, I’ll give the edge to who is superior in the wrestling game and they’ll control where the fight goes. With that said, my pick goes to Koch. Koch by Decision
Justin – They’re both very talented fighters, and as Henry alluded to, they have very similar skillsets. However, I’m going to go with the more well-rounded fighter, which is Daniel Poirier. The American Top Team product has better, more powerful striking than Koch, and an equally crafty submission game. Poirier by split decision.