Will Martin Kampmann make a case that he deserves to be in title contention in the welterweight division? Or is Thiago Alves set to get his second win in a row? Can Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson take care of business and advance to the first ever UFC flyweight title fight? Or do UFC newcomers Yasuhiro Urushitani and Ian McCall have what it takes to pull off an upset in the UFC's four-man flyweight tournament?
I'll attempt to answer those questions as I predict the winners of Friday night's UFC on FX show below.
What: UFC on FX: Alves vs. Kampmann
When: Friday, the FUEL prelims start at 6 p.m. Eastern and the FX main card starts at 9.
Where: Allphones Arena, Sydney, Australia
Thiago Alves vs. Martin Kampmann
During Georges St. Pierre's long injury layoff, the UFC's welterweight division is undergoing a dramatic transformation, with new contenders establishing themselves in a weight class that GSP had previously seemed to clean out.
This fight is a great opportunity for Kampmann to show that he belongs in the title hunt. Alves has already had a title shot and lost, and it's probably not realistic to think that he'd get another shot at the belt. But if Kampmann beats Alves and looks good in the process, he'd have a strong case that he deserves a shot at interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit (whom Kampmann beat by split decision in 2009) or that he's another win away from getting a shot at the Condit-GSP winner.
I think Kampmann will out-grapple Alves and win a one-sided decision, putting himself in the welterweight title conversation.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Yasuhiro Urushitani
I've been saying for years that Benavidez was ready to be the best flyweight in the world just as soon as Zuffa opened up a flyweight division, and now it's time for Benavidez to prove it. Urushitani is a good fighter who vacated the Shooto title to move to the UFC's flyweight division, but he's not on the same level as Benavidez. this should be a beatdown.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall
McCall left the WEC after losing to now bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, and at flyweight he's gone on a four-fight winning streak, beating high-quality opponents and earning the No. 1 ranking in the world according to some observers. I think Johnson has superior speed and better wrestling, however, and should be able to out-point McCall and win a decision.
McGee is 2-0 since winning Season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter, and he's proven to be a solid if not spectacular prospect. The UFC is bringing him along slowly with its matchmaking, and although Philippou is on a two-fight winning streak of his own, I like McGee to take this one.