clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UFC 121 Predictions

Brock Lesnar will defend his UFC heavyweight title at UFC 121.The heavyweight championship of mixed martial arts is on the line at UFC 121 Saturday night in Los Angeles, and Brock Lesnar vs Cain Velasquez is such a big fight that the UFC easily could have made a killing on pay-per-view even if they had filled the undercard with scrubs.

But the four undercard fights on the pay-per-view are actually very good ones, and this five-fight card might just be the best pay-per-view the UFC is offering this year. We've got the preview and predictions below.

What: UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez

Where: Honda Center, Anaheim

When: Saturday, with the non-televised undercard starting at 7 PM ET, and Spike TV card starting at 9 and the pay-per-view starting at 10.

Predictions on the five pay-per-view fights:
Brock Lesnar vs Cain Velasquez
The people picking Velasquez tend to say he has crisper stand-up, better technical wrestling, and better cardio, and I don't disagree with any of those things. But I'm picking Lesnar to beat Velasquez, because Velasquez isn't big and strong enough to handle the imposing physical presence of the 265-pound Lesnar.

If there were a 235-pound weight class, as some MMA fans think there should be, Velasquez might very well be its champion. But Lesnar has the perfect build for the 265-pound weight class, and I think the size difference is going to be the decisive factor on fight night.
Pick: Lesnar

Jake Shields vs. Martin Kampmann
I'm almost as excited about seeing Shields making his UFC debut as I am about Lesnar-Velasquez. For those who don't follow MMA outside the UFC, Shields is on a 14-fight winning streak and has a long list of accomplishments during his current five-year undefeated run, including winning the Strikeforce middleweight championship, winning the EliteXC welterweight championship and winning a Rumble on the Rock tournament that featured the likes of Anderson Silva, Yushin Okami and Carlos Condit. It will be great to finally see Shields in the sport's biggest promotion.

But don't count Kampmann out in this one. Kampmann's 17-3 pro record includes several impressive wins, and he's a better striker than Shields while also being formidable enough on the ground to hold his own. I wouldn't be shocked to see Kampmann pull the upset, but I ultimately expect Shields to control Kampmann on the ground for long enough to grind out a decision.
Pick: Shields

Diego Sanchez vs. Paulo Thiago
Sanchez still hasn't won a fight since his classic with Clay Guida a year and a half ago; since then Sanchez is 0-2 with losses to B.J. Penn and John Hathaway. I think Thiago, who's rebounding from a loss to Kampmann, is going to win a decision and give Sanchez his third straight loss.
Pick: Thiago

Tito Ortiz vs. Matt Hamill
This is one of those fights that isn't particularly relevant to the light heavyweight pecking order, but it is interesting to a large number of fans who watched Ortiz coach Hamill on Season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter. At that time, it would have seemed crazy to suggest that Hamill could beat Ortiz, but times change, and Ortiz hasn't won a fight since he beat Ken Shamrock more than four years ago. I like Hamill to win a decision.
Pick: Hamill

Brendan Schaub vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
Schaub is a former college football player who's only been an MMA fighter since 2008, and from that perspective he's done pretty well for himself, getting to the Finale of The Ultimate Fighter 10 before losing to Roy Nelson, and earning two quick TKO victories in the Octagon since then. But I just don't think he's ready for an opponent of the caliber of Gonzaga, who's a world-class grappler and has knockout power with his hands and his feet.
Pick: Gonzaga

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting