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UFC 133 Predictions

Can Tito Ortiz shock the world for the second time in five weeks and pull off another major upset? Will Yoshihiro Akiyama earn his first win in more than two years? Can 22-year-old welterweight Rory MacDonald continue to look impressive against veteran fighters when he takes on Mike Pyle?

We'll answer those questions and more as we predict the results of the UFC 133 pay-per-view.

What: UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz 2

When: Saturday, the Facebook preliminary fights start at 6 PM ET, the Spike TV fights start at 8 and the pay-per-view starts at 9.

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia

Predictions on the five pay-per-view fights below.

Rashad Evans vs. Tito Ortiz
Ortiz stunned everyone when he beat Ryan Bader at UFC 132, and then he agreed to fight Evans on short notice when Phil Davis dropped out of the main event on this card. So can Ortiz do it again, beat Evans and get himself into light heavyweight title contention, eight years after he lost the light heavyweight belt to Randy Couture?

It's hard to see how it could happen. Ortiz caught Bader unsuspecting with a perfect shot on the button, then finished him off with a guillotine choke on the ground. But Evans isn't like Bader -- he's a better fighter than Bader and also a more cautious fighter than Bader, and Ortiz isn't going to catch Evans napping.

Much more likely, Evans is going to take Ortiz down in all three rounds, stay in a dominant position for most of the fight and win a unanimous decision. It would be a great story to see Ortiz make a comeback all these years after he was written off as no longer competitive, but it's probably not going to happen.
Pick: Evans

Vitor Belfort vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
Akiyama was once a superstar in Japan and South Korea, but his UFC career hasn't been particularly impressive: He struggled to win a split decision over Alan Belcher in his debut at UFC 100, then lost two in a row to Chris Leben and Michael Bisping. This may be the last chance for the 36-year-old Akiyama to accomplish anything in the UFC.

Belfort is coming off a loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 126, but other than Silva he's as good a striker as anyone at 185 pounds. I think he'll be able to hit Akiyama hard and hurt him badly. Belfort should win this fight handily.
Pick: Belfort

Dennis Hallman vs. Brian Ebersole
This isn't a very sexy fight, and it's only on the pay-per-view because of injuries, but it's actually a pretty good matchup of a couple of guys who have been fighting forever and have more than 60 professional fights apiece: Hallman is 50-13-2 in his MMA career, while Ebersole is 47-14-1. Hallman is favored, but I liked the way Ebersole looked in his UFC 127 victory over Chris Lytle, and I think Ebersole will keep it going and beat Hallman by decision.
Pick: Ebersole

Jorge Rivera vs. Costantinos Philippou
The 39-year-old Rivera lost his last fight to Michael Bisping and looked old and slow in the process. However, Rivera is getting what should be an easy matchup in this fight: Philippou stepped in to face Rivera on short notice when Rivera's original opponent, Alessio Sakara, got hurt, and Philippou frankly isn't a UFC-caliber fighter. Rivera should win this one handily, and if he doesn't it's a sign that Rivera just doesn't have it anymore.
Pick: Rivera

Rory MacDonald vs. Mike Pyle
MacDonald is one of the sport's really exciting young fighters: He's built up an 11-1 record and looked very good against high quality competition like Nate Diaz and Carlos Condit, all before turning 22. Pyle is a good test for him, especially on the ground: Pyle is a very experienced grappler, and if MacDonald makes a mistake, Pyle will make him tap. But I like MacDonald to pass his test and show why some people think he's a future welterweight title contender.
Pick: MacDonald

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