UFC on FX 7: Wrestling Observer Staff Picks & Preview

By Josh Nason

With Strikeforce dead and buried and Bellator now in the Spike TV mix, the UFC returns to the fight fan's consciousness with their first show of 2013: a free event on FX Saturday night that solely reliant on two notable middleweights in the main event.

UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Bisping

Our panel:

- Dave Meltzer (0-0): Wrestling Observer founder & writer, 2012 picks winner

- Todd Martin (0-0): Weekly FFD guest & RAW recapper | LA Times | Sherdog

- Mike Sempervive (0-0): Wrestling Observer Live | Big Audio Nightmare

- Mike Sawyer (0-0) of Tough Talk

- Josh Nason (0-0): FFD guest | FIGHT! Magazine | Bloody Elbow

- Oliver Copp (0-0) of "Oliver Knows" fame

Michael Bisping (23-4) vs. Vitor Belfort (21-10)

It comes down to this: with a win, the 33-year-old Bisping gets a title shot. A loss? Down the chain and in the pile. The Brit last was seen beating up Brian Stann by unanimous decision at September's UFC 152, his fifth win in his last six fights. The 35-year-old Belfort returns to action for the first time since nearly defeating 205-pound kingpin Jon Jones via armbar at the same September event. Belfort hasn't gone the distance since the fall of 2007, while Bisping has gone to the judges five times in seven fights since 2010.

Bisping: Nason, Martin, Copp, Meltzer
Belfort: Sawyer, Sempervive

CB Dollaway (12-4) vs. Daniel Sarafian (7-2)

Dollaway has been on the shelf since last May when beat Jason "Mayhem" Miller by decision, snapping a two-fight win streak. The reason Sarafian is in the co-main? He was supposed to be in the finals of the first season of TUF Brazil, but was injured. This will be his Octagon debut and he's been out of active competition since July 2011.

Dollaway: Nason, Martin
Sarafian: Copp, Sawyer, Sempervive, Meltzer

Gabriel Gonzaga (13-6) vs. Ben Rothwell (32-8)

Double G has had an interesting couple years. After getting cut from the UFC in October 2010, Gonzaga was out for a year and returned on a New England regional show with a win. He then returned to the UFC in January 2012 with a first round win on a Brazil show. One year later, he returns again after injuries to him and others in his native country against Rothwell, a heavyweight gatekeeper who is 2-2 in his Octagon career. He last KO'd Brendan Schaub in 70 seconds in April.

Gonzaga: Nason, Copp, Sawyer,
Rothwell: Martin, Sempervive, Meltzer

Thiago Tavares (17-4-1) vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (18-0)

In the FX opener, Tavares looks to extend a two fight win streak, but has been out for a year due to injuries to himself and the whole Dennis Hallman situation from this fall. The undefeated Nurmagomedov is 2-0 in the UFC with wins over Kamal Shalorus (submission) and Gleison Tibau (decision) respectively. The Russian is a finisher, but Tavares has been finished just twice in his last 10.

Nurmagomedov: Nason, Martin, Copp, Sawyer, Sempervive, Meltzer

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