UFC 160 (aka Hunt For The Gold): Observer Picks & Preview



UFC 160


By Josh Nason


As we type this, we have double coverage of tonight's UFC 160 event with Dave Meltzer doing his thing from San Jose, while Mike Sawyer is live at cageside in Las Vegas as well. If you like what they're doing, share a link on social media, will ya?

Our Panel:

- Dave Meltzer (35-19): Wrestling Observer founder & writer

- Todd Martin (36-18): Weekly FFD guest | LA Times | Sherdog

- Mike Sempervive (30-24): Wrestling Observer Live | Big Audio Nightmare

- Mike Sawyer (34-20) of ToughTalkMMA.com

- Josh Nason (38-16): Wrestling Observer web editor, social media guy

- Oliver Copp (31-23) of combat sports insider fame

- Bryan Alvarez (30-11): Figure Four Weekly founder and writer

UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez (11-1) vs. Bigfoot Silva II


Despite what Dana White says, this is the rematch no one cares to see. Yes, Silva decimated Alistair Overeem but is there really enough evidence in the last year to believe anything will change from the last time these guys fought? As a reminder, Velasquez bloodied Silva up in 3:36 one year ago tomorrow.

Since that annihilation, Silva defeated Travis Brown by 1st round TKO and famously KO'd Overeem. Does he have a chance? Of course. Is it a good change? Based on history, likely not.

Velasquez: Meltzer, Alvarez, Copp, Sempervive, Sawyer, Martin, Nason

Junior dos Santos (15-2) vs. Mark Hunt (9-7)

There's a lot at stake for both men in this co-main event. For dos Santos, he needs to prove he can rebound from the five round ass kicking that Velasquez dealt to him last December. That fight snapped a ten fight win streak that saw him become UFC heavyweight champion and a star in Brazil. But it's easy when you're winning, right? We get to see how JDS rebounds from his UFC loss.

To do so, he has to end one of the best MMA stories in years. I won't recount the whole Hunt story (try Google if you have no idea what I'm talking about), but that the 39-year-old is quite possibly one win away from a title shot is incredible. He's won his last four with T/KOs finishes in three. Against Stefan Struve in March, he showed the ability to work on the mat which was astounding. In the end, he broke Struve's jaw in the third round and set himself up for a major step up.

JDS has fought tough men before (remember the Roy Nelson fight?) and Hunt will need to have the best performance of his combat sports career to beat him. But maybe, just maybe, he's got one more hands of granite rabbit to pull out of his hat.

JDS: Meltzer, Alvarez, Sempervive, Sawyer, Martin, Nason
Hunt: Copp

Glover Teixeira (20-2) vs. James Te Huna (16-5)

The further up the card you get, the more hard hitting the fights are. The 33-year-old Teixeira has won 18 straight, but had a seven fight finish streak snapped in a January unanimous decision win over Rampage Jackson. A little bit of the shine disappeared in the Jackson win as many media were hoping for a finish to help propel a new 205-pound contender up the charts. He takes a step down in name value against Te Huna, but there is no easy fight here.

The 31-year-old New Zealand native (now fighting out of Australia) has won his last four, last decisioning Ryan Jimmo in February. His only loss in his last 11 was a submission defeat to Alexander Gustafsson over two years ago. With 10 T/KO wins in his last 16, he's got legit power but Teixeira's T/KO loss was in his first fight over 10 years ago. Both men are going to be hurting Sunday.

Teixeira: Meltzer, Alvarez, Copp, Sempervive, Sawyer, Martin, Nason

Gray Maynard (11-1-1-1) vs. TJ Grant (20-5)

In a bout for the No. 1 contendership for the lightweight title, Maynard returns to the cage for the first time in nearly a year. Why does that qualify him for a title shot? Good question. His last bout was that bizarre split decision win over Clay Guida in New Jersey, his first non-Frankie Edgar bout since August 2010.

The unheralded Grant has been in the UFC since April 2009 where a 3-3 stint at welterweight resulted in a 4-0 run at lightweight. He's dispatched of the middle tier of the division, last decimating Matt Wiman's face in a first round KO in January. Is the Canadian ready for the next level? We'll find out Saturday.

Maynard: Meltzer, Alvarez, Sawyer, Martin
Grant: Copp, Sempervive, Nason

Donald Cerrone (19-5-1) vs. K.J. Noons (11-6)


The always active Cerrone has his second fight of the year Saturday, welcoming Noons to the UFC in what could be a really fun PPV opener. Cerrone has struggled against upper echelon lightweights of late, last getting TKO'd in the first round by Anthony Pettis. The loss snapped a two fight win streak and he should be the favorite against Noons, who has lost four of his last five. The last tilt was a very controversial split decision loss to Ryan Couture in January. He's gone the distance in his last five and needs a great performance here to stay afoot in the UFC's deepest division.

Cerrone: Meltzer, Alvarez, Copp, Sempervive, Sawyer, Martin, Nason

Who is the strongest Hall of Fame candidate from this list?

 

Who is the strongest Hall of Fame candidate from this list?

 

Who should get the next featherweight title shot?