UFC 164 Henderson vs. Pettis 2: Observer Picks & Preview

UFC 164

By Josh Nason

Three UFC shows in eight days. Can you dig it? This one should be fairly entertaining though, as least from the main event and co-main event.

Also, last Wednesday's results were never posted but Mike Sawyer went 4-1 in UFC Fight Night picks, missing only on the main event. Dave Meltzer went 3-2, while Todd Martin, Mike Sempervive and Oliver Copp were all 2-3. Yours truly was 1-4. 

Dave Meltzer (63-30 -- .677): Wrestling Observer founder & writer

Todd Martin (64-29 -- .688): Weekly FFD guest | LA Times | Sherdog

Mike Sempervive (56-37 -- .602): Wrestling Observer Live | Big Audio Nightmare

Mike Sawyer (61-32 -- .656):

- Josh Nason (65-28 -- .699): Wrestling Observer web editor, social media guy

Oliver Copp (58-35 -- .624) of combat sports insider fame

Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson (19-2) vs. Anthony Pettis (16-2) II

With a win, Henderson sets a record for the most successful title defenses with five. He's won seven straight with his last defeat coming to, yes, Pettis. The reason why he hasn't fully got over as a draw yet is that he's a decision machine and often gets into controversial "I think he lost that" decisions. He's good, but how much do people care?

Pettis has been involved in less action since the Henderson fight, dropping his UFC debut to Clay Guida. Since then, he's won three in a row in limited activity due to injuries, and has dominant first round T/KO wins in his last two. These two were destined to hook it up again in their UFC careers and Saturday night is it.

It's quite the coincidence that in their first fight, Pettis beat Henderson in Bendo's hometown and now, Henderson has the chance to do the same to Pettis.

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

Frank Mir (16-7) vs. Josh Barnett (32-6)

For the first time in a long career, the 34-year-old Mir has a two fight losing streak. Recently moving under the tutelage of Greg Jackson, we'll see if that relationship finally starts to pay some benefits Saturday. He battles another veteran heavyweight ground specialist in the 35-year-old Barnett, returning to the Octagon for the first time in over 10 years. He fought and nearly beat everyone else that wasn't in the UFC over that time, and has only lost once (Daniel Cormier) in his last 10.

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

Chad Mendes (14-1) vs. Clay Guida (30-13)

Since getting kneed in the head by Jose Aldo in his first shot at the 145-pound gold, Mendes has ripped off three first round T/KO victories in a row. He's 5-1 in the UFC and wants Aldo again. Standing in his way is the ever-popular Guida who has slipped down the excitement scale due his last two fights against Gray Maynard and Hatsu Hioki. In his second fight at 145, what version of "The Carpenter" will we get? A side note: he's never been knocked out.

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

Ben Rothwell (32-9) vs. Brandon Vera (12-6-0-1)

For the better part of six years, Rothwell has been a .500 fighter. It's quite remarkable: he hasn't won or lost two in a row since 2007, a stretch of seven fights. Since he's coming off a January 2nd round submission loss to Gabriel Gonzaga, he should beat Vera. Yes, the same Vera who last fought at heavyweight in June 2008. He was last seen more than a year ago in a 4th round KO defeat to Shogun Rua and has won just once in his last five fights.

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

Erik Koch (13-2) vs. Dustin Poirier (13-3)

After missing out on two featherweight title shots due to injuries to both himself and champion Jose Aldo, Koch fought in January for the first time in nearly a year and a half and was dispatched by Ricardo Lamas by 2nd round TKO, snapping a four fight win streak. He looks to avenge his first UFC loss this Saturday against Poirier, another featherweight that was once surging toward a title shot but saw losses to Chan Sung Jung and Cub Swanson derail that completely.

Poirier: Nason, Copp, Martin
Koch: Sawyer, Sempervive, Meltzer

Dave will have his usual live coverage starting with the prelims this afternoon.

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