UFC 173 - Who will win?

Tuesday, May 20

UFC 173 Preview by Adam Curley.   Bantamweight Title Fight - Renan Barao (Champion) vs TJ Dillashaw #4The stats tell the story when it comes to Renan Barao; he’s won 7 straight in the UFC and his bout with TJ Dillashaw will be his fifth straight title defence. Many questioned the hype surrounding the Brazilian’s record before he hit the UFC, but he hasn’t lost a fight since his debut… in 2005.The challenger is one of the hottest young prospects in the sport, another Team Alpha Male product hoping to be the first man to bring a world title to the camp. Dillashaw doesn’t have to look far for advice; training partner Urijah Faber has suffered two recent losses to Barao.The American has look of a future champion but 2014 isn’t his time, I just can’t back against Barao, who rivals Jon Jones as the pound for pound best fighter on the planet. Prediction: Barao by submission round two. Light Heavyweight – Daniel Cormier #4 vs Dan Henderson #6These two men sit just two spots apart in the rankings, but in reality, the match-up between Daniel Cormier and Dan Henderson doesn’t look like being a close fight in any sense. Both men are former Olympic wrestlers, but while I think ‘DC’ is a legitimate threat to Jon Jones’ reign as the light heavyweight champ, ‘Hendo’ is far from it.Cormier has made the drop to 205 with ease and a win here should earn him a shot at the title, and with that reward on offer I can’t see him letting his undefeated record be tarnished by the veteran. Henderson’s right hand is his only hope here, but landing the ‘H-Bomb’ on the slick Cormier won’t be easy. Prediction: Cormier by unanimous decision. Welterweight – Robbie Lawler #1 vs Jake Ellenberger #5It’s a quick turnaround for Robbie Lawler who went within a round of claiming the vacant welterweight title in a classic against Johny Hendricks in March. The loss snapped a three-fight winning streak since ‘Ruthless’ returned to the UFC, but even in defeat, Lawler showed he can hang with the best in the division.Ellenberger hasn’t fought in almost a year when he looked sluggish in a loss to Rory McDonald, and a hamstring injury cost him a chance to make amends against Tarec Saffiedine in January.Momentum should be with Lawler here and if he brings the same intensity to the Octagon he showed against Hendricks, his power will be too much. Prediction: Lawler by unanimous decision.  Bantamweight – Takeya Mizugaki #6 vs Francisco Rivera #10I was lucky enough to see Takeya Mizugaki up close at Fight Night 33 in Brisbane, and he was extremely impressive in a unanimous decision victory over Nam Phan. The Japanese pocket rocket landed 152 significant strikes, with some of his body shots absolutely brutal.Francisco Rivera has won his last two fights by second round TKO which means this one could be an early candidate for Fight of the Night honours. Prediction: Mizugaki by unanimous decision. Lightweight – Jamie Varner vs James Krause This is a dangerous fight for Jamie Varner who has dropped his past two, the last one a devastating KO at the hands of Abel Trujillo when the veteran was winning the fight, so he needs to halt the skid. James Krause suffered the same fate against Bobby Green and will also be looking to get back on track.  He has 13 career wins by submission so look for the 27 year-old to lock onto Varner early on.Just two wins from his past eight fights means a loss for Varner here could be trouble. Prediction: Varner by TKO round one.

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