CHICAGO, IL, January 23, 2012 – The Ultimate Fighting Championship is back on network TV this Saturday night with UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis (also known as UFC on Fox 2). This event is actually the first UFC event to be broadcast on FOX as part of the seven-year agreement they sign last year with the inaugural UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos being somewhat of a trial run as both sides went about fine tuning their final product.
This time around, the event will feature not just one but three main card bouts on the network with Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis, Michael Bisping vs. Chael Sonnen, and Demian Maia vs. Chris Weidman all set for broadcast from Chicago’s United Center.
Check out all our fight previews and predictions after a quick look at the entire card below.
UFC on Fox 2 – Main Card (FOX)
Light Heavyweight bout: Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis
Middleweight bout: Michael Bisping vs. Chael Sonnen
Middleweight bout: Demian Maia vs. Chris Weidman
UFC on Fox 2 – Preliminary Card (Fuel TV)
Lightweight bout: Evan Dunham vs. Nik Lentz
Heavyweight bout: Mike Russow vs. John-Olav Einemo
Featherweight bout: Cub Swanson vs. George Roop
Featherweight bout: Charles Oliveira vs. Eric Wisely
Lightweight bout: Michael Johnson vs. Shane Roller
Heavyweight bout: Joey Beltran vs. Lavar Johnson
Middleweight bout: Chris Camozzi vs. Dustin Jacoby
UFC on FOX 2 – Main Card Preview and Predictions (FOX)
205 lbs. – Rashad Evans (16-1-1) vs. Phil Davis (9-0)
This is a dangerous fight to call IMO.
Rashad Evans is as dangerous as ever after beating Tito Ortiz, Rampage Jackson, and Thiago Silva consecutive but he hasn’t fought in six months and took a year off prior to that. He’s either fresh and improved or will prove to be rusty in this one. Meanwhile, Phil Davis is has been a behemoth since he’s stepped into the octagon but hasn’t fought in 10 months himself after the biggest win of his career against Antônio Rogério Nogueira.
There are questions for both men in this bout – like whether Evans is really that much better a striker than Davis and likewise for Phil and his wrestling. Evans looked highly impressive against Tito in his last bout, battering him on the feet but it remains to be seen whether he can do that to a man just entering his prime versus one on the verge of leaving the sport.
Evan’s edge in this one would seem to be his experience and game planning while Davis has it on athleticism and conditioning should the fight go into the later rounds. It’s doubtful that either fighter will be putting their opponent away early in this fight.
This is a tough fight to pick and its by the closest of margins but we’ve got to go with the favorite, Evans. At this point, his striking is far beyond anything Davis has to offer and he’s unorthodox enough with the way he fights that he should be able to keep the former Penn State wrestler off-balance and guessing enough to best him in the long run and earn his shot at Jon Jones and the 205 belt.
Prediction – Rashad Evans over Phil Davis by unanimous decision.
185 lbs. – Michael Bisping (22-3) vs. Chael Sonnen (26-11-1)
Let me start off by stating that the odds for this fight are insane (+300). It doesn’t matter how dominant he’s been or how good he looked against Silva, there’s no way Chael Sonnen is a 3 to 1 favorite against Michael Bisping in this one.
There’s a lot riding on this fight with the winner set to face Anderson Silva so look for both men to come out with their A-game. Most people will say that Chael is on a vastly different level that Bisping at this point and that talk is warranted since he’s ran through pretty much everyone he’s faced not named Anderson Silva since 2009. The intriguing thing about this one is that Bisping doesn’t possess the same style as others Chael has beaten, guys like Yushin Okami, Dan Miller, or Brian Stann. He won’t try to outwrestle the outspoken Sonen and he’s not one dimensional enough to just try and swing for the fences either.
I see Bisping dancing away as much as possible in this one while scoring his points in bunches. Meanwhile, Chael is going to do his best to take the Englishman down and maul him on the ground until he stops him or the final bell sounds. Who wins here? Well we agree that Chael Sonnen is definitely the favorite but we don’t think it’s by as much as everyone says.
I like picking underdogs and Bisping is a live one.
Prediction – Michael Bisping over Chael Sonnen by third-round submission.
185 lbs. – Demian Maia (15-3) vs. Chris Weidman (7-0)
In a short notice fight, two-time NCAA division 1 All-American wrestler Chris Weidman steps up to take on 5x BJJ world champion Demian Maia.
On paper, this would look to be a mismatch pitting a guy who is not only a multiple-time BJJ champ against a guy who’s barely out of rookie status in MMA but the betting odds say that Weidman is actually the favorite in this fight. I guess the odds-makers have their reasons but to me, this will be a tough fight for Chris. who’s biggest claim to fame so far was beating Jesse Bongfeldt. To his credit, the Renzo Gracie-trained Weidman has also fought well against Andre Galvao In Abu Dhabi but this is MMA and Maia’s grappling has translated very well on this level. This is going to be close either way but I see Maia catching his opponent at some point in this fight and ending things with a submission.
Prediction – Demian Maia over Chris Weidman by submission in RD 2.
UFC on FOX 2 – Preliminary Card Preview and Predictions (FUEL)
205 lbs. – Evan Dunham (12-2) vs. Nik Lentz (21-4-2-1)
Nik Lentz hasn’t looked good in his 2 against Mark Bocek and Charles Oliviera but neither has Dunham recently other than his last win against Shamar Bailey. Lentz looks like he could be the better wrestler in this one while Dunham may be better with his submissions. On the feet it’s close but Dunham is the taller, rangier fighter and should do enough to edge this one out.
Prediction – Evan Dunham
205 lbs. – Mike Russow (14-1-1) vs. John-Olav Einemo (6-2)
Mike Russow will be coming in strong in this one while fighting in front of his hometown crowd but John-Olav Einemo should be able to neautralize his energy using his high-level grappling. He did once beat Roger Gracie after all. As long as he can get this fight to the ground, it’s all his.
Prediction – John-Olav Einemo
205 lbs. – Cub Swanson (15-5) vs. George Roop (12-8-1)
George Roop fought to a surprisingly close split decision with Hatsu Hioki in his last fight while Swanson hasn’t won two in a row since before he foguht Jose Aldo in the WEC back in 2009. Cub lost his last one so he’s due for a win but I don’t see him getting it here against Roop, who’s tougher than most people give him credit for.
Prediction – George Roop
205 lbs. – Charles Oliveira (14-2-1) vs. Eric Wisely (19-6)
22 year old Charles Oliviera went 14-0 early in his career but ran into some tough top contenders in the UFC early, facing both Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller sandwiched between a controversial no-contest against Nik Lentz. It looks like the UFC threw him a bone in this one with Wisely, a 19-6 fighter who he should be able to beat despite the fact that he’s never been stopped. The real question here is whether “do Bronx” will be the first to put him out.
Prediction – Charles Oliveira
205 lbs. – Michael Johnson (9-6) vs. Shane Roller (10-5)
Michael Johhnson is a former TUF finalist who hasn’t quite lived up to top billing since the show. He’s a good athlete and a wrestler but the thing about this fight is he’s facing a fighter that’s every bit as good, if not better, at wrestling and maintaining top control. He’s got a shot if he can win in the striking department but Shane may be too relentless for him in this one. He’ll need to be to avoid his third loss in a row and the UFC chopping block.
Prediction – Shane Roller
205 lbs. – Joey Beltran (13-6) vs. Lavar Johnson (15-5)
Except a slug fest between these two big men, both who aren’t necessarily known for their technique yet never shy away from a fight. It’s whoever hits the big one first and more often who will win this one. This is literally a coin-flip type of fight but we like Joey Beltran.
Prediction – Joey Beltran
205 lbs. – Chris Camozzi (15-5) vs. Dustin Jacoby (6-1)
Former Ultimate Fighter contestant Chris Camozzi is still seeking to prove himself in the octagon and is looking to bounce back after a loss to Francis Carmont back in October. Meanwhile, Dustin Jacoby is looking to do the same thing after losing his UFC debut to Clifford Starks. Chris has way more experience heading into this fight and that should work to his advantage.
Prediction – Chris Camozzi
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