UFC 110: "Nogueira vs Velasquez" PredictionsThe Ultimate Fighting Championship holds its debut card in Australia tomorrow night at UFC 110: “Nogueira vs Velasquez” and the show will go on despite last-minute changes. The event is headlined by a heavyweight bout between Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira and Cain Velasquez.

Also on the card, Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva drops down to 185 pounds to take on Michael “The Count” Bisping, while Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović squares off with late replacement Anthony “The Hippo” Perosh. MMARising.com breaks down the card with full fight predictions.


Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira vs Cain Velasquez

The night’s main event pits the legendary Nogueira (32-5-1, 1 NC) against undefeated rising star Velasquez (7-0-0) in a pivotal heavyweight clash that will determine whether Nogueira will make another run at UFC championship gold or fall victim to a changing of the guard.

Easily one of the most relevant UFC main events in recent memory, this fight could potentially spell the beginning of the end for Nogueira as a top-level heavyweight. His storied and illustrious career is that of a true legend and he is respected throughout the sport, but Nogueira is not the fighter that he was during his prime in Pride Fighting Championships. However, he put on a solid showing in his most recent fight with UFC Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture.

Velasquez enters this fight with everything to gain and relatively little to lose. Even if he comes up short against Nogueira, Velasquez has already proven that he is the future of the UFC’s heavyweight division and will certainly be a title contender down the line. The wrestling powerhouse has yet to taste defeat and has stopped all but one of his opponents thus far.

Should this fight stay on the feet, the clear advantage should belong to Nogueira, whose boxing is superior to Velasquez’s and whose chin and ability to absorb punishment is legendary. However, the true telling tale here will come once the fight hits the mat. If Velasquez is able to employ a solid game plan of active striking from top position, he can definitely earn himself a Unanimous Decision or possibly even a TKO stoppage.

However, Nogueira has competed against the best throughout his career and facing a standout wrestler is nothing new for the jiu-jitsu ace. Any mistake by Velasquez will lead to a Nogueira submission and the fight will likely end soon after. Velasquez will put on an impressive showing here, but it won’t be enough.


Nogueira by Submission in round two.


Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva vs Michael “The Count” Bisping

In a fight that is nearly every bit as important as the main event, Silva (32-10-1, 1 NC) will look to get his career back on track when he drops down to the middleweight division to take on British star Bisping (18-2-0), who is coming off of an impressive win over Denis “Super Korean” Kang.

With 23 wins by knockout, Silva’s game plan for every fight is clear, but he has dropped five of his last six fights and, like his former PRIDE compatriot Nogueira, is no longer his former dominant self. UFC President Dana White has assured fans that Silva will not be going anywhere even if he loses, which is great to hear, but the Brazilian knockout artist needs a big victory to stop his downward slide.

Bisping has become one of the most talked about fighters in the UFC over the past two years. For every loyal fan, he seems to have two or three spiteful detractors and many were pleased when he was brutally knocked out by Dan “Hendo” Henderson at UFC 100. However, Bisping has battled back strong and his victory over Kang was an impressive statement to the rest of the division.

The key in this fight will likely be whether Bisping adopts a strategy of takedowns and ground and pound or whether he opts to stand and trade with Silva. If he chooses the latter, it is likely that Silva will end his night in devastating fashion. A Bisping victory is anything but out of the question, especially if he keeps the fight on the mat or stays at a distance on the feet, but Silva needs to land but one solid punch to change the entire fight. He will do just that.


Silva by KO late in round one.


Joe “Daddy” Stevenson vs George Sotiropoulos

Former title challenger Stevenson (31-10-0) will aim to take one step closer to title contention again when he meets Australia’s own Sotiropoulos (11-2-0) in a featured lightweight clash between two standout grapplers.

Stevenson has won seven of his last ten fights, with the lone defeats coming to UFC Lightweight Champion “The Prodigy” BJ Penn and past title challengers Kenny “KenFlo” Florian and Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez. Known for his go-to guillotine choke, Stevenson has amassed an impressive record inside the Octagon, but he has struggled in his highest profile fights. He will enter hostile territory tomorrow.

Sotiropoulos is one of the top fighters in Australia today and he has tasted defeat just twice. He has never been stopped in his pro career and possesses a submission game that is among the top in the division. However, this will be his biggest fight in the UFC to date and he will have the added pressure of competing in front of his hometown fans for the first time in his UFC career.

Stevenson is favoured to win this fight for a reason. He has faced the much tougher competition throughout his career and has already challenged for the division’s title. However, Sotiropoulos should not be counted out here, as he is excellent on the ground and has competent striking skills as well. The talented grapplers will likely cancel each other out, leading to a hard-fought decision that will narrowly go to Stevenson.


Stevenson by Unanimous Decision.


“The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine vs Ryan “Darth” Bader

Next on the main card is a light heavyweight clash between former contender Jardine (15-6-1) and rising star Bader (10-0-0) that should go a long way in determining whether Bader is ready to take the next step up in competition.

Jardine holds a 6-5 record inside the Octagon, but nearly every one of his fights has been against elite-level competition and he holds big wins over Wilson Gouveia, Brandon “The Truth” Vera and former champions Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell and Forrest Griffin. However, he has dropped four of his last six fights and desperately needs an impressive victory in order to remain on the main cards.

Bader rose to fame after winning TUF 8 with a knockout victory over Vinny Magalhães and he followed that up with an impressive decision win over Carmelo “The Fury” Marrero four months later. He has yet to lose, but his most recent bout, an October battle with Eric “Red” Schafer, exposed some major holes in Bader’s game that he will need to work on.

Jardine’s best chance here is to drag the fight into the later rounds, as Bader showed against Schafer that his cardio is not particularly good and his striking technique becomes very poor as he grows more tired. Bader has a solid chin and it’s unlikely that Jardine will be able to knock him out, but a Jardine decision victory is very possible. However, Bader has the power to end the fight with a single punch and he will catch Jardine in the second round and put him down.


Bader by TKO in round two.

(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)