The UFC on Fox 13’s main card will be beamed live from Phoenix, Arizona featuring three heavyweight battles and a lightweight bout with title implications. Let’s take a look at the main card and see if we can get an edge in our UFC picks for Saturday night.
Junior Dos Santos (16-3, 12 KO’s, 2 Subs) vs. Stipe Miocic (12-1, 8 KO’s, 1 Sub)
Former heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos emerges from the UFC shelf after more than a year since being sent to Dreamland in the final round of his title match with current heavyweight king Cain Velasquez. Cigano is renowned for his tremendous punching power and ability to control the fight when it hits the ground.
He will be squaring off against former Golden Gloves champion and Division 1 wrestler Stipe Miocic who was last seen flooring Fabio Maldonado in the first round of their fight earlier this year and earning him Performance of the Night. Miocic enters this fight as a decided underdog in UFC odds with the offshores dealing Dos Santos at -400 and a get back of +300 on Miocic.
This should be a barnburner that will undoubtedly end with someone going to sleep in front of a very large audience. Look for Cigano to end this one within the first two rounds.
UFC Pick: Junior Dos Santos
Nate Diaz (17-9, 4 KO’s, 11 Subs) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (22-8, 4 KO’s, 8 Subs)
And so we have the controversial and mercurial Nate Diaz entering the Octagon after a year layoff which was beset with rumors of rancor between he and the UFC brass. There were also whispers that Diaz ignored repeated attempts at taking fights but more than capable of taking shots at the hands that feed him which would be Dana White and matchmaker Joe Silva. But all that is in the rearview mirror, for now, as he will attempt to jumpstart his career with a date against the number three ranked contender Rafael dos Anjos.
The offshore sports books are fairly unified on this dealing dos Anjos at about -250 in UFC odds while the return on Diaz to pull the upset is approximately +190. Diaz’s last fight in November of 2013 saw him KO former top lightweight Gray Maynard earning him Knockout of the Night honors but equally as impressive was dos Anjos’s first round KO of former champion Benson Henderson. Both fighters appear to be rounding out their striking game and this could be bedlam from start to finish.
UFC Pick: Rafael dos Anjos
Alistair Overeem (37-14, 15 KO’s, 19 Subs) vs. Stefan Struve (25-6, 7 KO’s, 16 Subs)
It’s hard to believe the 6’5” inch chiseled block of granite Alistair Overeem competed in the middleweight category earlier in his career but since he beefed up he has toiled exclusively as a heavyweight. After capturing the Strikeforce Heavyweight title he assimilated into the UFC where the results have been far short of terrific. He has compiled a 2-3 record with his last fight a loss to Ben Rothwell just a few months ago.
The 7’0” inch tower of power known as Stefan Struve, or Skyscraper to his UFC fan base was last seen taking a nap in the middle of the Octagon courtesy of the power punching Mark Hunt in March of this year. But Struve has remarkable alacrity on the mat for a man his size and his 19 submissions attest to his grappling prowess.
The offshore bookmakers are offering UFC odds of -300 on the favorite Alistair Overeem but I believe this former champ’s time has come and gone. The young gun Stefan Struve will prove too much for the 34-year-old Overeem who has a tendency to get gassed as the fight wears on.
UFC Pick: Stefan Struve +250 at 5Dimes
Gabriel Gonzaga (16-8, 7 KO’s, 9 Subs) vs. Matt Mitrione (8-3, 7 KO’s, 0 Subs)
The pride of Ludlow, Massachusetts and native of Rio de Janeiro Gabriel Gonzaga will attempt to rebound from a unanimous decision loss at the hands of Stipe Miocic in January of this year. Gonzaga combines raw punching power with a world class mat game courtesy of a fourth degree black belt in BJJ.
Matt Mitrione is a former college and professional football player who is truly a one trick pony when it comes to MMA and that trick is brutal punching power. Mitrione has registered consecutive knockouts in his last pair of fights but Gonzaga will be a different kettle of fish who is supremely talented when the fight hits the canvas. Consider this when placing your UFC picks.
I hope Mitrione has been working ardently on his takedown defense because if he finds himself on the mat with Gonzaga then the next thing you will see is the referee furiously trying to pry a choke hold or armbar from Mitrione. I am more than a bit surprised that Mitrione is being slated as the UFC odds favorite in this one.
UFC Pick: Gonzaga +110