UFC Matchmaking update – UFC 140 gets main event

nullLost in a weekend that saw the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix semifinals take place were some big fight announcements from the UFC.

Here is a look at three different UFC events that have added to their cards.

– UFC 140 in Toronto go its main event as heavyweights Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will have their rematch. The two met back at UFC 92 with Mir handing Nogueira his first stoppage loss. Mir KO’d Big Nog in the second round. Nogueira claimed a staph infection hindered his abilities and has been seeking a rematch since. Mir has won his last two fights and looking to get back into the title hunt with a win while Nogueira is coming off his KO win over Brendan Schaub at UFC Rio. UFC 140 also added Tito Ortiz vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Brian Ebersole vs. Rory MacDonald to the lineup.

– UFC 139 picked up a big fight as middleweight Vitor Belfort will return to action when he takes on former Strikeforce champion, Cung Le. This will be a battle of perhaps the two fastest strikers in all of MMA. Le hasn’t fought since June of 2010, when he KO’d Scott Smith to avenge his only loss. Belfort is coming off a KO win over Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133. This fight should come down to which fighter strikes first.

– Jon Fitch will make his long-awaited return to the octagon at UFC 141 when he faces off with Johny Hendricks. Fitch hasn’t competed since February when he had a draw against B.J. Penn. Fitch had shoulder surgery that put him on the shelf for a while. Fitch hasn’t lost since his 2008 title fight with Georges St. Pierre. Hendricks has one loss in his career, to Rick Story back in December of 2010. He has won his last two fights, but is facing the toughest opponent of his career when he squares off with Fitch.

  

UFC 133 Picks & Predictions

nullUFC 133 takes place on Saturday night from the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia.

The card is somewhat tame for the UFC as of late, but still has some exciting fights.

Here are my picks for the five bouts on the main card.

Light Heavyweight Bout – Rashad Evans (20-1-1) vs. Tito Ortiz (17-8-1) – In this rematch, I like Evans to win. Ortiz is taking the fight on short notice and Evans has evolved much more since their first meeting. Evans should have a striking edge and probably has more explosive takedowns. My pick is for Evans to win by decision.

Middleweight Bout – Vitor Belfort (19-9) vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-3) – Akiyama has a style that could pose problems for Belfort, but I ultimately see Belfort winning by TKO in the second round. Belfort has to stay out of the clinch and off his back, which I think he will find a way to do.

Welterweight Bout – Dennis Hallman (65-13-2) vs. Brian Ebersole (47-14-1) – This is a fight of two war-torn veterans of MMA. Both men have excellent grappling ability and respectable striking. I expect this to be a war, but I ultimately see Hallman coming out on top due to his past competition and experience in the UFC.

Middleweight Bout – Jorge Rivera (18-8) vs. Constantinos Philippou (7-2) – Rivera is a tough guy, but I don’t think he has the skills to really compete at a high level in the UFC. Philippou is unproven, but I expect this hungry fighter to get past Rivera by TKO with some ground and pound in the second round.

Welterweight Bout – Rory MacDonald (11-1) vs. Mike Pyle (21-7-1) – Pyle is a great grappler, but so is MacDonald. I think MacDonald has the better striking and is just the overall more-skilled fighter. Look for the young Canadian to continue to rise up the rankings with a decision win over the one-dimensional Pyle.

  

UFC 133 Opening Odds: Evans favored over Ortiz

nullUFC 133 will take place this upcoming Saturday, and despite the number of changes in the lineup, the card still has some interesting fights.

Our friends at BetOnFighting.com have released their odds for UFC 133 and there aren’t many surprises.

In the main event, Rashad Evans is a clear favorite at -430 to beat Tito Ortiz, who has a money line of +330. These two fought back at UFC 73 to a draw where Ortiz was penalized a point, or else he would have won the contest.

Still, Evans has evolved a lot over the years and has a great combination of striking and wrestling. Ortiz seems to have a new fire with his submission win over Ryan Bader, but he is taking this fight on very short notice, with just a few weeks to prepare.

In the co-main event, Vitor Belfort is favored at -300 to beat Yoshihiro Akiyama, who has a money line of +240. These two middleweights are fighting for position in the division. Belfort is coming off a KO loss to Anderson Silva while Akiyama hasn’t fought since a decision loss to Michael Bisping last October and is currently on a two-fight losing streak.

For all of the odds available for UFC 133, check out the jump.

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