The first UFC pay-per-view of the summer also has the potential to be one of the fastest UFC cards in recent memory. With a slew of knockout artists appearing from the opening Facebook prelim to the colossal main event, UFC 160 is guaranteeing fireworks from beginning to end. With four of the top 10 heavyweights in the world locking horns, including heavyweight champ and ASU alum Cain Velasquez, fight fans everywhere will be at the edge of their seats as these hulking figures duke it out for the ultimate title in combat sports: baddest man on the planet.
Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone (19-5-1) vs. K.J. ‘King’ Noons (11-6)
Since his embarrassing defeat at the hands of the walking highlight real Anthony Pettis in January at UFC on Fox 6, Donald Cerrrone has come out candidly about his inability to perform when the pressure is high. With his only two losses in the UFC coming in number-one contender bouts, Cowboy revealed he sought professional help from a sports psychologist to help push past the mental barriers in his head. This combined with surviving a 40-foot drop while mountain climbing has made the former WEC Lightweight number-one contender find a new lease on life as he squares off against Strikeforce import and final EliteXC Lightweight champion K.J. Noons. Look for fireworks early, as both men have incredible stand-up skills. Noons has a polished boxing attack that will help him keep up with the talented “Cowboy.” But K.J. lives and dies by his punching ability, while ‘Cowboy’ has knockout ability from nearly any position. With an impressive Muay Thai attack, an underrated ground game and a much stronger résumé under his belt, I don’t see Cerrone having much trouble with ‘The King.’
Prediction: Cerrone round 1 submission
Gray ‘The Bully’ Maynard 11-1-1(1) vs. T.J. Grant (20-5)
Just by looking at these two men’s records, your average sports fan would most certainly tell you the young T.J. Grant should be favored heading into his number-one contender bout with Power MMA Show regular Gray Maynard. Grant has more wins under his belt since the two men made their professional debuts in 2006, but what Gray lacks in total fights he most certainly makes up for in the level of competition he’s faced since making his UFC debut just two fights into his career. Wins UFC veterans Jim Miller, Nate Diaz, Kenny Florian, Clay Guida and former UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar has placed ‘The Bully’ amongst the elite at 155-pounds for most of his career. Problem is, injuries have kept Maynard on the sidelines, as this is only his fourth fight in the past three years. In that time, the 29 year-old Grant has put on the most impressive streak of his career, with four consecutive wins since dropping down to 155-pounds in 2011. Whether it’s beating his opponents to a pulp like he did to Matt Wiman, or pulling their limbs off like he did to Shane Roller, the well-rounded Grant has proven he deserves a top-10 opponent. But he might have bitten off more than he can chew because nothing in his arsenal can compare to Maynard’s smothering wrestling attack. The key to this battle is going to be whether Maynard can shake off the ring rust. If that’s the case, I see him pounding his way to a decision victory and earning his shot at Benson Henderson’s belt.
Prediction: Maynard via Split Decision
Glover Teixeira (20-2) vs. James Te Huna (16-5)
This is a battle of two of the most explosive light heavyweights in the UFC. Originally scheduled to face Power MMA Show host Ryan Bader before an injury forced Bader off the card, the hulking Brazilian Teixeira is now facing the hard-hitting New Zealander James Te Huna. Both men have looked dominant as of late and both are coming off impressive decision victories. Another dominant win for either man would most certainly vault him up the 205-pound rankings and put him within arm’s reach of the belt. These warriors are both packing absolute dynamite in their hands, so I see this being an absolute slugfest. However, Teixeira has proven to be more than a striker, with five submission victories under his belt. Plus he trains out of Blackhouse alongside the legendary Nogueira Brothers. This certainly doesn’t bode well for Te Huna as four of his five career losses have come by submission. He’ll have to look to keep the fight standing and hope to outwork the most-hyped fighter in the entire UFC. In the end, I see cardio playing the deciding factor as both men will look for the knockout blow early, but as the fight gets into the later rounds I see Teixeira’s vastly superior Jiu-Jitsu as the deciding factor.
Prediction: Teixeria via round 3 submission
Junior ‘Cigano’ Dos Santos (15-2) vs. Mark “Super Samoan’ Hunt (9-7)
After some drama involving his visa in his home country of New Zealand, Hunt has finally made it stateside in time for his throw down with former UFC heavyweight champion Dos Santos. After entering the UFC on a five-fight losing streak and losing his debut just a minute into the bout, the ‘Super Samoan’ has four impressive wins in a row, including three devastating late-round knockouts. Following his KO win over Stefan Struve in March that saw the seven-foot fighter come crashing to the ground and suffer a broken jaw following a left hook from Hunt, a Twitter campaign calling for Hunt replace Dos Santos’s injured opponent Alistair Overeem started up. The UFC granted Hunt his shot at the former champion, and while Hunt holds maybe the heaviest hands in the UFC and a chin made of granite, it will be Dos Santos’ superior grappling and the best boxing in the division that will be the deciding factors. I see Hunt looking competitive early but Dos Santos has vowed to show he’s more than just a knockout artist. His far superior conditioning and footwork are a huge edge, so I see Junior pulling off his first submission win in the octagon and earning his rubber match with champion Cain Velasquez.
Prediction: Dos Santos via round 2 submission