UFC 133 is set to take place August 6 from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Headlined by a long awaited rematch between Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz, UFC 133 boasts a solid lineup with some must watch fights. Check out our take on what will go down in Philly, and our picks for the card!
Rashad Evans VS. Tito Ortiz
These two last met at UFC 73 over four years ago and took the fight to a draw. One could argue that Tito’s fence grabbing point deduction was not necessary and would have been the deciding factor for their first fight. Others may argue that without the fence grabbing, Evans would have dominated round two, giving him the win. The arguments, however, are out the window tonight. Tito Ortiz is coming off an incredible win over Ryan Bader just one month ago, while Rashad Evans has not seen action in over a year. Watching coverage of both camps gave us a glimpse into Ortiz’s improved head movement and stand up skills, and how Rashad is doing in a new camp away from Greg Jackson.
Pick: This is a tough pick as we have so many factors in play. Expect to see a little cage rust from Rashad Evans as he’s only fought twice in the past two years, and hasn’t stepped in the cage for over 14 months. Watch for a fresh Tito Ortiz to try and put the pressure on early and to be looking for some ground and pound. Tito Ortiz via unanimous decision.
Vitor Belfort VS. Yoshihiro Akiyama
Get ready for the fight of the night! Akiyama, while going 1-2 in his first 3 fights in the UFC, has been awarded Fight of the Night in all three. His impressive Judo and always evolving standup has made him the perfect matchup for anyone in the middleweight class. Vitor Belfort has not stepped into the cage since his February first round loss to middleweight champion Anderson Silva. “The Phenom” Belfort is always looking to put on a boxing clinic, while Akiyama will be provided some impressive throws and takedowns.
Pick: Belfort will have his hands full in the cage with Yoshihiro, but expect fireworks. Also expect a desperate Akiyama to look for his second win in the UFC. His much improved stand up will be sure to make the playing field level between these two, especially with Yoshihiro’s incredibly well tested tough chin. Look for a second round TKO from Akiyama, if not a unanimous decision.
Dennis Hallman VS. Brian Ebersole
An interesting matchup between two seasoned veterans as both have been fighting for well over ten years. With that said, both men are always ready to scrap. Ebersole will definitely be looking to keep it standing, but is well off wherever the fight goes. Hallman, boasting 39 submission wins and never being submitted himself, will surely be looking to provide a little ground and pound to set up some solid submissions.
Pick: Look for Ebersole to throw some early bombs hoping for a land, while Hallman patiently waits to figure out his timing. At that point, expect some swift takedowns and a sub victory for Hallman early on. If he can’t get the takedown, Ebersole will make it lights out very quick, but Hallman is a solid bet for the sub win.
Jorge Rivera VS. Constantinos Philippou
After several injuries and fight changes, we end up with this solid matchup. Rivera is coming off an upsetting and controversial one sided loss to Michael Bisping, Jorge will be looking for a quick rebound. He has his hands full though, with a tough up and comer in Philippou. Both fighters love to stand and bang, so expect little ground work, unless Philippou has started to pick up some great habits while training with Matt Serra.
Pick: If Jorge Rivera can’t connect early for the knockout, expect a back and forth stand up with a lot of take down attempts from Philipou, and a ton of sprawls from Rivera. Rivera via unanimous decision.
Mike Pyle VS. Rory MacDonald
Possibly another contender for fight of the night, veteran Mike Pyle takes on once beaten new comer Rory MacDonald. Pyle is on a 3 fight win streak with impressive performances against Ricardo Almeida and John Hathaway. But will he be able to control the octagon the same against MacDonald? Rory is ready to take his UFC record to 3-1 Saturday nightm and he has the hands to bring it, which he proved with an incredible stand up performance against Nate Diaz.
Pick: This is another tough one with two great fighters with recent solid performances. If this goes to the ground, it’s over for Rory Macdonald. But if he can keep it standing, expect Rory to battle it out to the end. Mike Pyle via late round submission.
Alexander Gustaffson VS. Matt Hamill
Gustaffson is getting a solid step up in competition against Matt Hamill. “The Mauler” will be coming off five months on the shelf to face a Matt Hamill coming off a long hard fought loss to Quintion “Rampage” Jackson. Expect solid standup from both, but Hamill will egt this to the ground quick.
Pick: Hamill via ground and pound TKO.
Chad Mendes VS. Rani Yahya
The undefeated Chad Mendes will have a tough battle with the submission ace, Rani Yahya. Mendes incredible takedown defense, however, will keep this on the feet for quite some time and make for a frustrating fight for Rani.
Pick: Mendes via unanimous decision.
Under Card Picks:
Ivan Menjivar VS. Nick Pace: Pace via first round TKO.
Johnny Hendricks VS. Mike Pierce: Hendricks via unanimous decision.
Mike Thomas Brown VS. Nam Phan: Nam Phan via unanimous decision.
Rafael Natal VS. Paul Bradley: This is a special fight, as “Sapo” is one of my favorite fighters, and will be cornered by our professor, mentor, and dear friend Draculino. Natal via first round TKO.