UFC on FOX 10 LowKick Staff Predictions

 

Benson Henderson vs. Josh Thomson: 

Mike Drahota: With divisional champion Anthony Pettis on the sidelines until at least mid-summer, this is one of the most intriguing match-ups the UFC could have put together at 155 pounds. Henderson still has the all-around game to give most lightweights fits, and Thomson looked the best he ever has in his first round destruction of Nate Diaz last April. Both fighters look very similar to me in terms of skillsets, but I think ‘Smooth’ will be beyond motivated to prove his doubters wrong. He might be able to lock up another title shot with an impressive finish of ‘Punk,’ but history tells us that most likely will not happen. Henderson via unanimous decision. 

Rory Kernaghan: Benson Henderson vs. Josh Thomson is a very close fight on paper, but in reality I think it will be a lopsided affair. Bendo seems motivated and angry, two things that do not equal good news for ‘The Punk’. Look for ‘Smooth’ to use his heavy ground and pound assault to control the smaller man in Thomson. Bendo should go back to his old, destructive style; we may even see a finish from the former champion. Ok, maybe I got a little over-excited. Henderson by decision. 

Brian Cox: It’s ‘get the coin out’ time for me on this one. Both of these fighters are highly skilled, well-conditioned and technical mixed martial artists. Both, Benson Henderson and Josh Thomson have the ability to stop a fight and can travel wherever the contest may go. I think both are equally dynamic and aggressive in their styles, and they both set a high pace in a fight. In short, in think their skill sets cancel one another out. For me, I think this fight is going to boil down to MMA Karma and right now, I think Thomson’s got the better. I believe he’ll prove to be the hungrier of the two fighters and if for no other reason than he hasn’t climbed the UFC’s 155 pound peak before, where Henderson has. I think Thomson will get on his bike early and hard, and outwork Henderson for the victory. As such, I’m picking Josh Thomson by way of a unanimous decision. 

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Buster Evans: No discredit to Josh Thomson, but I think this fight is all Henderson. “Bendo” is a far better all-round grappler and is more diverse with his striking, mainly with his kicks, which I think are going to give Thomson a lot of problems. You can never count Thomson out because he has tons of heart, but I think Henderson will be too much for him here. Henderson by unanimous decision.

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Stipe Miocic:

Mike Drahota: This is very solid heavyweight match-up for early 2014. While Travis Browne and Fabricio Werdum battle it out for the number one contender spot at UFC on FOX 11 in April, Miocic and Gonzaga will struggle for top quality position in a relatively shallow division. The winner may be the next man to fight Junior dos Santos, and that’s a step up to the big leagues. Gonzaga has looked impressive as of late, finishing five out of six opponents and only losing to Browne, but I think his “finish or be finished” mentality will hurt him here. Miocic is too smart to play that game, evident by his patient dismantling of noted power striker Roy Nelson at UFC 161. Look for Miocic to stay one step ahead of “Napao,” using his accurate boxing to pick him apart from the opening bell. My pick is Miocic by unanimous decision. 

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Rory Kernaghan: Stipe Miocic vs. Gabriel Gonzaga is a potentially awesome battle between two heavy-handed Heavyweights. Miocic is the more technical striker, whereas Gonzaga has proved to be a power puncher in recent outings. The difference, I think, will come on the ground. ‘Napao’ has been knocked out a few times, and I doubt he will want any of Miocic’s stand up. Look for Gonzaga to drag this fight to the mat and earn a second round submission win. 

Brian Cox: Regarding Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Stipe Miocic, what can be said other than someone is going to sleep. The story of this fight has to be Gonzaga’s record and the fact that in 23 professional bouts and determinations, only one of Gonzaga’s fights has gone to a decision. Win or lose, someone, even ‘Napo’ himself, gets T/KO’d or submitted. As such, it’s a safe bet that either Gonzaga or Miocic is going to sleep, with my guess that it’ll be a T/KO and not a submission. I give the nod to Gonzaga on the power and the mat, and I give the nod to Miocic on the technical striking and wrestling. Either of these guys can KO the other and I suspect that it will be a reasonably quick affair. Of their two strategies, I think Miocic will look to stick and move, while Gonzaga is going to attempt to meet Miocic and deliver his heavy bombs. As to the fight’s outcome, I think Gonzaga’s power and experience will carry the day over Miocic’s boxing and athleticism. As such, I’m picking Gabe Gonzaga by way of first round KO. 

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Buster Evans: This is a lot tougher fight to pick compared to the main event. Miocic is the more well rounded of the two, but Gonzaga is miles ahead with his jiu-jitsu and he has some serious knockout power. I wouldn’t be surprised to see “Napao” drop Miocic and finish him with a sub, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think Miocic will keep the fight standing and outstrike him en route to a unanimous decision win.

Photo: Joe Nicholson for USA TODAY Sports