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UFC on Fox 2 Picks: Can Phil Davis Steal the Show? Fan’s View
The UFC's second foray into network television goes down tonight in Chicago at 8 p.m. ET, and the favorites and Rashad Evans and Chael Sonnen are both in the spotlight as they hope to secure title shots.
Evans and Sonnen have long seemed destined for another crack at their respective belts, while Demian Maia and Chris Weidman will look to vault themselves higher up the middleweight division with a win in what could be a highly competitive, classic wrestling vs. jiu-jitsu matchup.
Here is a breakdown and picks for tonight's main card action:
Chris Weidman (7-0) vs. Demian Maia (15-3):
The matchup with Michael Bisping as originally planned would have been a good one, but this fight is even better stylistically and could end up as Fight of the Night.
While Maia's striking has undoubtedly improved, he often has trouble finding his range against bigger and more athletic opponents and that is exactly what could happen against Weidman.
Weidman has a strong chance of winning this fight if he uses his wrestling prowess in a defensive manner and doesn't get caught trying to do too much on the ground against the jiu jitsu menace Maia. He's actually the betting favorite now despite his lack of experience, and many have him rated as one of the top prospects in the UFC at age 27.
Maia's jiu jitsu has always been unbelievably good but it seems as if his ceiling is not as high as fans had once thought.
Expect Weidman to escape a tight submission attempt at the last second and to get the better of Maia on the feet to score a decision win. Pick: Weidman by UD.
Michael Bisping (22-3) vs. Chael Sonnen (27-10-1):
Chael Sonnen's 6-3 UFC record, while good, doesn't quite match the level of hype and stardom he's reached. The level of hate Bisping gets despite his much better 12-3 mark in the UFC (albeit against weaker opponents) also doesn't match up, although he has relished playing the role of heel as of late.
This fight favors Sonnen considering his gigantic edge in the wrestling department, even though Bisping has good takedown defense. If Bisping had more time to prepare he would be a trendy upset pick, but it's hard to see him winning this one after taking the fight on short notice, replacing Mark Munoz.. Pick: Sonnen by UD
Rashad Evans (16-1-1) vs. Phil Davis (9-0):
Davis is coming off of a long post-knee injury layoff, otherwise he might also be a bigger upset pick. I like Davis' ability to scramble and pull off submissions using his length and hip flexibility, and think it might be a mistake for Evans to take this one to the ground.
Davis' striking looked a bit better the last time we saw him against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira but it's still not enough to threaten Evans in any way, as Evans intimated while taking potshots at him in the pre-fight press conferences.
The prediction here is that Evans plays it smart, outstrikes Davis and ends up finishing the fight via ground and pound in the third round, joining Sonnen for another title shot. Davis will get there eventually, but he'll have to wait his turn. Pick: Evans by TKO
Nick Meyer is a longtime MMA fan from metro Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @ItOffishul.
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