UFC President Dana White knows by now that dealing with injuries just comes with the territory of the fighting game, and he's become a master at handling the madness.
UFC 149, which is slated for July 21 in Calgary, Alberta at Scotiabank Saddledome, may just be the most injury-riddled card of all-time, but White is moving full steam ahead to deliver the best fights possible.
"I'd say this one wins," White said of UFC 149. "This is the winner. We lost nine to injury and we had to move two other fights. So I would say, yes, this was the craziest card of all time."
Here's a look at some picks and predictions for the main card of UFC 149:
Urijah Faber (26-5) vs Renan Barao (30-1, 1 NC)
Every fight fan wanted to see Dominick Cruz and Faber wrap up their trilogy, but a knee injury forced "The Dominator" out of the main event and 25-year-old Brazilian prospect Renan Barao takes his place.
Faber told Fox Sports' Mark Kriegel during a recent appearance on "Barfly" that he expects a fourth-round stoppage to go in his favor by either submission or TKO, and it's hard to argue with that comment.
Faber has stepped in with the "who's who" of the sport, from Jose Aldo to Dominick Cruz to Jens Pulver to Brian Bowles, and he's a 33-year-old veteran.
Barao is a dangerous fighter, but he's not the toughest challenge that Faber has ever faced and he's still getting his feet wet in the UFC. I'm just hoping that Faber stays focused on doesn't have a letdown since he was expecting to settle the score with Cruz, his longtime rival.
The Pick: Faber's prediction comes true, as he earns a fourth-round stoppage by TKO
Hector Lombard (31-2-1, 1 NC) vs Tim Boetsch (15-4)
Lombard makes his UFC middleweight debut after cleaning out the middleweight division in the Bellator promotion, and many fight fans are already clamoring to see him test his skills against Anderson Silva.
After Chris Weidman's convincing performance in a victory over Mark Munoz, Lombard needs to run through Boetsch to throw his name into the mix for a shot at the title.
Boetsch is riding a three-fight win streak and his two-and-a-half inch reach advantage should help him keep Lombard at a distance for a while. I'm not convinced that will be enough to mystify Lombard, a tactical striker who should be able to find his range by the midway mark of the fight.
I think Lombard ultimately gets the win here, but it'll be closer than many are expecting. Weidman gets the title shot after Lombard barely slips past Boetsch.
The Pick: Lombard by split decision
Cheick Kongo (27-7-2) vs Shawn Jordan (13-3)
Kongo, at 37 years old, may be the gatekeeper of the UFC Heavyweight Division at this point in his career, but he's a darn good one.
Win or lose, Kongo always comes to fight and never fails to put on an exciting show. Kongo rarely lets his fights go the distance, and that's a direct result of him putting himself in harm's way to land punches.
Shawn Jordan is relatively unknown among most casual fans of the UFC, but he does hold victories over UFC veterans Lavar Johnson and Oli Thompson. The 27-year-old is a highly-touted prospect with knockout power, and I don't see this one going past the first round.
The Pick: Jordan by first-round knockout
Brian Ebersole (50-14-1, 1 NC) vs James Head (8-2)
Ebersole steps in to take on James Head after the latter's original opponent, Claude Patrick, went down with an undisclosed injury.
This isn't a great matchup for Head, as Ebersole is riding an 11-fight win streak, including four-straight in the UFC. Not only did Ebersole beat Patrick, Head's original opponent, he also stopped Hector Lombard, Dennis Hallman and earned a win over Chris Lytle.
Ebersole is no joke, and Head may be in over his head against the submission master.
The Pick: Ebersole by third-round triangle choke
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Eric Holden is a lifelong UFC fan and supporter of the sport of mixed martial arts. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
- Sports & Recreation
- Martial Arts
- Urijah Faber
- Hector Lombard
- Dominick Cruz