COMMENTARY | Benson Henderson will finally get a chance to avenge his WEC 53 loss to Anthony Pettis when the two headline the UFC 164 fight card.
The event is set for Aug. 31 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wis.
Here are my predictions for the entire UFC 164 fight card:
Benson Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis
Pettis (16-2-0, 7 KOs) couldn't have been more impressive during his last fight against Henderson, controlling the action for the majority of the bout and sealing the deal with the now famous "Showtime Kick."
However, Benson (19-2-0, 8 submissions) has made a lot of improvement since then, racking up a 7-0 record in the UFC with wins against top lightweights like Frankie Edgar (twice), Gilbert Melendez and Nate Diaz. "Smooth" should be better prepared to deal with Pettis' diverse arsenal of strikes this time around, and he probably won't be getting out-grappled, either.
Pettis struggled with Clay Guida's top control during his UFC debut, and Henderson would be smart to follow a similar game plan.
Henderson vs. Pettis should be a tightly contested fight, but the lightweight champ will likely edge out another close decision.
Prediction: Henderson wins via decision.
Frank Mir vs. Josh Barnett
Mir (16-7-0, 9 submissions) has had his share of struggles inside the Octagon lately, and he's set to face another tough opponent at UFC 164. Like Mir, Barnet (32-6-0, 19 submissions) is also well-versed in the grappling arts, so it might very come down to who controls the striking exchanges.
Barnet has won nine of his last 10 bouts, but he wasn't exactly facing UFC caliber opponents. Barnet is the favorite going into the bout, but I expect Mir to pull off the impossible and submit "The Warmaster" on Saturday.
Prediction: Mir wins via submission.
Chad Mendes vs. Clay Guida
Ever since his UFC 142 loss to Jose Aldo, Mendes (14-1-0, 5 KOs) has looked unstoppable inside the Octagon, stopping his next three opponents via some form of knockout, less than two minutes into each fight. After losing consecutive bouts to Benson Henderson and Gray Maynard, Guida (30-13-0, 15 submissions) decided to drop down to the featherweight division, and he wasn't particularly impressive during his debut against Hatsu Hioki. Clay walked away with the split-decision victory afterward, but I personally gave Hioki the nod.
Mendes should get the better of the striking exchanges at UFC 162, and he probably won't have any problems nullifying Guida's wrestling.
Prediction: Mendes wins via decision.
Ben Rothwell vs. Brandon Vera
Both men have had their share of struggles in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but the odds seem to favor Rothwell (32-9-0, 18 KOs) heading into UFC 164. Ben's knockout power is well-documented, and he's also the bigger, stronger man. Rothwell might have a hard time dealing with Vera's striking at times during their bout, but he should eventually find a way to close the distance and put Vera (12-6-0, 7 KOs) away with a big shot.
Prediction: Rothwell wins via KO.
Erik Koch vs. Dustin Poirier
Fireworks are pretty much guaranteed when these two promising featherweights square off at UFC 164. Koch (13-2-0, 7 submissions) and Poirier (13-3-0, 6 submissions) have compiled impressive resume's, and both have well-rounded skills. However, Koch has faced tougher opponents in the past, and the only fighters who seem to be capable of defeating him are those at the very top of the division's food chain.
Poirier isn't there yet.
Prediction: Koch wins via decision.
Jamie Varner defeats Gleison Tibau
Tim Elliott defeats Louis Gaudinot
Hyun Gyu Lim defeats Pascal Krauss
Kyung Ho Kang defeats Chico Camus
Soa Palelei defeats Nikita Krylov
Ryan Couture defeats Al Iaquinta
Magnus Cedenblad defeats Jared Hamman
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