The third venture for the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Fox will take place from the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. The event will be headlined by a lightweight showdown with title implications. The co-main event will also play part in deciding the next welterweight title challenger. The event will feature top-quality fights from the top to the bottom. Who has the advantage heading into their fights, and who will walk out as the victor?
Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller
Diaz has seen his stock rise in a major way in his last two fights, defeating Takanori Gomi with an Armbar and Donald Cerrone by unanimous decision. He is now 15-7 in his career and is hoping to reach the same success of his brother, Nick.
Miller was a victory away from earning his title shot, but lost to Benson Henderson, who as we all know, went on to win the title from Frankie Edgar. At 21-3, the only losses Miller has suffered have come to three of the best lightweights in the world (Henderson, Edgar and Gray Maynard) and this fight will determine if Diaz deserves to add his name to the list.
This fight is too hard to call. I'd say they both have equal submission talents, but Diaz may be a better striker, which could be the biggest difference between the two men. Diaz gets the victory via unanimous decision.
Josh Koscheck vs. Johny Hendricks
Much like Diaz seeing his stock rise, the same can be said of Hendricks. He won his last fight by knocking out former No. 1 contender in just 12 seconds and has now won three straight fights. The lone loss he suffered was to Rick Story, but he has since rebounded to become a viable threat in the division.
Koscheck has now won two straight since losing to Georges St-Pierre. With a decisive win against Matt Hughes and a questionable split-decision victory against Mike Pierce, he has positioned himself into a chance to get a title shot by knocking off the upstart.
Hendricks is the future of the division and will knock get the decision victory against Koscheck.
Rousimar Palhares vs. Alan Belcher
This interesting middleweight showdown will pit two of the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners in the world. Palhares is 14-3 in his career, including 7-2 inside the Octagon. He has won his last three fights, two of which coming via Heel Hook.
Belcher is 17-6 in his career and at 28, can still be a threat to the middleweight strap. He has also won three straight, knocking off Wilson Gouveia, Patrick Cote and Jason MacDonald.
Belcher has great knockout power, which could be the difference if he can avoid being taken down by Palhares. I don't think he can avoid it, so Palhares gets the win.
Lavar Johnson defeats Pat Barry
Tony Ferguson defeats Michael Johnson
John Dodson defeats Timothy Elliot
John Hathaway defeats Pascal Kraus
John Lineker defeats Louis Gaudinot
John Cholish defeats Danny Castillo
Pablo Garza defeats Dennis Bermudez
Roland Delorme defeats Nick Denis
Karlos Vemola defeats Mike Massenzio
For a look at the best fights for some of the most popular fighters in the UFC and 2011 division recaps, go here.
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Hobson Lopes has been a fan of mixed martial arts since the days of Tank Abbott and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.