UFC 167 will come to us live from Las Vegas on Saturday night. What will happen? Check out the predictions from Yahoo Sports columnist Kevin Iole, Cagewriter's Elias Cepeda, and Cagereaders like you.
Georges St. Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks
Kevin Iole: Georges St-Pierre W5 Johny Hendricks – Johny has the power to end the fight at any time, and he has the wrestling to compete with Georges. But Georges is the better athlete and he's the best there ever was at exploiting an opponent's weakness. He'll keep the fight at a distance where Johny can't land his power stuff and will win yet another unanimous decision.
Elias Cepeda: St-Pierre W5 Hendricks – Johny Hendricks poses unique challenges to the champion with his knockout power, foot speed and wrestling ability, but I simply cannot bet against Georges St. Pierre at this point. If Hendricks has the conditioning to get back up to his feet after being taken down, over and again for five rounds, he will keep himself in the game and keep his puncher's chance.
GSP will win but I'd love to see a knockout by Hendricks. Even a finish by GSP would be great. – Trevor Harrison
I think if Johnny doesn't win by KO in the first two then GSP wins in the toughest 5 that he's had in his career. – Gabriel Gonzalez
GSP defeats Hendricks. SUB in round 4. If Rick Story could take Hendricks down, just imagine what GSP can and will do to him. "Big Rig" has shown a tendency to fade in the 3rd round, while GSP is known for his conditioning. I think the criticism regarding the lack of finishes has gotten to Georges as he will actively look to finish the fight. -- Michael Cordello Jr.
Rashad Evans vs. Chael Sonnen
Kevin Iole: Chael Sonnen W3 Rashad Evans – This is a very tough fight to pick, because I don't know what version of Rashad Evans we'll see. Rashad has seemed on the downhill slide. Prime versus prime, I'd take Rashad. At this point in the careers, I think Chael finds a way to win it.
Elias Cepeda: Sonnen W3 Evans – This is a tough fight to call. It would appear that Evans has the striking power and hand speed advantage while Sonnen has an edge in wrestling. If both things prove to be true, this light heavyweight contest might end up being a matter of whether Evans can hurt Sonnen on the feet before "The American Gangster" can grab hold of him and take him down and then whether Evans will be able to get back to his feet. In the end, I have to go with Sonnen.
Cagereader – Evans via boring decision. – Eric Chism
Rory MacDonald vs. Robbie Lawler
Kevin Iole: MacDonald SUB2 Lawler – MacDonald will lure Lawler into a mistake and then take advantage by submitting him, probably with a rear naked choke.
Elias Cepeda: Lawler TKO2 MacDonald – Here's Rory MacDonald's chance to show his punching power. No doubt that the young teammate of Georges St. Pierre has the technical ability to pepper and out-slick most opponents but Robbie Lawler will make this an ugly fight unless the Canadian can put some serious stopping power behind his technical strikes. MacDonald is the favorite because of his size, precision striking and well-rounded grappling game, but I'll take Lawler as an upset pick because of his punching power.
Josh Koscheck vs. Tyron Woodley
Kevin Iole: Tyron Woodley TKO3 Josh Koscheck – I expect this to turn into a standup battle, and my main prediction is that someone is stopped. But if I have to pick a winner, I say it's going to be Woodley.
Elias Cepeda: Koscheck W3 Woodley – Tyron Woodley may very well have what it takes to topple perennial welterweight title contender Josh Koscheck but I think Koscheck has a bit more left in him and am picking him to win via unanimous decision.
Ali Bagautinov vs. Tim Elliott
Kevin Iole: Tim Elliott SUB1 Ali Bagautinov – Bagautinov is a hard hitter, but Elliott will push the pace and has a more varied game. I think he’ll catch Baguntinov with something out of a scramble and end it in the first.
Elias Cepeda: Elliott W3 Bagautinov – Don't bet the house on either guy in this flyweight bout. Bagautinov is red-hot and hasn't lost a fight in over two years. Elliott, on the other hand, has only lost to the very best in the UFC. Don't ask me how he'll be able to do it, but I have to go with Elliott simply based on strength of record thus far.