Anderson Silva 25-4-0 vs Demian Maa 12-1-0, Middleweight Championship, (-800 Silva/+500 Maia http://wwwmmabettingblog.com)
Silva considered by so many to be the best pound for pound MMA fighter and the current Middleweight Champ is defending his title against Maia. Maia is a jiu jitsu magician. Despite Maia's pedigree in ground fighting, Silva is like a full on hurricane with the ability to be destructive in more than one way. As I have mentioned before Maia's biggest strength is that he completely understands how to adapt a competition BJJ game-plan for a MMA match. Silva posseses a stand up game that has few weaknesses. Although he has been taken down, he has not remained parallel for long and certainly not in trouble. Maia is good enough to submit Silva on the ground, but Silva's innate athletic ability does not lead me to believe he will be in trouble at any time this Saturday.
I do not expect Maia to be able to deal with closing the distance. Although he will make several hopeful takedown attempts, Silva would have to be asleep at the wheel for them to succeed. Silva's reach and legs can be un-penetrable. Maia does not posses the stand up to be effective or the strength to out power a man whose clinch-work should be used as the benchmark for MMA.
BJ Penn 15-5-1 vs Frankie Edgar 11-1-0, Lightweight Championship (Penn - 800/ +500 Edgar http://wwwmmabettingblog.com)
Penn will enter the octagon clearly with an arsenal far more equipped than Edgar. This is not a real impressive opponent for Penn. I am not sure what drove Joe Silva matchmaker to pick these two opponents. But I guess anything can happen. Penn is talking about moving up a weight class to face more suitable opponents He has won 5 of his 6 last fights, each fight demonstrating how his skill set on the ground and standing has evolved and grown in all directions.
Edgar seems to only earn this fight because he won his last 3 fight, but his career only began 3 years ago, not really sure how he is fighting for the lightweight championship. Edgar does have well rounded skills and many believe he has a solid chin. Despite a win against Sean Sherk, I do not think he has a chance against "the Prodigy."
Matt Hughes 44-7-0 vs Renzo Gracie 13-6-1, 1 NC, (-500 Hughes/+300 Gracie - http://wwwmmabettingblog.com)
Hughes, a 12 year veteran to the sport will be taking on Gracie at age 36 years. Hughes has had a bumpy go of it over the last 3 years. Hughes who has always viewed his fight training as a profession, is one of those UFC champs that has really set the standard for being a MMA professional fighter. Living in a rural town in the Midwest has kept him focused on his professional priorities and not overcome with distractions between the obligations he has to his family farm and training all variables required by his career.
Hughes has expressed on UFC.com (http://www.ufc.com) that he, "always thought about fighting Renzo, especially since he beat (former trainer) Pat Miletich, so there's quite a bit of history between Renzo and I... We've known eachother for years and we get along very well, but he has beaten my coach, and I've beaten his student (Matt Serra) and his cousin (Royce Gracie)... The history is there for a good fight for the fans to watch."
Gracie is not likely to win if this fight goes to a decision. However, his training has probably been similar to driving a 2010 supercharged Mustang Cobra compared to a model from 5 years ago. Gracie has been training with George St. Pierre and has housed all sorts of well-versed MMA players (including Kenny Florian and Ricardo Almeida). Hughes on the other hand, is stuck in rural America surrounded by farmland with some outside training, but not working with the likes of Gracie's training partners.
Gracie at 43 years old will hopefully be able to bring what he has been training and not just memories into the octagon. After signing his UFC contract he had to lose 27 pounds with only 14 weeks until this Saturday. Although Gracie sounds focused for his bout against Hughes Saturday night, he will need more than Gracie style determination to win. Gracie has said, "I believe in what I do - that's what makes a difference... "