I've been busy training for a fight that ended up not happening, but nevertheless, here are my last minute fight predictions for UFC 164:
Benson Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis
The rematch between these two lightweights will be as close as their first fight. That being said, Pettis will have to win more decisively this time in order to strip the belt from Henderson. For that reason — as well as Henderson’s yearning to wipe that "Showtime kick" highlight clip from our minds — I think Henderson will win this fight by decision. Expect for Pettis to throw an ensemble of flashy kicks, though, in what is sure to be an exciting and fast-paced fight. Henderson by UD.
Barnett is going to get exposed by Mir on Saturday. That’s right, I said it. And as much as I’ll cringe at the infamous "smir" (a portmanteau of Mir and "smirk") that’s sure to come, Mir is just a better fighter all-around from his stand-up to his grappling to his strength and conditioning. While both fighters are proficient grapplers, the fight will be determined on the feet and I’m expecting a lot of cage clinching to ensue. Barnett will be too slow on his feet to pose a threat for Mir, who will prove his striking is better. Mir by TKO, round 2.
Once a crowd favorite, toe-to-toe brawler Guida has taken to be a lot more hesitant on the feet after switching camps to train under Greg Jackson, earning him a few lackluster finishes and a couple controversial victories by decision. Mendes, on the other hand, is aggressive as ever, campaigning for a rematch with Jose Aldo and coming off of three knockout wins. While both fighters are explosive in striking and grappling, I think the more dominant fighter will win the judges’ scorecards this time around. If Clay Guida wins, though, it’ll be one boring fight highlighted by boos from the audience. Mendes by MD.
This one’s a tough one to pick for me, but I think Vera’s striking will put him ahead of Rothwell in this fight to give him a much-needed win. Barring his nose doesn't break for the umpteenth time in an exchange, Vera wins by UD.
Eric Koch vs. Dustin Poirier
This is going to be another close fight between two featherweights that show a lot of similarities. Both Koch and Poirier are well-rounded fighters that like to keep the fight on the feet. It could be anyone’s fight, but Poirier’s a bit sharper in my opinion. Poirier via submission, round 3.
Originally posted on behindboxscores.com.