UFC 142 Main Card picks

Lightweight: Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim

Barboza is coming off a close decision in Rio that I thought he lost against Sunderland's own Ross Pearson. Etim's last fight was his first in 18 months against the over-matched Edward Faaloloto, who he submitted in 17 seconds. After bursting into the UFC with a vicotry laden with leg-kicks, I thought Barboza was about to run game on the lightweight division due to his size and obscene kicking power. However, I believe he was out-boxed in Rio in September by Ross Pearson, who now fights at featherweight. If Etim comes in with a good strategy I think he can frustrate Barboza on the feet with his wide array of kicks and decent boxing, as well as mixing things up with an above average ground game, even if his wrestling is still far from stellar. There might even be a chance for an Etim submission, though I don't think there will be a T/KO due to Etim's comparative lack of power, and his ability to recover from a good shot. Ultimately though, I fear Barboza may walk away with the decision thanks to some favourable home-town judging. Barboza by decision

Welterweight: Erick Silva vs. Carlo Prater

Erick Silva impressed everyone with his rapid and brutal KO in his UFC début in Rio, and looks to have been matched with an opponent he is expected to beat. Prater is competent, with some WEC experience against decent fighters, but he is a late replacement, and Silva is deservedly the heavy favourite and should win comfortably. Silva by TKO, Round 2

Middleweight: Rousimar Palhares vs. Mike Massenzio

I feel bad for Mike Massenzio. To add to Palhares' frankly frightening submission ability, in his last fight (again in Rio) he showed improved stand-up and an ability to last for 3 rounds against Dan Miller, who is tough, and one of the most underrated fighters in the middleweight division. 'Toquinho' (tree stump in Portuguese) Palhares looks big, and having been fortunate enough to meet him, I can tell you in the flesh he seems even bigger than he appears on TV. I predict the fight ending quickly, and with considerable pain for Massenzio. Palhares by submission, Round 1

Middleweight: Vitor Belfort vs. Anthony Johnson

For me, this is the toughest fight to call. Both fighters are frontrunners, slowing down when facing adversity, and each one certainly has the ability to put the other in a tough spot with their stand-up. Johnson with his insane power, and Belfort with his lightning-fast handspeed. Ina ddition, Johnson has good wrestling (choosing to continuously take Dan Hardy down for 3 rounds for a UD win when he could have just as easily blown his doors of on the feet), and Belfort has underrated jiu-jitsu. To complicate matters, this is Johnson's first fight at 185 pounds, and who knows what effect this will have. On one hand, he will have had to cut considerably less weight, so his cardio may well be drastically improved, though the extra weight may effect his speed somewhat. One this that is guaranteed is that his power will be left intact, if not enhanced at this higher weight class. Though I think the smart money may be with Vitor, I have a feeling that we could see him being peeled off the mat after one or two power shots from 'Rumble'. Johnson by KO, Round 2

UFC Featherweight Championship: José Aldo vs. Chad Mendes

José Aldo finally faces a powerhouse wrestler, but that shouldn't stop him from racking up his 10th (TENTH) victory in a row under the Zuffa banner, and 13th in a row overall. I actually expect Aldo to finish Mendes in the first few rounds. Mendes may be able to get a take-down or two, and because of this, I think Aldo will be much more aggressive on the feet than in his previous fights, and in this aspect of the fight he has Mendes outmatched by an enormous distance. Mendes' team-mates swear he is good on the feet, and has power, but he has been tentative up to this point in his career with his boxing so there really has been no evidence of this as far as I can remember. Tentative or not, Aldo is so fast, he should light Mendes up after a round or two of feeling out, and remain the UFC champ. Aldo by TKO, Round 2

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.