UFC has been on fire lately, with shows happening very close together. It’s almost hard to keep up, though with the quality of fights we’ve seen, it’s hard not to enjoy it. This weekend’s show is live-and-in-person for the good people of Dubai, and it features a wealth of technical skill on the card.

Let’s get to the predictions:

Main Card

* Middleweight Championship bout:
Brazil Anderson Silva (c) vs. Brazil Demian Maia
The key to this fight is going to be whether or not Demian Maia can avoid the long-ranged strikes of Silva and get jiu-jitsu involved, because that’s where Maia is at his best.  I’m not entirely sure it’s going to matter, ultimately, because Anderson Silva is great at BJJ despite hardly ever needing it in fights.  I’d be foolish to predict anything other than an Anderson Silva victory, and I really believe that his ability to dodge attacks and his crazy reach (with his arms AND legs) is going to be the reason he wins this fight, though I’d LOVE for it to go to the ground so we could see what both of these guys is capable of doing.
Prediction: Anderson Silva by knockout

* Lightweight Championship bout:
B.J. Penn (c) vs. Frankie Edgar
Just like I don’t bet against Anderson Silva, it’s hard for me to find a way to bet against B.J. Penn (unless he’s fighting Georges St. Pierre).  Though Edgar has shown some high quality skills in his last three fights (two of them winning Fight of the Night honors), I just can’t find it in me to pick him to win on Saturday Night.  If he is victorious, he might be GuysNation’s favorite fighter in the UFC Lightweight division.
Prediction:  B.J. Penn by decision

* Welterweight bout:
Matt Hughes vs. Brazil Renzo Gracie
Having watched him as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter, in fights against Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra, I have a huge amount of respect for Matt Hughes, but in this legends fight, I’m going to have to go with Renzo Gracie.  Hughes hasn’t fought in almost a year, and as of his last fight I thought he was retiring.  I fully expect him to show well in this fight, but given that two of his four career losses were by submission, I don’t think he’s going to be able to defeat Renzo Gracie, especially given the fact that the last two victories by Matt Hughes were by decision.  Renzo Gracie hasn’t had a fight in 38 months, but you can believe that if a Gracie is going to enter the octagon, he’s going to be prepared for battle.
Prediction:  Renzo Gracie by decision

* Lightweight bout:
England Terry Etim vs. Brazil Rafael dos Anjos
After a strong debut in UFC (gaining Submission of the Night honors), Etim went on to lose his next two fights by unanimous decision.  Since then he has won his past four fights, the first by decision, the next by knockout, then his last two by submission (both picking up Submission of the Night honors).  Rafael dos Anjos has failed to finish a single fight since joining the UFC, and without a high profile win to his credit, that’s all I need to know.
Prediction:  Terry Etim by submission

* Middleweight bout:
United States Kendall Grove vs. United States Mark Munoz
This one’s hard to predict.  I haven’t seen much of Munoz and Kendall Grove is hot and cold from fight to fight.  I was impressed with Grove’s victory over Rosholt in his last fight, so I’ll go with him.
Prediction:  Kendall Grove by (however)

Preliminary Card

* Light Heavyweight bout:
Sweden Alexander Gustafsson vs. United States Phil Davis
Phil Davis has looked good in his past couple fights, but I really think Gustafsson could be a contender in the division.
Prediction:  Gustafsson by knockout

* Lightweight bout:
England Paul Taylor vs. United States John Gunderson
I’m not at all impressed by Paul Taylor, but John Gunderson has looked pretty decent in his past few fights of record.
Prediction:  John Gunderson by (however)

* Welterweight bout:
England Nick Osipczak vs. United States Rick Story
I wouldn’t be surprised if this aired on the pay per view to help fill time, and if the top of the card weren’t so stacked, it could contend for Fight of the Night honors.  I’ve seen more from Osipczak, so that’s how I’ll lean.
Prediction:  Nick Osipczak

The following fights occurred before I was able to make predictions:

* Welterweight bout:
United States DaMarques Johnson vs. United States Brad Blackburn

* Lightweight bout:
England Paul Kelly vs. United States Matt Veach

* Heavyweight bout:
United States Jon Madsen vs. England Mostapha Al Turk