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UFC 159 Main Card Predictions

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Ron Chenoy-USA Today Sports

UFC 159 kicks off this weekend, which features a stacked main card. Headlining the bout is a light heavyweight championship between Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen. Both of these fighters are ready to prove who the superior fighter is, and even though this match looks like a mismatch, it should be highly entertaining from start to finish. Even though a lot of people are counting Chael out, he still has an excellent chance of pulling off the upset. He is arguably the best wrestler that Jones has faced in his career, making this an interesting grappling battle to say the least

Also, Alan Belcher will square off with Michael Bisping in what should be a highly entertaining middleweight bout. Each has exchanged their words leading up to this bout, so it looks like they are coming in with a lot of emotion. Both have failed to win against elite competition, so they will need to fight with a sense of desperation if they ever want to fight for the belt.

Roy Nelson will also get back inside the octagon when he faces Cheick Kongo. Each of these fighters has competent striking skills, and it will be interesting to see who can land the big punch first. The winner moves up the heavyweight ladder, and the loser may have to rethink their entire UFC career. It should be a fun fight that can end dramatically very quickly.

Overall, this card is solid and will be available on pay per view. Continue reading this slide to find out other predictions for the main card, which takes place this Saturday night.

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Lightweight: Jim Miller vs. Pat Healy

Ron Chenoy-USA Today Sports

Both of these fighters are as tough as they come. Each have solid wins and their chins are some of the best in the division. Also, they have well-rounded skills, making this a tough pick on paper. However, Miller possesses more experience inside the octagon and has fought better competition. He will dictate the pace, landing some good combinations on the feet. Healy will get hurt and will leave himself open to a submission once on the ground. Final Prediction: Jim Miller wins via submission (rear-naked choke) in the second round.

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Light Heavyweight: Phil Davis vs. Vinny Magalhaes

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In terms of grappling, this should be a fun one. Davis is a Division 1 All-American in wrestling, and has transitioned very well to MMA. Magalhaes is an ADCC champion, sporting a second degree black belt in jiu jitsu. Even though both fighters have competent grappling skills, this bout may play out on the feet. And if this is so, Davis has a more dynamic striking game, where he will execute kicks to keep Magalhaes at bay. Davis is also the superior athlete, so don't be surprised to see him take Magalhaes down to score some points and then pop right back up. Final Prediction: Phil Davis wins via unanimous decision.

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Heavyweight: Roy Nelson vs. Cheick Kongo

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Each of these fighters have exceptional striking skills, and can end the fight with one punch. However, Nelson clearly has the advantage once the fight hits the ground, and Kongo's chin has certainly taken a lot of damage throughout his UFC tenure. Nelson will find the distance and land a big right on Kongo, forcing him to the canvas. From there, he will sink in a submission and finish the fight. Final Prediction: Roy Nelson wins via submission (guillotine) in the first round.

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Middleweight: Alan Belcher vs. Michael Bisping

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Each of these fighters have shown their distaste for each other, making this an emotional fight for both contestants. On paper, both fighters have well-rounded games, but always seem to fold once they fight elite competition. Belcher has proven to have a dynamic ground game, often looking for leg locks and twisters to force his opponents into submission. His kickboxing is also exceptional, and he has beautiful kicks. Bisping may be the more technical boxer, and has also shown to have exceptional take down defense. In the end, Belcher will land more kicks and punches on Bisping, and will even force scrambles on the ground. Final Prediction: Alan Belcher wins via unanimous decision.

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Light Heavyweight Championship: Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen

Tom Szczerbowski-USA Today Sports

This championship bout is intriguing especially in the wrestling department. Jones is a Junior College National champion, where Sonnen was on the U.S. Olympic team. On paper, Sonnen is the superior wrestler, and will certainly be the best wrestler Jones has ever faced in his young career. However, Jones is very dynamic on the feet, so it will be interesting to see if Sonnen can even force a clinch and shoot for a double leg. Sonnen's style of fighting is pressure, pressure, pressure. He doesn't give his opponents room to establish their rhythm, which certainly could work since Jones is known for finding his time and rhythm in fights. If this was a three round fight, I would certainly consider picking Sonnen. However, this being five rounds, Jones is the more dynamic fighter and is also the superior athlete. He will pick Sonnen apart on the feet and may even lock up a submission in the later rounds. Final Prediction: Jon Jones wins via submission (arm lock) in the third round.