UFC 156 Breakdown and Predictions: Preliminary Card

UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar takes place tomorrow night in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Mandalay Bay for their annual Superbowl Weekend card, and we will find out once and for all if the main is a superfight  or just another title fight in the featherweight division. In the main event, Jose Aldo will defend his title against former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, and  in the co-main event Rashad Evans takes on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Below you will find the predictions and breakdowns for all the planned bouts on the preliminary card.

Chico Camus (12-3) vs. Dustin Kimura (9-0)

Camus showed some solid wrestling during his UFC 150 win over Dustin Pague and was slick enough to avoid any submissions. That is what he will have to do in this fight against Kimura, but the youngster is on a whole different level than Pague when it comes to tapping out foes. Still, Camus has enough skill and defense to avoid any major problems if he stays sharp. I am picking Camus to take the decision, but if  I were the gambling type, there could be some value with Kimura coming in as high +145 in spots.

Prediction: Chico Camus via Decision

Yves Edwards (42-18-1) vs Isaac Vallie-Flagg (13-3-1)

If I was to pick a fight to be voted most likely have fans screaming “Thats a BS decision” on this card, it would be this one. The way these styles match-up, and the fact both are difficult to put away, means this one has Split Decision written all over it. Team Jackson fighter Vallie-Flagg comes into the UFC with two Strikeforce wins and riding an eleven-fight unbeaten streak since 2007, but he has never fought anyone as experienced as Edwards. A veteran of 61 fights with sixteen scraps in the Octagon, Edwards is going to have to be extra careful with Vallie-Flagg, and I think if he goes into this fight with the ‘I’m going to knock him out’ game plan he will lose.  Vallie-Flagg is going to push him to his limits in this fight, but if he could find a way to monkey-wrench the approach Greg Jackson has come up for him, Edwards should win this by a close decision.

Prediction: Yves Edwards via Decision

Jacob Volkmann (15-3) vs. Bobby Green (19-5)

Volkmann has his hands full in this fight when he welcomes former King of the Cage champ Bobby Green to the UFC from Strikeforce. Green is riding four-fight winning streak, and although he has eight submission wins, most of those  come after he has already stung his opponents with punches. While Volkmann’s stand up isn’t terrible, it would behoove him to get this fight to the ground. He is cagey enough to set up the takedowns with his striking, but he should be attacking for submissions in the first round. That’s where I think this fight ends by submission for Volkmann.

Prediction: Jacob Volkmann via submission 

Jay Hieron (23-6) vs. Tyron Woodley (10-1)

Neither of these guys have a win in the UFC, though the big difference is Hieron has already had three fights in the UFC.  None of Hieron’s fights were easy outings by any means, and he doesn’t have an easy one here either. Woodley, who lost his Strikeforce belt to Nate Marquardt in his last bout, will be dealing with the Octagon jitters and a Hieron who is VERY hungry to get his first UFC victory. I just don’t think he can pull it off against a wrestler like Woodley, and I just don’t he can create the space he would need to launch a real offensive attack. If Woodley returns to his grappling roots, instead of standing in the pocket with Hieron, then he should get the decision win.

Prediction: Tyron Woodley via Decision

Evan Dunham (13-3) vs. Gleison Tibau (26-8)

This is one of the hardest fights on the card to predict, and odds wise its a “pick em” fight. Both fighters basically have the same reach and both are southpaws. If it wasn’t for a questionable decision on Nurmagomedov, Gleison Tibau would be on a five-fight run and would probably be competing on the top half of this card. Dunham is coming off of a loss to TJ Grant, but he certainly has the tenacity and striking prowess to sting Tibau in this fight. Tibau has shown signs of getting rocked in recent fights, as recently as a rumble with Francisco Trinaldo,  but I think he can use his grappling skills to stay tight on Evan Dunham and pull together a decision win.

Prediction: Evan Dunham via Decision