We’re now only a few days away from UFC 129, which should go down as the most-important MMA event of the year. In the main event, Georges St. Pierre defends his UFC Welterweight Championship against former EliteXC and Strikeforce champion Jake Shields, in front of over 55,000 fans. The co-main event will also be an interesting match-up, as Jose Aldo makes his long-awaited UFC debut by defending his UFC Featherweight Championship against Mark Hominick. As is customary, here is my official “picks and predictions” post (covering who I think will win and why), now featuring UFC 129.
Mark Bocek vs. Ben Henderson: Although Bocek has fought eight times in the UFC, he’s lost to some of the UFC’s top-division stars. And Ben Henderson was one of the last WEC Lightweight Champions. By the time the WEC folded, I think you could make a serious argument that their best matched the UFC’s best, in particular, I’m talking about Anthony Pettis and Ben Henderson. “Bendo” is one of the best Lightweight fighters in the world, and I think he’s going to prove that at UFC 129. Ben Henderson wins by submission in Round 1.
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Jason Brilz: “The Janitor” has lost one fight in his latest return to the UFC, and that was to eventual Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones. Matyushenko has won four of his last five, and I think he’s ready for a fighter like Jason Brilz. Brilz is very tough and has some good submissions on his record, but Matyushenko has fought his entire career without ever getting submitted. It’ll be a long, hard-fought war, but Vladimir Matyushenko will win by Unanimous Decision.
Randy Couture vs. Lyoto Machida: Part of me really, really wants the UFC’s ageless wonder to put together another legendary performance and defeat a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. But I just don’t think that’s going to happen. With his back against the wall, Lyoto Machida will come out with his best, and leagues better than he’s recently been. He’s had time to reflect and reconnect with what made him a champion, and I think this will be the start of Machida’s big comeback. As much as I hate to pick against Couture, I believe that Machida will win by KO in the first round.
Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick: I just can’t pick against Jose Aldo. It just strikes me as impossible. I truly think we’ve only begun to see the best Jose Aldo. With Aldo healthy and anxious to make his UFC debut, I think Mark Hominick is going to get destroyed. I don’t say that out of disrespect for Hominick, but out of the respect I have for Aldo’s killer instinct, smart technique, and ridiculous striking power. It’ll take him a round or two to find his flow and get into his groove, but sooner or later Mark Hominick will be just another victim laying on the canvas thanks to the hands and feet of Jose Aldo. Jose Aldo wins by (T)KO either in Round 2 or Round 3.
Georges St. Pierre vs. Jake Shields: Much like Couture/Machida, part of me really wants to see the underdog go all the way and shock everyone. I like Jake Shields, I really do. I’ve defended him from accusations of being a boring fighter, and I’ve followed him for quite some time. But there’s good, and then there’s great. And then there’s great and greater. Jake Shields is greater than most of the great Welterweights in the world… but George St. Pierre is the greatest. By far. GSP has just been too good for too long, and he’ll have over 55,000 screaming Canadians all on his side. It will probably stand out as one of the best fights of the year, and in the end, Georges St. Pierre will win by Unanimous Decision.
And that’s what I think, fans and friends. But what about you? Who do you see winning, and why, at UFC 129: “St. Pierre vs. Shields”?