It’s time to bring out the crystal ball here at Yell! Magazine and tell our readers our predictions for UFC 129 to be held in Toronto on April 30th, 2011. The fight card has solidified and the 55,000 tickets put on sale in early February have been sold, so instead of just waiting, we decided to throw our hat into the Octagon and tell everyone who we see as the winners and losers for the UFC’s greatest event to date.
Georges St-Pierre (21-2-0) vs. Jake Shields (26-4-1)
St-Pierre has won his last 8 fights, and had defended his welterweight title five times in the process. He is considered by many, including us at Yell! as the best pound for pound fighter in MMA today. So, unless something goes terribly wrong, he is an easy choice for victory. It will be his sixth title defense, a record for the UFC.
Jake Shields has made the transition from STRIKEFORCE to the UFC in a successful manner. His split decision victory over Martin Kampmann back at UFC 121 made him Dana White’s choice for St-Pierre’s next opponent.
Having taken out everyone of note in STRIKEFORCE’s stable of fighters, and doing the same when fighting in the EliteXC, Shields decided the UFC was the place to be for new challenges. On a 15 fight win streak, winning the EliteXC and STRIKEFORCE welterweight championships in the process, Shields has lowered his weight down to his normal 170lb. range to take on St-Pierre.
José Aldo (18-1-0) vs. Mark Hominick (20-8-0)
As his 18-1 record indicates, Aldo has had success no matter where he has fought. When the WEC merged with the UFC, Aldo, the WEC featherweight champion, was the recipient of the UFC’s inaugural belt of the same weight class. We predict he will easily win over Canadian Mark Hominick most likely by knockout or to a lesser extent a submission. Aldo rarely goes to a decision in his fights and this one will be no different.
Mark Hominick gained the right to face Aldo by defeating George Roop at UFC: Fight For The Troops 2 back in January. Another WEC fighter who transitioned into the UFC with the merge, Hominick last fought in the UFC back 2006. Unfortunately, Hominick’s return will not be a pleasant one.
Vladimir Matyushenko (25-5-0) vs. Jason Brilz (18-3-1)
Matyushenko was supposed to face Brilz at UFC 122 but Brilz withdrew due to injury. Both fighters come from a wrestling background and both are experts on the mat. Matyushenko, when not leaving it to the judges to decide, knocks out his opponent with powerful strikes on the ground. Brilz usually submits his opponents.
This one is tough to call but we believe Brilz will use the two controversial losses (by split decision where most watching thought he won) in his last three fights to motivate him to submit Matyushenko and not leave it to the judges to decide.
Randy Couture (19-10-0) vs. Lyoto Machida (16-2-0)
The man just doesn’t age, Randy “The Natural” Couture will enter his 25th UFC bout when he faces Machida in Toronto. At age 48, and facing everyone of merit in both the heavyweight and light-heavyweight divisions (holding titles in both more than once), you would figure Couture would leave the sport as one of the greatest of all time. But he is still in there trading punches with men 20 years his junior.
Courture has won his last three fights and will win his fourth here. Machida will be a formidable opponent but Couture will avoid most of Machida’s strikes and take Machida to the ground. Machida’s lack of aggression, which usually benefits him, will be his downfall.
Maybe we are too optimistic and Machida will avoid Couture and land some powerful strikes and win by decision, but we are thinking Couture will use his hundreds of minutes of Octagon experience to his advantage and win the bout.
Mark Bocek (9-3-0) vs. Ben Henderson (12-2-0)
Everyone remembers Henderson’s last fight. The question is whether he can recover from that loss to defeat Bocek and Bocek’s jujitsu skills. When Anthony Pettis nailed Henderson with that kick off the fence everyone shit their pants. It made every highlight reel on every sports station and is still talked about over three months later.
We believe that Henderson has recovered from his disappointing loss of his WEC belt to Pettis, but Bocek is too skilled a fighter on the ground to lose to the American even with Henderson’s abilities to escape and break submission attempts.
Nate Diaz (13-6-0) vs. Rory MacDonald (10-1-0)
MacDonald had his first professional loss to Carlos Condit back at UFC 115 in Vancouver. Diaz also lost his last fight (to Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 125) so both fighters are looking to bounce back.
We predict Diaz will take this contest using his ground game to submit the Canadian.
The Rest of the Card:
Brian Foster (15-5-0) vs. Sean Pierson (11-4-0) – Foster will win.
Yves Jabouin (14-6-0) vs Pablo Garza (11-1-0) – Garza will win.
Claude Patrick (13-1-0) vs. Daniel Roberts (12-1-0) – Roberts will win.
Ivan Menjivar (21-8-0) vs. Charlie Valencia (12-5-0) – Valencia will win.
Jason MacDonald (22-13-0) vs. Ryan Jensen (16-6-0) – Jensen will win.
John Makdessi (8-0-0) vs. Kyle Watson (16-7-1) – Makdessi will win.
What do you think about our predictions for UFC 129? Are we right or wrong? Please discuss below in the comment section.