Rich Franklin vs. Cung Le
Both Franklin and Le are in similar places in their career: both are older than the majority of the fighters in their division (38 and 40, respectively), both were former champions, and both are not exactly at the heap of their division in terms of getting title shots anytime soon. An impressive win (knockout or submission) from either fighter will guarantee them a top five opponent in their next bout and then maybe the talk of title bouts will be warranted.
Franklin needs to play it simple and not get involved in a striking war with Le. The pride of Ohio will need to pick his angles accurately and catch Le by surprise if he wants to inflict some serious damage. He should win this fight and I think cardio may be his slightest advantage.
Le needs to use his muay Thai to break down the always durable Franklin. If Le can catch Franklin off-guard with some high leg-kicks, he could end the night in spectacular fashion.
Stanislav Nedkov vs. Thiago Silva
Silva has not won a fight in three years while Nedkov has not fought in over a year. Both possess immense power for the light heavyweight division and after Nedkov demolished Luiz Cane back in the summer of 2011, I think he is on track for more memorable performances. With Thiago Silva’s recent jump to the Blackzillians, it is always hit or miss in a fighter’s first fight with a new camp and it is usually not somewhere in the middle. I give a slight advantage to Nedkov.
Dong-Hyum Kim vs. Paulo Thiago
Coming off a horrendous knockout loss at the hands (literally) of Siyar Bahadurzada, Thiago is in desperate need of a win to stay relevant at welterweight. Kim has had his share of spoils, getting knocked out by current interim champion Carlos Condit and suffering a rib injury in his fight with Demian Maia, but I think the Korean will easily overpower Thiago and use his extremely underrated wrestling to maul Thiago into a decision win.
Mac Danzig vs. Takanori Gomi
This is a very intriguing fight, to say the least. Danzig is very underrated and Gomi still has power left in his punches – he just can’t get into the same wars as he used to. I think Danzig will fight smart; attack Gomi on the feet and bring him down, break his will, and then go for a submission. If Gomi is to end this fight, he has to do it by landing some big shots on Danzig and it is not like Danzig is incapable of doing the same to his opponent.
Jon Tuck vs. Tiequan Zhang
Tuck makes his promotional debut and Zhang tries to snap a two-fight losing streak. Both fighters have ended all of their wins by stoppage and it is highly unlikely this fight goes to the judge’s scorecards. Tuck’s power and submission skills may be too much for Zhang to handle
Jeff Hougland vs. Takeya Mizugaki
Although neither competitor looks in dire need of a win, they both lost their last fight and will be craving attention in a rising bantamweight division. Mizugaki has been in the bigger fights (Faber, Torres) and I think his experience will be a factor in this fight. Hougland may want to expose Mizugaki’s ground game but I think thefighter will surely impress in Macau.