Jose “Junior” Aldo (20-1-0) vs. Chad “Money” Mendes (11-0-0):
If you have ever watched Aldo fight you know what he is capable of. He is a great striker that has his eye on finishing fights. Unlike most 145 lb fighters, he finishes. That is not a knock on the 145ers either. These cats rumble and never seem to tire! Chad Mendes is a very good wrestler that knows how to make fights ugly and grind out decisions. I look for him to try to get this fight to the ground early and often, as he does not want to stand with Aldo. Aldo will want to keep this fight on the feet and the good news for him is that he has great takedown defense. I believe the key to this fight will be how Mendes handles the kicks of Aldo. If Aldo is not able to get his kicks off without being taken down, he could be in trouble! I don’t see this happening though. I think Aldo will win a decision in front of the home crowd in Brazil!
Vitor “Phenom” Belfort (20-9-0) vs. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (10-3-0):
This could be a fight to remember for 2012! Vitor is a UFC legend and has been fighting since many of you were sh!tting in pampers. He has great hand speed and can be very explosive. He also has outstanding Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in his arsenal. Johnson is a good wrestler, good striker and freak athlete. He is very, very explosive and is not afraid to bang! It will be interesting to see if he stands, or tries to bully Belfort to the ground and beat the brakes off of him. Vitor has the advantage in the experience department and should be the more polished fighter. He is not known for his gas tank though. If Johnson can take this fight into the third round, Vitor will gas! I predict Rumble Johnson will win this fight via TKO in the third round. The crowd in Brazil will likely riot, as Vitor is a superstar and a hero there. Johnson will need security.
Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares (22-3-0) vs. Mike “Master of Disaster” Massenzio (13-5-0):
Massenzio won his last fight but had lost three in a row prior to that. He has to be close to being cut and needs this win much more than Palhares who is coming in on a two fight win streak and has been fighting successfully in the UFC since 2006. Both of these cats are very good on the ground, but I give the advantage there to Palhares. Massenzio is a better-rounded fighter, but will it be enough? I don’t think so. This will be a good, technical fight with Palhares winning a unanimous decision in the motherland (he is Brazilian).