This UFC Fight Night promises to be an action filled card. Live from Chicago, the action is set to get under at 4:30 ET.
Benson Henderson is in his first contest back in the octagon since he lost his lightweight title to Anthony Pettis.
That means he'll be doing everything to secure his number-one ranking. His opponent, Josh Thomson will be looking to take that spot and move himself into the title picture.
The rest of the main event and a few of the prelims are absolute barn burners.
Watch for Donald Cerrone, and Jeremy Stephens to really put it on the line. They need convincing wins to get back into the UFC's spotlight.
Tune in Saturday morning at 11:30 ct/12:30 et to TSN Radio 1290 as myself (Jordan Cieciwa), Big Marv, and Toby "the rookie" take over the air ways to break down the fights and all the latest MMA news.
Benson Henderson (19-3-0) vs. Josh Thomson (20-5-0)
Couldn't have asked for a better fight than this on a Saturday night. You have an elusive and athletic, number-one ranked competitor with the drive to get his belt back facing a very talented and well-rounded fighter out of the American Kickboxing Academy.
You know both fighters will be prepared. It's also a five round affair which provides lots of time for these two fighters to settle the matter.
However, with the skill level of these athletes, I see this going the distance.
In my mind that favors the former champ.
Look for Henderson to outscore Josh Thompson with takedowns and a lot more movement and single scoring blows.
Henderson via unanimous decision
I think this will be a great fight. "The Punk" looked great against Diaz, but I think Bendo is stronger and faster. I see another grinded out decision win for the former champ.
Henderson via unanimous decision
This is probably the hardest pick of the night. Both fighters are well-rounded and have great conditioning. Thomson looked outstanding against Diaz and was the first person in the UFC to stop him via TKO.
Henderson is looking to get another shot at Pettis as soon as possible and a win over Thomson will most likely get him there.
I expect Thomson to keep it to the outside and try to get the better of the striking but I believe Henderson is the better wrestler and will grind this one out if he's not doing what he wants on the feet.
Henderson wins by decision.
Gabriel Gonzaga (16-7-0) vs. Stipe Miocic (10-1-0)
What can you say about Gabriel Gonzaga? We all remember the kick heard round the world. His flash knock out of Mirko "Cro Cop" was absolutely epic and had people knowing his name immediately.
He has followed that up with some very impressive first round knockouts, unfortunately, also with a few inopportune ones where he himself got KO'd.
Stipe Miocic has been turning heads as well.
He is very heavy handed, and other than a loss in a solid fight with Stefan Struve, his heavy hand gets raised at the end of fights.
This is a battle of two heavyweight strikers and that usually means knockout of the night.
I for one can't wait to see the results from this one and this is my pick for the potential fight of the night.
Both athletes are hungry, they both know how to put on a show and they both have the talent to make this memorable.
I expect this will end with Gonzaga staggering Miocic and securing a submission.
Gabriel Gonzaga via second round submission.
I have to give it to Gonzaga, he has really come back. After his loss to Travis Browne, I thought he was washed up.
I also thought Stipe Miocic didn't stand a chance against Roy Nelson at UFC 161, but I sat there cage side and saw him use Nelson as his personal punching bag for three rounds.
Hard to pick, but I say the younger Miocic takes this one
Stipe Miocic via TKO round two
This has the potential of fight of the night! Gabriel Gonzaga has been around a while and has seen some outstanding competition and had been on a tear lately.
Stipe Miocic looked especially great against Roy Nelson and I believe his hands will be the difference in this fight.
It's hard to pick against someone with a submission game like Gonzaga brings to the table and he also "Cro Copped" "Cro Cop".
Stipe Miocic via TKO
Donald Cerrone (21-6-0) vs. Adriano Martins (25-6-0)
Donald Cerrone has seen all the top contenders in the UFC and in the WEC. He knows his way around the cage and nerves won't be a problem at all. The UFC is his home.
The only question is which Cowboy comes to fight?
He has lackluster nights and then he has nights full of spring in his step and some of the best kickboxing in MMA.
Adriano Martins has the exact opposite problem. He looks sharp, but he has yet to get into the cage with a real MMA star. He gets to change that with Cerrone.
Martins won't get the easy first round KO with Cerrone and it's difficult to submit the Cowboy.
If Donald Cerrone wants to keep getting those phone calls from the UFC, he needs to string a few wins together. That means we potentially get to see a fired up and focused Donald Cerrone.
If that's the case, it's going to be a lot of leg kicks and elbows for Adriano Martins.
I expect we will get to see Cerrone's traditional kickboxing come through in this one. He'll stay a safe distance away from Martins hands, and win a much deserved decision.
Donald Cerrone via unanimous decision
When there's no big fight stipulations or titles on the line, Cerrone is MONEY. Look for Cowboy to end this quick. Late round one TKO
Cerrone via TKO round 1
This IS my pick for Fight of the Night, this is a real test for Adriano Martins and I'm sure he's going to be working his leg kicks for this one.
I'll say it now, Donald Cerrone is one of my favorite fighters and I love his aggressive stand up style and his ability to pick most people apart.
This is the fight I'm expecting some fireworks and I believe Adriano is ready for the challenge but I think "Cowboy" has been in there with too many top level guys to get beat this time.
Donald Cerrone …tough call… I'll say TKO
The rest of the night is just as impressive as the three main fights.
JC: Elkins, Pettis, Jabouin, Meza, Viana, Rio, Rhodes, Harris