I’m only doing the top three fights for this show. With the Affliction show coming up on the same night, I need more time to devote to that card, which is historically important and also one of the best MMA cards in history, especially when it comes to heavyweights.
ANDERSON SILVA VS. JAMES IRVIN
After cleaning out the middleweight division with ease, the best pound for pound fighter in the world now has his sights set on the 205 pound division. Dana White typically doesn’t let a guy fight in two divisions at one time, but he’s made an exception for both Silva and lightweight champion B.J. Penn due to the lack of credible opponents in their home divisions.
James Irvin has incredible knockout power, but he’s not on the level of guys like Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt or Dan Henderson, and Silva beat all three of those guys quite easily. Irvin claims that he’s going to beat Silva in the clinch, but that was also Henderson’s gameplan and we all saw how well that worked out.
This fight won’t last long. Silva by knockout in the first round, hopefully setting up a light heavyweight showdown with Lyoto Machida later in the year.
Prediction: Silva by TKO, Round 1
BRANDON VERA VS. REESE ANDY
Vera is on a two fight losing streak, but he’s dropping down a weight class and making his debut at light heavyweight in this fight. Reese is a former IFL fighter and the strongest aspect of his game is his wrestling, but Vera is bigger, stronger and a much better striker.
Prediction: Brandon Vera by TKO, Round 2
FRANKIE EDGAR VS. HERMES FRANCA
Franca makes his return to the UFC after serving a one year suspension for testing positive for anabolic steroids prior to his title fight with Sean Sherk last summer. Both Franca and Edgar are two of the better grapplers in the lightweight division, with Edgar specializing in wrestling and Franca in jui-jitsu.
Franca has been off for a year, but I don’t think we’ll see much cage rust. He’s a better fighter than Edgar, and I think we’ll see him win by submission.
Prediction: Franca by submission, Round 2