-275 #2 Cain Velasquez (13-2) vs +235 #7 Travis Browne (18-3-1)
Cain Velasquez: The former two time Heavyweight champion makes his long awaited return Saturday night. Inactive since his June of 2015 loss to Fabrico Werdum, Cain has been forced to withdraw from numerous fights recently due to a litany of injuries.
When AKA’s star heavyweight makes it to the cage healthy he is a dynamo of violence. Cain brings high level wrestling and one punch knockout power that is unmatched in the history of heavyweights.
Still ranked #2 overall, if Cain can get a win here he will be next in line to face the winner of September’s Miocic vs Overeem title fight.
Travis Browne: Hawaiian big man Travis Browne has stepped in the octagon with the divisions best and come away victorious in most cases. “Hapa” is quickly becoming a fan favorite for his action packed style that rarely sees him taking a step backwards.
The throwing caution to the wind style that makes Browne a fan favorite is also what holds him back from making it to the top of the rankings. When any heavyweight decides to bite down on the mouthpiece throw leather, it will inevitably not go his way sooner or later. If Browne can take a more technical, calculated approach to his fights he could very easily be in the title picture very soon.
The Fight: Browne will have a massive six inch height advantage that will give him the edge in the stand up and when Cain goes to shoot Browne has constructed a take down defense that involves blasting his opponents ears with elbows that discourages future shots.
This match up greatly favors Browne’s physical and tactical tools, he will land heavy damage in the first before finishing Cain off in the second pulling off the upset. Browne TKO 2nd
+108 #1 Jose Aldo (25-2) vs -128 #2 Frankie Edgar (19-4-1)
Jose Aldo: The first and long reigning former featherweight champ returns to action following his :14 knockout loss to a little known Irishmen. Prior to the Mcgregor bout, Aldo was untouchable, undefeated since 2006 Aldo cleared out his division in a dominant fashion.
“Scarface’s” last few defenses were getting more and more competitive, whether the division was figuring Aldo’s style out or Aldo was losing a step it was becoming clear that Aldo’s game was going to have to evolve. Saturday night we will find out if Aldo has adapted his style to the ever-evolving sport or if he will be a champ of the past.
Frankie Edgar: Since his 2013 title fight loss to Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar has been a man possessed, winning five fights including a one punch knockout over Chad Mendes in his last outing.
Edgar is the hardest working man in professional fighting and it shows in his fights. “The Answer” keeps a non-stop pace that fatigues even the fittest of foes. If Edgar can avenge this loss, a mega fight with champion Connor Mcgregor will be waiting in the wings.
The Fight: Speed and power vs Speed, power and off the charts cardio is how this fight breaks down for me. Edgar is going to be just a little better in every aspect of the fight and when it gets into deep waters he’s going to take Aldo out. Edgar TKO 5th
-390 C Daniel Cormier ( 17-1) vs +325 #5 MW Anderson Silva (33-7)
Light Heavyweight (205)
Daniel Cormier: DC will yet again miss out on his chance to officially unify the light heavyweight belt. Jones testing positive for a banned substance last week was the latest in the roller coaster that has been the young phenom’s life in the last five years.
Whether or not Cormier will ever get the Jones fight is unclear, but at 37 Cormier doesn’t have the time to wait around for the Jones fight, he needs to fight as many contenders as possible for his legacy and his bank account.
Anderson Silva: Many are saying “The Spider’s” skills have diminished, but from what I have seen in his two return bouts from his gruesome compound leg fracture, is a fighter scared to commit. His skills are still there but for whatever reason he has been hesitant to open up on his opponents.
At 41 Silva will still have a few more big paydays in his future but unless he can start to pull the trigger again there may not be any fan interest in seeing the future hall of famer’s fights.
The Fight: Anderson is doing his long time employer a huge favor taking this fight on two days notice a weight class up from his own. This fight is about four years too late, it’s a neat spectacle but Cormier is far too big and strong for this to be a competitive match.
Silva will implement his new fighting strategy of feints and more feints, while Cormier will take him down at will. I have an inkling that Cormier won’t go to hard on the ground and pound as a courtesy for taking this fight. Cormier Unanimous Decision
+145 Brock Lesnar ( 5-3) vs -170 #8 Mark Hunt (12-10-1)
Brock Lesnar: “The Beast”is back, after taking a five year hiatus due to heath issues and Overeem knees, Lesnar returns to real fighting to once again test his skills against the best in the world.
The former heavyweight champion may be back for a one night affair or he might have his sights on recapturing the gold, it’s not yet clear but I’m sure much of his decision depends on the outcome of this fight.
Mark Hunt: The King of the walk off knockout will look to add another scalp to his star studded collection. They say power is the last thing to go but in 42 year old Hunt’s case its seemed to increase with his age.
Coming off back to back wins of Frank Mir and Bigfoot Silva, Hunt will look to make it three in a row and set up a fight with a top 5 opponent. Win or lose Hunt has big money fights in his near future, but Saturday night we will find out if those fights will have title implications or not.
The Fight: If there’s one thing we could take away from Brock’s 8 professional fights it’s that he does not react well to getting hit hard, unfortunately for Brock, Hunt’s specialty is hitting people hard.
Brock will need to work with everything he’s got to get this down, but Hunt’s take down defense is very solid. Hunt will land with an uppercut when Brock shooting in and the lights will go out for mammoth WWE star. Hunt Knockout 1st
-250 C Miesha Tate (18-5) vs +210 #4 Amanda Nunes (12-4)
Miesha Tate: Tate once again proved MMA math does not work when she choked out the women who defeated the women who beat her twice. Miesha earned her title in a gritty battle with Holly Holm that saw her choke Holm out in the fifth round of a fight she would have almost certainly lost in a decision.
“Cupcake” will be defending her belt for the first time and not that we’re looking by Nunes, but if she can defend in this match a PPV record breaking rematch with her arch nemesis Ronda Rousey may be her next move.
Amanda Nunes: Veteran of Strikforce, Invicta and now UFC, ATT’s Amanda Nunes has earned her title shot the hard way. “Lioness” has won five of her six UFC bouts and was the clear choice for the first to get a crack at Tate’s belt.
Nunes started her career as a 145 pound fighter and only makes the cut down because the UFC doesn’t have a Women’s featherweight division. She will have a height, reach and strength advantage over Tate, it will be interesting to see if she can combat Tate’s wrestling with her BJJ.
The Fight: The main event on the biggest UFC card of all time should be a doozy. Tate will have early troubles implementing her wrestling on the larger Nunes. But as they get into the championship rounds Tate’s superior cardio will turn into overdrive and she will win the late rounds with dominant control and ground and pound. Tate Unanimous Decision