The Ultimate Fighting Championship will venture into new territory when UFC Live: Vera vs Jones airs on Versus this Sunday night.
Also, it is important to note that Comcast and DIRECTV recently have struck a deal allowing DIRECTV to air Versus (channel 603 on DIRECTV), ending a heated battle between the two companies over the channel’s rights.
Main Event: Brandon Vera (11-4-0) vs Jon Jones (9-1-0)
In the main event of the night features, up and comer, John Jones as he continues his journey towards a light-heavy title shot. Jones will face his toughest opponent in a revamped Brandon Vera.
In the Ultimate fighter 10 finale, Jones was disqualified when he struck Matt Hamill with an illegal elbow, resulting in the only blemish in Jones (9-1-0) record. The disqualification was devastating as Jones was just moments from finishing off Hamill in dramatic fashion.
Similar to Jon Jones, Brandon Vera stormed into the UFC picture after picking up convincing three wins before his most impressive TKO win over Frank Mir at UFC 65: Bad Intentions.
Vera has struggled in the UFC losing four of his last seven and is coming off a loss to UFC Hall of Famer, Randy Coulture.
Since then, Vera has rededicated himself and has his hopes on hauling the fast emergence of Jon Jones. However, he is going to get all he can handle when he enters the octagon against the high octane Jon Jones. Vera is in dior need of an impressive performance and could be fighting for his contract in the UFC.
Prediction: Jones 2nd round TKO
Junior Dos Santos (10-1-0) vs Gabriel Gonzaga (11-4-0)
The co-main event of the night features a heavy-weight bout between, an up-and-comer, Junior Dos Santos and Gabriel Gonzaga.
Like Jones, Junior Dos Santos has been a force to be reckoned with in the UFC displaying tremendous knock out power and superior striking, winning his first four fights in the UFC all by the way of T(KO). Dos Santos has bolstered his resume with decisive wins over MMA veterans Fabricio Werdum, Mirko Crocop, and Gilbert Yvel.
On the other end of the octagon is 5-year Brazilian veteran, Gabriel Gonzaga. Gonzaga is entering fight card theme of a must win fight. Gonzaga has been set back by devastating knock outs in three of his last six fights, and has not recently been able to defeat a top contender.
With both men featuring tremendous knock out power, and Gonzaga’s inability to finish off top contenders, I see this being a one sided fight; much similar to Cain Velasquez knock out win over Nogueira. Also noted is that in all four of Dos Santos fights, none went past the second round.
Prediction: Gonzaga 1st round TKO
Cheick Kongo (14 – 6 -1) vs Paul Buentello (27 – 11 – 0)
The third featured fight of the night pits two men in the UFC who have struggled to amount key wins in the UFC. Unfortunately for both men a win in this fight will do very little to help their record.
Cheick Kongo is coming off of back-to-back losses to Frank Mir and Cain Velasquez. The Frenchman suffered a devastating loss at the hands of Frank Mir in UFC 107: Penn vs Sanchez. Mir showed off his improved striking early in the first round before finishing off Kongo with a Guillotine Choke. The submission came after a heated pre-fight talk, in which Mir mocked Kongo’s ground game.
Paul Buentello has struggled to find consistency, bouncing around between Strikeforce and the UFC. Buentello also fought in the UFC 107 card and lost a decision to Stefan Struve. Buentello had minor success in the UFC before venturing over to Strikeforce, picking up 3 wins and one loss. The loss came against the once lethal, Andrei Arlovski.
With both men featuring powerful stand-up and a combined 26 (T) KO wins, this fight will likely end with either stoppage or someone going to sleep.
Prediction: Kongo 2nd round TKO.
Alessio Sakara (14 – 7 – 0) vs James Irvin (14 – 5 – 0)
James Irvin will be making his return to the octagon after a 2 year absence from the octagon. In Irvin’s last fight, he suffered a devastating highlight knock out at the hands of arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Anderson Silva. As if the knock out wasn’t embarrassing enough, Irvin than failed a drug test for a banned substance and was later suspended. Since then Irvin has been unable to stay healthy, having to back out twice of scheduled fights.
Both men enter the night with almost identical records and both are in need of wins. It will be interesting how the lay-off has affected Irvin.
Prediction: Sakara 3rd round TKO
Also fighting in the card is fan favorite Clay Guida, and TUF 10 runner-up Brendan Schaub.