UFC 156 will kick off from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas tomorrow night (Sat., Feb. 2, 2013). This preview will fofucs on the first couple of the main card, while the second preview will focus on the latter three fights on the main card.
Action begins at 9 PM EST, after the preliminary fights which begin at 6:35 PM EST. The Prelims will air on Facebook and FX, while the main card is pay-per-view as usual.
Ian McCall (+210) vs. Joseph Benavidez (-260)
Joseph Benavidez lost to Demetrious Johnson at the first flyweight championship bout back at UFC 152. Benavidez is a quick fighter, but fell short of beating Johnson as he lost in a unanimous decision at UFC on FX3 and he battled to a draw on UFC on FX 2.
These guys are essentially gearing up for the right to face Johnson again, but neither fighter really has what it takes to beat him when it happens. Benavidez is favored for a reason, though, and he seems to be getting better as his career progresses. It’s doubtful he’s able to land a knockout, but he should win this one in decision.
Ultimately, his skill set is just a lot better than Ian McCall’s, though McCall has the talent to take Benavidez down if he’s able to get it to the mat.
Demian Maia (+165) vs. Jon Fitch (-205)
Jon Fitch really isn’t as good as his 24-4 record seems to indicate. He’s never fared well against the best competition in the UFC, which is what seems to indicate that Demian Maia will get the best of him in this fight. Fitch couldn’t hang with Johny Hendricks at UFC 141. Maia isn’t quite the striker that Hendricks is, but he’s great with his submission moves.
Fitch will be smart to keep the fight standing, but there’s no guarantee he can. If Maia can get this to the mat, he’ll win it. And if it goes to decision, it could be very close, but Maia is a superior fighter and should be able to pull an upset in this fight.