Before the PPV for the most anticipated fight card of the year goes down, fix preliminary bouts will kick off the night. Here are my UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen preliminary card predictions.
Preliminary Card (FX) Melvin Guillard (29-10-2, 1 NC) vs. Fabricio Camoes (14-6-1) - (Lightweight Bout) The headliner for the UFC 148 preliminary card is an interesting lightweight match up. In a classic striker vs. grappler match up, Melvin Guillard returns to the Octagon on the heels of back-to-back defeats. The path for victory is pretty clear for both men - Guillard need to keep it standing while Camoes should be doing anything and everything to bring the fight to the mat.
This is a difficult fight to call, but Guillard's quicker hands and feet should play to his advantage and lead him to a highlight reel finish.
Prediction: Melvin Guillard via TKO (Strikes) - Round 1
Gleison Tibau (25-7) vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (17-0) - (Lightweight Bout) Khabib Nurmagomedov impressed in his UFC debut against Kamal Shalorus last January, however he receives a hefty leap in competition and well as a difficult style match up in 15-fight UFC veteran Gleison Tibau. Tibau is one of the largest lightweights on the UFC roster and while he has had his ups and downs in the octagon, he seems to really be putting it together as of late with his first three-fight win streak in the UFC.
Both men are very skilled when it comes to fighting on the ground, but the slight edge in the stand up department would have to go to Tibau. While Nurmagomedov certainly has a bright future ahead of him; the size, strength and superior striking of Tibau will be enough to hand "The Eagle" his first career defeat.
Prediction: Gleison Tibau via Unanimous Decision
Constantinos Philippou (10-2, 1 NC) vs. Riki Fukuda (18-5) - (Middleweight Bout) Expect a very tough and competitive fight between Constantinos Philippou and Riki Fukuda. These guys have skills that stack up very evenly on paper. However, Philippou's heavy, heavy hands should lead him to victory as he will tag Fukuda early and often and make the Japanese fighter respect his striking.
Don't expect a barnburner when these two step in the cage against one another, but you will see two men with solid skills in every area go after it from stand to finish.
Prediction: Constantinos Philippou via Unanimous Decision
John Alessio (34-15) vs. Shane Roller (10-6) - (Lightweight Bout) This is a huge fight for both men as the winner will likely be cut from the UFC roster. Shane Roller has lost three-striaght fights while John Alessio was dominated by Mark Bocek in his return to the UFC a few months ago.
The match up could really could be considered a toss-up due to how inconsistent both men have been throughout their careers, but Alessio have has been a little better as of late. Look for Roller to employ his superior wrestler abilities in the fight similar to what Bocek was able to do. However, if Alessio is smart he would be training a lot of submission of his back. If he has, he should be able to submit Roller at some point over the course of a three-round fight.
Prediction: John Alessio via Submission - Round 2
Preliminary Card (Facebook) Rafaello Oliveira (14-5) vs. Yoislandy Izquierdo (6-1) - (Lightweight Bout) The first fight of the night will see two hungry lightweights meet as Rafaello Oliveira takes on Yoislandy Izquierdo. This is probably the most irrelevant fight on the card, which probably makes sense because it is on the Facebook portion of the prelims.
Oliveira has not looked good in his second stint in the organization while Izquierdo didn't show much in his UFC debut against Reza Madadi in April. Look for Iquierdo to lay hands on Oliveira and finish the fight with the strikes about halfway into the fight.
Prediction: Yoislandy Izquierdo via TKO (Strikes) - Round 2