UFC 131 looks to have an intriguing card. The main card features two heavyweights ready to duke it out for a shot at a title bout with current heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez.
The two heavy weights of course being the heavy handed Junior Dos Santos and the equally heavy handed Shane Carwin. Both men love to hit, and when they do they go for the kill. Undoubtedly the fight is going to end violently for someone. But who?
Carwin has won 5 of his last 6 fights via knockout. When you end that many fights with your fists you mean business, plain and simple. His most recent fight however was a loss to Brock Lesnar. This fight exposed a lack of stamina in Carwin. A weakness that he’s worked hard to eliminate. The hard work looks to be paying off and that’s a good thing because Dos Santos isn’t a pushover himself, though I would argue that his “strength of schedule” isn’t as strong as Carwin’s. I think Carwin has fought tougher fighters than Dos Santos. Junior has fought good fighters, to be sure, but we’re not talking about the same quality of fighters. Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar are Carwin’s most recent fights and he won one and nearly won the other. Dos Santos will look to stand and throw hands with Carwin, but he can always rely upon his jiu-jitsu should the fight head to the ground. Carwin has a strong wrestling background and won’t find himself overwhelmed on the ground though.
My Pick: This fight gave me a bit of trouble when I was trying to pick it. Both guys can be so deadly and their styles are pretty similar, but I’ll pick Shane Carwin. His vicious strikes and punching power are hard to ignore. If you couple that with his strong resume it gives me all the reason to believe that he will win this fight.
Another fight on this card is the match up of Kenny Florian and Diego Nunes. I’ll be honest I think Kenny Florian is a better fighter, but he has been flying down the weight divisions. Florian started as a middle weight and has worked his way down to where he is now. A featherweight. Florian looked great at 155 lbs in the lightweight division, however he has given all of that up for an opportunity to fight current featherweight champ Jose Aldo and he has to go through Nunes to do it. While I think that Florian is more talented I seriously think he may have overstepped his bounds this team and given up too much weight. Nunes is an extremely well conditioned fighter and if Florian has lost any strength on his way down to 145 lbs and I have no doubt that he has, he’s going to be at a disadvantage. Toss into the mix the skill and grit of Diego Nunes, whose will to win is fueled by the life of poverty that he had to escape, and you’ve got a situation where Nunes can not only hold his own, but win the fight.
My Pick: I think Diego will win because he’s fighting at his natural weight and he’s got the tool chest necessary to to hold off Florian.
Lastly, I’ll talk about Demian Maia and Mark Munoz. Demian Maia is brilliant on the ground. He doesn’t just prefer a fight to go to the mat. He wants it there. This of course is his greatest strength and weakness. Maia is a very dominant jiu-jitsu fighter, but he isn’t very well rounded. Munoz will look to take advantage of this and keep this fight a stand up fight. Munoz has decent power and the ability to knock guys out. Munoz also has a wrestling background and some jiu-jitsu experience ( though not as much as Maia) and will be able have a chance should the fight go at Maia’s pace.
My Pick: Mark Munoz is the more well rounded fighter. Maia is simply too one dimensional in my opinion. Munoz will be able to dominate this fight long enough to win by decision. Who knows? He might even knock Demian out, but I wouldn’t guarantee it.