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UFC 160 Picks: Velasquez vs. Silva

UFC 160 is on Saturday and it’s one of the most anticipated fight cards of 2013. There isn’t a fight on the main card that doesn’t look exciting and a number of the prelim fights would arguably be main card fights if the UFC 160 card wasn’t so stacked.

Cain Velasquez will look to defend the UFC Heavyweight Championship against Antonio Silva. Junior Dos Santos will look to get back into the win column against Mark Hunt. Maynard is also back in the cage and will be fighting the Canadian T.J. Grant.

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UFC 160 Main Event Odds & Predictions

Cain Velasquez (11-1) -675 vs. Antonio Silva (18-4) +550

In the first fight between these two Antonio Silva was unable to do much against Cain Velasquez. The fight ended quickly in the opening round (3:36) via TKO. Since that loss Silva has bounced back with TKO/KO wins over Travis Browne and Alistair Overeem.

Silva has no doubt improved since his last fight against Velasquez, but it won’t be enough to win on Saturday. Silva will have a 5’’ reach advantage over Velasquez and may hold his own in the stand-up, but Velasquez will be able to take the fight to the ground.

Velasquez averages 6.61 takedown attempts per 15 minutes and he’ll do more of the same in this fight. Silva has struggles when his opponent can take him down and his takedown defense (63%) isn’t that good. Velasquez will win by TKO/KO again.

UFC 160 Main Card Odds & Predictions

Junior Dos Santos (15-2) -395 vs. Mark Hunt (9-7) +370

JDS is going to be tough to beat regardless of how much power Hunt packs in his strikes. Dos Santos comes into this fight with a 6’’ height advantage and 3’’ reach advantage, but rather than standing and banging I expect JDS to take this fight to the ground.

Everyone wants to see these heavyweights bang it out on Saturday, but JDS would be wise to take the fight to the mat. He isn’t known for his ground game, but he has taken down numerous fighters and Hunt’s takedown defense isn’t good enough.

Hunt has strung together 4 straight wins with 3 of those wins by TKO/KO. He has incredible power and I think JDS will respect that fact and finish this fight from the ground. Hunt has been submitted 6 times and my prediction is JDS to win by submission.

Glover Teixeira (20-2) -290 vs. James Te Huna (16-5) +260

Here is another fight where I think the favourite will look to work his ground game and win by submission. Teixeira has 12 wins by TKO/KO, but he also has 5 submission wins with his last coming against Kyle Kingsbury. This is a tough match-up for Te Huna.

Te Huna has been submitted 4 times with the last coming against Alexander Gustafsson. Te Huna has won four fights in a row, but none against the level of competition he’ll face this weekend. The best bet in this fight is Teixeira inside distance at +110.

Gray Maynard (11-1-1) -200 vs. T.J. Grant (20-5) +175

This fight could go either way depending upon how Maynard looks in the cage, as he hasn’t fought since June 2012. Maynard has only lost one fight in his career against Frankie Edgar, but he has some big wins over Nate Diaz, Kenny Florian and Clay Guida.

Maynard has the wrestling background to takedown Grant and win a painful to watch decision to most likely earn a title shot. I just don’t want to bet him because he could potentially be rusty and Grant isn’t a slouch, as he just knocked out Matt Wiman.

Donald Cerrone (19-5) -280 vs. K.J. Noons (11-6) +260

K.J. Noons has lost 4 of his last 5 fights in the cage with Strikeforce, but he’ll get a shot at Cerrone in his UFC debut. Cerrone is one of the top fighters in the division, but he can never get over the hump when he’s in a big fights.

Noons is on a terrible run of form, but all of his fights have gone the distance and he has only lost by stoppage twice. The last two fights for Cerrone have ended in the 1st round, but I think the best bet in this fight is this fight going the distance at -120.