UFC on Fox 7 (Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez) – Roundtable Predictions For Entire Main card

Tonight the UFC returns to network television with one of the most stacked cards in UFC history. Thusly the Inside Fights staff has gotten together to figure out who we think will come out with the win.

On the panel today:

Scott Sawitz, Managing Editor & Featured Columnist
Ryan Frederick, Staff Writer
Adam Keyes, Staff Writer
Daniel Sohn, Staff Writer

UFC Lightweight Championship bout

Benson Henderson(c) vs. Gilbert Melendez

SAWITZ: I don’t think Gil is as good as his teammate, or as good as Frankie Edgar even. I like Melendez and think he’s elite but he’s coming off a big layoff and mediocre performances in Strikeforce against Josh Thomson and Jorge Masvidal. “Smooth” makes it look as easy as it did against Nate Diaz. Henderson

FREDERICK: Melendez has all the tools to beat Henderson, and I think Melendez is undervalued at times. Bendo is tough as nails though. I picked Melendez in my preview, and I’m sticking to it. Melendez

KEYES: I see this being closer and more competitive than the Nate Diaz fight, but Bendo will be too big and strong for Gil.  Henderson

SOHN: Gil is a serious challenge, but he isn’t necessarily a tougher out than Frankie Edgar or Nate Diaz. I don’t see an area where Gil is better than the champ. Henderson

Staff picking Henderson: Sawitz, Keyes, Sohn
Staff Picking Melendez: Frederick

Heavyweight bout- Frank Mir vs. Daniel Cormier

FREDERICK: A big test for Cormier as he moves over. Mir is someone you have to beat to get into title contention, and history has shown that Mir can fail in big fights and be finished. Cormier will finish him. Cormier

SAWITZ: I picked DC to take the win in my preview and am not wavering from that pick. Cormier

KEYES:  Mir has the sizeable experience advantage but this fight will be decided by the wrestling ability of Cormier. I can’t see Mir taking Cormier down to utilise his jits and Cormier’s hand speed   should prove decisive on the feet.   Cormier

SOHN: Cormier is going to be way too quick in the standup for Mir. His strong wrestling will prevent any funny business on the ground.

Staff picking Cormier: Sawitz, Frederick, Keyes, Sohn
Staff Picking Mir:

Lightweight bout- Nate Diaz vs. Josh Thomson

FREDERICK: This is a real solid fight between two evenly matched fighters. It could be all kinds of crazy as both fight aggressively and will constantly come forward. Thomson will do just enough to take a close decision. Thomson

SAWITZ: I’ve always thought Thomson didn’t get enough love in the rankings and pulls off a split decision here. Diaz is great, and I love how he fights, but I think this winds up being insanely close for some reason. Thomson

KEYES:  Big fan of Thomson but I think that the lack of activity and sustained competition outside of the UFC will make him susceptible and he will ultimately succumb to Diaz’s relentless, rangy slap-boxing style. Diaz

SOHN: Thomson is a great boxer with good all around skills. Nate Diaz is just a little bit better. Diaz

Staff picking Thomson: Sawitz, Frederick
Staff Picking Diaz: Keyes, Sohn

Welterweight bout- Matt Brown vs. Jordan Mein

FREDERICK: This is an outstanding opening bout for the FOX broadcast. It should bring plenty of fireworks and should by all means be action-packed. Mein takes the fight on short notice, but he will get the job done. Mein

SAWITZ: Matt Brown’s on a crazy 4-0 run and a win here gets him into the hunt for a Top 10 fighters.  Who’d have thought that?  For some reason I think he pulls it off.  Brown

KEYES:  The quick turnaround in fights for Mein should not be an issue here. This guy has been bred to fight and I see this as another stride taken towards the upper echelons of the division. Mein

SOHN: Brown is on a great streak right now, but it’s Jordan Mein’s time to shine. Mein is a very smart fighter, with the patience and skills to defeat Brown. Mein

Staff picking Brown: Sawitz
Staff Picking Mein: Frederick, Keyes, Sohn

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