Battle of the network stars - NBC Sports

Battle of the network stars
The world of UFC is ready for its close-up as top heavyweights Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos headline the first broadcast on network television Saturday night.
Getty Images for Studio 54
UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez strikes a pose at Studio 54.
November 11, 2011, 12:11 pm

UFC president Dana White calls Saturday night's UFC on FOX main event the most important in the organization's history, and considering the fact that the Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos fight will be the first broadcast on network television, it's hard to argue with him.

So with that in mind, let's try and predict who will walk away with the UFC heavyweight title on Saturday night.

Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos -- UFC heavyweight title

Earlier this week I said that I would wait until I got a chance to see both fighters in person before making my pick. The main reason for that was I had heard Velasquez battled through a few injuries during this training camp. Of course, every top-level fighter has to overcome some obstacles en route to fight night, so I wasn't quite sure just how serious these bumps and bruises were.

However, after watching Velasquez at Thursday's media workouts, I feel confident in determining that the champ is ready to go for Saturday night, which means I'm picking him to retain. Dos Santos is, without a doubt, the toughest fighter Velasquez has ever fought. He's the best boxer in the heavyweight division and has underrated wrestling skills. But Velasquez's wrestling is second-to-none at heavyweight and the way he mixes up his precise striking with his ground game is a thing of beauty. Unlike most people out there, I think this fight will go the distance, and it says here that Velasquez's superior wrestling will be the difference.

Prediction: Velasquez via unanimous decision.

Ben Henderson vs. Clay Guida

I'm not lying when I say that I'm looking forward to this fight just as much as I am the main event. Here's why I think Henderson wins: he's the only guy in the lightweight division who can match Guida's intensity and cardio. Plus, his BJJ is better and his wrestling is just as strong. Henderson has an unbreakable will and I just don't see him getting flustered when faced with dealing with Guida's dizzying pace.

Prediction: Henderson via unanimous decision.

Dustin Poirier vs. Pablo Garza

Poirier has looked impressive ever since he moved down to 145. And while he'll be giving up four inches to Garza, I think he'll be able to impose his will standing. Yves Jabouin exposed a lot of holes in Garza's striking game, which leads me to believe that the hard-hitting "Diamond" will find success on his feet against Garza.

Prediction: Poirier via 2nd-round TKO.

Rest of the card:
Cub Swanson def. Ricardo Lamas
DaMarques Johnson def. Clay Harvison
KID Yamamoto def. Darren Uyenoyama
Mackens Semerzier def. Robert Peralta
Cole Escovedo def. Alex Caceres
Mike Pierce def. Paul Bradley
Matt Lucas def. Aaron Roas

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