The cancellation of UFC 151 has dominated the discussions of the MMA world for most of the last month. Anger, blame and criticism have been directed at everyone from coach Greg Jackson and champion Jon Jones to UFC President Dana White and the injured former challenger Dan Henderson. The fiasco has overshadowed the upcoming fights, but it is finally fight week and it is time to move on.

UFC 152 brings us not one but two title fights, and several more fights that have title implications. The main event was a recent addition to this card. Jon Jones was moved from the doomed UFC 151 card to defend his title. Originally, his opponent was announced as Lyoto Machida. However, it was quickly changed to former UFC light heavyweight champion and recent middleweight contender Vitor Belfort. Belfort will test his hand speed and punching power against Jones’ freakish athleticism.

The other title fight is for the inaugural flyweight championship. The four-man tournament started last spring and has finally reached its conclusion. Not surprising, the two favorites will now meet for the strap. Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez both challenged for a title at a heavier weight class and will finally have the opportunity to fight at their natural weight. While the UFC hasn’t heavily promoted this fight, it has “Fight of the Night” written all over it.

UFC 152 takes place on Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. The preliminary card kicks off on Facebook at 6: 30 p.m. ET before shifting to FX at 8 p.m. ET. Then, the main card will air on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET. Here to break down the entire card is The MMA Corner’s panel of Gregory Chase, Richard Wilcoxon and new staff writer Riley Kontek.

FW: Charles Oliveira (16-2) vs. Cub Swanson (17-5)

Chase: This fight is one I am excited about because I like to watch both of these guys fight. They bring unique things into the cage with them, and as the saying goes, styles make fights…and these guys are in no short supply of style.

Swanson (Tracy Lee/Combat Lifestyle)

Charles Oliveira has looked very impressive since his debut at featherweight, and he has used his submissions to pull out early stoppages in his fights. He will be facing Cub Swanson, who is very versatile. He is well-rounded, but has the striking advantage in this fight.

If this fight stays standing, Swanson has the tools to take home a great victory over a top guy. If it goes to the ground, Oliveira takes this one home. Both guys are looking to advance their win streaks, but I think Oliveira takes this one home by another submission.

Kontek: This is going to be among the most exciting fights on the card and it is a unique style matchup.

Oliveira’s jiu-jitsu is rarely mentioned, though all of his UFC wins have come by tapout. He has a huge advantage if this fight goes to the ground. In fact, if he gets Swanson down, I don’t think Swanson will last longer than a minute grappling with “Do Bronx.”

If the fight stays on the feet, Swanson’s power and technique are superior to most. Oliveira is no slouch on the feet either, possessing underrated Muay Thai. It will be somewhat even on the feet, though I would give Swanson a slight advantage.

Oliveira (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

I think Oliveira will take this one in two rounds with another highlight-reel submission.

Wilcoxon: One thing not being mentioned here is that in the extremely thin featherweight division this fight could actually establish a contender.

I don’t have a lot to add in the breakdown of Oliveira. My colleagues have outlined what he brings to the cage. However, the biggest question around Swanson has not been mentioned. It’s his inconsistency. When he is on, Swanson has great striking technique and KO power. He has a heavily underrated ground game as well and can compete with anyone. But you never know if that Swanson will show up.

Swanson’s inconsistency also makes it very difficult to predict his fights, and this one is no different. If he is on, I would actually give Swanson a slight edge. But if he is off, this will be a beat down. In a coin flip, I will take Oliveira for the win.

LHW: Matt Hamill (10-4) vs. Roger Hollett (13-3)

Kontek: Matt Hamill’s un-retirement comes against a solid fighter in Roger Hollett, but it was formerly scheduled against one of the toughest vets in Vladimir Matyushenko. Hamill should not take this shuffle of opponents lightly, as Hollett is a tough customer and Hamill will be coming off a stint of inactivity, and, even more so, because Hollett will be fighting in front of his fellow countrymen.

Hollett (Jeff Miller/Sherdog)

Hamill is as tough as they come and is offensively challenging, so Hollett will need to be on guard. Hamill has great wrestling, so expect him to dive for a leg early and often. Hamill tends to move away from his wrestling and engage in brawls. If he wants a successful debut, he will need to stick with his strong point, which is wrestling.

Hollett will try to entice Hamill into a striking battle. I think Hamill will oblige, but eventually drag him to the mat. Some ground-and-pound, as well as improved position, will turn a wrestling match into a referee stoppage, as Hamill earns the victory.

Wilcoxon: The biggest question in this fight is how the long layoff will affect Hamill. Will he have ring rust or will he be the same old Hamill we have always known?

Hamill comes from a strong wrestling background, but has used his wrestling most recently to keep his fights standing. He has shown knockout power in the past, but it has been a while.

Hollett is a tough fighter. However, the biggest advantage Hollett will have in this fight is his grappling game. The challenge will be getting Hamill to the ground.

Hamill (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

Styles make fights. If Hamill doesn’t have ring rust, his style gives him a huge advantage in this fight. Hamill wins by late knockout or one-sided decision.

Chase: As Richard said, it will be interesting to see how Hamill will do in his return. Layoffs can be detrimental to a fighter and his performance upon returning, and even change the course of his career.

In Hamill’s case, I think he will want to go back to his roots of using his wrestling to dictate this fight. I see him standing up with Hollett, but ultimately going to his strength of controlling his opponent. It’s not that Hamill can’t get the knockout punch, but both men will want to take this to the ground.

The only question is if Hamill can avoid getting submitted and controlled himself on the ground. I see this as a stalemate of grappling and wrestling, with Hamill ending up the victor via unanimous decision.

MW: Michael Bisping (22-4) vs. Brian Stann (12-4)

Wilcoxon: This could potentially determine the middleweight title challenger.

Bisping (James Law/Heavy MMA)

Brian Stann is a heavy-handed fighter. He has shown his KO power time and time again. Anyone who has one-punch power will always have a chance in any fight.

Michael Bisping is a much better-rounded fighter. He possesses technical striking, a sound submission game, and ever-improving wrestling, as demonstrated in his fight with Chael Sonnen.

I have a gut feeling Bisping will win, but my head questions how. Bisping likes to stand and strike with his opponents. The problem is, he has nowhere near the power Stann possesses and he would be playing with fire. Bisping would hold an advantage on the ground, but I am not sure he has the wrestling to get the fight to the mat. Those facts make me question my gut, but I guess I will stick with it on this one. Bisping will win via decision, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Stann knock him out.

Chase: This fight has huge implications for the division, as Richard pointed out. There are talks of Bisping getting a title shot if he were to beat Stann in a dominant fashion. I think this is premature, but I understand the marketing behind it.

This fight will be a scrap in the sense that neither man is going to be timid in exchanging blows. Bisping has been constantly evolving since his TUF days, but Stann truly has the heart of a warrior and the ferocity to finish Bisping.

Bisping, even though I see him trading punches more so, may want to build off the success of others against Stann by wrestling and controlling him. He may opt out of this strategy in hopes of putting on a more exciting fight to impress the UFC brass and fans though.

Stann (R) throws a flying knee (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

I think at the end of the day, Stann has the tools to finish Bisping on the feet. The ground game is in question, but I’m sure Stann has worked on that since his outing with Sonnen. I will go with Stann getting a TKO victory over Bisping.

Kontek: This may be a title eliminator—it may not be No. 1 contender fight, but it could boost one man into that situation in their next fight.

I don’t expect much, if any, of a ground fight to take place here. Stann is a slugger with jaw-rattling power, while Bisping is a precise striker with a good gas tank. Either Bisping is going to outstrike Stann or Stann will land one massive bomb that sends Bisping crashing to the mat unconscious.

This fight is a lot closer than some think. Stann, other than the wrestling aspect of his fight game, is very similar to Dan Henderson. Henderson may have more power, but Stann is not far behind in that area.

In the end, I see Bisping playing it smart here. He will stay on the outside and make this a technical fight. Stann will be looking for the highlight-reel knockout, but Bisping is smarter than to engage in a brawl with the former Marine. I say Bisping wins by decision, even though I too can definitely see Stann earning the knockout victory.

FlyW Championship: Joseph Benavidez (16-2) vs. Demetrious Johnson (15-2-1)

Kontek: Finally, the flyweight championship is coming full circle from something that started in February. For something that should have already ended, this fight is making me excited as a fan of lighter weight guys.

Benavidez (Sherdog)

Joseph Benavidez throws heavy leather and has great wrestling, but Demetrious Johnson is quicker with equally good wrestling. In my humble opinion, Benavidez’s striking will make the difference. He will outstrike “Mighty Mouse” until Johnson finds himself completely uncomfortable shooting for a takedown.

Benavidez will have great takedown defense. He is a good wrestler, like Johnson, and trains with some of the best at Team Alpha Male. If Johnson shoots, Benavidez will be ready with the patented guillotine choke, but again, I don’t see it happening.

Seeing as he has improved his striking dramatically, Benavidez’s stand-up game will make Johnson look almost amateur-esque. Expect Benavidez to use this striking to earn a decision or a late knockout to become your first flyweight champion.

Chase: As with Riley, I think some of these lighter-weight fights are exciting, and this is going to be a great one. When the UFC announced that it would add flyweights, this is the match-up I was hoping would take place to determine the first champion. Both men are incredibly fast, but I would still give an edge to Johnson. The power advantage goes to Benavidez though.

Johnson will want to get in and out and hope to catch Benavidez with a punch that will drop him. If he does, he will swarm on him, but Benavidez should be able to get back up to his feet. Benavidez will possibly find success with a counter or his own combos.

Both men have a good ground game, but I don’t see this fight resulting in a slow grappling match. Benavidez might play off the success of McCall’s strategy and get Johnson to the ground, but from there, you can expect him to look for a finish.

Johnson (James Law/Heavy MMA)

Hard to call, but I will say Benavidez takes this one home with a TKO or submission.

Wilcoxon: Is this the most under-promoted title fight in UFC history? It is a shame that it is. These guys bring a fun, fast style. However, the fight hasn’t really been promoted at all. And that is a problem. The UFC is desperate for a new crop of stars outside of Jones, Silva and GSP, but without proper promotion they will never get there. After the inaugural crowning of the flyweight champion was forced down the card and rarely discussed or promoted, can the UFC really expect the belt to be able to headline another pay-per-view? If you want the champions to be viewed as the real deal, they have to treat them like they are. Okay, rant over.

As my colleagues laid out, both fighters are capable on the ground. I would give a slight wrestling advantage to Benavidez, a slight speed advantage to Johnson, and the strength advantage to Benavidez. Both guys can strike and are really well-rounded.

This fight comes down to the fact that the only person to ever beat Benavidez is bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, and the second time it was by a split decision. When you are that dominant in a weight class higher than your natural weight, it is impressive. Johnson is no slouch and will make Benavidez work for it, but Benavidez brings home the gold by way of a unanimous decision.

LHW Championship: Jon Jones (16-1) vs. Vitor Belfort (21-9)

Chase: Now that the dust has settled, Jon Jones has been shifted to UFC 152 to take on Vitor Belfort. After the whole debacle that left the young star a villain in many people’s eyes, Jones will look to get past the media and do what he does best—fight.

Belfort (James Law/Heavy MMA)

The choice of Belfort is one that many feel makes for a mismatch, but I think Belfort has much more going for him than people give him credit for. His speed, matched with his power, creates a dangerous threat to anyone. If he can get within the range of Jones, we may see Jones’ chin tested when a flurry of punches are coming his way.

Jones will want to use his kicks to dictate this fight and frustrate Belfort. I almost dare to say he should try some front kicks as well! If he can throw his long shots, and then back out to avoid the counter, he should be able to pick apart Belfort with ease.

While I do think this is a closer fight than people think, I still have to give it to Jones. He could find himself in a position to submit Belfort, but I will more so side with his striking to get the job done.

Wilcoxon: I disagree with Gregory on one point: this isn’t a close fight.

If this was 1998, I might think Belfort had a chance. But let’s be real. Dana White may tout Belfort as a former light heavyweight champion, but that is only true on a technicality. He won because the stitching of his glove cut Randy Couture’s eyelid and the fight had to be stopped. And even that was back in 2004. Let’s not forget that Belfort has spent the last five years at middleweight. Belfort is a BJJ black belt, but he rarely uses his grappling skills and prefers to bang. While he does have great hand speed, I just don’t see that being enough.

Jones (James Law/Heavy MMA)

Jones may have issues dealing with the fans and media, but none of that matters in the cage. He is a freak of nature. He is huge for the weight class, has one of the longest wingspans in the UFC, and is an unbelievable athlete. Jones is a monster at wrestling, has inventive striking, and enough of a submission game to not only never really be in trouble on the ground, but to actually collect submission victories over legit BJJ black belts.

Jones ends this fight early in devastating fashion.

Kontek: I’m going to have to agree with Richard here. This fight will likely be a blowout.

Belfort is not a young man anymore, and this fight is going to be against a new breed of fighter. One important factor is that Belfort is usually a middleweight. Jones is going to be the larger man and, as usual, the longer man. He will use his reach to counteract Belfort’s hand speed.

I expect Jones to use leg kicks to find his range. Belfort will get overly aggressive and storm in on Jones with punches. Jones will use his superior wrestling to get the fight down and batter Belfort with ground-and-pound. From there, it will open up a chance for him to lock in a guillotine choke.

This fight shouldn’t leave the second round.

Preliminary Card
WW: Charlie Brenneman (15-4) vs. Kyle Noke (19-6-1)

Kontek: Charlie Brenneman is a great wrestler, but Kyle Noke is game wherever the fight goes. In all honesty, Noke has all sorts of potential to make 170 pounds real interesting. Noke has solid submissions, but I see Brenneman grinding out a decision en route to a victory.

Chase: Great match-up. Noke has had some issues on the ground before, but he is pretty well-rounded. But like Riley mentioned, if Brenneman gets on top, the unanimous decision will follow.

Wilcoxon: This is indeed a great match-up. Brenneman is a strong wrestler that will look to get the fight to the mat where he can land some ground-and-pound. Noke is a better striker and may have better submissions, but he is cutting down to a new weight class and lacks wrestling. For those reasons, make it unanimous: Brenneman wins a decision.

BW: Mitch Gagnon (8-2) vs. Walel Watson (9-4)

Chase: Because both men are versed on the ground, it’s hard to tell if this will end up on the mat or if they stay standing to avoid that altogether. I will say Walel Watson takes this one, and probably hands Mitch Gagnon his pink slip.

Wilcoxon: This could very well be a loser-leaves-town fight, so both men are in desperate need of a victory. As Gregory said, both guys are versed on the ground. The difference is that Watson is tall and has excellent reach for the division. He also has demonstrated better striking technique. With more ways to finish the fight, I give the advantage to Watson.

Kontek: Watson’s biggest asset is going to be his size. Gagnon is 5-foot-6 to Watson’s is 5-foot-11, which is a huge difference in height and reach. I expect Watson to establish his range and not look back, winning this fight by decision or a late TKO.

WW: Seth Baczynski (17-8) vs. Simeon Thoresen (17-2-1)

Wilcoxon: Simeon Thoresen could be a solid fighter, but I think this is a bad match-up. Seth Baczynski has more experience, has faced better competition, and should be smart enough to keep this fight away from the ground, where Thoresen would have the advantage. Baczynski takes this on the judges’ scorecards.

Kontek: I have to agree with Richard, in that this is a bad match-up for Thoresen. He is primarily a grappler, but it will be tough to get Baczynski to the ground. I see Baczynski using his striking and clinch work to earn the nod on the judges’ scorecards.

Chase: Have to go with Baczynski on this one, hands down. This guy can finish a fight anywhere, and I see his striking being the main factor for his case. Thoresen’s ground game shouldn’t be overlooked, but in order for Thoresen to be effective, he would have to get Baczynski to the ground in the first place, which will be a challenge for him. Baczynski takes the unanimous decision.

FW: Jimy Hettes (10-0) vs. Marcus Brimage (5-1)

Wilcoxon: There are only two endings to this fight in my mind—Jimy Hettes by submission or Marcus Brimage by decision. Hettes is a grappling wizard that has captured the imagination of MMA fans with his slick submissions. Brimage rose to fame on TUF and is a little tank. Unfortunately for Brimage, in order for him to win the decision, he will need to take Hettes to the ground and avoid submissions for three rounds. I just don’t see that happening. Hettes locks on a submission in the second.

Kontek: I both agree and disagree with Richard’s statement. There is only one way this fight can go in my mind—Hettes will drag a much stronger Brimage to the ground and beat him up. After a while, an opportunity will arise and Hettes will lock in the submission. This win will likely earn him a top opponent.

Chase: Have to agree with Riley, in that I see Hettes pulling out another submission. Brimage can win fights with his ground game, but Hettes feels at home there. He has the experience of a slightly longer but more successful career, as well. Hettes by submission in the first.

WW: Sean Pierson (12-6) vs. Lance Benoist (6-1)

Chase: Sean Pierson is a scrappy guy, but I think Lance Benoist is going to finish this fight. Pierson has the momentum going into this fight coming off a win, but even though Benoist is less experienced, I see him pulling out a submission for this one. Pierson has some dangerous hands, so this will be another fight that will be decided based on the location of where the fight takes place in the cage.

Kontek: I agree with Gregory’s analysis on this one. Pierson’s boxing is extremely overlooked and can end a fight in the blink of an eye. Benoist brings a more well-rounded game to the cage and will be comfortable wherever the fight goes. He is an underrated prospect that I can see being a top-15 guy in the future. Benoist takes this one by decision.

Wilcoxon: This is another example of great matchmaking, and this will tell us where both men belong. As my colleagues mentioned, Pierson will have the superior striking. Benoist looks to be the better mixed martial artist. I agree that Benoist takes this one.

LW: Evan Dunham (13-2) vs. T.J. Grant (18-5)

Kontek: Both Evan Dunham and T.J. Grant are studs when it comes to their respective games. Dunham is well-rounded and is a great striker, while Grant is an underrated grappler with submission ability. Dunham will strike with Grant until Grant is uncomfortable. Grant will then fish for a takedown, but Dunham is too skilled to let that happen. Dunham will batter Grant on the feet, hurting him until the referee intervenes and saves him.

Wilcoxon: I also think Grant gets overlooked. His grappling ability is aggressive and fun to watch. However, the UFC didn’t do him any favors with this fight. Dunham is just on another level. He is extremely well-rounded with KO power, solid submissions and good wrestling. Dunham has more ways to win this fight and will secure a one-sided victory.

Chase: Grant is certainly getting overlooked, as Riley and Richard mentioned. Dunham is well-rounded and coming off a nice performance against Nik Lentz. I think Dunham is hungry to get his name back in the mix. I predict Dunham takes this one decisively though, and we will see him tap Grant by the end of the night.

LHW: Vinny Magalhaes (9-5) vs. Igor Pokrajac (25-8)

Wilcoxon: Whoever dictates where the fight happens will win this one. Vinny Magalhaes is returning to the UFC after three and half years away. He is a BJJ black belt with a laundry list of grappling credentials. Igor Pokrajac prefers to bang and has collected 13 knockout victories over his career. I like Magalhaes and hope the former M-1 champion has a good enough showing to stick around, but I think Pokrajac has better wrestling and therefore a better chance of keeping the fight where he wants it. Pokrajac wins by a late KO or decision.

Chase: Couldn’t have said it better than Richard. If this fight goes to the ground, then the Brazilian takes another win with BJJ. If it stays standing, Magalhaes still has a shot, but Pokrajac’s hands are much more deadly and experienced. I will go with Pokrajac, because Magalhaes has to get a hold of Pokrajac before his game can kick in.

Kontek: Richard and Gregory said it best: this match-up will either go one of two ways. Either Magalhaes somehow drags Pokrajac to the ground and overwhelms him with his grappling game or Pokrajac uses his striking to beat Magalhaes up until a stoppage. My guess would be the latter, most likely in the form of a second-round stoppage for Pokrajac.


Top Photo: Jon Jones (L) (James Law/Heavy MMA)

About The Author

Richard Wilcoxon
Staff Writer

An East Coast native, Richard Wilcoxon grew up a die hard fan of traditional team sports. In the early 1990's, he stumbled onto the sport of MMA and has been hooked ever since. He started writing about the sport on his Sporting News member blog in 2005 where he worked to spread his passion for the sport. He eventually became an official staff writer for Sporting News' "The Rumble" MMA/boxing blog before joining The MMA Corner.