Renan Barao (blue glove tape) vs. Brad Pickett

Pic by SHERDOG.COM -click for source- Renan Barao (blue glove tape) vs. Brad Pickett

Jones Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson

If it wasn’t from a previous loss on the challenger’s career, Alexander Gustafsson would in my opinion be more of a mystery and threat to anyone he faces. With both Jones and Gustafsson only having one loss on their record, it is safe to say only one of them deserves it.

If you recall back to December 5, 2009, Jones(18-1) was dominating a highly talented Matt Hamill before delivering an illegal elbow (12 to 6), which cost him the fight when it was known “The Hammer” could not continue during his recovery period.

Many people that witnessed the fight I’m sure realize that in no way, shape, or form, “Bones” was going to lose that fight. We never did get to see a rematch between Jon and Matt but I’m sure a different outcome would have come about if it were to happen.

The Swedish sensation known as “The Mauler” has embarked on a journey which now comes to an end at UFC 165 in Toronto, ON Canada. Alexander Gustaffson(15-1), just like his adversary, has only one blemish on his professional mma record.

UFC 112 was the first time in “The Mauler’s” career he had tasted not only defeat but what it was like to compete with a high level wrestler in Phil Davis. “Mr. Wonderful” another young talented light-heavyweight and Gustafsson had to force paths which involved a 4:55 performance from the current number one contender. Alexander spent a decent amount of time on his back before being submitted via anaconda choke.

In my opinion, Jones has never lost, as were Alexander has truly and honestly tasted defeat. Although “The Mauler” has great hands and striking, there are some flaws still in his young career that a fighter like Jones can and will reveal to all spectators.

The wrestling of Jones in my opinion will be too much for his opponent and will also enable Jones to set up more strikes and utilize his creativity to put on an excellent performance for the fans.

My prediction: Jon Jones winner via submission in the second or third round.

Renan Barao vs Eddie Wineland

Renan Barao(30-1)(1) has a streak like no other right now in the UFC or mma in general. A thirty one fight unbeaten streak just does not come by chance or luck. Barao has certainly earned his reputation by being an overall great fighter in the sport today.

Versatile with his strikes and slick with his submissions, Barao can either stop the fight on the feet or the ground. The majority of his wins come by way of submission, including his latest outing against a dangerous and threatening Michael McDonald last February.

The interim champion has carried the bantamweight division with the absence of the current champion Dominic Cruz Jr. I expect another showing from Barao since he desperately wants to prove his is the number one 135er in the world by getting his fight with Cruz.

Eddie Wineland(20-8-1) has a chance to be the man to end a streak that could possibly be one of the best in mma history. Wineland is no slouch by any means and has started to show his true form yet again in his last two outings.

Despite his 2-2 record in the UFC, Eddie had stopped two top guys in his division, all reaching for a title shot against the interim champion. It was Wineland who pulled through his fights with WEC vet Scott Jorgensen, and English native/fan favorite Brad Pickett.

Although originally scheduled for UFC 161 in Winnipep, Manitoba, now Toronto will get to host this highly anticipated title fight.

Wineland might have some very impressive knockouts (10) but I have to go with the overall game of Barao and ability to keep on improving and gaining confidence. Not just striking with his hands but a lot of flurries or combinations will lead right in to devastating kicks as well.

My prediction: Renan Barao winner via TKO in the third round.

Brandon Schaub vs Matt Mitrione

Since his TUF finalist KO loss to “Big Country,” Brandon Schaub has seen his ups and downs in his career. Holding a respectable (9-3) record and 4-0 before entering the TUF house, Schaub has seemed to have created an inconsistent pattern in which has left his long term future in the UFC possibly in question.

His only three losses have come to true veterans of the sport (Roy Nelson, Big Nog, and Ben Rothwell), where we have seen Brandon stop such names as Gabriel Gonzaga and the great Mirko “CroCop” Filipovic.

With power in both hands, “Hybrid” can end any fight with one punch and will look to just do that against Matt Mitrione come UFC 165.

Mitrione is a special kind of fighter, an athlete cross over from the NFL who has developed into a highly competitive at times heavyweight mixed martial artist.

One of the very rare fighters to ever have their inaugural pro fight in the UFC, as well as making their debut on a TUF finale event, Matt made no question about whether he belonged or not.

Since the show (also like his cast mate), Mitrione(6-2) has seen his ups and downs with two key losses recently. His last appearance also had him squared off with a TUF 10 alum in one Roy Nelson. Unfortunately for Matt, the power of “big Country” was too much for him as the fight was called off via TKO stoppage.

Although “Meathead” has come a long ways since his debut, I have to give the power and determination to Schaub. Both men can end the fight and Mitrione can play mind games. We’ve seen his handy work payoff but also back fire. Both men might play this fight a little tentative and hesitantly might be looking for that killer finish.

I give the advantage to “Hybrid” if he keeps this fight standing as where the advantage to Matt if he is able to take the fight to the ground and keep it there.

My prediction: Brandon Schaub by unanimous decision.

Costa Philippou vs Francis Carmont

The southpaw boxing from Costa Philippou has now created one of the most feared middleweights in the UFC. His outstanding boxing skills combined with his power, Piippou has earned victories over Jorge Rivera, Jared Hamman, Court Mcgee, Riki Fukuda, and most recently his dismantling of Tim Boetsch in his last five fights.

With 6 knockouts and five wins by decision, either Costas will look to end the fight in dramatic fashion, or look to pick apart Carmont to outlast him all three rounds for a decision win.

Francis Carmont is no rookie when it comes to squaring off with tough opponents. As both men carry a current winning streak, Francis has not tasted defeated not only since joining the UFC roster, but also in his last ten fights.

Also with six knockouts notched on his record, Carmont also has picked up ten submission victories over his career as well. Francis might be able to surprise Costas with a take down to earn himself the dominate position and gain the tap out.

Although Philippou has never lost via submission, it does not mean Carmont wont make any attempt to end the fight that way if given any opportunity to do so.

My prediction: In my opinion although the ten fight win streak is impressive, I have to give this fight to Philippou via TKO in the second round. I feel if any take down attempts are made from Carmont, they will be stuffed, and capitalized on by Costas.

Pat Healy vs Khabib Nurmagomedov

Pat Healy truly dominated a very tough Jim Miller, although the decision was taken back once he tested positive for marijuana after his post-fight testing.

Healy (29-16) (1), will look to keep momentum in his corner while riding a seven fight unbeaten streak heading into Toronto.

With a great wrestling background, which was shown in his last outing, I look for Healy to use his power strikes to obtain or attempt to gain top control. From there, I’d look for him to utilize his ground and pound without letting Khabib create any type of offense.

The only issue is Nurmagomedov is no slouch when it comes to grappling. As an International Master of Sports in Sambo, combined with being a judo black belt, taking the Russian down will not go without a war, if it’s even possible to do.

“The Eagle” currently holds the record for the most take downs in a UFC fight with 21, over Abel Trujlio, while attempting 27 throughout the fight.

We mentioned Healy’s unbeaten streak at five, while Khabib looks to continue riding his twenty fight winning streak. At the early age of only twenty four years, it is unknown on how much more this fighter is going to improve. It seems as if there are no limits.

My Prediction:  Khabib by decision, as Healy is always a tough fight for anyone. This could be a wake-up call for the younger fighter Nurmagomedov, but one I think he will take advantage of edging out a split decision win.

Those are my fight predictions for the UFC 165 main card. You can catch the event live in Toronto,ON Canada at the Air Canada Center, or live on PPV September 21, 2013.