The UFC returns to Japan this Sunday with a stacked card set to take place at the Saitama Super Arena. Headlining the event is former Pride middleweight champion and fan favorite Wanderlei Silva, taking on former U.S. Marine and middleweight contender Brian Stann. Former Pride heavyweight contender Mark Hunt is set to clash with “The Skyscraper”, Stefan Struve, in a battle that will serve as the co-main event. The entire card is filled with fights that are bound to be crowd-pleasers, and will make for an epic night in the birthplace of MMA.
Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann Prediction
Silva is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Rich Franklin almost a year ago back at UFC 147 in Brazil. The fight was awarded “fight of the night” honors and Silva nearly finished Franklin, but “Ace” was able to recover, compose himself, and earn a decision victory. Silva hasn’t exactly been dominant since his entrance into the UFC, only going 3-5 and being knocked out twice. But the ageless scrapper feels he still has some fight left in him and is still a test for any man. Stann has also been inconsistent inside the cage, racking up a 6-4 record and getting submitted twice. However, both men have proved they have the ability to finish – Silva stopping Cung Le and Keith Jardine, and Stann finishing Mike Massenzio, Jorge Santiago, Alessio Sakara and Chris Leben. Don’t expect this fight to go to the ground as both men always prefer to stand and bang. Both men are power punchers, have knockout power and are usually aggressors. The winner of this fight will be determined by which man can be the better counter-striker. Look for Stann to eventually catch Silva in a heated exchange and finish him off with punches.
Prediction: Brian Stann def. Wanderlei Silva by TKO in Round 1
Stefan Struve vs. Mark Hunt Prediction
Struve has been on a tear as of lately, finishing Pat Barry, Dave Herman, Lavar Johnson, and Stipe Miocic by TKO and submission. The 25-year old is riding an impressive 9-3 run inside the Octagon, and with a win over Hunt, could become a top contender in the title picture. Despite having a questionable chin, the seven-footer is making up for it by improving his foot work and utilizing his long reach. Hunt is on a win streak of his own, finding success in his last three bouts over the likes of Chris Tuchscherer, Ben Rothwell, and most recently a huge knockout of Cheick Kongo. “The Super Samoan” is 3-1 in the UFC and is looking to stick to his winning ways. Both men have the ability to knock each other out and finish each other at any point in this fight, but the difference comes down to the ground game. Struve has great submission skills and Hunt has fallen victim to submission six times in his career. Look for Struve to latch on an armbar or triangle within the first two rounds of this fight and force Hunt to tap out.
Prediction: Stefan Struve def. Mark Hunt by Submission in Round 1