Let's try this again.
After their much-anticipated first meeting ended in little more than one minute, heavyweight wrecking machines Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez will lock horns once again in the headlining bout of UFC 155, which will come at you this Saturday evening (Dec. 29, 2012) from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In addition, Joe Lauzon faces Jim Miller in a clash of two of 155-pound division's most entertaining fighters, while the middleweight landscape gets a shake up as Tim Boetsch and Alan Belcher face Constantinos Philippou and Yushin Okami, respectively.
But before all that, we've got a bevy of exciting under bouts to whet your appetites. Check out part one of our UFC 155 "Prelims" breakdown, featuring the first three bouts of the fight card that will stream live on Facebook below:
Rises and falls don’t come much more quickly than the one Todd Duffee (7-2) authored inside the Octagon.
After blowing away Tim Hague in all of six seconds in his UFC debut, Duffee spent 18 minutes doing everything short of running over Mike Russow with a bulldozer in an attempt to knock him out, only to get put to sleep with a single blow in the third. After being sacrificed to Alistair Overeem in Dec. 2010, Duffee, 27, disappeared from the face of the Earth before returning to knock out Neil Grove earlier this year.
After getting ignominiously blasted into oblivion by Stipe Miocic in his second UFC bout, Philip De Fries (9-1) successfully bounced back with a second-round submission of Oli Thompson this past August. De Fries -- a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu -- has gone the distance only once, submitting eight opponents including six by rear-naked choke.
The Englishman will have a four-inch reach and two more in the height department over his American foe.
Duffee is big, strong, hits hard and is hard to take down. De Fries has terrible wrestling, his submission game isn’t really that good, and his striking is garbage.
This may sound harsh, but I’m of the firm opinion that De Fries is the worst fighter in the UFC heavyweight division and arguably the worst UFC fighter period behind Edwin Figueroa, Leonard Garcia and Cody McKenzie. Duffee isn’t a world-beater by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s several levels above De Fries.
Duffee by slaughter.
Prediction: Duffee by first-round knockout
125 lbs.: John Moraga vs. Chris Cariaso (14-3)
A former NCAA Division I wrestler whose only loss came at the hands of current top contender John Dodson, John Moraga (12-1) made some serious noise in his UFC debut, blowing away Ulysses Gomez with a vicious first-round onslaught against the fence. This Saturday will mark Moraga’s fifth bout in 2012, which includes three fights in three months this past summer.
Despite being hugely undersized at Bantamweight, Chris Cariaso (14-3) has impressed mightily under the Zuffa umbrella, damn near taking out super-prospect Michael McDonald in his second UFC bout and beating English submission specialist Vaughan Lee. After a controversial victory over Takeya Mizugaki that saw him on his back for the majority of the bout, he dropped to his proper weight class and beat up Josh Ferguson in his highly-entertaining debut this past July.
Cariaso will give up three inches in height to his opponent.
Anyone who pisses and moans about flyweights needs to sit down and shut up because this is going to be a hell of a scrap. Cariaso is beastly on the feet and what little we’ve seen of Moraga has been promising, to say the least.
This fight is going to come down to Cariaso’s ability to stay vertical. He’s gotten the better of effectively everyone he’s faced standing, including McDonald, but his takedown defense cost him that fight and probably should have cost him the Mizugaki fight. Moraga showed solid takedown defense in the Gomez fight and his background indicates that his offensive abilities in that department should be up to snuff.
This is my least-confident pick of the night, as this is essentially a toss-up, but I like Cariaso to do enough damage standing and get up quickly enough from takedowns to eke out a decision in a fantastic striking affair that sees his versatility overcome Moraga’s raw strength.
Prediction: Cariaso by unanimous decision
145 lbs.: Max Holloway vs. Leonard Garcia
The 21-year-old Max Holloway (6-1) was thrown to the wolves in his February UFC debut when, replacing the injured Ricardo Lamas, he faced Dustin Poirier and suffered his first career defeat. The lanky striker has come back in a big way since, demolishing Pat Schilling his second time out before upsetting Justin Lawrence by body shot beatdown.
"Blessed" is replacing the injured Cody McKenzie on just over a week's notice for the former's fourth fight of 2012.
Things have gone downhill in a hurry for Leonard Garcia (15-9-1) since his back-to-back knockouts of Hiroyuki Takaya and Jens Pulver. The "Bad Boy" is 3-6-1 in his last 10, those wins all by split decision. There's actually an argument to be made that he should be 0-10 in that span. Worst of all, it seems that Garcia's legendary luck with the judges has finally run out, as he's dropped two straight unanimous(!!) decisions.
While he collects "Fight of the Night" bonuses like most nerds collect stamps, it could be curtains for his UFC career if he can't pull out a win.
There is no doubt in my mind that Holloway will earn a win. Garcia had the part of his brain that remembers his above-average grappling knocked out of his head long ago, he has the coordination of the QWOP guy, and despite heaving every punch with the ferocity of Gabe Newell fighting for the last nacho, he really has no power whatsoever.
Holloway's young, but he knows how to fight long, has a huge stand up arsenal, and knows how to work the body without compromising his height advantage.
Garcia can't even bank on his strange hypnotic abilities anymore, as the judges have apparently wised up to his tricks. He had a chance against McKenzie, the only member of the division with comparable incompetence, but he's out of luck against Holloway. Expect an absolute beatdown, with Holloway's body shots further debilitating Garcia's already-poor cardio before a particularly mean left hook downstairs puts an exhausted Garcia down for the count.
Prediction: Holloway by third-round technical knockout
The rest of the UFC 155 "Prelims," which include the long-awaited showdown between Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner, will air on FX.
Stop by tomorrow for at those match ups.
Remember that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card action on fight night (Sat., Dec. 29, 2012), which is slated to air at 10 p.m. ET on PPV. The latest quick updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that around 6:30 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook and FX Channel.