UFC 169 predictions, preview and analysis

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing mixed martial arts (MMA) fans its first pay-per-view (PPV) fight card of the year with two championship title contests and one heavyweight hoss fight, which could send the loser packing. Assuming they don't freeze to death, first.

Like my grandpappy used to say, it's colder than a witch's tit in a brass bra.

That's why there was so much confusion over what was going on with the Super Bowl, and whether or not it was going to cock-block this Saturday night's (Feb. 1, 2014) UFC 169 PPV event from inside the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Fortunately, The Winter Warlock has decided to play nice and keep the snow out of "The Garden State," so the show will go on as scheduled. That means we could crown a couple of new champions this weekend, depending on how well Urijah Faber and Ricardo Lamas do in their respective title fights against Renan Barao and Jose Aldo.

The odds are not in their favor.

Elsewhere on the card, Frank Mir tries to snap a three-fight losing streak -- along with a limb -- when he throws leather against fellow struggling veteran Alistair Overeem. Both Mir and "The Reem" were KTFO in their last fights, so both should be considered equally desperate to win.

Hooray for violence!

Trying to predict who wins and who comes up lame is hardly a science, but fortunately we have a body of work from each competitor that lets us make an educated guess. And when we don't, sometimes it's fun to just say a bunch of official-sounding words and see how many of them come true on fight night.

That's where I come in.

135 lbs.: Renan "Barao" Pegado (31-1) vs. Urijah "The California Kid" Faber (30-6)

Nostradumbass predicts: Well, the good news is, we're probably going to see a much better Urijah Faber in his UFC 169 rematch against Renan Pegado than we did when they first went to war back at UFC 149. The bad news is, he's still going to lose.

There just always seems to be an excuse for his losses, which admittedly, are few and far between.

The Mike Brown rematch it was a broken hand. The Aldo fight it was because he was a natural bantamweight. The first "Barao" contest he broke his rib, and so on and so forth. I get that sometimes the better man loses, but that hasn't been the case here.

Urijah Faber is not a better fighter than "Barao."

I wouldn't have thought that a few years ago after the Nova Uniao whiz kid made his Octagon debut, because his record -- suspect at the time -- was populated by international tomato cans like Gleison Menezes, who isn't exactly tearing up the Brazilian circuit at 3-9.

But Pegado has proved himself by blowing through the best bantamweights in the world, including Faber.

What can "The Califiornia Kid" do differently the second time around? Not much. For as busy as he was in their first fight, he sure didn't do a whole lot. "Barao" was able to defend the takedown with relative ease, and Faber's stubby little reach was hardly a threat.

The Team Alpha Male captain needs to get this fight to the floor, or up against the cage. Otherwise, the champion will negate his speed with a blend of superior striking and well-balanced defense. It might be closer than part one, but the result won't be any different.

Final prediction: Pegado def. Faber via unanimous decision

145 lbs.: Jose "Junior" Aldo (23-1) vs. Ricardo "The Bully" Lamas (13-2)

Nostradumbass predicts: What will happen to Ricardo Lamas tomorrow night is what happens to a lot of guys in this sport. Not just with Jose Aldo, but with any dominant champion, like Anderson Silva before him. I had a chance to speak to Mike Brown after WEC 44, and this is what he told me.

"I knew Aldo was fast. But I didn't realize just how fast until it was too late."

Lamas is a confident fighter -- as he should be after four dominant wins -- who believes he has the answer to defeating Aldo. Then he's going to get inside the cage and find out that what you do in training camp is a lot different than what you do in a featherweight title fight, as I doubt "The Bully" has sparring partners who can replicate the champion's speed and accuracy.

And knockout losses to Danny Castillo and Iuri Alcantara do not leave me feeling confident.

If Aldo has a relatively uneventful weight cut, then it's his fight to lose. Outside of his late collapse at the UFC 129 event, which was brought on by illness and a battle with the scale, I'm not sure I've ever seen him in any kind of real danger.

He's not 23-1 by accident.

The biggest question for me, is whether we're going to see the play-it-safe "Junior," or the killer who finished seven of his eight fights under the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) banner.

Either way, Lamas is going down.

Final prediction: Aldo def. Lamas via technical knockout

265 lbs.: Alistair "Demolition Man" Overeem (36-13) vs. Frank Mir (16-8)

Nostradumbass predicts: One thing we've seen time and time again, is that if you screw around inside the cage, you're going to get KTFO. Just ask Anderson Silva. I know all the cool kids are taking a dump on Alistair Overeem, following his testosterone suspension and back-to-back losses, but somewhere in that hulking frame is genuine talent.

He just doesn't know how to use it.

Instead, he lumbers forward with his hands down and his chin up. What kind of fighter would he be if he had a modicum of discipline? It's hard to say, but he's the beneficiary of favorable matchmaking here, paired off against one of the division's weakest strikers.

Not in power, but in technique.

Mir has a tendency to get knocked around on his feet, but make no mistake about it, he's a threat until the very last second. He broke Tim Sylvia's arm and did likewise to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. I'm not sure "The Reem" wants to follow him to the floor.

Then again, I'm not sure he has to.

If "Demolition Man" can close the distance without being victimized by a haymaker, he's likely to do terrible things in the clinch. Overeem's knees are the stuff of legend and Mir just doesn't have the defense -- or the motion -- to stay out of harm's way.

This is going to end badly.

Final prediction: Overeem def. Mir via technical knockout

125 lbs.: Ali "Puncher King" Bagautinov (12-2) vs. John "Hands of Stone" Lineker (23-6)

Nostradumbass predicts: It's impossible to talk about a John Lineker fight without addressing the weight cut, something that has bit him in the ass in three of his five UFC fights. The problem for me in this fight, is that even if he makes weight, the process of doing so will leave him as a one-round fighter.

Not gonna cut it.

Being a hard-hitting tornado may have been the recipe for success against guys with losing records inside the Octagon, like Jose Maria Tome and Phil Harris, but Ali Bagautinov is on another level and will be the toughest test "Hands of Stone" has faced since joining UFC in 2012.

A test he fails.

That's because the knockout isn't going to come. "Puncher King" knows a thing or two about pasting fools inside the cage but more importantly, has the kind of Sambo background (2012 world champion) that will allow him to control where their flyweight fight takes place.

In addition, he's never been finished.

Lineker will probably make it interesting for the first few minutes and some close calls should be expected, but as time wears on and "Hands of Stone" wears down, Bagautinov will take over and make it an exhausting affair, eventually securing a fight-ending submission.

Final prediction: Bagautinov def. Lineker via submission

155 lbs.: Abel "Killa" Trujillo (11-5) vs. Jamie "C-4" Varner (21-8)

Nostradumbass predicts: What's interesting about Jamie Varner is that he's actually a pretty good striker, but if he loses the ability to impose his will, he also loses the confidence to throw hands with any conviction. That's going to be a problem against a fighter like Abel Trujillo, who isn't interested in a boxing match.

They refer to him as "Killa" for a reason, and it's not because he likes whales.

The jury is still out on how well the Blackzilian can perform at 155 pounds. He obliterated Marcus LeVesseur and Roger Bowling, but was also rag-dolled by Khabib Nurmagomedov. That tells me Trujillo can beat up the newbies, but falter when facing top-shelf competition.

Varner is neither.

That means this fight could go either way. I wouldn't be surprised to see "C-4" crumble during an initial bumrush, nor would I be caught off guard if the former WEC champ dumped and humped his way to a decision. He's a good wrestler and can probably take this one on points, so why take a chance on the feet?

Unless he runs out of the building and into the cold Newark air -- Sean Sherk style -- I don't expect Varner to go stiff.

Final prediction: Varner def. Trujillo via unanimous decision

That's a wrap.

MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 169 fight card on fight night (Sat., Feb. 1, 2014), starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised under card bouts at 8 p.m. ET and then main card PPV, which is slated to begin at 10 p.m. ET.

For previews and predictions on the preliminary card fights click here and here. To see all the odds and betting lines for UFC 169 click here and remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of "Barao vs. Faber 2."

What do you think? Now it's your turn ... let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for tomorrow night's event.

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