While the Christmas holiday usually puts a halt to all major Mixed Martial Arts action, the New Year's holiday does just the opposite. A long-time staple for huge shows in Japan, this year is no different in the land of the Samurai with next weekend's DREAM 'Dynamite 2010' show. However, it is also the springboard for the Ultimate Fighting Championship's next card, UFC 125 Resolution, which is a dynamite card of its own.
This card features a main event for the world lightweight (155 lbs.) championship between current champ Frankie 'The Answer' Edgar and number one contender Gray 'The Bully' Maynard. Also the co-main event between middleweight contenders Chris 'The Crippler' Leben and Brian 'Stann has the UFC looking to start 2011 off with a bang. Those two fights along with the rest of the main card bouts should have no problem doing just that in the New Year.
The lightweight tilt between Edgar and Maynard is a rematch of a fight the two had back in April 2008. At that time, it was a fight featuring two young up and coming prospects. Maynard (10-0, 2 KO's) grounded out a unanimous decision victory after the three rounds over Edgar (13-1, 2 KO's 3 subs) giving him his only loss. Since then, the two have taken similar paths, only Edgar's has been more accelerated and celebrated. They both have had five fights since, however Edgar has fought stiffer competition, including two successive victories over former lightweight champion B.J. Penn.
Both coming from a wrestling pedigree and each having evolved their all-around MMA fight game, this is about as evenly matched as you can get in a title fight. Maynard's size and strength compared to Edgar, who is clearly a featherweight (145 lbs.) with a lightweight belt, proved the difference in the first meeting and it may do the same here. However, Edgar's strength has improved in the last couple of years and his stand-up game, especially his boxing, is clearly better than Maynard's. Therefore, because of those factors, I am giving the nod to Edgar in a five-round decision.
In the co-main event, the seasoned Leben (25-6, 13 KO's 6 subs) takes on Stann (9-3, 6 KO's 1 sub), a former WEC middleweight champion, who makes up for his inexperience with heavy hands. Stann, a former U.S. Marine, is 3-2 in the UFC since coming over from the WEC, while Leben found a resurgence in 2010 with three straight victories since January, including huge wins over Aaron Simpson and Yoshihiro Akiyama in a two week span. Although one punch from Stann can end things quickly, I see Leben with an accumulation of punches ending Stann's night via TKO and keeping his run alive.
The undercard features some very intriguing match-ups that should be very entertaining. In the welterweight (170 lbs.) division, Nate Diaz (13-5, 3 KO's 9 subs), from the famed Cesar Gracie Fight team, takes on South Korean Dong Hyun 'Stun Gun' Kim (13-0-1, 6 KO's 1 sub). While Kim has some punching power, he's had five fights in the UFC resulting in four wins, three by decision, and one no-contest. Diaz meanwhile has a granite chin and a slick submission game, which I envision him using at some point to sub Kim to continue his already two fight win streak.
Also on the undercard, a light-heavyweight (205 lbs.) tilt between Brandon 'The Truth' Vera (11-5, 7 KO's 1 sub) and Thiago Silva (14-2, 11 KO's 2 subs). Both guys are coming off losses and a long lay-off due to injury, so there are questions regarding ring rust and health. Seeing that both have the same factors at hand, my determination is a mental one. Silva, with a back injury, lost a unanimous decision to former champ Rashad Evans. However, Vera got smashed, literally, by Jon Jones with some vicious elbows to the face resulting in a fractured cheekbone. Thus, I feel that beatdown will make Vera gun shy mentally, which can be dangerous against a heavy-handed Silva. I've got Silva by KO in the second.
Finally, hold onto your seats as the pay-per-view will start with fireworks when lightweights Clay 'The Carpenter' Guida (27-11, 4 KO's 14 subs) and Japanese legend Takanori 'The Fireball Kid' Gomi (32-6, 12 KO's 6 subs) step into the cage. Both notoriously quick starters, the difference here is that Guida's energy won't stop, while Gomi has a history of gassing in later rounds. Thus, I see Guida, a human energizer bunny, going non-stop on his way to a decision or possibly winning by submission. Either way, it will be a great way to start off a great card and hopefully a great 2011.