UFC 87 predictions

NEIL SPRINGER -- SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 9:47 PM ET

Georges St. Pierre defends his UFC welterweight championship against number one contender Jon Fitch.

Also, Brock Lesnar returns to the octagon to face Heath Herring and Roger Huerta takes on Kenny Florian to determine the number one contender for the UFC lightweight title.

Event card and predictions

Jason MacDonald (21-9-0) vs. Demian Maia (8-0-0)

Though this is a battle between two submission specialists, MacDonald is at a disadvantage on the ground. Maia's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is simply on another level than his.

However, The Athlete's lengthy reach advantage could make things difficult for his opponent. If he can keep Maia at a distance and let his fists do the talking, he may take this one. However, fifteen minutes is a long time to keep a guy like Maia at bay.

Prediction: Maia by second round submission

Manny Gamburyan (8-2-0) vs. Rob Emerson (7-6-1)

After a shoulder injury forced him to quit in the Ultimate Fighter finale, Gamburyan has submitted his last two opponents in under three-and-a-half combined minutes.

Emerson, on the other hand, earned a split-decision over Keita Nakamura. As long as Gamburyan doesn’t injure his shoulder again, he should take this fight.

Prediction: Gamburyan by decision

Kenny Florian (9-3-0) vs. Roger Huerta (25-1-1)

In the build up to this fight, Huerta was quoted on the UFC website saying this was going to be a cake walk. For that, I hope to see him tapping by the time the night is through.

KenFlo is as dangerous as they come at lightweight. He's always had great submissions, but he's since improved his striking, ramped up his aggressiveness and is not to be taken lightly.

Huerta's crafty, though, and he probably has a solid game plan in mind. If he can keep from getting taken to the ground, his reach advantage and striking should be enough to win. However, if he finds himself lying on his back, he's in for a rude awakening.

Prediction: Florian by second round submission.

Brock Lesnar (1-1-0) vs. Heath Herring (28-13-1)

Though he lost in his debut, Lesnar showed a lot of potential against Frank Mir. His power is really something else -- he looked like he could slam the Statue of Liberty to the ground.

Herring, on the other hand, has the edge in experience, striking and submissions. If he can keep this on the feet, we'll finally get a look at Lesnar's chin and striking ability. Herring may even be able to finish him standing up, but he's going to have a hell of a time trying to avoid Lesnar's takedown attempts.

I suspect we'll see some nasty ground-and-pound from the former WWE wrestler.

Prediction: Lesnar via first round KO/TKO.

Georges St. Pierre (16-2-0) vs. Jon Fitch (19-2-0)

Though some are going to dismiss Fitch as a threat to the title, he does have a legitimate shot here – after all, no one thought Matt Serra could beat St. Pierre.

With his excellent wrestling, much improved striking and solid ground game, Fitch has the necessary tools to give St. Pierre a run for his money.

However, St. Pierre is arguably superior in each of these categories. More importantly, his transitions, recent focus and overall athleticism are truly something to behold.

Prediction: GSP by third round KO/TKO.

Click here for live coverage of 'UFC 87: Seek and Destroy'


Videos

Photos