Griffin is a paper champion

Forrest Griffin (left) battling Quinton Jackson at UFC 86 title fight on Sat., July 5, 2008....

Forrest Griffin (left) battling Quinton Jackson at UFC 86 title fight on Sat., July 5, 2008. Tonight, Griffin defends the UFC light-heavyweight championship against Rashad Evans. (UFC photo)

NEIL SPRINGER -- SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 10:02 PM ET

Though the light-heavyweight title is up for grabs in the main event, the two best 205-pound fighters will duke it out in a completely different match at UFC 92.

It's no secret that I don't buy Forrest Griffin as UFC light-heavyweight champion. That's not a knock against him as a fighter -- he trains hard and has tons of heart -- but he simply didn't do enough to take the title from Quinton Jackson at UFC 86.

Much like FightMetric.com's 10-point must system analysis (click on Decision/TPR), which breaks down every fight and calculates the effectiveness of each competitor, I had it as a draw on my scorecard. So at the very least, Griffin would have received an immediate rematch, something Jackson is being robbed of tonight.

But in the grand scheme of things that doesn't matter.

Though Griffin will be defending his belt against Rashad Evans, Jackson will battle Wanderlei Silva to crown the real king of the UFC light-heavyweight division. Hopefully the winner will earn his shot at the champion and this whole fustercluck can be sorted out once and for all.

Speaking of title messes, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira defends his interim UFC heavyweight championship against Frank Mir.

Though Brock Lesnar holds the official title, Nogueira was carrying the heavyweight division on his back while former-champion Randy Couture was locked in a year-long contract dispute with the UFC.

After he's done beating Mir tonight, Nogueira will face Lesnar for the championship that should already be around his waist.

Fight card and predictions

Cheick Kongo (12-4-1) vs. Mostapha Al-Turk (6-3-0)

This will no doubt be a slugfest.

Neither guy is afraid to throw the leather, but Kongo is the more refined striker. He should put the big man down before too long.

Predictions: Kongo by first-round KO/TKO

Wanderlei Silva (32-8-1) vs. Quinton Jackson (28-7-0)

You know the UFC has been dying to book this fight.

Their two previous encounters ended with Jackson eating a barrage of knees, but a lot has changed since then.

Jackson switched camps and eventually reached the top of the UFC light-heavyweight division before losing a controversial decision to Griffin. Meanwhile, Silva found himself in a three-fight slump before bursting back onto the scene with a 36-second knockout of Keith Jardine.

We all know how good both competitors can be, but it's difficult to guess how well they will perform tonight.

Though Silva's showing against Jardine was impressive, it's too early to tell if the old 'Axe Murderer' is back. Jackson, on the other hand, suffered a mental breakdown that led to felony hit-and-run charges after his truck struck several vehicles. The case is still in the courts.

To top it all off he left his trainer, Juanito Ibarra. Many credit Ibarra with turning Jackson's career around.

It's a tough one to call, but deep down I see Wandy holding the UFC light-heavyweight championship in the near future.

Predictions: Silva by second-round KO/TKO.

CB Dollaway (7-1-0) vs. Mike Massenzio (11-2-0)

Why this is on the PPV fight card instead of Yushin Okami vs. Dean Lister, I'll never know.

Both guys are pretty well-rounded, but Dollaway will most likely use his wrestling to control the tempo of the fight. From there, he'll work his ground-and-pound.

Predictions: Dollaway by first-round KO/TKO

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (31-4-1) vs. Frank Mir (11-3-0)

The winner of this bout will face Brock Lesnar to unify the UFC heavyweight title.

However you decide to break this down, Nogueira is the superior competitor -- submissions, striking, conditioning, toughness, experience; the list goes on. Anything can happen in MMA, but I just don't see Mir winning tonight.

The former UFC heavyweight champion may pose some early challenges, but Nog will wear him down and submit him.

Predictions: Nogueira by second-round submission.

Forrest Griffin (16-4-0) vs. Rashad Evans (12-0-1)

In his stunning upset over Chuck Liddell, Evans showed off some serious KO power.

Though he probably won't land as clean a punch tonight as he did against 'The Iceman,' he does have the potential to end the fight at any time with one well-placed shot.

Griffin isn't so lucky. Despite his fluid boxing skills, he's never been known as a heavy hitter. For him, the secret will be to stick and move, wear Evans down then go for a submission.

Expect the two fighters to trade for a while before Evans connects with something nasty to put Griffin away.

Predictions: Evans by second-round KO/TKO

Join me Sat., Dec. 27 at 10 p.m. EST for live coverage of UFC 92.


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