The mixed martial arts world has never seen the likes of the extravaganza that will be unveiled during UFC 100 Saturday at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
The milestone moment in UFC history will be celebrated with a card that features two championship fights as the co-main events.
Topping the bill will be the welterweight title matchup between champion Georges St-Pierre and Thiago Alves and the heavyweight title for the belt between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir. The Ultimate Fighter season nine coaches Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping will also square off.
Here are my predictions for all the fights, including those that wonít be aired as part of the pay-per-view package.
Matt Grice (9-2-0) vs. Shannon Gugerty (11-3-0)
Though most of his wins have come via submission, Gugertyís stand-up will be too much for the wrestler Grice.
This fight is destined to hit the ground since both men no doubt feel confident there. Grice will have to either control Gugerty or beat him up on the ground. However, I expect Gugerty to force Grice to make a mistake and then slap on a submission.
Prediction: Gugerty by first-round submission.
CB Dollaway (8-1-0) vs. Tom Lawlor (5-1-0)
When you pit two wrestlers against each other, conditioning is usually the deciding factor. However, itís difficult to say who has the edge in that department.
Lawlor is probably the more powerful competitor, but Dollaway seems to have improved quite a bit in his grappling skills since appearing on The Ultimate Fighter.
At some point, Dollaway will get on top and put Lawlor away.
Prediction: Dollaway by second-round KO/TKO.
Dong Hyun Kim (11-0-1) vs. TJ Grant (14-2-0)
Grant turned in an excellent performance against Ryo Chonan at UFC 97. He controlled the grappling on his way to a split-decision win. However, he will have a difficult time against a judoka as skilled as Kim.
Kim will clinch and throw Grant to the mat at every turn, but Grantís grappling experience will make him tricky to finish.
Prediction: Kim by decision.
Jon Jones (8-0-0) vs. Jake O'Brien (11-2-0)
Despite only two appearances in the octagon, Jones has really made himself stand out. His unique style and creative offense makes him a difficult opponent for almost anyone.
The jury is still out on whether he can hang with the top competition, but OíBrien wonít offer him much in the way of problems, wrestling aside.
Jones will catch him coming in and put him away early.
Prediction: Jones by first-round KO/TKO
Mac Danzig (18-6-1) vs. Jim Miller (13-2-0)
If Danzig hopes to win, heís going to have to end it early. Millerís got great cardio and will keep coming at him.
Both guys have outstanding submission skills, but conditioning will most likely be the deciding factor.
Prediction: Miller by decision.
Mark Coleman (15-9-0) vs. Stephan Bonnar (11-5-0)
Both guys need a win here. Coleman is coming off a TKO at the hands of Mauricio Rua and Bonnar recently lost a decision to Jon Jones.
Bonnar is going to have to be very light on his feet and pick his shots in the stand-up exchanges. If he over-commits to the attack, heíll get taken down. If he can stick and move, he can chip away at Coleman.
However, I see Coleman taking this to the mat and pounding Bonnar out.
Prediction: Coleman by second-round KO/TKO.
Yoshihiro Akiyama (12-1-0) vs. Alan Belcher (14-5-0)
Itís great to see Akiyama in the UFC. He adds a lot of depth to the middleweight division.
Belcher has the edge in the striking department, but Akiyamaís no slouch. Expect the two to trade early, but Akiyama will get this to the ground and submit Belcher.
Prediction: Akiyama by first-round submission.
Dan Henderson (24-7-0) vs. Michael Bisping (17-1-0)
Hendersonís usual style of moving forward, throwing huge punches and then shooting for takedowns may work against him in this fight. As Bisping displayed in his match with Chris Leben, he can backtrack and throw jabs until the cows come home.
Hendo needs to bait him in, get him down and beat him up on the ground.
Prediction: Henderson by decision.
Jon Fitch (18-3-0) vs. Paulo Thiago (11-0-0)
You know Fitch is going to be looking for a measure of revenge against Thiago for his first-round stoppage of fellow American Top Team member Josh Koscheck.
Heís going to need to bring every tool in his arsenal with him, as Thiago has heavy hands and is very skilled on the ground.
However, Fitch has tons of heart and will show up in great shape. Expect him to wear Thiago out on his way to a decision victory.
Prediction: Fitch by decision.
Georges St-Pierre (18-2-0) vs. Thiago Alves (16-3-0)
Of all the fighters featured on the UFC 100 card, Alves is in the best spot to shock the world. The tough Brazilian is bigger and a more dangerous striker than St-Pierre. If he keeps the fight standing, he could knock St-Pierre out.
However, that is easier said than done. While St-Pierreís striking is crisp and his takedown wrestling is superb, itís his transitioning thatís truly deadly and will give Alves problems.
The Pit Bull will be game and give the champion a tough fight, but St-Pierre will eventually put him away.
Prediction: St-Pierre by third-round KO/TKO.
Brock Lesnar (3-1-0) vs. Frank Mir (12-3-0)
While some have claimed Mir got lucky in his first fight with Lesnar, I stand firm that he was able to stay composed and capitalize on an opportunity. However, donít expect Lesnar to make the same mistake twice.
The UFC heavyweight champion is going to be patient and will most focus more on positional control in the ground exchanges.
Donít expect him to charge out and gore Mir like he did the first time around, either.
A composed and calculating Lesnar is a scary thing. If he can keep his head on straight, heíll put Mir away.
Prediction: Lesnar by second-round KO/TKO.