UFC 103 Predictions

NEIL SPRINGER -- SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 2:34 PM ET

Former UFC light-heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort returns to the octagon against former middleweight titleholder Rich Franklin in the main event at UFC 103 in Dallas.

Also, in a battle of heavyweights, MMA veteran Mirko (Cro Cop) Filipovic faces young Brazilian slugger Junior Dos Santos.

Tyson Griffin (13-2-0) vs. Hermes Franca (19-7-0)

On paper, Franca has the better hands and submission game. However, he’s historically had problems with wrestlers who have endless cardio.

That pretty much sums up Griffin.

Prediction: Griffin by decision.

Josh Koscheck (12-4-0) vs. Frank Trigg (19-6-0)

Though Trigg, the decided underdog who is making his return to the UFC after a four-year absence, has the edge in experience, he will likely find himself on his back quite a bit against a guy with the wrestling ability of Koscheck.

If both guys decide to box it out, Koscheck’s power will prove too much for Trigg.

Prediction: Koscheck by decision.

Martin Kampmann (15-2-0) vs. Paul Daley (21-8-2)

Originally, Kampmann was scheduled to fight Mike Swick to determine the number one contender to face UFC welterwight champion Georges St. Pierre.

But when Swick pulled out of the fight after getting a concussion during sparring, Daley was inserted as his replacement. This will be the British fighter’s first UFC outing.

Like most late substitutes, Daley shouldn’t pose much of a problem for Kampmann. But even with a convincing win, it still might not be enough to earn him a shot at St. Pierre.

Prediction: Kampmann by first-round KO/TKO.

Mirko Filipovic (25-6-2) vs. Junior Dos Santos (8-1-0)

Dos Santos stands as a good test to see if Cro Cop still has it. If anything, this bout should answer a lot of questions.

While Dos Santos has powerful hands, he’ll have to risk getting tagged with a straight left or a nasty head kick to get close enough to use his boxing skills. He also can’t afford to wait for Cro Cop to come to him – he needs to push forward, a dangerous strategy when dealing with one of the world’s best strikers.

If Dos Santos can put him on his back, he could take this. But Cro Cop will likely keep it standing just long enough to stop him dead in his tracks.

Prediction: Filipovic by first-round KO/TKO.

Rich Franklin (25-4-0) vs. Vitor Belfort (18-8-0)

Franklin certainly has the edge in strength and conditioning. So if he can remain unpredictable and this goes the distance, he could earn a unanimous decision.

However, he’s had difficulty in the past with southpaw strikers and Belfort’s hand speed and accuracy will likely be too much for him.

If Belfort’s head is screwed on right, this is his fight for the taking.

Prediction: Belfort by first-round KO/TKO.


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