Tomorrow sees the return of the UFC to Philadelphia for the promotion’s first event in the City of Brotherly Love since UFC 101 in August 2009. The card has seen its fair share of changes, with only two fights on the main card not impacted by injuries as Vitor Belfort faces Yoshihiro Akiyama and Rory MacDonald meets Mike Pyle.
UFC 133 is headlined by a rematch between Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz, as the former light heavyweight champions meet again after fighting to a draw in 2007.
UFC 133 airs on Facebook.com/UFC starting at 6pm ET, Spike TV at 8pm ET, and pay-per-view at 9pm ET.
Below are MMAFrenzy.com’s staff predictions for the UFC 133 main card. Seven writers were consulted, with six making picks and one refraining from predicting a winner but offering analysis. Try not to gamble too much money based on words you read.
Rashad Evans vs. Tito Ortiz:
Eric Shapiro: I’d really, really like to pick Ortiz here. Come on, who doesn’t love a good comeback story? Sadly I just dont see it in the cards for the once feared Huntington Beach Bad Boy. Rashad is the faster, more dyanmic competitor, even moreso since both last met at UFC 73; whereas Ortiz has only improved marginally over time. In Evans, we have a fighter still in his prime against another just past his own, with the added burden of a slew of injuries that could return at a moments notice. I have to go with Rashad via unanimous decision.
MMAFrenzy.com picks: Evans (6) vs. Ortiz (0)
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Vitor Belfort:
Steve Barnes (bsbiz): Fortunately, Belfort doesn’t have to worry about being crane-kicked in the face this time. Instead, he has to deal with the chin and judo/ground game of Akiyama. Belfort’s boxing and overall striking game should prove to be the difference, as Akiyama has a strong right hand, but neither the quickness or guile to set it up effectively against Belfort.
MMAFrenzy.com picks: Belfort (5) vs. Akiyama (1)
Brian Ebersole vs. Dennis Hallman:
Justin R (Ffinkledinkle): Both men have a lot of fights, but my gut feeling is Hallman by decision.
MMAFrenzy.com: Hallman (4) vs. Ebersole (2)
Constantinos Phillipou vs. Jorge Rivera:
Chris Leslie: I’m picking the upset here. Philippou’s weakness (takedown defense) is not Rivera’s strength. Meaning anything can happen and Philippou is a talented boxer.
MMAFrenzy: Rivera (4) vs. Phillipou (2)
Rory MacDonald vs. Mike Pyle:
Bryan Robison: Pyle will not be as easily thrown around as Diaz, but MacDonald will show that his promise is keeping up with his experience. He might start a little slow, conserving for the later rounds, but MacDonald will try and expose Pyle standing up.
MMAFrenzy: MacDonald (4) vs. Pyle (2)