UFC 129 will be the first event held by the Ultimate Fighting Championship in Ontario. The Rogers Center, home of Blue Jays and the Argonauts, is expected to seat up to 55 000 viewers in what is slated to be the largest UFC event in history.
Mark Bocek v. Ben Henderson
Mark Bocek will have a significant step up in talent as he faces the very dangerous Ben Henderson in the first bout of the main card. Bocek has displayed very strong jiu jitsu in his recent bouts and has lost only one fight, a decision to Jim Miller, in his last 5 fights. Henderson on the other hand is coming into the bout looking at getting back into title contention after losing what was a #1 UFC LW contender bout against Anthony Pettis. Both of the fighters are very strong on the ground, although I believe BJJ black belt Mark Bocek may have the slight edge. I expect Bocek's superior ground game coupled with his experience fighting in front of large crowds will help him earn the victory in Ben Henderson's UFC debut.
Randy Couture v. Lyoto Machida
This fight is a must-win for Lyoto Machida, who has dropped his last two fights, if he would like to stay relevant in the dynamic LHW division. Randy Couture has publicly stated that he plans on retiring after this fight to pursue other interests, so there may be a lack of commitment on the part of Couture heading into this fight. I sincerly hope this is not the case because this is a fight designed for Randy Couture to come out victorious. Lyoto Machida is not the type of fighter to push the pace, rather he likes to fight elusively and counterstrike. If Randy takes advantage of this and puts Machida up against the cage often enough, he will likely win a decision. Randy is a very good gameplanner and assuming he has dedicated himself to training for this fight like his other fights, I expect him to grind out a rather slow decision victory against Lyoto Machida.
Vladimir Matyushenko v. Jason Brilz
Neither 40 year old Matyushenko, nor Jason Brilz will be relevant in the LHW division anytime soon, so why this fight is on the main card while bouts like Diaz v McDonald and Pierson v Ellenberger are on the prelims is beyond me. Regardless, I expect this to be a slow paced bout where each of the fighter will look to ouwrestle their opponent. Brilz got robbed in his last bout with Nogueira so hopefully he will look to finish Matyushenko as often as he can. That being said, I believe Vladimir has the edge in both wrestling and experience and that will earn him a decision victory in this fight.
Jose Aldo v. Mark Hominick
Mark Hominick recently stated in an exclusive interview with Addictedmma.com that he was going to "keep the fight standing and dictate the pace". I believe that is a very poor idea when you are facing a world renowned striker. Jose Aldo is known for being incredible explosive on his feet and having deadly leg kicks. While Hominick is certainly a good striker, he isn't on the same level as Aldo (think Anderson Silva/Vitor Belfort). I expect Jose Aldo to get the better of Hominick and take this bout via TKO.
Georges St. Pierre v. Jake Sheilds
Jake Sheilds is a fighter that rarely gets the credit he deserves. In the past six years, Jake has gone 15-0, beating Carlos Condit and Yushin Okami in the same night, winning and defending both the EliteXC WW title and the Strikeforce Middleweight title and defeating the likes of Dan Henderson, Mayhem Miller, Paul Daley, Nick Thompson and Robbie Lawler. He is arguably the biggest and strongest jiu jitsu fighter that Georges St. Pierre has ever faced and is capable of ending the fight at any minute, both standing and on the ground. With that in mind, St. Pierre has made a mockery out of the the UFC WW division, outstriking boxers, outwrestling NCAA division 1 wrestling and out-grappling BJJ blackbelts. Jake Sheilds will be a heck of a test of Georges and may be able to steal a round but I don't think he beat St. Pierre.
Georges St. Pierre trains harder than any fighter in the UFC and fights out of one of the best camps in North America, if not the world. He will be able to take what Sheilds throws at him, escape some dangerous positions and ultimately frusterate Sheilds to the point where he gets sloppy and makes mistakes. I don't think St. Pierre will finish Sheilds but I expect him to win a hard fought decision and retain his WW belt.