The UFC is back in Canada for the second time in less than two months and could cap off a historical weekend of sport in Vancouver providing the Canucks do the business!

While it was very disappointing that Brock Lesnar had to pull out of the main event due to his continued battle with Diverticulitis, it may have been a blessing in disguise for the fans; Junior Dos Santos and Shane Carwin going at it for the No.1 contender spot has dynamite written all over it.

Had Brock not been able to implement his wrestling against Dos Santos it would have more than likely been a very short night- Shane Carwin does not have the same problem.

These guys are two of the most devastating punchers the UFC heavyweight Division has ever seen and this may come down to whoever gets off first. That being said, there is too much at stake for these guys to simply throw caution to the wind and both will have water-tight game plans.

The best bet for Dos Santos, is to use the 20lbs he will be conceding on the night to his advantage. With superior footwork and movement he could pick Carwin off with quick 1-2 combinations and minimize prolonged exchanges. Carwin is equally dangerous off his back foot, so Junior may want to avoid any sustained barrage of strikes.

This could tire Carwin and in a moment of frustration he may resort to a desperate swing, one opening is all Junior will need and that could be all she wrote.

The big question for Shane Carwin is will he utilize his wrestling? History tells us that the former Division II All American will keep things on the feet. However, he could take a page out of GSP’s book by taking Junior out his area of strength and putting him on his back.

Carwin is very athletic for his size, a quick change of levels disguised by a jab and he’ll find himself in Junior’s guard. From there, basic ground and pound is the way to go and nothing more, as Dos Santos is not a BJJ novice by any means. If he can smother Junior with his mammoth frame he should neutralize any submission attempt. From there- especially with his power- short, damaging elbows and strikes from the top will be enough to finish the fight.

Junior Dos Santos has said he expects Carwin to shoot on him and he is prepared for that eventuality, the thing is though; Team Black House members aren’t exactly renowned for their slaying of wrestlers. On the flip side, Carwin has never gone three rounds in the UFC; he went to mush in the second round against Brock Lesnar in their title fight. He claims his new diet and conditioning regime has rectified this problem; Junior Dos Santos will want test that theory.

It all may come down to take-down defense or conditioning. One thing is for sure; it’s not going the distance!

My prediction:  Carwin by TKO in Round 2.

With no titles on the line and few Canadian fighters on display this event does not exactly compare to previous UFC cards in Canada. But the co-main event has fight of the night written all over it. Kenny Florian will become the first fighter in UFC history to compete in four weight classes when he takes on Diego Nunes in his Featherweight debut.

As far as fighting styles go these guys are not a million miles apart, they are both well rounded strikers and proven submission artists. The mental aspect of this fight could be the difference. Ken-Flo has a lot more to lose than Nunes, at 35 this most recent career incarnation is surely his last chance at UFC gold

Nunes on the other hand has his whole career ahead of him and will not be fighting with any kind of desperation. Florian’s weight cut may also be an issue, if he has any problems making 145lbs he will not enter the Octagon on a full tank of gas, this is not advisable against a fighter of Nunes’ caliber.

While Florian is an accomplished Mauy Thai practitioner the advantage in the stand up goes to Nunes. He is one the most creative and unpredictable strikers in the featherweight division. Florian has won three of his last five fights by submission and would be best served getting the fight to the ground early and use his superior BJJ, using his devastating elbows to soften Nunes and go for a rear naked choke or arm bar which tend to be his weapons of choice.

If it gets out of the first, Kenny could be in trouble so an early finish is his best chance. He is experienced enough to know the longer the fight goes on the more the weight cut will become an issue and the stronger the natural featherweight, Nunes will get.

With six years UFC experience and two title fights under his belt, Kenny Florian knows how to win. I’m going for the wily old fox in this one.

My prediction: Florian by submission in Round 1.

The only other fight that really interests me is the Middleweight clash between Damien Maia and Mark Munoz. On paper this is Maia’s to lose; he has fought a higher level of competition, has Jedi- like Jiu-Jitsu skills and is constantly improving his striking.

Munoz is a former Division1 National wrestling champion, but he’d be better off kissing Maia than taking him down. This guy is wrestling kryptonite – just ask Chael Sonnen! Maia is one of the best submission artists in the entire sport; the ground is the last place Munoz wants to be.

And therein lies the problem for Munoz; his striking is not good enough to dominate on the feet. They’ll play shadow games for a while and eventually two natural grapplers will grapple, after that it’s only a matter of time.

My prediction: Maia by submission in Round 2

Enjoy the show folks

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