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UFC 183: Preview, Predictions and More, Featuring Silva vs. Diaz, Prelims

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UFC 183 will feature the return of two of MMA's most decorated stars—one who was deemed an outsider and fell short against GSP, the other considered as the greatest fighter on the planet.

The event, taking place in Vegas, will see Anderson Silva meet Nick Diaz in a middleweight bout, ending a hiatus of more than a year for the two.

It's a dream fight, too.

A few years ago this could be a super-fight of the century. Now, one man has a chance to emerge back into greatness.

Here is full preview, predictions and more for the UFC 183 main card, along with prelim fights to keep an eye out for.



Jordan "Young Gun" Mein vs Thiago "Pitbull" Alves


Striking Advantage: The striking in this fight is really close.  Thiago is one of the best Muay Thai strikers in the UFC.  As we all know, he possesses heavy leg kicks and precise punches.  Mein, on the other hand may not possess the same raw power as Alves, but he is super accurate with his strikes.  Mein is easily one of the most clean and crisp guys in the 170lb division.  No guy has a clear edge in the striking, so I say it's even. It's just a matter if Alves can keep the fight at a close range and if Mein can keep the fight at a long distance.

Grappling Advantage: The overall grappling in this fight is fairly close but I give the edge to Mein.  Throughout Alves' career he has struggled with grappling.  For example he was winning the Martin Kampmann fight and got subbed out, and the fights with Fitch and GSP for instance.  Alves has improved his grappling, but he has hardly been in any grappling situations in a real fight in a couple of years due to his inactivity.  Mein isn't the best grappler but he is very accurate when delivering ground and pound strikes.  In the Dan Miller fight he showed great heart and technique by getting out of a nasty armbar Miller had locked in.  If it hits the ground it's close but slight advantage to Mein.

Breakdown: Mein recently cracked the top 15 after a KO win over Mike Pyle, and a win over a tough vet like Alves will only help his stock and land him another big named opponent.  Alves is looking to regain the form he was in the early stages if his ufc career when he was demolishing guys,  An impressive win over Mein could land Alves right in the top 15.  As for gameplans, I assume Mein will look to tire Alves out and then turn in the heat in Round 3.  Mein needs to stay out of range of Alves' vicious leg kicks.  Alves needs to keep it in a close range and look to slow Mein's quick movements down.

Prediction: This is as close as a fight can get, but I like Mein by unanimous decision.  I think Mein will edge it out in Round 3 by staying more active.  I think Thiago will be a bit tired in Round 3 and fade as Mein puts the pressure on him.  Don't be surprised if Alves takes it though, he is more than capable.

Thales Leites vs Tim "The Barbarian" Boetsch



Striking Advantage:  The standup portion in this fight should be interesting.  Leites has significantly improved his standup game since coming back to the ufc.  Knockouts over Feancis Carmont and Trevor Smith have showed Leites is steadily improving his hands.  Leites still does not have elite striking but I wouldn't be surprised if he looked to showcase it on Tim.  Boetsch's standup is pretty basic but he has an excellent front kick.  The thing to look out for is Boetsch's clinch striking.  Boetsch is extremely active in the clinch and that's where he does most of his damage.  The striking is really close, but if I had to pick I'd give a slight advantage to Leites.

Grappling Advantage: Leites definitely has the edge on the ground.  Leites has beautiful bjj and is a handful for anyone if he can get on top.  Boetsch is a good wrestler but has a tough time if he gets put on his back.  Leites has a big advantage on the floor and should look to utilize it.

Breakdown: Boetsch is coming off a exciting comeback tko victory over Brad Taveras.  Leites also scored a tko victory over Francis Carmont.  Leites has been on a roll since boning back to the UFC by utilizing his expert grappling skills.  Boetsch seems to be declining a bit.  I thought he lost the CB Dolloway fight and he was being dominated by Brad Taveras until he landed a lucky punch.  Boetsch is exceptional in the clinch but so is Leites.  I expect Boetsch to try and clinch and look to tire Leites out and grind out a decision.  I expect Leites to look to try Tim down and out grapple and look for a submission.

Prediction:  I like Leites by submission .  I think Leites is just the more complete fighter at this point and his career is surging, but Boetsch is definitely his toughest opponent.  
.Although Tim isn't the most skilled or technical fighter, he has tremendous heart, grit, and determination.  I like Leites but don't count out the Barbarian.

Joe "JLau" Lauzon vs "Raging" Al Iaquinta 



Striking Advantage:  I give the advantage to Iaquinta on the feet.  Iaquinta is only getting better and better every fight.  Iaquinta has good, crisp punches as he showed in finishing off excellent Ross Pearson in his last fight.  Lauzon has had trouble on the feet in his fights against Michael Jonson, Jamie Varner, and Jim Miller.  He struggles at times with guys that put constant pressure on him with accurate strikes.  Lauzon has decent power, but he generally only successful in wild exchanges.  

Grappling Advantage:  I give the edge to Lauzon here.  Lauzon is a wild man when it comes to submissions and he will go for and jump on anything on the mat.  He is easily one of the best submission guys at 155.  Iaquinta has good grappling, but he tends to have these lapses and get out positioned or submitted.  For example, when he fought Mitch Clarke Al was dominating the grappling exchanges until he got too comfortable and Clarke slapped on a Darce.  He did something similar in the Kevin Lee fight but he showed composure and survived.  All of Iaquinta's losses have come by submission and Lauzon is not the guy to make mistakes with on the ground.

Breakdown: The winner of this fight could potentially land in the top 15, if it is done impressively.  I expect Iaquinta to try to keep it on the feet and Lauzon to look to get the fight on the ground.  Lauzon really needs this win to prove he can still hang among the elite of the 155lb division and Iaquinta needs a win to solidify and make claim for a top 15 spot.

Prediction: I am a Lauzon fan, but I am going with Iaquinta in this one by unanimous decision. Iaquinta is finally putting it all together and I think he got over a jump in the Ross Pearson fight.  I think he will pick Lauzon apart on the feet and cruise to a decision victory, but Lauzon is more than capable of pulling an upset off.

Tyron "The Chosen One" Woodley vs Kelvin Gastelum



Striking Advantage: The striking portion of this fight is really interesting and close in this fight.  Kelvin is really active and has big power, but so does Woodley.  Woodley has big time power, but at times he is really unactive when on the feet.  Woodley mainly throws 1or 2 punches at a time, and Kelvin utilizes really good lateral movement to stay out of range of big punches for the most time.  Against Rory Mcdonald, Woodley got fatigued and picked apart on the feet, and if he gets fatigued against Kelvin, the same outcome will probably happen.  The standup is close, but I give a power advantage to Woodley, but technical advantage to Kelvin. 

Grappling Advantage:  The grappling in this fight is really close as well.  I would say Woodley has the advantage, but if the fight gets in the 2nd and 3rd round I think Kelvin has the advantage due to Woodley's stamina problems.  In just straight wrestling, Woodley has the advantage, but he rarely uses his wrestling ability against fellow wrestlers.  In terms of bjj, Kelvin has a couple of wins by submission over Ellenberger and Melancon and a few more submissions against guys like Josh Samaan when he was on TUF.  With all that being said, Woodley has never been submitted in his career.  Grappling is close, but I expect this fight to go past the 1st and I think Kelvin can out scramble Woodley and out grapple him.

Breakdown:  This is a huge fight for Kelvin.  Dana came out recently and said that he could earn a title shot with an impressive victory over Woodley.  I expect Gastelum to stay really active in this fight, and if he has to weather an early storm from Woodley he will.  The longer the fight goes the more in favor it will go for Kelvin.  Woodley has this style where he tries to conserve energy in fights, but by doing that guys put the pressure on him and he looses.  He better had been working on his cardio for this fight, because Kelvin can push a really fast pace.  Woodley needs a win and to gain some favor with fans, after he turned down the fight with Hector Lombard.  Woodley can win this fight but if he does he needs to do it quick.

Prediction:  I like Gastelum by unanimous decision in this fight.  For such a young guy Kelvin is really composed in the octagon and he never gets tired.  Once again, I think Woodley's stamina problems will be his downfall.

Anderson "The Spider" Silva vs Nick Diaz



Striking Advantage:  Nick Diaz is one of the best pure boxers in all of MMA, and he can accumulate punches at a mind-boggling rate.  His jab is absolutely beautiful as well.  Anderson can also box extremely well, but the reason I give him the advantage on the feet, is his kicking game.  I know he recently broke his leg in the Weidman fight, but his camp claims he has been kicking really hard in the gym.  It will be a matter of how timid is Anderson to throw those kicks, because it is no secret that the Diaz bro's are open to kicks.

Grappling Advantage:  The grappling is interesting in this fight.  Both guys are black belts, but in straight bjj I think Diaz is a bit better.  Neither guy rarely looks to take the fight to the ground I expect both guys to be confident in their hands and keep the fight on the feet.  All in all, slight advantage to Diaz.

Breakdown:  What a fight this is and dream matchup.  I expect this fight to take place on the feet for the most part.  This is Silva's first fight since the gruesome leg break and Nick's first fight since GSP.  Diaz is already a cardio freak and since the fight is at 185, I expect his cardio to be through the roof for this fight.  I can't wait to see the striking exchanges between these two.  I expect Diaz to try to make this fight a boxing match, and Anderson to do the same but with adding more kicks.  I really don't see this fight hitting the ground for any length of time.

Prediction: I like Anderson by Split Decision.  I think Diaz will have his moments, but the kicks of Anderson will keep him up on the scorecards.  I think this fight will definitely live up to the hype.

Prelim fights

Some preliminary bouts to keep your eyes on...

Miesha "Cupcake" Tate vs Sara McMann



Striking Advantage: Miesha definitely has the advantage on the feet in my opinion.  McMann is more of just a straight wrestler that throws basic punches to get takedowns.  Neither girl's strong point is striking but Tate did show a bit of improvement on her feet against Rin Nakai.  So advantage to Tate.

Grappling Advantage: The Grappling is interesting in this fight, but I give a slight edge to McMann.  Besides Rousey, nobody has been able to stop McMann's takedowns.  The interesting thing to look for is that in McMann's recent fight against Lauren Murphy didn't do much of anything when she was on top.  Miesha can outstrike McMann from bottom and possibly stay ahead on the scorecards.  Both of these chicks are excellent grapplers and were both members of the USA Grappling Team in 2008. 

Breakdown: This is an important fight for both women.  McMann had a controversial win over Lauren Murphy in her last fight, in which I thought Murphy should have got the win.  McMann has to a better job with being active on top.  The days of lay and pray ground and pound are leaving MMA and it needs to be.  With all that being said, Miesha has to stop some of those takedowns.  Tate has the tendency to be really lackadaisical in her fights at times.  In the Liz Carmouche fight, she started really slow and she almost paid the price for it.  Tate needs this fight to stay on the feet and utilize her improved striking.

Prediction: This fight is a tough fight to pick, but I like McMann by split decision.  I think Tate is smart enough to know that she can't let McMann push her in to the fence and skilled enough to fight off takedowns for a couple of round.  If Tate can stop some takedowns I think she will slowly discourage McMann and break her.  If this fight stays on the feet, Tate should be able to edge it out, but Tate in her most recent fights has been way to calm and lackadaisical.   I think McMann will outposition her.  All in all, MMA judges still haven't evolved fully enough to understand that fights should be based on damage.  I think Tate possibly will do more damage, but McMann will stay ahead on the scorecards.

Ian "Uncle Creepy" McCall vs John "Hands of Stone" Lineker

Ian McCall and John Lineker, UFC Fight Night 56

I give Lineker the power advantage forsure, but in the overall standup game to McCall.  McCall has beautiful lateral movement and can land shots and get out of range from being countered.  McCall cuts really good angles, making him easily one of the fastest guys in the division.  Lineker, on the other hand, has huge power and loves to brawl.  He's going to have to chase McCall to land big shots in this fight.  I don't expect for this fight to hit the ground that much, but if it does McCall should be able to outposition and scramble Lineker.  The thing to pay attention to is Lineker's cardio.  He has missed weight three times in UFC career, but he is working with Mike Dolce now. 

Prediction: I like Ian McCall by unanimous decision here.  I think Lineker will waste a lot of energy looking to swing for the fences and McCall will sit back and land counters and maybe even mix in a takedown or two.  I think McCall takes it rather easily.

***

Two anticipated returns. One fight. A whole card packed with excitement. UFC 183 will be something special.

More: 10 UFC matches to make in near-future
Comment: More to prove for McGregor
UFC 182: What's next for the winners?

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TheSportMatrix • We Live For Sport: UFC 183: Preview, Predictions and More, Featuring Silva vs. Diaz, Prelims
UFC 183: Preview, Predictions and More, Featuring Silva vs. Diaz, Prelims
Full preview, predictions for UFC 183: Silva vs. Diaz, with main card and preliminary breakdown.
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TheSportMatrix • We Live For Sport
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