Here's a sample of our picks for anyone who wants a read. We've got Machida, Barao, Cummins, Magomedov, Silva and Sarafian. Can't wait to see Machida and Barao back in action..
Lyoto Machida (4) vs CB Dollaway (10)
Former NCAA Division 1 All-American CB Dollaway is coming into this fight as an underdog on a red hot run, but as his training partner Ryan Bader knows, he needs to watch out for the wood chipper. Dollaway (15-5) has only failed once in his last five outings, dropping a controversial split decision to Tim Boetsch last year. He bounced back from that loss with a 39-second knockout of Cezar Ferreira and a UD over Francis Carmont, but just as he was making his mark on the division, he finds himself pitted against wrestler's kryptonite, Lyoto Machida, and it's hard to see him winning.
Machida (21-5) has a history of making top wrestlers look pedestrian. Since 2012, the Shotokan karate stylist has outstruck Dan Henderson, and knocked out Ryan Bader and Mark Munoz. Bader was Dollaway's old wrestling teammate at Arizona State University and they co-own Power MMA and Fitness in Phoenix, but it's difficult to gauge the value of his experience because Machida pitched a shutout. The 36-year-old Brazilian maintained his range and struck with precision when Bader tried to close the distance, breaking him down with traditional "sen no sen" karate timing - attacking when attacked. Bader grew desperate in the second round and rushed in chin first, leading to a one-punch knockout from an orthodox stance. Dollaway's striking has improved and he seems lighter on his feet than Bader, but the 31-year-old won't survive five rounds of stand-up... (continued)
Renan Barão (1) vs Mitch Gagnon (14)
Underrated Canadian Mitch Gagnon (12-2) has almost nothing to lose and that makes him dangerous, but not dangerous enough. In his six years as a pro, Gagnon has amassed one of the sport's most lopsided records. A remarkable 11 of his 12 wins have come by submission, either by guillotine or rear naked choke. But the strangest thing about his record is that his striking - both southpaw and orthodox - is well above average. The 30-year-old keeps his punches tight and has a range of kicks at his disposal, and he'll be hoping to catch Barao (32-2) napping in the early rounds. For Barao, the stakes are much higher. The 27-year-old Brazilian missed out on his shot at TJ Dillashaw in August because of a horror weight cut, and this is the perfect stage to reclaim that rematch and stick it to the fickle fans who have been bagging him out since his first loss in 32 professional fights.
Barao was beaten from pillar to post in the Dillashaw fight and there's no taking away from what was a near-flawless performance, but until then, Barao's striking had looked supreme. His Nova Uniao Muay Thai expertise comes with an added variety of spinning attacks, and his opponent's are usually dealing with a speed and reach disadvantage. The result bears some similarities to the poetic violence dished out by his stablemate Jose Aldo, although Aldo is more compact. Dillashaw exposed some possible movement and cardio issues, but recent knockout wins over Eddie Wineland and Urijah Faber prove his class. Make no mistake, Barao's stand-up is elite and he'll be looking for an early knockout. Gagnon has the skills to make things somewhat interesting on the feet, but with 11 submissions and zero knockouts, we don't like his chances... (continued)