SI.com analysts Ben Fowlkes, Jeff Wagenheim and Jon Wertheim provide their predictions for UFC 139 on Saturday in San Jose.
Mauricio Rua vs. Dan Henderson
FOWLKES: Hendo hits hard and can wrestle a little bit when things aren’t going his way on the feet. Rua is a wild card who’s sometimes brilliant, and sometimes mediocre. I’ll side with dependability here. Henderson by TKO.
WAGENHEIM: Shogun’s game is the KO, as 17 of his 20 wins, and all of his last five, have come via him turning out the lights on someone. But Henderson’s chin has no “off” switch — he’s never been knocked out. Henderson by KO.
WERTHEIM: Henderson may be north of 40, but he’s looked remarkably spry and youthful in his last three Strikeforce fights including, of course, the summer smackdown of Fedor. Rua is a full decade younger but there’s a lot mileage on the odometer. Forget the odds. Henderson by TKO.
Wanderlei Silva vs. Cung Le
FOWLKES: Silva still hits hard enough to have a decent chance in the first three minutes. After that, his prospects are dim and only getting dimmer. Le by TKO.
WAGENHEIM: Is that a typo in the UFC press release where it says Silva is 35? You sure he’s not 53? Le, a young 39, in an early night. Le by KO.
WERTHEIM: Fedor notwithstanding, is Le the best fighter never to have competed in the UFC? At age 39, the talented fighter (and sometimes actor) makes his UFC debut in his adopted hometown of San Jose. Says here Le’s kicks will open up the axe murderer. Le by TKO.
Urijah Faber vs. Brian Bowles
FOWLKES: Faber is still the second-best fighter in two weight classes, which is a little like being the second-richest guy at the auction. He may never get his hands on the belt again, but he can still keep others from getting close. Faber by decision.
WAGENHEIM: Faber is 4-4 in his last eight bouts — but all of the losses were in title fights. Facing an ex-champ won’t faze him. Faber by submission.
WERTHEIM: If this isn’t a must-win for Faber, it’s a “could certainly use this win.” For such a dynamic striker and wrestler, his stock has fallen in recent years. Says here he uses his versatile striking to eke out the verdict. Faber by decision.
Martin Kampmann vs. Rick Story
FOWLKES: Story is good at what he does, but Kampmann can do more and can do it slightly better. This will be a close one, but I think Kampmann finally gets a much deserved win. Kampmann by decision.
WAGENHEIM: In his last two fights, Kampmann got the better of both Jake Shields and Diego Sanchez but got no love from the judges. He’s owed one. Kampmann by decision.
WERTHEIM: Kampmann is one of those solid fighters who can’t quite win the big one — especially when he gets robbed by judges, which happened in his last fight. A superior kickboxer, if he can keep this a stand-up fight, he ought to get a win. Kampmann by decision.
Stephan Bonnar vs. Kyle Kingsbury
FOWLKES: Bonnar has to rely on toughness and experience against the big young hoss out of AKA, who’s still steadily improving. I doubt either will be enough. Kingsbury by decision.
WAGENHEIM: Kingsbury has won Fight of the Night bonuses in two of his last three outings. But Bonnar invented Fight of the Night. Bonnar by rock-’em-sock-’em decision.
WERTHEIM: Two TUF guys, one old school, one new school. Bonnar ought to be about done as a fighter, but he persists, mostly on guts and heart. Says here he grinds out a decision against a younger foe. Bonnar by decision.