MMA analysts Ben Fowlkes, Tim Marchman, Steven Marrocco, Jeff Wagenheim and Jon Wertheim, along with SI.com's readers, provide their predictions for UFC 129 on Saturday in Toronto.
Georges St-Pierre (21-2-0) vs. Jake Shields (26-4-1)
Fowlkes Shields has an outstanding ground game, but I'm not so confident he can get GSP down, much less keep him there long enough to win. If the champ can keep it standing, he'll pick Shields apart for five rounds. St-Pierre by decision.
Marchman GSP is of course the better fighter, but Shields is uniquely suited to go right at his strengths in a way no one has been in years. Just a hunch, but I think he pulls it off. Shields by submission.
Marrocco I'd like to think Shields can get this to the mat and get it done, but in reality I think GSP won't let that happen. In the meantime, Shields will smell the glove. St-Pierre by decision.
Wagenheim I just put on a pair of those funny plastic glasses they hand out at movie theaters, and Shields still looks one-dimensional. St-Pierre by decision.
Wertheim Shields is a beast. GSP is THE beast. Fans go home happy. St-Pierre by TKO.
Readers In an SI.com poll, 86 percent of our readers said St-Pierre will beat Shields.
Jose Aldo (18-1-0) vs. Mark Hominick (20-8-0)
Fowlkes The only thing Hominick can do better than Aldo is sell tickets in Canada. That, plus a win over George Roop, might be enough to justify this title shot, but it's not nearly enough to go home with the belt. Aldo by TKO.
Marchman Impressive as he's been, Aldo is the most overrated fighter in the sport given his mildly questionable competition, and there is a lot of pressure on him. Hominick by TKO.
Marrocco Where the Canadian has crisp striking technique, the Brazilian has power and a superior ground and pound game. Aldo by TKO.
Wagenheim Does the pride of southern Ontario have the striking game to put Aldo on the mat? If so, it'll just mean the Brazilian gets to show off his ground skills. Aldo by TKO.
Wertheim Aldo is a BJJ specialist but one with power. Provided his neck injury is healed, it's hard to see him losing to Hominick, a solid but unremarkable Canadian. Aldo by submission.
Readers In an SI.com poll, 75 percent of our readers said Aldo will beat Hominick.
Vladimir Matyushenko (25-5-0) vs. Jason Brilz (18-3-1)
Fowlkes In a contest between two very evenly matched but mostly unsung light heavyweights, I favor the man with the more diverse skill set. Both can wrestle, but I think it's the firefighter from Omaha, Neb., who can do more when it counts most. Brilz by decision.
Marchman Not sure what makes this a main card fight, exactly, but Brilz's epic string of fights against gatekeepers should end with him passing the gate yet again. Brilz by decision.
Marrocco "The Janitor" is a machine in putting guys on their back and punishing them. Brilz's inactivity is going to hurt him here. Matyushenko by decision.
Wagenheim It would be impish to say, "The Janitor will mop up the floor with him." The fight will likely be more competitive than that. Still ... Matyushenko by decision.
Wertheim Matyushenko is a tough customer whose chin might be his biggest asset. Brilz is a late bloomer who handled himself admirably vs. "Diet Nog" last time out. Brilz by decision.
Readers In an SI.com poll, 56 percent of our readers said Matyushenko will beat Brilz.
Randy Couture (19-10-0) vs. Lyoto Machida (16-2-0)
Fowlkes The only way Couture wins this is by pinning Machida up against the fence for three rounds, but is that really how he wants to go out? I doubt it. He'll open up eventually, and Machida's speed and movement will prove to be too much. Machida by decision.
Marchman Couture is the maestro, but at 47 it's just asking too much to expect him to pull one out against a top fighter in his prime, something he hasn't done in years. Machida by decision.
Marrocco "The Dragon" is going to spend much of the fight smothered by "The Natural." But at some point, he'll get off a quick combo that will put Couture on the mat. Machida by TKO.
Wagenheim My heart says Couture because he's of my generation and he's retiring and, well, he's Randy Couture. But my head says the karate man will chop him down. Machida by TKO.
Wertheim Credit Couture for all he's done for the sport, but beating a younger, faster, craftier opponent is a big ask, especially if Machida defends the takedown. Machida by decision.
Readers In an SI.com poll, 59 percent of our readers said Machida will beat Couture.
Mark Bocek (9-3-0) vs. Ben Henderson (12-2-0)
Fowlkes Henderson might be the more dynamic fighter, but Bocek's ground game is downright nasty. If he can get the fight to the floor early, it'll make for a rough introduction to the UFC for Henderson. Bocek by submission.
Marchman This should be a fantastic fight. Bocek has fought a slightly higher caliber of competition over the years; it's not a huge edge, but it's something to go on. Bocek by submission.
Marrocco I think people are underestimating how tough and well-rounded Bocek is. I think he's going to prove that to fans on Saturday. Bocek by decision.
Wagenheim Before being felled by the kick heard 'round the world in his last fight, Henderson had won 10 straight. Nothing will surprise him this time. Henderson by decision.
Wertheim Henderson may be best known for receiving Anthony Pettis' "Ninja Kick," but the WEC refugee is a well-rounded potential champ. Henderson by decision.
Readers In an SI.com poll, 75 percent of our readers said Henderson will beat Bocek.
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