UFC 173 takes place at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. with a card full of bouts with divisional implications. The main event will see dominant bantamweight champion Renan Barao put his title on the line against TJ Dillashaw, with the former being a heavy favourite coming into the fight. Dillashaw has gone 5-1 in his last six, with his sole loss being a highly contested decision against Raphael Assuncao, while Barao has gone on an incredible 33 fight unbeaten streak.
The co-main event features two light heavyweights looking to fight for the belt in the near future, with the winner of the Daniel Cormier vs. Dan Henderson bout being guaranteed a title shot in the next fight. While Cormier is unbeaten as a professional and has gone 3-0 since moving to the UFC, Henderson has lost three of his last four. This would point towards an easy victory for Cormier, though the experience, knockout power and will to win for Henderson makes this a more interesting bout than it suggests on paper.
Elsewhere, welterweight contenders Robbie Lawler and Jake Ellenberger could earn a shot at the title with an impressive victory in a battle between two 170-pounders with serious knockout power. Lawler is coming off a loss for the welterweight title against Johny Hendricks, but won two rounds against the champion and rocked him on more than one occasion. Ellenberger, meanwhile, is coming back from a number of setbacks due to injury, with his last fight – in July – being a disappointing performance against Rory MacDonald in a losing effort.
Bantamweights Takeya Mizugaki and Francisco Rivera square off, with both fighters coming into the bout off impressive streaks. A win is pivotal for both fighters as they look to fight for the title in 2014. Lightweights Jamie Varner and James Krause kick off the main card, with both fighters needing a victory in an intriguing bout.
This article will feature the Cage Pages’ staff predictions for the main card of UFC 173.