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November 28, 2014

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No. 1: Experts offer predictions

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Sam Morris

Brock Lesnar, left, and Frank Mir square off at a news conference for UFC 100 at Mandalay Bay Thursday, July 9, 2009. UFC 100 takes place Saturday, July 11th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

The Rematch

The rematch is set for UFC 100. Frank Mir vs. Brock Lesnar for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Back at UFC 81, Mir defeated Lesnar.

The Face Versus the Future

It may not receive the top-billing, but many believe the welterweight title bout between champion Georges St-Pierre and top contender Thiago Alves is the match-up to watch.

First of the Superfights

In the first of three superfights on the UFC 100 card, The Ultimate Fighter Season 9 coach Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping with top middleweight contender on the line.

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Georges St. Pierre, left, and Thiago Alves bow and shake hands after squaring off at a news conference for UFC 100 at Mandalay Bay Thursday, July 9, 2009. UFC 100 takes place Saturday, July 11th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

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Dan Henderson, left, and Michael Bisping square off at a news conference for UFC 100 at Mandalay Bay Thursday, July 9, 2009. UFC 100 takes place Saturday, July 11th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Sun Expanded Coverage

Editor's Note: The Ultimate Fighting Championship is celebrating its 100th show on July 11 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. In the days leading up to this historic night, the Las Vegas Sun is presenting a Top 10 list of key personalities and points that have helped propel the sport into the forefront of the world's fighting conscience.

Maybe predictions from fighters carry the same weight as fans.

Then again, maybe not.

Just in case these guys are as good at predicting fights as they are performing in them, the Las Vegas Sun has assembled a panel to offer predictions and insights into the top three fights on the UFC 100 card.

The panel includes: former welterweight champion Matt Hughes, top lightweight contender and ESPN MMA Live analyst Kenny Florian, former lightweight champion Sean Sherk and Fight of the Year candidate Clay Guida.

Plus, other fighters and one trainer offer their view on certain matchups.

Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir

Hughes: “Before Mir fought his last fight against [Antonio Rodrigo] Nogueira, I would have said that Lesnar is going to chew him up and spit him out. But Mir looked like a totally different fighter while fighting Nogueira. If that Frank Mir shows up, I think he’s going to do well. But I think Brock is going to use his strength and size effectively, and I don’t think he’s going to make the same mistake twice and give Frank an easy submission.”

Florian: “Both guys have really learned a lot since since the first time they met. Lesnar has to be riding high on confidence. Mir is not a small heavyweight, but compared to Lesnar everyone is a small heavyweight. Giving up the size and power is going to be a tough thing for him to overcome.”

Guida: “I think Brock Lesnar has definitely evolved as a fighter over the long time off. Frank is fresh, he’s got new motivation, maybe make sure that knee lock wasn’t a fluke. He wants to go out and beat a former NCAA champion. That one is a tough one but I might go with Mir.”

Sherk: “Lesnar is a feak of nature as far as athleticism and natural ability. He’s taken every step he possibly could to become an MMA fighter. He’s got some of the best training partners you could ask for. I’ve got to go with Lesnar, he’s grown a lot. I don’t see it going the distance. I think he’ll finish it with ground and pound.”

Ken Hahn, Frank Mir’s trainer: “I think if Brock comes out crazy, that will probably be the best thing for him. Wild and unpredictable. If he tries to get technical and really box, he’s going to get eaten up. That’s the worst thing you could do to somebody who’s better than you, is try and fight like him.”

Dan Henderson: “It depends on how much Brock Lesnar has worked on his submission defense and how ready for the power and size is Frank Mir. I would probably go with Mir, but Lesnar’s a big dude and anything can happen.”

Georges St.-Pierre vs. Thiago Alves

Hughes: “It’s going to come down to who has their game going. GSP probably has more ways to win. If I had to pick a winner, I’d pick GSP. I think if he gets on top of Alves and lands some effective strikes that may be the difference. But GSP did show he has a suspect chin being knocked out by Matt Serra.”

Florian: “I think this will be GSP’s toughest fight. Alves is an absolute beast and he’s on top of his game right now. For this one, I’m definitely leaning towards GSP. He’s just firing on all cylinders right now and just too smart of a fighter to lose this fight.”

Guida: “I think GSP will win. I think that GSP is the all-around, complete fighter. He’s the best fighter in the world, at least top two or three. No one can deal with his takedowns.”

Sherk: “Got to go with Pierre. Everytime I see the guy fight he looks better and better and I just don’t see anybody beating him, that’s just my opinion. I don’t see it going the distance. Alves hits like a brick house, but Pierre is as tough as they get and he’ll finish that one.”

Hahn: “I would say GSP because he’s a smart guy. Look what he did to B.J. He got him tired before he had to take the punches. The guys who have been at the top and can do it over and over, those are the guys that are dangerous because they are thinking. GSP is a thinker.”

Rashad Evans, former light heavyweight champion: “I think Georges is going to beat Thiago. Thiago has gotten too muscle bound, I think that he’s going to be a bit slower because of that. Georges is going to have what it takes to light him up a little bit, get him frustrated and make mistakes. He mixes up everything so well you’re never going to know what point he’s going to attack.”

Mir: “GSP is a great fighter, instinctively you’ve got to give the edge to him. Matt Serra has shown if you catch him you can hurt him and that’s a scary thought with Thiago Alves. But he has superior wrestling and he’s one of the top in the world.”

Henderson: “St.-Pierre. I wouldn’t call him unbeatable, I just think he’s well rounded and his conditioning is going to be a huge factor. He’ll be leery of Alves’s power and take him down fairly easy. I don’t think Alves is the toughest he’s ever faced, but definitely one of the toughest he’s fought in awhile.”

Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping

Hughes: “If Henderson is in shape, I think he can take him down, wear him down and come out with a victory. It’s a typical wrestler vs. striker, although Dan does have a solid right hand. I think it will be close, but Henderson will edge a decision.”

Florian: “This is going to be an interesting fight, both guys want to get to the top and fight Anderson Silva. I think Henderson is more of a power puncher. Bisping has the better overall standup skills. Henderson is a beast in the clinch and he’s a grinder. He’s very good at grinding out decisions. If Bisping can avoid the big right hand and keep himself off the mat, I think Bisping can win this fight.”

Guida: “I’d like to see Henderson win. He’s the American Olympic wrestler and a buddy of mine. I’d like to see him take it to Bisping.”

Sherk: “Got to with Hendo. Bisping is tough as nails. One of the things though, it’s not a hole, but I would say the area that seems weakest is his wrestling. Henderson is one of the best wrestlers in the world and he’ll outwrestle him. That one might go to the decision.

Evans: “It’s a tough call. Bisping is deceptively tough. Henderson is a legend. He doesn’t get older and he continues to look good. It looks like he can still step up and be a world champion. It’s a hard one to call but it’s a good test for Bisping. We’ll get to see what kind of fighter he is and where his head is at.”

Mir: “Bisping is very active and well rounded, but Henderson is a veteran. He’s fought heavyweights. His right hand has a lot of power and if he lands that punch, that puts a lot of technique out the window.”

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