UFC 131 Fight Card Preview: Shane Carwin Vs. Junior dos Santos, Kenny Florian Vs. Diego Nunes And More

SB Nation MMA brings you a UFC 131 fight card preview before the fights kick off tonight. We'll be going fight-by-fight giving previews for the pay-per-view main attractions. We'll take a look at Shane Carwin vs. Junior dos Santos, Kenny Florian vs. Diego Nunes and so much more.

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UFC 131 Fight Card Preview: Shane Carwin Vs Junior dos Santos

Shane Carwin vs. Junior dos Santos

Taking nothing away from Brock Lesnar, this is a much better fight in my opinion because both of these men are likely to be relevant in MMA in two years. A lot of people are citing Carwin's lengthy layoff after his fight with Lesnar last summer, but dos Santos' isn't much better. Both have been out about a year, so it's going to be interesting to see who did what with the time off. We've heard about a slimmed down Carwin, but what effect that has on his performance is yet to be seen.

I think we're going to see this fight played out against the cage. If Carwin can grind JDS into the fence and land quick but powerful shots like he did to Frank Mir he could end the fight within the first two rounds. JDS needs to maintain a consistent distancing in order to be successful. He needs to utilize his speed and wear Carwin down, pulling him into the third round. Only Lesnar has been able to drag Carwin past the first, but I think dos Santos can manage it.

I'm leaning towards dos Santos in this fight. Carwin is coming off a back surgery that has to be taken into account and as far as I know JDS had a relatively painless time off waiting around to fight Brock. All things considered, I think you have to give the advantage to Junior dos Santos.

My pick: dos Santos via DEC

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UFC 131 Fight Card Preview: Kenny Florian Vs Diego Nunes

Kenny Florian vs. Diego Nunes

I hate to say this fight may be all about Kenny Florian, but it just might be. Florian has all the physical tools, but more importantly I think he has the mental edge in this fight. He appears to have dropped the weight the correct way and it shouldn't be an impediment to his success. You don't make it in four different weight classes by being undisciplined, unless you're going the wrong way like James Toney. Florian is coming in with more experience and a far better training camp.

Nunes' split decision win over Mike Brown, which is also the biggest win of his career, is looking worse by the day. He may present some problem with his unorthodox striking, but I'm not confident he has an edge in any particular area. He's just not there yet.

Florian via SUB

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UFC 131 Fight Card Preview: Demian Maia Vs Mark Munoz

Demian Maia vs. Mark Munoz

When you put two elite grapplers in the cage together odds are you're about to see some questionable striking. If it must be poor, at least make it powerful. That advantage goes to Munoz. He absolutely crumpled CB Dollaway in his last fight, and thanks to CB and Nate Marquardt, we know there's a chance this fight could be over in one punch. I like Munoz' chances of landing a bomb more than I do of Maia managing a takedown.

I know Maia has markedly improved his striking over the last few years, but I'm just not overly impressed with his wins in the UFC, aside from maybe Chael Sonnen. His most recent wins come from Mario Miranda and Kendall Grove, one fighter already released by the UFC and the other likely to join him shortly. Barring some horrible decision making by Munoz, I think he takes this fight.

My pick: Munoz via DEC

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UFC 131 Fight Card Preview: Jon Olav Einemo Vs Dave Herman

Jon Olav Einemo vs. Dave Herman

This fight is going to be a head scratcher for most fans. Why this is appearing on the main card? I'm not really sure. Einemo, who was originally slated to face Shane Carwin, hasn't fought in MMA since 2006 and never in North America. He's been training with elite fighters like Overeem in the Netherlands, but so has Alistair's brother Valentijn. 

Herman is by no means a world beater, but he presents many of the same issues to Einemo that Carwin would have. 14 of his 22 victories came by way of knockout, including one over Don Frye. Herman is younger, more experienced and just all around better.

My pick: Herman via TKO

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UFC 131 Fight Card Preview: Donald Cerrone Vs Vagner Rocha

Donald Cerrone vs. Vagner Rocha

While I would have much rather seen Mac Danzig in this fight, Rocha stepping in on late notice against Cerrone could be pretty entertaining. Rocha isn't exactly known for his striking prowess, so if Cerrone can keep this fight standing fans could be treated to a nice stoppage.

Unfortunately for Rocha, Cerrone is just too well rounded for someone who only started fighting two years ago. Regardless of where the fight ends up, I like Cerrone to hold a comfortable advantage. Unless Cerrone foolishly abandons his gameplan he should make this his fourth-straight win, setting him up for tougher opponents moving forward in his UFC career.

My pick: Cerrone via TKO

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UFC 131 Fight Card Preview: Shane Carwin Vs. Junior dos Santos, Kenny Florian Vs. Diego Nunes And More

Throughout the day today, SB Nation MMA will be offering fight-by-fight previews of every bout on the UFC 131 main fight card. These will serve as a reminder of who the fighters are, how they got here, what the experts predict will happen and more.

Also, SB Nation MMA's live coverage will begin at 6 p.m. EST at the beginning of the under card. We'll have round-by-round scoring beginning at 6 p.m. ET with the Facebook/YouTube fights. Be sure to follow Luke Thomas on Twitter @MMANation for further developments and analysis.

It's going to be a night to remember. Let's take one more look at it before the big show.

Main card:

Shane Carwin vs. Junior dos Santos

Kenny Florian vs. Diego Nunes

Mark Munoz vs. Demian Maia

Jon Olav Einemo vs. Dave Herman

Donald Cerrone vs. Vagner Rocha

On Spike at 8 p.m. ET:

Yves Edwards vs. Sam Stout

Jesse Bongfeldt vs. Chris Weidman

On Facebook at 5:50 p.m. ET:

Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Mike Massenzio

James Head vs. Nick Ring

Dustin Poirier vs. Jason Young

Joey Beltran vs. Aaron Rosa

Michihiro Omigawa vs. Darren Elkins

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