Oh man, did I take a beating for my picks at UFC 123. I went 5-6. That undercard hurt bad. To keep it real, I went 4-1 on the main card, which is pretty much all you guys care about anyway. Now my record is 118-91. Still respectable, but I have to do better. It is what it is.
As for this card, it looks pretty good on paper. I only think one fight will be boring, but even that one has a chance to electric. The Canadian crowd is always loud, but they will surely be in every fight with so many “hometown” fighters on the card, so I expect the atmosphere to be great. Especially once GSP hits the cage to defend his belt against Josh Koscheck. If the weigh-ins were an indication, I expect that place to erupt when the main event starts, or any time GSP has an advantage.
But let’s get down to the reason you are here, my genius picks. I don’t know about you, but I feel an 11-0 night coming my way. So get your money out and prepare to double it. Let’s see what we have…
Lightweight bout: Pat Audinwood vs. John Makdessi
Audinwood is going to win this because he’s not going to make the same mistake he made against Thiago Tavares, which is letting the smaller guy get inside and choke you out. He’ll fight smart, look for the takedown, and go for the ground and pound or submission. Probably won’t get the (T)KO because he lacks power, but the submission will definitely be there.
My Pick: Audinwood, Round 1, Submission
Welterweight bout: TJ Grant vs. Ricardo Almeida
Almeida is a great grappler. And if he hadn’t run into Matt Hughes at UFC 117, he’d being next in line for a title shot. I think Hughes’ win was a “flash” submission, but Almeida was done. Other than that fight, he’s look very good on both the ground and standing. Grant has power, but he’s no where near the fighter Almeida is.
My Pick: Almeida, Round 2, Submission
Welterweight bout: Matt Riddle vs. Sean Pierson
Pierson is making his UFC debut, and with good merit. He’s a knockout monster, winning his last 4 by KO in the first round. Impressive. But, he’s never faced a wrestler like Riddle. Pierson could catch Riddle and knock him out, but I don’t think he’ll be standing long enough to do it.
My Pick: Riddle, Round 3, Decision
Middleweight bout: Jesse Bongfeldt vs. Rafael Natal
Natal is just the better fighter. He’s great on the ground and pretty good on his feet. If he wouldn’t have got caught in the opening round in his fight with Rich Anttonito, he may have won that fight. Still, I don’t see how he loses this.
My Pick: Natal, Round 2, Submission
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Middleweight bout: Joe Doerksen vs. Dan Miller
Miller is going to win this with cardio alone. Both of these guys are about the same level, but Miller’s cardio is slightly better. That, and he has a decent reach advantage over Doerksen. Doerksen will have to come in if he wants to hit Miller, and leave himself open for the takedown.
My Pick: Miller, Round 3, Decision
Lightweight bout: Mark Bocek vs. Dustin Hazelett
I don’t know about Hazelett dropping down to lightweight. He looks very frail, and I just don’t think he’ll have the energy to keep up with Bocek. I’m kind of pulling for him to make a splash at this division, but Bocek is a tough test with some nice power. Doesn’t look good for Hazelett, unless he can catch Bocek in a triangle.
My Pick: Bocek, Round 2, (T)KO
Welterweight bout: Thiago Alves vs. John Howard
At first I was thinking, “Alves is the OPENING fight?” But, upon further review, this makes perfect sense. This fight will most likely end with someone looking glassed-eyed at the ceiling. Howard has some sick power, but he’s no where near the striker Alves is. And if we are talking strike for strike, Alves wins easily.
My Pick: Alves, Round 1, (T)KO
Lightweight bout: Joe Stevenson vs. Mac Danzig
This fight should be exciting, but I’m thinking it’s going to be a snooze fest. Danzig could go in there, drop Stevenson with some well placed combos, winning by TKO. Or, he can go in there, feel out Stevenson, and then proceed to get taken down over and over again. Which will probably happen.
My Pick: Stevenson, Round 3, Decision
Lightweight bout: Jim Miller vs. Charles Oliveira
This is a tough fight to call. Miller is a good fighter, but lacks that certain something he needs to become great. Olivera is a whirling dervish of a fighter, winning back to back “Submission of the Night” awards. He hides his attacks very well, to the tune of a 14-0 record. But, I think Miller’s wrestling ability and strength advantage will prove the difference.
My Pick: Miller, Round 3, Decision
Heavyweight bout: Stefan Struve vs. Sean McCorkle
I can’t pick Struve here. While he may be taller, he’s much smaller. McCorkle isn’t a world beater, but Struve has a problem with keeping people away from him. No way he keeps McCorkle at bay, which will lead to his demise.
My Pick: McCorkle, Round 2, (T)KO
Welterweight Championship bout: Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck
This will probably be a closer fight than most people think. The first time they fought Koscheck won a round. He was controlled in the other two, but it’s not like GSP was destroying him. Both are much better fighters now, Koscheck especially, but I really don’t see a different outcome. GSP says he’s looking for a knockout, but if he does, he could easily be knocked out himself. I’m pretty sure this fight will go just like the first, except it’ll be a five round affair this time.
My Pick: St. Pierre, Round 5, Decision
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