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UFC 96 Predictions

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 Aaron Riley vs. Shane Nelson

Aaron RileyShane Nelson

Charles Walker- I'll be honest, I can't stand Shane Nelson, dude talks a lot of junk to not be very great. Riley of course is the veteran of the two and he's coming off a win over Jorge Gurgel while Nelson comes off a win over George Roop.  This will probably go to a decision as the majority of Nelson's fights have.  I think Riley is good wherever the fight goes and will just be too much for Nelson, but I doubt a finish, so I'll go Riley by decision.

Kelvin Hunt-Riley is the veteran and the bigger fighter.  I don't think Nelson will be able to get this fight to the ground, as Riley will keep it standing and pick him apart.  Nelson is tough and scrappy, so I'm going with Riley via Decision.


Brandon Vera vs. Michael Patt

Brandon VeraMichael Patt

Charles Walker- It's sad to see my boy Vera relegated to prelim status but his last few performances have put him there.  This is the perfect time for him to step up and show the UFC he's still a valuable asset.  I think he can do this against Patt, who was overwhelmed by Tim Boetsch (yeah saw that and if the 'old' Vera can show up, this'll be a highlight reel for him.  I don't see Patt submitting Vera or knocking him out, but he could control him on the ground if Vera's gun shy.  But Vera won't be and will end this one via TKO in the 2nd round.

Kelvin Hunt-This is given to Vera on a platter.  If can't win this fight then he'll be following the same path as Drew Fickett(who lost again this past weekend).  Vera should win this fight convincingly.  Vera via TKO Rd. 1


Tim Boetsch vs. Jason Brilz

Tim BoetschJason Brilz

Charles Walker- I don't know a whole lot about Brilz but I do know he's facing a tough opponent.  Tim's the redneck warrior (that's what some guys called him where I was sitting at, at UFC 88) and he comes out guns blazing.  Brilz is no slouch but in a slugfest, which this will probably turn out to be, it favors Boetsch.  I see the Barbarian coming out swinging quick and early and landing a big shot that staggers Brilz en route to a referee stoppage late in the first round.

Kelvin Hunt-Brilz has a couple of notable wins in his career and has only tasted defeated once.  Most of his wins have been via submission, and Boetsch will look to keep this fight standing.  I think Boetsch will overwhelm Brilz in the first round and take him out in the 2nd.  Boetsch via TKO Rd. 2.


Kendall Grove vs. Jason Day

Kendall GroveJason Day

Charles Walker- Grove and Day have been out for a while, so maybe a little rust might be evident at first.  Grove's pretty good wherever the fight goes as is Day, but Day looked as though he got overwhelmed by a more aggressive fighter in Michael Bisping his last fight out.  Grove can put the pressure on Day, however, can Day slip in a big shot since Grove's chin is known to be suspect.  I'm on the fence with this one but I have to go with my gut and give Grove the edge to pick up a decision win simply based on his enormous reach advantage.

Kelvin Hunt-Grove will enjoy a hughe reach advantage in this one.  This fight is do or die for both fighters.  I think Grove will be able to dictate where this fight takes place with his length.  I think Grove comes out with something to prove, he's got a kid to feed now.  Grove via TKO in Rd. 2


Tamdan McCrory vs. Ryan Madigan

Tamdan McCroryRyan Madigan

Charles Walker- Don't know much about Madigan, but I do see he's undefeated.  McCrory did his best against Hazelett but Dustin's the  I don't know on this one, I'm going to just guess and pick McCrory by decision.

Kelvin Hunt-Madigan is primarily a standup fighter that lacks any real ground skills.  McCrory will enjoy a reach advantage I believe and isn't too bad of a striker.  However, I think Madigan tags McCrory a couple of times and McCrory takes it to the ground to win via Submission.  McCrory via Submission in Rd. 1

Gray Maynard vs. Jim Miller

Gray MaynardJim Miller

Charles Walker- Maynard's style is starting to bore me.  He simply 'bullies' his opponents to the ground and holds them there, never really trying to fully engage.  With Jim Miller, he's going to have to hold him down while avoiding a barrage of submissions.  As much as I'd like for Miller to win, as he and his brother seem to be the 'blue-collar' type of fighters, taking on any and everyone, I think Maynard's size and wrestling will be too much and he'll win a decision, unfortunately we'll all have to stand up and stretch after this one to keep from falling into a deep sleep.

Kelvin Hunt-I love the Miller brothers, both guys are soliders!  However, Maynard will be absolutely too big and strong.  Miller's only hope is a sub from the bottom and if it doesn't happen in the first round I think it's a wrap.  Maynard via decision.


Matt Hamill vs. Mark Munoz

Matt HamillMark Munoz

Charles Walker- This should be a good fight.  My only thing is, why is Munoz getting someone like Hamill in his UFC debut?  We've seen him do well in WEC but Hamill's another beast.  I just think Hamill's better wherever the fight goes.  I mean sure Munoz can take him down but can he keep him there.  His striking isn't as good as Matt's and Matt throws some nasty power shots.  Look for Munoz to start strong before being picked apart by the more experienced in the octagon, leading to a round three TKO.

Kelvin Hunt-Many people are pointing towards Munoz being a better wrestler.  He may be, but this is a MMA fight and not a wrestling match.  Hamill has that retard strength and an indestructable chin.  Hamill's standup isn't the greatest but it's more refined that Munoz and Hamill will have the power advantage.  I think Munoz is scrappy enough to not get finished but he loses this one.  Hamill via Decision.


Pete Sell vs. Matt Brown

Pete SellMatt Brown

Charles Walker- We all know, both these guys like a good brawl.  That's what this will probably start off as.  Sell looked good against Burkman and the drop to 170 seems to benefit him more as he will most likely be the more powerful puncher.  While Brown has really shown that he belongs in the UFC, I still don't think he has the tools to beat someone with a little more octagon experience.  I think Sell hits him with some power shots in a bar room brawl and takes him down, where he'll continue to hurt  him.  And once the dust settles, Sell will have his arm raised in victory via third round TKO.

Kelvin Hunt-Both guys like to stand, but most people forget that Sell is a very good BJJ player under Matt Serra.  So if the fight goes there he would have a big advantage IMO.  However, he likes to bang too much to do that and should have the power advantage.  Sell via TKO Round 2.


Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Shane Carwin

Gabriel GonzagaShane Carwin

Charles Walker- I really want to see this fight.  It's got so many question marks on it that I really doubt it will be the least bit boring.  Can Carwin outmuscle Gonzaga?  Can Gonzaga land some power shots and hurt Carwin?  Can Carwin's cardio hold up if the fight goes into the latter rounds?  Can Gonzaga handle Carwin's size and wrestling ability?  All good questions, none I can answer now.  This is a wild card bout that could really go either way.  Sure, Carwin hasn't been tested and this is a huge test, but as we've seen, Gonzaga folds when he doesn't have dominant position or isn't on the offensive.  I really don't know, but something tells me the size and strength of Carwin will carry him to a big huge win and I think he'll do it via TKO in the first round.

Kelvin Hunt-I've been going with Carwin since this fight was announced, but him not going past 2 mins in any of his fights ever is really getting to me.  I probably shouldn't do this as I think Carwin is capable of winning the fight.  However, I'm going with Gonzaga via TKO in Rd. 2


Rampage Jackson vs. Keith Jardine

Quinton JacksonKeith Jardine

Charles Walker- And now the main event, I was really against Jackson vs. Jardine because in the scheme of things it didn't make a whole lot of sense but it does have some story to it.  Can Jackson get his #1 contendership or will Machida finally get his time?  With that on the line, as big of a Rampage fan as I am, I do not think this will be a walk in the park for 'Page.  Jardine's style is awkward and involves one of Rampage's kryptonite, leg kicks.  He also incorporates muay thai in his strikes, which a lot of time throw his opponents timing off as they come in odd combos.  However, as we've seen...Jardine folds when the pressure is put on.  Without the ability to get his 'riddum' and timing down, Jardine seems like a fish out of water.  That is the thing that he won't have against a guy like Jackson who likes to come forward and can counter at the same time.  Jackson will keep the pressure on Jardine and Jardine will not have the time to get his offense set and read his opponent, which will lead to Jackson closing the distance and clipping Jardine with a big heavy shot and leaving him dazed, confused and with another L come midway in the second round.

Kelvin Hunt-Rampage via once he gets Jardines timing and it'll be TKO Rd. 2