We are starting a new feature here at MMA4Real, which is including the staff predictions from a member of the community with the staff predictions. It was only right that we begin this tradition with the person that made the suggestion. So withoutz further delay, you can check out MMA4Real community member "Felix" staff predictions as well as the staff's below.
Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira vs Cain Velsquez
Both of these guys have a good ground game- Nog in BJJ and Velsquez in wrestling. Both, however, have shown that they can be dropped with a decent punch. I feel this fight may be a race to see who can get the first quick big punch in or who can get a quick takedown. Being that speed will be a key factor in this fight, I have to give the edge to Velasquez. He is younger, quicker, and IMO, stronger. I think he will be able to take Nog down with ease, or catch him with that first big punch, which will enable him to ground and pound out a TKO victory. Velasquez via TKO in the first.
Wanderlei Silva vs Michael Bisping
What I really want to do here is I hope Wandy knocks the crap out of that cocky, whiny douche Bisping. But I am a realist, so I must go with my gut. Wandy, IMO, is coming to the end in his career. Aside from the Jardine KO, he has not really impressed me since coming to the UFC, and I am a fan. Bisping will be too quick for him, and as long as he can avoid a big haymaker from Wandy, he should be able to pull off the win. I'm hoping Wandy proves me wrong. Bisping via unanimous decision.
Joe Stevenson vs. George Sotiropoulos
Sotiropoulus is coming off a pretty impressive win over Jason Dent and is on a five fight win streak (4 wins via submission, 1 via TKO. To say he has a good ground game would be an understatement. Plus he has the home team advantage. Stevenson is 3-3 in his last 6 fights, but those losses were to the division's top three fighters Kenny Florian, Diego Sanchez, and champ BJ Penn. Stevenson is pretty susceptible to RNC's, as evident in 2 of his last three losses. So IMO, the only way Sotiropoulus wins this is if he is able to get Stevenson's back. With that being said, when this fight does go to the ground, I think the physically stronger Stevenson will be able to maintain control from the top and be able to pull out a pretty dominating and decisive victory. Stevenson via unanimous decision
Keith Jardine vs Ryan Bader
Jardine has the experience, but Bader has the strength & ability to take down Jardine at will, maybe to even knock him out. I'll go with the former and say Jardine gets his 3rd loss in a row. Bader via unanimous decision
Mirco Cro Cop vs Anthony Perosh
As we all know, Cro Cop has not lived up to his reputation in Pride as a BAMF-er as of late. Im going to go on record and say this is where he comes out of his mental breakdown phase (at least I'm hoping). I think his leg kicks to the body and legs are going to be too much. Cro Cop via 2nd round TKO.
Stephan Bonner vs Krzysztof Soszynski
I'm thinking the much stronger Soszynski will dominate Bonner on the mat the majority of the match just like Coleman did. Soszynski via unanimous decision.
Chris Lytle vs Brian Foster
Both of these guys are tough. Lytle needs no introduction to the hardcores, and Foster may best known for pounding Brock Larson into submission. I think Foster will be able to hang with Lytle, but will be able to squeeze in more punches in a close decision. Foster via split decision.
CB Dollaway vs Goran Reljic
Ring/cage rust will be a big factor in Reljic's return. Unfortunately, I think it will be the reason he loses this fight as well, giving Dolloway and his sh*t smelling expression another victory in the octagon. This is another instance in which I hope I am wrong. Dalloway via unanimous decision
James Te Huna vs Igor Pokrajac
Im not going to lie, I don't really know crap about either one of these two. So to help make my decision, I enlisted my soon to be 3 year old daughter and showed her the fight card photos from UFC.com. And the winner is: James Te Huna's "Phot Coming Soon". James Te Huna via TKO Rd 1
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (32-5-1) vs. Cain Velasquez (7-0)
- This is a really tough fight to call. As much as I want to think that nightmarish performance against Frank Mir was a fluke, the Randy Couture fight isn't enough to make me believe Big Nog is still as capable as he was. With that said, Cain's quick, he's explosive and he's relentless. Only thing he lacks is a lot of power behind his shots in my opinion. Nog's takedown defense isn't the greatest and while he'll go for submissions I think Cain's good enough to keep top control and stay away from danger...that is until late in the fight. I see Nog having one of his heroic come from behind wins here relatively late, possibly sinking in a triangle choke or the d'arce choke....in round 3.
Wanderlei Silva (32-10-1) vs. Michael Bisping (18-2)
- I'm not a Wandy fan so I'm not gonna pretend his last efforts didn't happen. As much as I dislike Michael Bisping and as much as Denis Kang is a shell of his former self, I'm more impressed with Bisping's last performance than Silva's. With that said, Bisping is a guy that is relatively good at staying out of danger for the most part (unless he's moving into the way of Hendo's right hand) and I think he can use a Rich Franklin approach to Silva. Silva on the other hand has got to use his aggression and use it early and as quickly as possible. The longer this fight goes, the more Bisping will get confidence and the more he'll get comfortable and the more tired Wanderlei will get. In the end, I'll pick the unpopular fighter, Bisping, via a close decision.
Joe Stevenson (31-10) vs. George Sotiropoulos (11-2)
- Hard fight to pick but Joe has really stepped up his game and George hasn't really fought anybody of note in the UFC yet. I think Stevenson will stifle him for three rounds en route to an easy decision victory.
Keith Jardine (15-6-1) vs. Ryan Bader (10-0)
- Poor 'Keef' does he ever get an easy fight? Even though Bader didn't look great against Eric Schafer, he still won and I see him as being a nightmare match up for Jardine. He's a great wrestler and he's got some power. I'm not sure if Jardine's going to change up for this fight but seeing how easily Rampage was able to take him down makes me think he'll spend most of the night on his back...and lose a one-sided affair but he'll hang in there.
Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic (25-7-2) vs. Anthony Perosh- I'm put faith in him one more time and say Mirko gets the job done with a 2nd round stoppage
Stephan Bonnar (11-6) vs. Krzysztof Soszynski (18-9-1)
- I think Bonnar might be on his way to chilling with Mark Coleman, Phillipe Nover, Tim Hague, Frank Trigg and the rest of the pink slip posse. I see Soszynski roughing him up for three rounds and winning a decision.
Chris Lytle (27-17-5) vs. Brian Foster (13-4)
- Not sure about this one either but I'm going to take Foster actually by decision.
Goran Reljic (8-0) vs. C.B. Dollaway (9-2)
- Reljic by 2nd round TKO
Igor Pokrajac (21-6) vs. James Te Huna (12-4)
- *flips coin* Te Huna via something
I'll probably regret some of these but what the heck? I wanted to have some fun with this event and pick some upsets:
- Velasquez over Nogueira by decision. I know that it's probably more likely that Nogueira catches Cain in a submission at some point. I'm throwing caution to the wind a little with this pick. Perhaps Velasquez will be cautious enough to avoid being caught, but active enough to swing the points in his favor.
- Silva over Bisping by TKO in the 3rd. Look for Mike to get off to an early lead in this one. It will be very interesting to see how Silva's body adjusts to the 185 pound division, especially so late in his career. I know that some don't give Mike a lot of credit but he's a stern welcome to the land of middleweights for Wanderlei, in my opinion.
- Sotiropoulos over Stevenson by decision. And not the hometown kind, either. This is one that I have a feeling I might regret, especially since Joe (who already had a lot of talent) is now training with Team Jackson. In the end, though, I'm thinking that George might make good on this, the biggest opportunity of his career. I hope the anxiety of fighting in front of his hometown fans doesn't get to him. Maybe he'll feed off of it.
- Bader over Jardine by decision. This is a good opportunity for Ryan to get a lot of exposure on the main card of a PPV event. To get this "W", he'll need to step his game up to a higher level than what we witnessed in October.
- Cro Cop Over Perosh via TKO in the first
- Te Huna over Pokrajac by TKO in the 2nd.
- Soszynski over Bonnar by decision. Stephan is a decent fighter. He really is. But such is life in the sport's deepest division. I like Soszynski in this one in a competitive decision.
- Reljic over Dollaway by TKO in the 2nd. This one has a lot of question marks and this is another bout that I'm less than confident in. How will Goran perform after such a long layoff? We'll see. C.B. can be a tough opponent if you let him dictate the style of the fight.
- Foster over Lytle by TKO in the 3rd. Chris brings the heat with those combinations but he has to watch out and make sure that Brian doesn't get dominant position on the ground. Foster throws some bigtime shots when he does.
Big Nog vs. Velasquez-I'm so torn on this fight. On one hand I think Nogueira has all the tools to beat Velasquez, and on the other hand I think Velasquez will fight a very conservative fight to win a decision. I think Velasquez and his camp think they can win the stand up portion of this fight. I don't think they want to take Nogueria down unless they are losing the stand up portion of the fight, or they may try to steal rounds with a take down late in each round. Which wouldn't give Nogueira a lot of time to work for submission or sweep him. I'm pulling for Nogueira, but with the conservative approach, Velasquez will probably take a decision.
Silva vs. Bisping-Is Bisping and camp keep their word. Wanderlei is going to knock him out. Bisping doesn't have the power to stop Wandy, nor is he going to submit him. I think 15 minutes is entirely too much time for Bisping to avoid getting knocked out if Wandy is as aggressive as he says he will be. If Bisping fights smart and allows Silva's cardio to become a factor. He can win it. I'm going with Silva via KO.
Stevenson vs. Sotiropoulos-I like this fight a lot. I like Sotiropoulos and his skillset, but I think Stevenson's wrestling could be the difference in this fight. Also, I think he's the more powerful fighter overall. If Sotiropoulos can keep it on the feet, he could use that reach to his advantage. But this fight will hit the ground at some point, and I see Stevenson taking the decision.
Bader vs. Jardine-A lot of people are looking past Keith Jardine, but that guy is as tough as they come. Plus, I'm telling yall that his streak of winning one and losing one is REAL. He's due to win again. I think he implements those 1-2's followed with a leg kick to a tee for 3 rounds while avoiding the big right from Bader. I also think Bader's cardio will fail him if he doesn't get Jardine out of there early. If Bader takes Jardine down I don't think he can keep him down. Jardine fights grueling fights and I see him taking the decision
Mirko Cro Cop vs. Anthony Perosh-Cro Cop should win this one with Perosh taking the fight on short notice.
Bonnar vs. Soszynski-I think Soszynski is the more powerful of the two and should be able to dictate where the fight takes place. Bonnar is always game, but I think he takes the L here via decision.
Reljic vs. Dollaway-I really hope we get to see this one. I wonder how this long layoff will affect Reljic. If in shape and healthy, he should blow Dollaway out of the water. He's huge, a better striker, and better on the ground as well. In fact, if healthy I think he'll submit Dollaway via armbar.
Lytle vs. Foster-I think all those wars that Lytle has taken part in will finally catch up to his in this one. He was rocked bad against Kevin Burns, and Foster hits like a mack truck from what I've seen. I think Foster announces his arrival and stops Lytle via TKO.
James Te Huna vs. Pokrajac-I'm go with Te Huna via TKO