- Jon Jones over Brandon Vera by decision. Can't wait for this one. Props go out to Joe Silva and company for picking an entertaining matchup in a premier division to headline this first UFC show on Versus.
- Junior Dos Santos over Gabriel Gonzaga by TKO in the 2nd. I'm really hoping to see JDS tested on the ground in this one. It would be good for JDS to get tested there by a fighter like Gonzaga and it would answer a lot of questions. Still, I think Gabe goes to sleep in this one. This would be a nice win for either guy.
- Cheick Kongo over Paul Buentello by decision.
- Eliot Marshall over Vladimir Matyushenko by decision.
- Brendan Schaub over Chase Gormley by decision.
- Alessio Sakara over James Irvin by TKO in the 2nd. I may regret this one, but I'm buying into the stories I'm hearing from sources on Sakara's improvement since he's begun training in Florida. We'll find out on Sunday if the hard work pays off.
- Clay Guida over Shannon Gugerty by decision. Look for Clay to set a pace that Shannon will have trouble matching as the fight drags on.
- Eric Shafer over Jason Brilz by submission in the 2nd. I expect Shafer to spend some time on his back in the first round with Brilz controlling him. I think he turns the tide in the second and surprises him for the victory.
- Daniel Roberts over John Howard by decision. I like Howard and would actually like to see him win this fight. I'll take a chance and make this pick based on some good things I've heard about Dan.
- Mike Pierce over Julio Paulino by decision. I think that Pierce dictates this fight and gets the shutout on the scorecards.
- Duane Ludwig over Darren Elkins by TKO in the 2nd.
Brandon Vera vs. Jon Jones:
Vera has looked awful against every wrestler he has faced at 205. If Vera wants to keep the fight standing he must throw a large volume of strikes to keep Jones on the outside. However, since moving to 205 Vera hasn't thrown strikes in large volumes. So I see Jones getting inside and taking Vera down. Vera has good BJJ so I don't see Jones getting mount on Vera and unleashing on him. I think this is going to be in interesting battle with Jones on top. What wild and crazy things can Jones achieve from top position? I am excited to find out. Jon Jones Decision
Junior Dos Santos vs. Gabriel Gonzaga:
BrianMayes had a good fanpost about both fighters UFC careers. The key in this fight is footwork. Gonzagahas none and Dos Santos has good footwork for a heavyweight. Watch Dos Santos's feet in the Cro Cop fight, (I know Cro Cop is past his prime) most of the fight he is inside Mirko working uppercuts and hooks. Look at Gonzaga's footwork in the Carwin fight or the Chris Tuchscherer fight. Had a hard time finding distance and really looked out of position in some cases. Junior Dos Santos TKO RD.1
Cheick Kongo vs. Paul Buentello:
In my opinion Kongo is the best technical striker in the UFC's heavyweight division. He didn't respect Frank Mir's stand-up and got plunked. He must respect Buentello's power or Kongo will get hurt. If Kongo was smart he would keep distance on Paul and unleash a bevy of jabs. Paul Striking defence is not very good and Kongo can exploit it. Cheick Kongo TKO RD.2
Alessio Sakara vs. James Irvin:
Kelvin mentioned if James Irvin can be successful after a two year lay-off. In short I say no. Irvin is one of the most unpredictable athletes when he gets inside the cage so I will not count him out, but I think it is doubtful he move down in weight, battle ring rust, battle drug addiction, and still come out with a win. It would be great if he could but I don't see it happening. Alessio Sakara TKO RD.1
Clay Guida vs. Shannon Gugerty:
Gugerty is a good BJJ guard player that has reach, but doesn't use it.. That works well in the regional scene but in the UFC against Clay Guida pulling guard isn't going to win Gugerty the fight. We will see takedown after takedown from Guida most likely. However, if Clay was smart he would use this fight to test of his striking game. Clay Guida Decision
Eliot Marshall vs. Vladimir Matyushenko:
Both are painfully boring fighters, both have similar styles, and both will likely still have a contract with Zuffa after this fight. Matyushenko has a better wrestling game so I think we will see a lay and prey from Matty in this one. Vladimir Matyushenko Decision
Duane Ludwig vs. Darren Elkins
I have no idea who Elkins is, but if he can wrestle Ludwig is going to be in a lot of trouble. We know what Ludwig can do, he wants to "stand and bang" making an exciting fight. I doubt Zuffa would put Ludwig in there with a wrestler so I'll go with Ludwig. Ludwig TKO RD.3
Daniel Roberts vs. John Howard:
Roberts is a above-average kickboxer that can string together combos well. Howard was getting beat up by an old Dennis Hallman... To me this is a toss up. Howard has a hard time getting inside and using his best asset while Roberts has not been tested by a superior grappler. I'll go with Howard because he has produced results at a higher level than Roberts. Howard Decision
Brendan Schaub vs. Chase Gomley:
To me this fight is going to look a lot like the John Maddson vs Brendan Schaub fight. Gomley is going to look for takedown after takedown. Schaub could be able to sweep and get out of Gomley's guard, but Gomley is a better wrestler than Maddson. This is a really interesting fight. Both fighters are decent on the feet with Schaub having a little advantage, but Schaub has a questionable chin. Does Gomley have power? Does he have a chin? I'm sure we will find out in this fight. Gomley Decision
Mike Pierce vs. Julio Paulino
Julio Paulino does not sound like an Alaskan name. It sound like a name you would hear on the Jersey Shore. Although Paulino has a record of 17-2 generally he has fought against really bad opponents. The only other fighter I know of that has come out of the AFC is Justin Buchholz, and he hasn't done so well in the UFC. I expect Perice to lay on Paulino and capture a boring victory. Pierce Decision
Eric Schafer vs. Jason Brilz
Brilz is a really good wrestler and Schafer BJJ game is dependent upon him being in top position. Brilz Decision
-Jon Jones over Brandon Vera via decision. I think both fighters will be pretty cautious overall, but Jones will have the advantage in regards to speed. I wouldn't be surprised to see Jones take Vera down and work some of that nasty GnP. Vera is tough to put away to his credit..so I'm going with the judges here.
-Junior dos Santos over Gabriel Gonzaga via TKO. The first round will probably be pedestrian, but JDS will put the pressure on the in the 2nd round, and Gonzaga will fold like he always does. JDS with mortal kombat uppercut, or counter-right off a Gonzaga kick.
-Cheick Kongo over Paul Buentello via decision. Buentello will probably be too tough for Kongo to put away, but he'll get oupointed with kicks and clinch work.
-James Irvin over Alessio Sakara via TKO. Sakara's chin is too suspect, even though Irvin his coming off the long layoff.
-Clay Guida via dry humpage
-Vladimir Matyushenko over Eliot Marshall via decision. Marshall will succumb to take downs and Vladdy is too experienced to be submitted by Marshall IMO.
-Daniel Roberts over John Howard via decision. The footage I've seen on Roberts is impressive...he's really good on the ground and explosive as hell. Howard got dominated by a very old Dennis Hallman before pulling out the win at the last minute.
-Eric Schafer over Jason Brilz via Submission. Schafer will get the fight to the ground as work his magic.
-Duane Ludwig over Darren Elkins via TKO. Elkins is undefeated but his record is heavily padded. Ludwig's experience should be enough to get the W here.
-Brendan Schaub over Chase Gormley via TKO
-Mike Pierce over Julio Paulino. Pierce will use his wrestling to control Paulino.
Jon Jones (9-1) vs. Brandon Vera (11-4)
- This certainly isn't going to be a one-sided affair as some are making it out to be. The hype behind Jon Jones is very much warranted but at the same time, he has yet to face a threat in the UFC as big as Brandon Vera. While Vera has been less than stellar since dropping to light heavyweight, he still has been competitive in everyone of his match ups. This will be Jones' first time facing a top notch striker, so it's going to be interesting to see how he handles a guy that can not only hang with him standing but will likely negate Jones' reach advantage. The problem with Vera though is that he's one of those guys that rarely takes it out of second gear in his fights lately and this is one fight he can't just coast or count on racking up points the entire time. It will be very interesting to see how Vera comes out in the beginning moments because I think that will tell us all we need to know about this match up, if he's aggressive, I think he can drag Jones into areas that he might not be comfortable, however, if he allows Jones to dictate the pace, I think his face is in for some elbow sammiches. With that said, I see Jones being the quicker of the two and the more dynamic, however I do not see him being able to finish Vera, so I'll take Jones via unanimous decision.
Junior Dos Santos (10-1) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (11-4)
- The UFC certainly haven't given Dos Santos and easy road to a title shot. This will be no different. I was watching Gonzaga in his fight with Randy Couture the other night and it shows his one glaring weakness. Lack of heart. He's not one of those guys that'll dig deep even when put in bad situations and go all out. He seems to falter whenever the pressure is on him and we've seen how well his chin can hold up to power. Dos Santos on the other hand has been cool, calm, collected and an absolute killer. In my opinion, unless Gonzaga lands an absolute coma-inducing bomb, he'll eventually get caught with one of Junior's heavy strikes and go down in a heap. I see this lasting maybe two rounds and ending violently in Dos Santos' favor.
Cheick Kongo (14-6-1) vs. Paul Buentello (27-11)
- One thing you know in this one, it's very unlikely to hit the mat, until someone gets knocked out. Buentello's tough and Kongo is too, so I did we'll see this end quickly however, you have to wonder if Cheick will be gunshy after getting embarrassed by Frank Mir. If so, that will be his undoing as Paul's gritty enough to dig into him early and quick. However, I think Cheick wants to get back on the right track and he'll come out guns blazing and with his kickboxing pedigree mixed with his reach, he should have the advantage and I think he'll take this via TKO in Round 3.
James Irvin (14-5) vs. Alessio Sakara (14-7)
- The LONG layoff is going to hurt Irvin, if James hadn't been out so long I'd most definitely pick him to dismantle Sakara, but Sakara has looked halfway decent in his last few outings and shouldn't have to deal with too much ring rust. The only thing is if Irvin is able to blast off a bomb, Sakara's going to sleep, but I see Irvin fading quick as this will be his first foray (I believe) as a middleweight and I see Sakara securing a decision.
Clay Guida (25-11) vs. Shannon Gugerty (12-4)
- Guida via TKO in round 3
Eliot Marshall (8-1) vs. Vladimir Matyushenko (23-4)
- Marshall via decision
Duane Ludwig (19-10) vs. Darren Elkins (9-1)
- Ludwig via decision
John Howard (13-4) vs. Daniel Roberts (9-0)
- Howard via decision
Brendan Schaub (4-1) vs. Chase Gormley (6-1)
- Schaub via TKO in Round 2
Mike Pierce (10-3) vs. Julio Paulino (17-2)
- Pierce via TKO in round 2
Jason Brilz (17-2-1) vs. Eric Schafer (11-4-2)
- Schafer via decision