Georges St-Pierre (19-2) vs. Dan Hardy (23-6)
- I could analyze this but we all know I'll just be going on and on in round about way on how Hardy only has a puncher's chance. It's sadly the truth. The fact that GSP has stated he will be about 190 going into his 111 bout doesn't bode well for Hardy, who of course hits with bricks but unfortunately I don't see him stopping the inevitable take down. However, Hardy did look good against Mike Swick, who desperately tried to take him down with no success, but there's a big difference between a Swick double leg and a GSP double leg. Look for GSP to possibly test the stand up game early as I'd expect him to want Hardy to over commit so he can bully him to the ground. I think Hardy's tough enough to take a licking and keep on ticking. Watch for GSP to cinch in a late 4th round submission to take a decisive victory.
- Man oh man do I want Shane Carwin to win, but he has A LOT going against him. He hasn't fought since UFC 96, which took place early in '09...he didn't look that great against Gonzaga, and he has shown to be very hittable on the feet. Meanwhile, Frank Mir has really reinvented himself as of late as his 'obsession' with Brock Lesnar has fueled him. Mir's footwork, especially against Kongo looked great and I think that'll be the key to him winning. Carwin seems to just back up flat footed when someone attacks and we saw how the angle that Mir hit Kongo really threw Kongo for a loop (I don't think it was the punch rather the odd angle that sent Kongo flying). I think Mir will use this to daze Carwin and dash in with a takedown, grab a shoulder or arm and call it a night. This won't go past the first round.
Kurt Pellegrino (14-4) vs. Fabricio Camoes (10-4-1)
- I'll be honest, I don't know enough about Camoes to give him a fair breakdown, but I do know Pellegrino has been on fire as of late and more than likely will continue his rise in the lightweight division....via decision.
Jon Fitch (21-3) vs. Ben Saunders (8-1-2)
- Prayers go out to Thiago Alves and I know we all hope that it is not as serious as it may be. With that said, I'm curious to see how this plays out. Ben Saunders is a lanky welterweight and we haven't really ever seen Fitch up against someone that'll have a big time reach advantage. The problem though is that Swick was able to take Ben Saunders down and you know that's going to be Fitch's first thought. Couple that with the fact Ben was preparing for Jake Ellenberger and now has to take on a whole other type of fighter makes me think it won't be pretty for him. I see Fitch grinding out a decision but getting threatened late in the fight with some well placed kicks from Saunders.
Jim Miller (16-2) vs. Mark Bocek (8-2)
- I know Bocek's a hometown dude but I don't know if he has the skill or style to beat Jim Miller, Miller should control this bout for the duration and Bocek will try to threaten with submissions but to no avail. Miller via decision.
Nate Diaz (11-5) vs. Rory Markham (16-5)
- Diaz takes a hard fought decision.
Ricardo Almeida (11-3) vs. Matt Brown (11-7)
- This one's a toss up, I don't know how the weight cut will effect Almeida but if he comes in in good shape he should be able to take a 2nd round submission.
Jared Hamman (11-2) vs. Rodney Wallace (9-1)
- Wallace via submission in round 3
Tomasz Drwal (17-2-1) vs. Rousimar Palhares (10-2)
- Drwal via decision
Greg Soto vs. Matt Riddle (3-1)
- Riddle via decision
- St. Pierre over Hardy by submission in the 4th round. Simply too much GSP for Hardy to handle.
- Carwin over Mir by TKO in the 1st round. I'm not real confident in this pick but thought I'd act on a hunch.
- Fitch over Saunders by decision. Maybe Jon can make a statement here and finish Saunders on a high profile PPV card.
- Pellegrino over Camoes by decision.
- Miller over Bocek by decision.
- Almeida over Brown by submission in the 2nd round.
- Diaz over Markham by decision.
- Drwal over Palhares by TKO in the 3rd round.
- Wallace over Hamman by decision.
- Soto over Riddle by TKO in the 2nd round.
Robert Downey Sr.:
Georges St. Pierre vs. Dan Hardy:
St. Pierre is simply better at everything than Dan Hardy except talking. The Brit (first of his nationality to fight for a UFC title) has good boxing and can throw a high kick, but GSP has equal if not better kickboxing. St. Pierre's fights with BJ Penn and Thiago Alves last year proved he still he's more than just the best practical wrestler in MMA, winning most exchanges against both stand-up aces. With that said, there is always the chance Hardy can crack one on St. Pierre coming in but I just can't see it happening. St. Pierre spends some time striking with Hardy because the challenger has been running his mouth, but the Brit gets dumped on the mat and maybe has his teeth straightened out. GSP by TKO, Round 2
Frank Mir vs. Shane Carwin:
Frank Mir can win this fight standing or on the ground. I'm not sold on Shane Carwin but he has stone hands, which are a wild card in any fight. He's a wrestler, but not of the caliber than can really give Mir hard times. Mir has become very bigger and a decent kickboxer in the past two years to go along with his great jiu-jitsu. I won't totally discount Carwin because he can punch through a brick wall and is a tough guy; when you've beaten only middling heavyweights and Gabriel Gonzaga, though, you haven't proven to me you can hang with a two-time champ. Mir by Submission, Round 1
Kurt Pellegrino vs. Fabricio Camoes:
I don't know much about Camoes but from his fight with Caol Uno at UFC 106 he's not a scrub. The fight was a draw, but he would have won had he not been deducted a point for an illegal up-kick. He's got a black belt from Royler Gracie, which is nice, and trains out of San Diego with Diego Sanchez and Xande Ribiero. Get this: according to some guy named Jorge Britto, when he was 17 he lasted half an hour in a bare-knuckle fight with Anderson Silva. Okay.
Pellegrino, a New Jersey native, is a tough UFC fighter. Training with Ricardo Almeida and Kenny Florian never hurts your game, and he's been predominantly a submission fighter throughout his career as evidenced by 11 of his 14 wins ending in a tap out. Camoes has the better jiu-jitsu pedigree, but "Batman" has the experience and a few good wins (Josh Neer, Thiago Tavares) under his belt, so I'll give him the edge. Pellegrino by Decision
Jon Fitch vs. Ben Saunders:
Saunders is stepping in here for Thiago Alves, who was pulled from the bout against Fitch after his CT scans showed some irregularities. It's a big-time move for Saunders, and the biggest test of his career. His only fight against top-10 competition resulted in a TKO loss to Mike Swick at UFC 99, but he's since rebounded with a brutal stoppage of Marcus Davis. A win here and Saunders gets a title shot, but standing in his way is the likely 2nd best welterweight in the world. Fitch isn't "great" at anything, but he's a smothering wrestler who isn't a great striker but can hit you. He takes a hell of a punch, too. Saunders is long and lanky and has a beastly Muay Thai clinch, which is his best chance. What the hell, I like the gumption of Saunders stepping in for Alves and the title shot will be a whip at his back. Ben Saunders via TKO
Jim Miller vs. Mark Bocek:
Miller is another New Jersey native specializing in grappling. Much like his brother Dan, a middleweight Miller has only lost to top fighters in his division in Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar. He's honed his craft with the wizards at 10th Planet and will have the crowd on his side. Bocek has been training with Nova Uniao and has recent wins over Joe Brammer, David Bielkheden, and Alvin Robinson all by rear naked choke. Miller is better on the feet, but expect this to be a grappling match. Bocek is a solid fighter, but I think Miller can wrestle him down and control the fight. Jim Miller by Decision.
Nate Diaz vs. Rory Markham:
This is Diaz's first fight at welterweight, so it will be interesting to see what kind of bulk he's added to fight at 170. The Cesar Gracie disciple is the better all-around fighter and clearly out-classes Markham in jiu-jitsu. Diaz also has decent boxing and throws a lot of combos; perhaps he's found more power at this weight class. Still, even with the patented Diaz chin and swagger, it wouldn't be wise to stand with a headhunter like Markham when you can easily beat him at something else. I think Diaz, or at least puppet master Gracie, realizes that. Diaz by Submission, Round 1
Ricardo Almeida vs. Matt Brown:
Almeida is a world-class grappler making his debut at 170 pounds, and he will be fairly larger than Matt Brown. Brown has shown a lot of development since his time on season seven of The Ultimate Fighter, with his TKO wins over James Wilks and Pete Sell. Brown is a very tough fighter, but Almeida-who owns wins over Nate Marquardt and Kizuo Misaki in Pancrase and most recently Kendall Grove at UFC 101-will simply be too much for him right now. I think "Big Dog" can be a contender at 170 in the near future. Almeida by Submission, Round 3
Rodney Wallace over Jared Hamman by Decision
Rousimar Palharres over Tomasz Drwal by Submission
Greg Soto over Matthew Riddle by Submission
GSP Sub Rd. 3
Carwin KO Rd. 1
Fitch TKO Rd3
Miller Sub Rd. 2
Diaz Sub Rd. 1
Almeida Sub Rd. 2
Wallace KO Rd. 2
Palhares Sub Rd. 1
GSP vs. Dan Hardy:
GSP is the better all around fighter by far. Dan Hardy simply has a punchers chance and that's about it. I think GSP will stand with Hardy a bit, prolly use some leg kicks to stay out of range of Hardy's punches and take Hardy down at will when he wishes to do so. I think Hardy will last longer than most people think, but I think GSP gets him down and starts mauling him. Hardy gives up his back for the RNC in Rd. 3
Frank Mir vs. Shane Carwin:
The crazy thing about Carwin is that he has legit credentials as a wrestler, but has shown the propensity to stand during his time in the UFC. He should take Mir down, if not he's going to get knocked out unless he pulls a hail mary right hand out of his ass like he did against Gonzaga. I mean when you are as large as that guy, you should be able to put people way with one punch(and he can). So Mir should be wary of that. If Carwin takes Mir down, I don't think he'll be able to keep Mir down the same way that Lesnar did. I think Mir knocks Carwin out in round 3 because I think Mir wants to take Carwin into the deeper waters since Carwin's never been out of the first round. He'll be patience for the first round, engage more in the 2nd, and take him out in the third.
Jon Fitch vs. Ben Saunders:
I really dislike this fight. Anyways, Fitch will fight the way he always fights and take Saunders down and grind out a decision. I suppose Saunders length could be a slim factor on the ground, but Fitch fights safe enough to keep himself out of trouble. Fitch via decision.
Kurt Pellegrino vs. Fabricio Cameos
I'm excited for this one if we get to see it. Cameos is a huge lightweight and excellent grappler, as well as Pellegrino. So we should get some solid transitions in this one. I wonder if Cameos has fixed the cardio problem he had after the long layoff. Pellegrino is a good wrestler with a good gas tank, so I see him taking this one via decision.
Mark Bocek vs. Jim Miller:
Both guys are really good on the ground, with the edge going to Bocek. However, Miller is the better wrestler and should be able to put Bocek on his back. As long as he can avoid the submissions that Bocek throws up, he should be able to take this one via decision.
Ricardo Almeida vs. Matt Brown:
I'm a Matt Brown fan now. Yes, dude comes to fight and he'll have a fight on his hands with Almeida. Almeida will be looking to get this fight to the ground and should be able to since he'll be the larger guy in the cage. Brown has improved his sub defense, but still has a few holes in his game there that Almeida will probably exploit. Almeida via Submission Rd. 2
Nate Diaz vs. Rory Markham:
Will Diaz fight the smart fight? He could keep the fight standing and outpoint Markham, but just be wary of the haymakers. If the fight goes to the ground, he'll have the advantage there. Markham either knocks you out or gets knocked out. However, Diaz doesn't really have KO power like that. So I'm go with Diaz via decision.
Rodney Wallace vs. Jared Hamman:
Shonuff representing NC and going to get this win baby! Hamman has KO power, but Wallace should be able to dictate where this fight takes place, and should take this fight to the ground since he'll be giving up a big reach advantage. Wallace via decision.
Tomasz Drwal vs. Rousimar Palhares:
Drwal is very aggressive with KO power, and he'll have the advantage standing. Palhares is built like a tank and is super good on the ground. Will Palhares be able to get this fight to the ground? I'm not sure, since Drwal will be the larger guy as he used to fight at LHW. However, I'm roll with Palhares via Submission...Armbar Rd. 3
Matt Riddle vs. Greg Soto
Riddle via decision