Welcome to the year-end show for the UFC, after the great fight we got last year on New Years with Edgar/Maynard, we get a rematch that has been building since UFC on Fox I.
Melvin Guillard vs Jamie Varner
David: This was supposed to be on the last show, but Jamie took ill, either to bad weight cutting (His Version) or Fear (Melvin’s version). To be be honest, this was the fight I had the most time waffling back and forth with. As with several fights on this card, I think the fighter who if both are at the top of thier game wins, will lose this fight. Melvin has MASSIVE power and a HUGE heart, and I am a personal fan of his, but he’s almost the Anti-Hulk, the madder he is, the worse he fights. Varner is on a pretty good roll of late, and this is a close fight either way. Last month, I took Melvin, with the delay, and Dana forcing the fight to this card, over Guillard’s objections, I think he’s mad enough to lose this one. Varner via Sub R2
Jim: Guillard KO Round 1
Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland
Jim: Wineland Decision
David: Brad Pickett
Joao: For longtime hardcore fans, Pickett is one of the most well known fighters in this division. A veteran of Cage Rage, Bodog, K-1 and the WEC, Pickett has had a tremendous impact in the UFC so far, even in defeat; in 3 fights with the organization, he has received 2 Fight of the Night awards and 1 KO of the Night. He has won championships in the UK and is now working to get a title shot in the UFC. He’s a very experienced fighter who also happens to be a crowd pleaser; but, for him, it’s now or never. Wineland sports as much experience as Pickett but with far less success, even though he was the first ever WEC Bantamweight champion. While Wineland has an edge in striking, Pickett has the slicker ground game and the better camp. He has also defeated better opponents.
A title shot is close for both, but it will be Pickett landing that coveted fight after a decision win.
Collin: Eddie Wineland
Erik Perez vs. Byron Bloodworth
Joao: Perez is a Mexican prospect who hails from Greg Jackson’s gym. He traditionally relies on his submission game but has recently been working on his stand-up. To attest to that, he nailed a lightning fast KO in his last appearance at UFC 150. He looks much more polished that what he did just a year ago when fighting for BAMMA, and his upside is tremendous. Bloodworth, on the other hand, is an unimpressive fighter who is fighting outside of his natural weight class; the man is not a bantamweight and his weight cuts are supposedly gruesome. I don’t think Bloodworth is UFC material; look for Perez to win by submission and for the UFC to cut him.
Collin: Erik Perez
David: Byron Bloodworth
Jim: Perek Sub Round 2
Michael Johnson vs. Myles Jury
Collin: Michael Johnson
David: Myles Jury
Jim:Johnson TKO Round 2
Leonard Garcia vs. Cody McKenzie
David: Cody McKenazie; I think this comes down to gameplan. Cody is as one-dimentional as it comes, but at least he knows that and he listens, Garcia has more tools, but is more than willing to ignore anyone and everyone and do what he wants. Reckless people lose to Cody. Garcia is going to eventually leave a neck out, and you only have to do that once to Cody.
Phil De Fries vs. Todd Duffee
David: Phil De Fries I like Duffee, but I do question his chin, having been KO’ed in brutal fashion in his two losses. I don’t think the Fry Guy (English translation) can win this fight on the feet, but I think he can take Duffee down and get enough ground and pound to soften that chin of his, and win the bout going away when Todd gets woosey. If Duffee is able to stuff takedowns all night, he can win this fight with his power, but I don’t think he will.
Collin: Todd Duffee
Jim:Duffee KO Round 1
Chris Cariaso vs. John Moraga
Joao: Moraga is known for having wreaked havoc in Arizona and he used to be a teammate of Ryan Bader and CB Dollaway. We have seen his transition to the big leagues through scoring a nice TKO at UFC on Fox Shogun vs Vera. He’s pretty well rounded, adding submissions and good power to an already existing wrestling background. Cariaso is definitely more seasoned, having large UFC, WEC and Strikeforce experience. He is on the cusp of getting a title shot, and an impressive win here inches him very close to that.
This fight is probably going to be a drawn out, grinding affair, with both fighters jockeying for position. Cariaso should ride his experience advantage to a decision win.
Collin: Chris Cariaso
David: Chris Cariaso Decision
Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson
David: I’m a big fan of Chris Leben, always have been since TUF I. There is a good chance if not for Chris Leben, there would not have BEEN the big audience to call thier freinds to jump-start the UFC era. So as a Leben Mark, I’m glad Karlos Vemola is not going to be his opponent, yet another wrestler, Brunson isn’t as good, and has a weaker chin, not to mention is coming in off 2 losses. I love me some Brunson, also coming from WILMINGTON, NAWTH CARO-LINA, but he needs some serious work. Loses at ShoFight, loses at Strikeforce- gets called up to the UFC? Where is “Triple Threat” Chris Bell? Quentin Henry? Jeff Humphries? Heck, I’m not trying to drag on my hometown guy, but there isn’t an ex-Tuf guy at 185 on a winning streak?? I’ll take Leben by KO.
Joao: what to make of this? Leben has been out of the game for over a year now, as a result of testing positive for banned substances – for the second time. But he is still a fan favorite with his TUF 1 background and wild hooks. What he lacks in technicality, he makes for in heart and determination. Brunson is primarily a BJJ fighter, with an unspectacular amateur wrestling background. He is outgunned by Chris on the feet and will be hard pressed to get his ground game working.
Leben returns triumphantly, lands those strange hooks, gets the first round KO and then breezes through the doping tests.
Jim: I see this going two ways. Leben uncorks some huge haymaker in the 1st and sleeps Brunson or Brunson uses his wrestling to lay on Leben over the course of 3 rounds. Leben’s long layoff has me a bit concerned but I think he will blast Brunson before that comes into play. Chris the Crippler Leben via KO Round 1.
Yushin Okami vs. Alan Belcher
David: Belcher is as always, the question mark. His eye shouldn’t be a problem but his back, might be a different story. On a 4 fight winning streak, and if you think of it, he might only be 2-3 fights from a title shot. I think he’s one of those guys that can beat most of the division, even if not 100%, but is going to get blasted by the top guys (Belfort, Sonnen, Bisping, Etc) To me, the question here is Okami. The Best Okami beats the best Belcher. A good Okami, however, loses to a good Belcher. The Okami that fought Tim Boetsch or Buddy Roberts loses this fight. I think Okami needs to take the fight to the ground to stop Belcher, I don’t think he has the power to stop him. I do think Belcher can stop Okami on the feet. I do take Belcher in this fight, I just don’t trust Okami for some reason. The scary thing is Belcher’s back. Finally, Belcher is an idiot if he calls out Weidman again. I’d like to see the winner here face Heck-tor Lombard next.
Jim:I kind of think the beating Anderson Silva laid on Okami has really affected him mentally. He hasn’t looked like the same fighter since. Less aggresive and scared to engage. Well, Alan Belcher won’t be. Belcher has some of the better standup in the middlewight division. He has very tight MuayThai and heavy leg kicks. I think he is going to punish Okami until Okami folds. Alan Belcher via TKO Round 2.
Joao: In my opinion this is the most interesting fight on this card, outside of the main event. Okami has something to prove if he wants to land another title shot in the future, while Belcher is extremely close to landing one himself. Now, everyone knows that Okami will circle just enough to get the clinch and then work for the takedowns, while Belcher is actually a very polished striker who can finish Okami standing at any moment.
Constantinos Philippou vs. Tim Boetsch
David: Boetsch is a bit of a slow, hard throwing fighter, we know what he have with him. His cardio looks really improved over his first “tour” as does his striking defense. I don’t see this fight going to the ground, but if it does, Tim is going to have a HUGE advantage. Tim does have a pretty good comeback ability, so it should be a longer fight that normal. I’ll take Tim, just because I think Joe Silva wants to get a title contender out of Lombard.
Jim:Costa is the superior boxer and athlete. Tim Boetsch is overrated in my opinion. Sure, he has good wrestling and judo, but he’s slow and not dymanic at all. I think Costa utilizes good movement, keeps Boetsch from getting inside and works him over with his superior boxing. Costa has also show very good takedown defense and will keep it on the feet just enough to outpoint Boetsch over 3 rounds. Costa Philippou via unanimous decision.
Joao: Many argue that Boetsch has been riding a wave of luck to get into this situation, but fact of the matter is that he is on a 4-fight win streak, and his victims are good enough to warrant the Barbarian a good measure of respect in this division. Plus, what’s there not to like about a wrestler with jeet kune do credentials? Costa is a nice fighter but I don’t think both his striking and ground game are as polished as Boetsch’s.
Boetsch arguably wouldn’t beat Hector Lombard again, but he will beat Philippou by decision.
Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon
David: Look at losses on Jim Miller’s resume. Frankie Edgar, Grey Maynard, Bendo and Nate Diaz. Not exactly a who’s that list? J-Lau’s list? Anthony Pettis, George Sotiropoulos, Ken-Flo and . . . Sam Stout is his last four? ( Plus Raphael Assunção, Jorge Masvidal and Ivan Menjivar ) I’m a HUGE Lauzon fan though, and I really do think at his best, he’s a bona-fide title contender. I look for this to be a fairly plodding ground battle, with Miller looking to create scrambles and Joe looking to lock in a submission. Miller is better and stronger on the feet, and one or two knockdowns should get him the win, either KO or scorecard.
Joao: Lauzon is a very talented young fighter, but I just don’t see him submitting Joe Miller. Miller is, very much like his brother, a rugged fighter; he is dependable in the sense that you know he will be on your face, making you work, for the entire duration of the fight. And he is compact and seasoned enough to withstand Lauzon’s submissions. He is also a better wrestler than Joe, and that will land him the necessary points en route to a decision win.
Jim Miller by decision.
Jim:Both guys have similar skill sets. Miller is well rounded. He has good boxing with a good lead right hook, good wrestling, and is a black belt in BJJ. Lauzon is a similar fighter but with lesser wrestling and a more dynamic sub game. Tough fight to call here. I see both guys feeling each other out on the feet and there will be great scrambles. In the end I think Joe is more on the uptick, while Miller seems to have fallen off a bit. Give me Joe Lauzin via close decision.
Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez
David: I picked JDS in the first fight, and I see no reason to stop now. Cain is best when he can unleash his HULKSMASH offense, and JDS is simply too quick on his feet in a HUGE 8-sided cage. The room that he has to move around is just unreal, and I have no doubt he can stay on the outside and pick at Cain. The two men have similar reach, but Cain doesn’t use his reach as well as a true striker like JDS can. I also think that Cain can take the fight to the floor, but being Brazillian, that only means he’s a 10th level BJJ belt with green clusters. I’m not sure Cain wants to try and beat on JDS for 5 rounds on the floor. Junior has a tough chin, and is not afraid to get hit to try and grab an arm.
Joao: We all knew this rematch was going to happen, and I have a feeling it will not be the last fight between these two. I see it going much differently from their encounter. Cain will get his takedowns and we will finally get a chance to see the output of Cigano’s extensive BJJ training. Unfortunately for him, it won’t be enough to stifle Cain’s body control and top position offense. These are clearly the two top heavyweights in the sport but I see Cain having two intangibles that will land him the title once again: stamina and wrestling.
Cain by decision.
Jim: This fight is pretty easy to breakdown. Either JDS keeps this fight standing and lands a hard shot that drops Cain or Cain is able to implement is wrestling and clinch game to wear JDS down from top control. I think latter happens this time. JDS is a beast and I hate to pick against him but I feel like Cain is being undervalued here by most. I think he takes JDS down this time and lays some severe ground and pound on JDS for the finish. Cain Velasquez regains the title via TKO Round 2.
Well, thank you for reading, David and Jack will have the PODCAST up later today, and by all means, put your picks below!
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