Quinton Jackson vs. Matt HamillLudo:
What was supposed to be the co-main event of the night has been promoted after the untimely retraction of both Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard due to injuries. Never the less this should prove a decent fight. Rampage looked less than prepared against Rashad Evans, yet at least in better shape for his fight with Lyoto Machida while Hamill has marked two victories in the meantime following the disqualification "win" over Jon Jones. Many people, including myself, have questioned Jackson's reasons for continuing to fight after he allegedly retired from the sport early last year. As far as the fight goes I give the striking advantage both in technique and power to Rampage. I believe Hamill may hold his own early on, though. Hamill hits deceptively hard even if it's not especially crisp. An edge in wrestling and overall grappling I give to Hamill. He is one of the best wrestlers in the division and it just may be that the blueprint was drawn by Rashad Evans for beating Rampage Jackson. Whether this is something Hamill can duplicate is another story entirely. Much of how this fight plays out will depend on whether or not Hamill can establish the takedown. If he can I can see Hamill holding Rampage down or against the cage long enough to get the nod from the judges. If he can't this is likely to be a bad night for the Hammer. Personally I think Matt can pull off the upset here and neutralize Rampge by leaving him no space to work the boxing game.
Prediction: Matt Hamill by DecisionFrank Mir vs. Roy NelsonLudo:
A long anticipated rematch from Grapplers Quest taking place under MMA rules. Top level grappling heavyweights Roy Nelson and Frank Mir will have a chance to lock horns again and then some. Nelson has experienced a slight uprising since winning the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Mir has spent his time in the UFC engaging often enough in exciting fights for better or worse. Only one blemish on his career as far as excitement goes in the form of his last fight against Mirko "Cro Cop" Fillipovic but it is possible to overlook given his several prior performances that made for quality bouts. I can see this fight happening one of two ways: Scenario One has Frank Mir able to stuff Nelsons takedowns while using his superior striking to make Roy pay for getting too close, either rocking him and following up for the submission from the top or to a decision. Scenario two has Nelson able to establish the takedown and ending up on top where he controls Mir to a decision. It's unlikely that Roy will submit Frank but the converse could happen if Mir is on top. From the bottom I'm not so sure Mir can lock something in tight enough to keep Roy from working out of it. It is more likely that Nelson finds a way to get this to the ground and using his wrestling, which is better than Franks, to end up on top enroute to a decision.
Prediction: Roy Nelson by DecisionRick Story vs. Thiago AlvesLudo:
I find Myself wary about making a prediction on this fight one way or another. Will we see a fight similar to Alves' fight with Howard or similar to his fight with Fitch? We can't be sure how his weight cut will go/is going and we have seen how that effects his performance. Though I will go with what is known for sure. Thiago Alves is a much better and more diverse striker than Rick Story, however Story has the chops to frustrate Alves in more than one area. Story is just as tenacious as Alves and has the grappling to win this fight if he can keep it on the ground. A big factor here is the pace that Story puts on. If he can push the pace he may be able to push Thiago to the edge and pour it on late in the fight. Striking power goes to Alves as does overall technique but Story is no slouch. An edge in grappling I give by a small margin to Story but it is unclear as to whether or not he will be able to take Alves down, that much depends on Alves' weight cut. I see this fight playing out standing early as Thiago has good hips when he's fresh. If Story can survive the initial onslaught with those crippling leg kicks he has his chance to win, but it is unlikely that he can overcome the striking of Thiago to secure the takedown with enough time left to win the fight.
Prediction: Thiago Alves by TKOBrian Stann vs. Jorge SantiagoLudo:
What better way to welcome Santiago back to the UFC than pitting him against the All American? Likely to be a winner of one of the fight bonuses. These two middleweights are going to go at it and go at it hard. Jorge Santiago is a standout from Japan's Sengoku promotion while Brian Stann has achieved champion status in the late WEC. Since making the move to the UFC Stann has had a rocky road due mostly to his endeavors at Light Heavyweight. Since moving into the Middleweight fold he has found success posting two straight wins, the last of which over Chris Leben. Santiago, meanwhile, has won eleven of his last twelve in which he has defeated the likes of Jeremy Horn, Trevor Prangley, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Kazou Misaki, and avenged the only loss during that stretch against Mamed Khalidov. Both bring explosive striking power, above average ground game's, and a drive to finish fights. In pure striking power Stann gets the nod however overall striking I give the edge to Jorge for his vast array of attacks. On the ground Santiago has better submissions while Stann is the stronger of the two by far. This fight will likely take place all over the place if someone doesn't go down early on. In the end Stanns power will probably prevail. I see them trading strikes before Stann picks up steam and ends Santiago's night with one of those heavy punches.
Prediction: Brian Stann by KOMiguel Torres vs. Demetrious JohnsonLudo:
Another quality matchup brought about by replacement due to injury. Despite all the hits this card has taken from injury withdrawls this is still a very nice looking card. A promise of action is evident in nearly every fight and this is one of them. Miguel Torres may be alot of things, but being a guy who has made a reputation participating in boring fights is not one of them. Torres claims he has been working hard on his wrestling, though it may not be enough to stop Mighty Mouse this time around. One thing to Torres' advantage is his length and stiff jab. Advantage in striking I give to Miguel hands down. He has very good footwork and Johnson seems to have a knack for being struck more than he rightfully should. Wrestling goes to Demetrious however overall grappling goes to Torres once more. He is dangerous on the ground especially off his back, again using his length to pose problems for anyone willing to take him down. I see this fight consisting mainly of Demetrious working early to see if he can strike with Torres, and finding himself on the end of that long jab. When he realizes he cannot get inside he will resort to the takedown but Miguel may be one of the few fighters in MMA that can steal rounds by being active from the bottom on the ground. Eventually I think Torres will rock Johnson standing after he gets up repeatedly and is taken down repeatedly. Once rocked Torres may give up the takedown and lock up a submission.
Prediction: Miguel Torres by SubmissionKendall Grove vs. Tim BoetschLudo:
This is an interesting fight for sure. Boetsch makes a move to the middleweight division after being front side kimura'd by Phil Davis. He meets Kendall "Da Spyder" Grove this time around and will have his hands full there. Grove brings a significant seven inch height advantage with him into this fight. Boetsch will be the more powerful fighter but does he have the footwork to find Groves chin all the way up there? If he can find it he can certainly win this fight but Grove is no glass chinned customer by any means. Standing Boetsch will have his work cut out for him trying to deal with those long jabs and quick knees of Kendall and on the ground he has to worry about the triangle and the sweep at more or less any moment. This will likely be a striking affair early on as the Hawaiian can sprawl well enough and it will be a challenge for the Barbarian to figure out a way to get this fight down to the mat. Both fighters are fairly well rounded, with Boetsch being the more well rounded of the two, however Grove's height adds a certain something to his skills and helps bridge the gap between skill and circumstance. His height and length lend alot to his game that cannot be taught. I see this fight consisting of Boetsch being unable to secure a favorable position in which he's not fending off constant submission attempts on the ground before Grove can get back up where Tim will be losing the striking battle. This is likely to go to Judges decision in favor of "Da Spyder.
Prediction: Kendall Grove by DecisionGleison Tibau vs. Rafaello OliveiraLudo:
A battle of replacements. This fight was originally scheduled as Cody McKenzie against Bart Palaszewski until Cody was forced to withdraw due to injury. Enter Gleison Tibau. Shortly after the replacement of Cody McKenzie it was announced that Palaszewski also would be withdrawing due to injury. Only hours later it was announced that Rafaello Oliveira would face Gleison Tibau. Gleison comes in fresh off his decision win over 'Batman' Kurt Pellegrino while Oliveira's last stint in the UFC saw him drop two out of three. Since then though he has posted a streak of four consecutive wins. It is likely that Tibau will use his size and wrestling to make a difference in this fight. Oliveira has not proved himself to be on the level to take on someone looming just outside the top ten like Tibau. Gleison will likely be able to take this fight where he wants it without too much trouble one way or another. I see Gleison grinding out a decision win here by top control and ground and pound from top position.
Prediction: Gleison Tibau by Decision Travis Browne vs. Stefan StruveLudo:
Stefan Struve is being brought along in his career nicely by the Joe Silva. This time around he meets Travis Browne. For once Stefan Struve isn't going to be monstrously taller than his opponent as Browne measures up at 6'7" in height. Despite Browne's last fight being less than memorable if not for being the worst fight on the card I would wager that this fight here will be one you won't want to miss. Struve brings it and Browne seems game for almost anything. With only three decisions in 36 fights between the two of them you can count on this one ending inside the distance. Struve will have the technical striking advantage while Browne has the striking power edge. On the ground Struve is dangerous from anywhere. His height allows him to work from strange angles and employ tactics not often available to a fighter with less length. While Browne didn't impress last time around his fight with James McSweeney can't be overlooked, he has power in his hands. Struve on the other hand has shown a ton of heart and a good chin as well as all around skills in his last two fights against Christian Morecraft and Sean McCorkle. This fight will likely be fairly close through the first and second rounds but after that I fear Browne's cardio may fail him and allow for Stefan to pour it on to a stoppage in the third round.
Prediction: Stefan Struve by TKO
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