Hey, you want to hear something crazy? There’s another UFC event in like three days. And though it’s not the most thrilling card in recent memory, I’ll definitely be paying close attention, because Saturday marks the rematch of my vomit-video bet with Ryan Harkness of Fightlinker. (Read all the details/backstory here.) So these are the picks I’m going with, God help me. Let me know what you think in the comments section, and remember to come back here this Saturday at noon PT / 3 p.m. ET for our live results coverage.
Matt Hughes def. Thiago Alves via decision
Matt Hughes may be on the decline, and Thiago Alves is definitely on the come-up, but they haven’t passed each other yet, so to speak. Though Alves caught Karo Parisyan at UFC Fight Night 13, he’s failed in previous big tests against Spencer Fisher and Jon Fitch. Hughes may have trouble with Alves’s striking and youthful energy, and a submission victory is unlikely, but I can see the future Hall of Famer dominating the young challenger with his wrestling and grinding out a decision.
Michael Bisping def. Jason Day via KO/TKO, round 1
Michael Bisping only runs into problems when he’s matched up against big wrestlers; Jason Day is not a big wrestler. “Dooms” schooled Alan Belcher in his Octagon debut, but he has nothing on the Count, who looked impressively dangerous in his first middleweight match in April. Fun fact: All five of Day’s losses have come by first-round stoppage; why bet against the trend?
Marcus Davis def. Mike Swick via KO/TKO, round 2
The Irish Hand Grenade has said he’s not judging Mike Swick by his last performance, but I can’t get over the fact that Swick looked emaciated during the Burkman fight and fought like a pussy. Meanwhile, Davis is far more well-rounded than people give him credit for, and gets overlooked because he hasn’t been presented with a tough challenge yet. I expect Davis to rise to the occasion, big time, and extend his impressive win streak to 12. WAR HAND-GRENADE!!!
Nate Marquardt def. Thales Leites via submission, round 3
There are many who think Nate Marquardt is one of the top ten middleweights in the world. I’m not one of those people, but there’s no denying his submission prowess or his resume, which includes wins over Shonie Carter, Kazuo Misaki, Dean Lister, and most recently Jeremy Horn. Leites has good credentials and a great record, but Marquardt represents a large step up in competition for him. I think a jiu-jitsu showdown is inevitable, and Marquardt will eventually come out on top.
Fabricio Werdum def. Brandon Vera via decision
This might be the toughest fight to pick on the card. Brandon Vera is a dangerous striker, and who knows what would have happened if he didn’t break his hand during the Tim Sylvia fight (his first career loss). On the other hand, Werdum has gone toe-to-toe with much scarier strikers than Vera (Kharitonov, A. Emelianenko, and Arlovski among them) and avoided being knocked out. Werdum’s a little bigger than Vera, and better on the ground. I’m leaning towards the Brazilian because he has more ways to win, but it’s very hard to predict how, especially because neither fighter has ever been stopped. Could be a battle.
Martin Kampmann def. Jorge Rivera via KO/TKO, round 1
Thanks to his heavy hands and questionable chin, Jorge Rivera hasn’t been out of the first round since 2005. Against a comparably talented opponent like Kampmann, this one could go either way, but it’ll most likely be quick. I’ll give the nod to Kampmann for the fact that he’s never been knocked out.
Thiago Tavares def. Matt Wiman via decision
We’ll call this one “The Battle of Fighters I Couldn’t Care Less About.” Neither man has beaten a credible opponent, and they both know their way around a judges’ decision. Let’s move on.
Roan Carneiro def. Kevin Burns via submission, round 2
Simply put, “The Fire” is way too inexperienced to be fighting in the UFC. Roan Carneiro hasn’t been thrilling in the Octagon, but his jiu-jitsu is passable and he’s rumbled with some great opponents. I’m tempted to give it to Jucao in the first frame, but he’s not known to be a fast finisher, so I’ll say Burns gets through one round before getting tapped.
Jason Lambert def. Luis Cane via KO/TKO, round 2
UFC 79 was supposed to be Luis Cane’s coming-out party. But despite some sharp boxing in the opening moments of his fight against James Irvin, the match came to an abrupt end when he drove a knee into Irvin’s eye-socket while Irvin was on the ground; it was a disqualification loss for Cane, and the first L on his record. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see all that he’s capable of. Every time I see Jason Lambert, all I can say is “drop to middleweight, you chubby idiot!” Nevertheless, the Punisher’s vast experience puts him at an advantage here.
Paul Taylor def. Jess Liaudin via KO/TKO, round 1
Paul Taylor may have entertained us all with his slugfest against Paul Kelly at UFC 80, but both Taylor and Liaudin have gaping holes in their games. It’s hard to pick who will come out on top (read: who sucks less), but consider this: Taylor and Liaudin fought before at a Cage Rage event in 2003, with Taylor squeezing out a decision in only his second pro fight. Plus, Taylor lasted a few minutes longer than Liaudin did against Marcus Davis. It’s a crapshoot, but I can see Taylor coming out fast and furious like he did in the Kelly fight, and handing Liaudin another quick knockout loss.
Eddie Sanchez def. Antoni Hardonk via KO/TKO, round 3
Putting 6-0 Eddie Sanchez in the cage with Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 67 was shameful, but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad fighter. He now has eight victories under his belt, all by stoppage. While Sanchez has only lost to a legend, Hardonk has lost to some scrubs (excluding Frank Mir). Despite his strong chin and good hands, Hardonk hasn’t convinced me yet. Expect a mostly-sloppy slugfest that ends late.