No one can see the future, but as long as we’re going to speculate as to how things will turn out in Omaha on Wednesday (and let’s face it, we are), we might as well go all the way with predictions so specific they can’t possible come true….or can they?
Despite his impressive performances since coming off “The Ultimate Fighter,” the UFC doesn’t seem interested in moving Diaz up in competition. Instead they move him laterally, pitting him against the journeyman Neer, who Nate’s big bro already beat. It’ll be no easy task for Diaz to top his double-birdie performance against Kurt Pellegrino, but he’s a showman. Diaz will get bullied around the Octagon by Neer early on, but at some point he’ll remember he’s the better submissions fighter. The thought will dawn on him all at once and he’ll jump on Neer’s back, lock in a standing rear-naked choke, and extend his middle fingers on either side of Neer’s head as he submits.
When will it happen: 3:17, round two.
What to watch for: the look on Joe Rogan’s face when he has to interview Diaz after the bout and ask him to talk us through the Bud Light replay. What isn’t bleeped out will be completely unintelligible.
This is the kind of fight worth getting excited about. The stoic, cerebral Danzig takes on Enkidu, the wild man of the woods (officially known as Clay Guida). It’s the classic highly-technical vegan vs. tough-but-crazy caveman battle. Danzig will start overly cautious and be initially overwhelmed as Guida wades into him with reckless abandon. But as the fight wears on Danzig will start to figure things out, striking and circling and wearing Guida out with knees to the body. Then Guida will freak out, charging right into a triangle choke, and his face will be blocked by his hair as it changes colors before he finally consents to tap.
When will it happen: 2:03, round three.
What to watch for: Guida’s brother, who failed to make weight for his first “Ultimate Fighter” bout and was reportedly kicked off the show for it, will appear on camera at some point looking sad and not eating.
As has been previously pointed out, Herman has a knack for doing things in fights that even he knows are dumb. Since he’s probably the superior ground fighter in this match, that means he’ll elect to stand and trade with Belcher. It only makes sense. Eventually he’ll get hit so hard that he’ll accidentally resort to tactics that benefit him, and that’s when he’ll take Belcher down and ground-and-pound him into TKO-dom. Afterwards he will explain that he blacked out and was frightened when he came to and realized that he was playing to his strengths.
When will it happen: 4:45, round two.
What to watch for: the point at which Herman seems so tired there’s a very real threat of him puking on the canvas, which will come somewhere near the end of the first round and continue for forty-five minutes after the end of the fight, when he’ll finally give up the struggle and just puke.
So Alexander wins a couple fights, gets a lot of hype, then loses two straight and looks bad doing it, then gets signed to a contract extension and put on a Fight Night card in his hometown. Kind of makes you wonder, if he loses here, will he get a raise? Lately Alexander has seemed desperate to get back to being the explosive knockout machine, and in so doing hasn’t focused much on defense. He’s still going to come out guns blazing against Schafer. He’ll back him up, throwing punches as if Schafer’s on fire and he’s trying to put him out. Schafer will shoot in for a takedown, get stuffed, then catch a left hook on the chin and take a seat for a quick little nap. The whole thing will take less than minute. The fans in Omaha will lose they freaking mind afterwards.
When will it happen: 0:57, round one.
What to watch for: someone get a tape measure so we can tell how far Schafer’s mouthpiece goes flying when Alexander hits him. Please wait until it has come to a complete stop.