UFC 71 Predictions

Instead of writing out long-winded explanations of why I like one fighter over another and then detailing their history ad nauseum, I'll just link to a few places that aren't as lazy as I am and actually go through with the horrendous ordeal.

The truth, actually, is that I've been discussing these issues ad infinitum on the different radio shows I've been on.  In fact, I spoke with one of the leading MMA oddsmakers in Joey Odessa.  Joey gets the picks right more than most and his insight was first-rate.

So listen to any of the shows to get a detailed breakdown.  As a short wrap-up, the following will work:

Chuck Liddell vs. Quinton Jackson

Winner: Jackson

Reasons: Chuck's previous quality of opponents and their tailor-made fighting styles, Chuck's knees and age, Chuck's decisive loss during their first encounter, Rampage's new trainer and impeccable training camp, Rampage's boxing skills/mobility/footwork, Rampage's strength, Rampage's excellent chin, Rampage's diverse gameplan.

Karo Parisyan vs. Josh Burkman

Winner: Parisyan

Reasons: Karo's similar strength to Burkman, Karo's experience, Burkman's habit of losing to strong grapplers with excellent wrestling, Karo's submission prowess, Karo's cardio, Burkman's inexperience, Karo's toughness and pace, Karo's ability to dictate how and where the fight takes place, Burkman's competent but uninspiring game.

Ivan Salaverry vs. Terry Martin

Winner: Salaverry

Reasons: Salaverry's complete game, Salaverry's toughness and composure under fire, Salaverry's dangerous guard (to neutralize Martin's main strength - wrestling), Salaverry's superior stand-up, Martin's either inconsistent or incomplete UFC performances, Martin's one-dimensional game, Salaverry's quality of defeated opponents, Martin's comparatively novice game.

Keith Jardine vs. Houston Alexander

Winner: Jardine

Reasons: Alexander's lack of quality opponents, Jardine's excellent MMA team/corner/training camp, Jardine's respectable stand-up and leg kicks, Jardine's toughness, Alexander's UFC debut, Jardine's punching power, Alexander's one-dimensional game.

Chris Leben vs. Kalib Starnes

Winner: Leben

Reasons: Leben's experience, Leben's iron chin, Starnes' lack of stand-up prowess, Starnes' inability to withstand constant pressure, Leben's underrated submission game, Leben's wrestling, Leben's quality of opponents, Starnes' lack of activity/ring rust.

Din Thomas vs. Jeremy Stephens

Winner: Thomas

Reasons: Stephens's UFC jitters, Thomas's jiu-jitsu superiority, Thomas's training camp, Thomas's veteran status, Thomas's team, Thomas's quality of opposition, Stephens's poor quality of opposition, Stephens's inexperience in dire situations, Thomas's well-rounded game.

Thiago Silva vs. James Irvin

Winner: Silva

Reasons: Silva's excellent Thai boxing, Silva's excellent jiu-jitsu, Silva's team, Irvin's one-dimensional game, Irvin's substandard wrestling, Silva's toughness, Irvin's overall talent level, Irvin's tendencies to wilt under pressure, Irvin's substandard ground game.

Sean Salmon vs. Alan Belcher

Winner: Salmon

Reasons: Belcher's late-notice replacement status, Salmon's far superior wrestling, Salmon's desire to make an account of himself, Salmon's long training camp/sparring partners, Belcher's substandard guard, Belcher's questionable gas tank, Salmon's mental focus.

Wilson Gouveia vs. Carmelo Marrero

Winner: Gouveia

Reasons: Gouveia's excellent overall game, Gouveia's vastly superior jiu-jitsu, Gouveia's respectable wrestling, Gouveia's training camp/team, Marrero's one-dimensional game, Marrero's substanfard jiu-jitsu, Gouveia's toughness and ability to finish, Gouveia's superior stand-up, Marrero's one-dimensional reliance on wrestling.

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