Anderson Silva vs Patrick Cote:
Kid Nate: Someone like Patrick Cote always has a puncher's chance, except when he doesn't. Cote is a better technical kickboxer than anyone Silva's faced so far in the UFC, but let's not forget that Silva is a BJJ blackbelt and Cote, um, isn't. Silva by something pretty in 1.
Brent Brookhouse: Cote should look better than he did in his last fight and I think he has a better chance than a lot of people are giving him. But a better chance doesn't mean "will win" and honestly doesn't even mean "will be very competitive" I think his striking is enough for Silva to worry about that it takes a little bit of time. Anderson Silva by submission in round 2.
Michael Rome: Anderson Silva vs. Patrick Cote: Goodnight, Patrick Cote. He overrates his standing ability and is going to go down in a heap. Silva via KO, round 1.
Nick Thomas: On the ground - Cote loses. Standing up - it doesn't look good for Cote either. But I just can't pick against my fellow canuck. I'm praying that Cote is super aggressive in the first minute of the first round and catches Silva with a big shot. Cote by lucky punch.
Chris Nelson: Like nearly everyone else, I've been going on the assumption that Anderson would blast right through Cote ever since this fight was announced. On the feet, with due respect to Cote's proven chin, it's not even close. On the ground, it's even less so. Still, this past week, between the usual Zuffa "it's not a squash match!" promotion and all of Silva's very public retirement talk, I've started to get an uneasy feeling that the match may not go exactly as expected. (I even had a dream that I found Silva at -100, bet everything I owned and lost.) That said: this is Anderson f**king Silva we're talking about. The man melts people, and all the gut feelings in the world couldn't make me pick against him in this one. Silva via TKO, Round 3.
Mike Fagan: Cote, in my opinion offers only slightly more technique than Irvin and Leben. Otherwise, I expect this fight to unfold similarly to those two. This fight only gets out of round 1 if Silva wants it to (i.e. takes some time to find his rhythm). Silva by TKO round 1.
Josh Koscheck Vs. Thiago Alves
Kid Nate: I have seen Jon Fitch's mauling of Alves too many times. It made me pick both Karo and Hughes to take him down and beat him. Third time's the charm -- Koscheck by ground and pound decision.
Brent Brookhouse: This isn't a great matchup for Alves as far as I'm concerned. Kos is going to take him down and land a few shots...and then do it again...and then do it again. And that will pretty much be the story here. Josh Koscheck by decision.
Michael Rome: A real hard fight to call. Koscheck is coming in on short notice, but I think he'll get Alves down and win a decision. Koscheck via decision.
Nick Thomas: If Koscheck can avoid Alves's knees during the takedown, he'll take
this via control. Koscheck by TKO.
Chris Nelson: Bad switch for Thiago here, as Koscheck is a much worse style matchup and a far sterner test for him than Diego would've been (and the Brazilian probably would have caught more shine for defeating Sanchez anyway). Still, if Alves can avoid total suffocation by "the Human Blanket" - and I understand that's a large if, but what else could he possibly be working on in preparation for this fight? - IF he can do that, he will take this fight handily. I say the wrestler has his way in the first, but things turn quickly after that. Thiago Alves via TKO, Round 2.
Mike Fagan: If you read my gambling write up, you know I'm having a tough time calling this one. I took Alves in the gambling article, and I think I'll just go ahead and pick him here. I like picking guys who finish, and Alves has more avenues to that goal than Josh. Alves by TKO round 3.
Rich Clementi Vs. Gray Maynard
Kid Nate: The veteran Clementi should prove to be too well rounded for the fairly green Maynard. In a few years Maynard will be able to pass these kinds of tests, not this time. Clementi by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Clementi deserves some main card time so I'm glad to see him higher up the card this time around. Maynard is, a bit overrated and he makes some mistakes that can be taken advantage of. I'm thinking Rich will do so. Clementi by submission in the second.
Michael Rome: Clementi is on a bit of a resurgence, but I think Maynard's wrestling will be too much. Maynard via decision.
Nick Thomas: I'm a huge fan of Clementi and he's coming in with a ton of experience. I see Maynard bulllying Clementi but leaving himself open for something. Clementi by submission.
Chris Nelson: While he's still green in the MMA game, Maynard has proven to have both a solid gas tank and great striking on the floor, plus serviceable ground defense. But I'm not convinced that he can have a mistake-free fight just yet, and "No Love" capitalizes on mistakes. Clementi via Submission, Round 3.
Mike Fagan: Maynard by size and wrestling and decision.
Fabricio Werdum Vs. Junior Dos Santos
Kid Nate: This has struck me as a bit of "WTF?" matchmaking since it was announced. Werdum has a case to be the #1 contender in the UFC heavyweight division but he's clearly not someone the Zuffa brass wants in a title match-up -- especially against Nogueira. Dos Santos isn't impressive from the fights I've seen so I'm picking Werdum but I still have questions. Werdum by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Santos sticks out as a "trap fight" to me. These are the moments where a guy starts to think "why am I fighting Junior Santos?" Of course, Werdum says this is not the case. But we've all read that he isn't exactly thrilled with the title situation. I'm sticking with the safe pick here, but a Santos win wouldn't shock me. Werdum by decision.
Michael Rome: Boy do I hate this fight. Werdum via submission, round 1.
Nick Thomas: Werdum is a beast and hopefully up for a title shot soon. Werdum by submission.
Chris Nelson: I've been questioning the UFC's decision to ink "Cigano" since the day this was announced. His fights in Brazil never impressed me much, but the recent glimpses of his training certainly have. (He's in noticably better shape, and has been working with Amaury Bitetti on his BJJ.) Werdum has some of the worst luck in MMA, and now that he's been all but promised a title shot if he gets past the virtually unknown Dos Santos, I'm fully expecting Junior to pull out the upset. Dos Santos via TKO, Round 1.
Mike Fagan: I'm still trying to find tape on Santos, but it's still easy to call Werdum by submission round 2.
Sean Sherk Vs. Tyson Griffin
Kid Nate: Sherk should be too much for Griffin. I'm expecting a fight of the night as long as both guys stick to their wrestling game and don't try to kickbox exclusively. Neither guy should be able to finish and I just keep seeing Griffin at the end of his fight with Clay Guida -- on his back and getting battered. The judges will go with Sherk if the same scenario repeats. Sherk by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I don't want to sound like I'm discounting Griffin here, but I don't really see a whole lot of ways for him to win. I don't see either guy finishing the fight and in a longer fight I like Sherk. Sherk by decision.
Michael Rome: I think this is the end of Griffin's run of decisions. We saw he had trouble wrestling with Frankie Edgar and Sherk is a whole different beast. Sherk via decision.
Nick Thomas: Wrestler vs. wrestler here. Awesome fight. Griffin has decisioned his last 5 fights and I think he'll pull another one off here. Griffin by decision.
Chris Nelson: I wonder if they already have the Fight of the Night checks filled out for these guys? Tyson's obviously a phenomenal fighter with a huge future still ahead of him, but Sherk is too powerful, durable and (above all) hungry right now to lose this fight. Sherk via Decision.
Mike Fagan: Sherk will just be too strong, too conditioned, and too disciplined here. Sherk by decision.
Undercard picks are in the full entry.
Thales Leites Vs. Drew McFedries
Kid Nate: Leites was supposed to have quite a test from the Croation Goran Reljic, an undefeated Light Heavy moving down to 185. Instead he gets as close as the UFC gets to a gimme with the jiu jitsu impaired McFedries. Leites by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: McFedries doesn't have a great shot at taking this one. However, he does have explosive punching power. Unless he can land early this is Leites' fight to lose. What looks even worse for Drew is that he hasn't been out of the first round since 2003. Leites by submission round 1.
Michael Rome: McFedries is a one trick pony, and everyone knows it by now. Leites via submission, round 1.
Nick Thomas: As soon as this gets to the ground it's over. Leites by submission.
Chris Nelson: I'm done picking McFedries in any fight, unless he somehow winds up facing Marvin Eastman again... which he conceivably could, after he loses this match and starts fighting on smaller shows, where he probably belongs. (No offense, Drew, but damn - get your BJJ up!) Leites via Submission, Round 1.
Mike Fagan: Leites by TKO round 2
Spencer Fisher Vs. Shannon Gugerty
Kid Nate: Another match-up that should have been better, but Melvin Guillard's inability to stay out of jail messed up that match. Gugerty is the substitute and should be someone Fisher can handle maybe even with a spectacular finish ala what he did to Matt Wiman. Fisher by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: As long as Fisher can keep it standing he can take the win. Gugerty has a decent submission game but I don't think he has the game to get Fisher down and finish him. Spencer Fisher by TKO round 2.
Michael Rome: Weird fight for Fisher, he'll win easily. Fisher via TKO, round 2.
Nick Thomas: Fisher easily. Fisher by TKO.
Chris Nelson: Shannon's striking is a liability, but once Fisher (inevitably) brings this one to the floor, I think Gugerty shocks the world. Or at least the people who get to see the prelims. Gugerty via Submission, Round 2.
Mike Fagan: Fisher by decision
Dan Miller Vs. Matt Horwich
Kid Nate: Miller's wrestling and jiu jitsu are both pretty technical, Horwich's ground game is much more unconventional, more of a catch wrestling style. I think that gives Miller the edge. Miller by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Miller by submision round 2.
Michael Rome: Miller via submission.
Nick Thomas: Would have been a great middleweight fight in the IFL. Most of it will be on the ground. Miller by submission.
Chris Nelson: Miller via Decision
Mike Fagan: Miller by submission round 2
Hermes Franca Vs. Marcus Aurelio
Kid Nate: The feud! As much as I hope for a BJJ clinic, I predict this will come down to Franca's sizable standing advantage. I don't think Aurelio is well-rounded or adaptable enough to force Franca to fight his fight. On the other hand, Franca's takedown defense is pretty weak. Franca by KO.
Brent Brookhouse: I'm hoping this gets the now standard "free fight on UFC.com" treatment. Franca by decision.
Michael Rome: This is kind of a battle of two guys that will never make it to the top of the division. There's some bad blood so I hope it makes the show. I'm going to pick Franca via KO.
Nick Thomas: Must win for both fighters. I hope we get to see this one. Franca by TKO.
Chris Nelson: Franca via Decision
Mike Fagan: Aurelio by decision
Josh Burkman Vs. Pete Sell
Kid Nate: Kind of intriguing match up, could be a loser-leave-town match. Sell is coming down from 185 and has the jiu jitsu to get a submission if it goes to the ground but his tendency to want to brawl will probably mess that up. Burkman usually relies on overpowering his opponents but that shouldn't work on the bigger Sell and if he takes it down, that's the worst thing he can do. Coin toss. Burkman by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I don't like Burkman, but this is a winable fight for him. Burkman by TKO round 2.
Michael Rome: Sell via TKO.
Nick Thomas: I want Sell to win but Burkman will take this by decision.
Chris Nelson: Burkman via Decision
Mike Fagan: Burkman by TKO round 2