UFC Fight Night 16: Fight for the Troops Staff Predictions
Josh Koscheck vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida
Luke Thomas: Yoshida might have the edge in the clinch early, but Koscheck's training with Dave Camarillo plus his leg attacks are something I seriously doubt Yoshida is prepared for. And while Yoshida has the more damaging ground and pound, I do not see Yoshida being able to hold down Koscheck long enough to do any damage. Koscheck could try turning this into a striking war, but if he decides to keep Yoshida guessing and off balance - and Yoshida has a tendency to concede to aggressive fighters, then attempt some sort of reverse of counter manuever - I see Koscheck taking a decision.
Kid Nate: This promises to be a classic collision of styles -- freestyle wrestling vs judo. Both fighters like to use their grappling skills to get position and win from the top. Yoshida should have the edge in the clinch, but if Koscheck shoots from the outside, he has an excellent chance of putting the judoka on his back. I expect Koscheck to have the edge in kickboxing range, and if he fights smart we could see a repeat of the dreadful brawl N stall game he used to decision Diego Sanchez. Koscheck by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: The turn-around time for Koscheck is really bothering me here. But this is a situation where Koscheck's ego helps out. He thinks he can win every fight and that should allow him to go above any sort of problems that may stem from his schedule. So now we're back to fighter vs. fighter and I think that while Yoshida is a really good fighter who can beat some high level guys...Koscheck is better standing and he will be able to put Yoshida on his back should he desire. I'm thinking Koscheck keeps the fight at distance getting in and out with jabs and jab/hook combos and getting right back outside. Koscheck by decision.
Nick Thomas: Yoshida has a win over Dan Hardy just last year and that means a tough fight for Koscheck especially after his war against Alves. I'm betting Koscheck comes in with his I'm a striker now game plan, giving the opportunity to Yoshida to take this to ground and win by submission.
Mike Fagan: As much as I love Yoshida, straight up, I want to pick Koscheck here. However, the fact that he's fought 3 times in six months and last fought just 6 weeks ago is tripping me up. Add in all the hoopla about merchandising rights and Koscheck apparently still in danger of being released, and I'm really confused. I'll go with Yoshida by decision, but I feel dirty about it.
Mike Swick vs. Jonathan Goulet
Luke Thomas: Goulet has the worst chin in all of professional MMA and Mike Swick throws quick, explosive combinations. Gee, I wonder how this ends? Oh yeah, Swick by TKO, round 1.
Kid Nate: I see no reason for booking this fight. Its basically a gimme for Swick after a string of lackluster performances. Swick supposedly wanted a tougher opponent and declined the fight so Goulet took to the web to do some smack calling. Next thing you know, Swick takes the fight. Goulet does come to bang so hopefully Swick will find his "Quick" again. Swick by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Goulet really wanted this fight and that makes me think that maybe he knows something we don't. But...no he doesn't. Swick by TKO, round 1.
Nick Thomas: Gotta go with my fellow Canuck here. Goulet's technique is there and long as he doesn't get caught, Goulet can win this. Goulet by TKO.
Mike Fagan: In my opinion, this is a tuneup fight for Swick. Swick by TKO, round 2.
Steve Cantwell vs. Razak Al-Hassan
Luke Thomas: Al-Hassan has some nice Tae Kwon Do and good submissions including a nice guillotine choke, which is a high percentage fight stopper. On the feet, however, Cantwell should be able to blast Al-Hassan into next week. Provided Cantwell can keep this fight standing, it's a wrap for him. Cantwell via TKO, round 2.
Kid Nate: Al-Hassan is a late substitute for Brian Stann and he's pretty much an enigma. His record is larded up with wins over cans in small shows. Cantwell is the former WEC champ and showed some decent striking skills in reclaiming the belt from Stann. Unless Al-Hassan is the second coming of Houston Alexander, I expect Cantwell by TKO in 2.
Brent Brookhouse: Cantwell is a guy who will never be a 205 champ in the UFC, but he is going to be a long time undercard fighter who is a step up from being a gatekeeper. I really like his striking technique and I think he picks Al-Hassan apart for a couple minutes before he launches a solid shot that stuns Razak. He'll follow up with a few more strikes and that'll be it. Cantwell by TKO, round 1.
Nick Thomas: Great to see Cantwell in the UFC. Cantwell by TKO.
Mike Fagan: Should be a nice introduction for Cantwell. Cantwell by TKO, round 1.
Tim Creduer vs. Nate Loughran
Luke Thomas: I like the upset here. Loughran is everything Creduer is except a better athlete and wrestler. That's enough for me to give him the nod. Loughran by decision.
Kid Nate: Two submission artists clash here, but I expect the slightly more well-rounded Creduer to use his striking edge to get the win. Creduer by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Creduer is better as a fighter all around, which isn't to say that Loughran isn't any good. Creduer takes this one. Credeur by submission, round 1.
Nick Thomas:Credeur by experience.
Mike Fagan: Whoever wins, this one isn't going the distance. Credeur by submission, round 3.
Matt Wiman vs. Jim Miller
Luke Thomas: Wiman might have a slight edge in the stand-up, but not in the wrestling or the grappling. More importantly, Miller is always the aggressor and in the aggression he's going to force Wiman into a reactionary mistake. I like Miller here by submission, round 2.
Kid Nate: Ordinarily I'd pick Miller to win by submission, but he's taking this fight on incredibly short notice and Matt Wiman is a tough tough competitor. Wiman should survive an early ground assault and get back to his feet where he'll take advantage of an exhausted Miller. Wiman by TKO in 2.
Brent Brookhouse: Miller is fine on short notice and he is a bad matchup for Wiman. He is so good on the ground and his stand-up game is good enough that he should be able to survive when they're up. Miller by hard fought decision.
Nick Thomas: With Miller subbing in as a last minute replacement, I just can't come to pick him over Wiman. Wiman by decision.
Mike Fagan: I think Miller's good enough to overcome the short notice here. Miller by submission, round 1.
Luigi Fiorivanti vs. Brodie Farber
Luke Thomas: I'm not sure what their weight issues are about, but it could have something to do with North Carolina's onerous weight cutting policies. Be that as it may, provided cardio isn't too much of an issue in the later rounds this is Fiorivanti's fight to lose. He's better in every facet. Fiorivanti, by TKO, round 2.
Kid Nate: This could be an interesting fight, Fiorivanti is not one of my favorite fighters by a long shot, but he put on a game performance against Diego Sanchez and is tough at welterweight. I liked what I saw from Brodie Farber in his UFC debut and I don't expect Fiorivanti to be busting out high kicks. Tough call, based on his superior power, I'm going to pick Fiorivanti by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Fiorivanti is a rock. It isn't going anywhere...but if it hits you in the face it sucks. Farber has skills but Fiorivanti is going to be able to take a decision here with better boxing and toughness. Fioravanti by decision.
Nick Thomas: Fioravanti by TKO.
Mike Fagan: Fioravanti's losses are to quality opponents and he has a couple of solid wins. Farber just had his head knocked off by Rory Markham. Fioravanti by decision.
Steve Bruno vs. Johnny Rees
Luke Thomas: Rees is a good athlete and good wrestler, but Bruno is more submission savvy and just as good of a wrestler. Factor in Bruno's ATT camp and good international experience and I think he takes it. Bruno by unanimous decision.
Kid Nate: Two wrestlers who like to fight from top position should make for a violent collision. I'm going to go with Bruno because he's from a better camp and has fought much tougher competition. Bruno by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Bruno is slightly better here and I like him to grind out a win in a battle of wrestlers. Bruno by decision.
Nick Thomas: Bruno by decision.
Mike Fagan: I'm going to go with my inner Greg Savage and take the ATT guy. Bruno by decision.
Ben Saunders vs. Brandon Wolff
Luke Thomas: Saunders is arguably the best fighter on the undercard. He's got the reach and height to give him some advantages standing, ATT-honed jiu-jitsu, and lots of UFC experience. Wolff, by contrast, is a part-time fighter who hasn't displayed the same sort of well-roundedness. Saunders by submission, round 1.
Kid Nate: Saunders is a TUF veteran and Wolff is a UFC newcomer. I don't know how Wolff will handle the transition to the big stage so I'm picking the mostly decent Saunders by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Wolff will likely have a bit of big stage issues to work through and I've heard good things about Saunder's progression as of late. Saunders by TKO, round 3.
Nick Thomas: Saunders by whatever.
Mike Fagan: Saunders is one of the few guys from his TUF cast who I thought had much potential. Saunders by TKO, round 2.
Corey Hill vs. Dale Hartt
Luke Thomas: Hill was destroying Urijah Faber-trained Justin Buchholz before make a small mistake (and Buchholz adapted well in the moment, in fairness) that cost him the fight. I don't think Hartt has better wrestling than Hill nor do I see him have the same sort of explosive improvisation that he'll need to take advantage of Hill's green skillset. Hill by TKO, round 2.
Kid Nate: We'll see if Corey Hill can use his massive height advantage to full effect. If the fight stays in brawling range, he shouldn't have much trouble but we know he's not the best scrambler on the ground. Hartt has moved to Vegas and gone on a crash course of training at top gyms but I'm skeptical that it'll be enough to make up for Hill's reach advantage. Hill by TKO in 1.
Brent Brookhouse: It's the same story as all of Hill's fights. He is insanely tall for the weight class and has good striking technique...but he doesn't have much of a ground game yet. Hartt was brought in to lose as Hill is a guy that the UFC would like to see get a few wins under his belt so they can start to market him a little bit. I think he either catches Hartt with something big early on and closes it out or he spends the fight at distance picking his spots and taking a decision win. I'll take the former. Hill by TKO, round 1.
Nick Thomas: Unless Hartt pulls off a submission... I'm going to go with Hill by decision.
Mike Fagan: Hill's height is going to give lots of guys problems at 155. Hill by decision.
Eddie Sanchez vs. Justin McCully
Luke Thomas: Sanchez has good power. McCully is a BJJ black belt under Alan Goes. As Jeff Sherwood said, "Was that before or after the Mark Coleman fight?". McCully has never impressed me and at least Sanchez punches hard. I guess that's enough. Sanchez by TKO, round 2.
Kid Nate: Here's a fight that wouldn't be out of place on one of your second or third tier regional promotions. Two semi-skilled heavyweights go at it. I expect McCully to get a takedown and hold on early but I don't think he'll be able to finish the very game Sanchez. Once Eddie gets back to his feet, watch out. Sanchez by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: I hate this fight. I don't want to sound mean but I just don't care about this at all...in any way...or any form. I guess.....Sanchez by decision
Nick Thomas: I want Sanchez to win... but I think McCully is going to pull off a vicious lay and pray strategy here.
Mike Fagan: Sanchez by I don't care.