BloodyElbow.com Staff Predictions for WEC 37
Miguel Torres vs. Manny Tapia
Luke Thomas: I just don't see how Tapia wins here. He has better power and is more of a slugger than Torres, but that's not enough. Sure, he can goad Torres into his game and that's enough to get the trick done, but Tapia is only a so-so finisher at this level. In a five round fight, that's death for him. Torres has too much time and too many offensive weapons to get overwhelmed against a fighter who has difficulty putting top tier fighters away. Torres, by TKO, round 4.
Kid Nate: Torres' unique combination of freakish 76" reach for a bantamweight and impeccable submission skills should prove too much for the game Tapia. Tapia wants to apply pressure and turn fights into wild brawls but I don't see this fight going anywhere he'll have the advantage. Torres by submission in 2.
Brent Brookhouse: While Tapia may be an A level bantamweight (I don't think there is enough evidence vs. top guys yet) Torres is an A+ level guy. Torres has the more versatile striking and what he can do on the ground is crazy. Maybe Tapia is able to catch him with a shot or two but Torres is going to take this via tapout. Torres by submission in 1.
Michael Fagan: Tapia's gonna fall into the same trap that Huerta and Stevenson did in their fights with Florian. He's going to put himself in a bad position and Miguel's going to make him pay. Miguel Torres by submission, round 2.
Cannon Jacques: This should be another great bantamweight battle. Tapia is an impressive fighter with an impressive record, but Torres is absolutely amazing. His entire game is incredibly solid, and he fights hard every time out. I like Torres against anyone close to his size. Torres by submission in round 3.
Brian Bowles vs. Will Ribeiro
Luke Thomas: This is an extremely tough call. I've been consistently impressed with Brian Bowles throughout his WEC tenure. He's got underrated power and submissions, although there are aspects to his game - head movement, foot work - that need tons of work. Ribeiro worries me a little because his aggression often leads to recklessness and he barely beat a far inferior striker to Bowles in Chase Beebe. But Riberio, unlike Beebe, has the technical striking to beat Bowles provided he exacts a more disciplined approach. I'll gamble on the underdog here, although I'm not overly confident with the pick. Ribeiro by split decision.
Kid Nate: Brian Bowles has been very impressive in his last couple of WEC fights. He showed he has some power in his punches but he's primarily a wrestler with a decent submission game. That might be the wrong skill set against Ribeiro -- a classic Brazilian muay Thai + jiu jitsu stylist. I expect Ribeiro to take advantage of that style edge and punish Bowles standing. Ribeiro by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Maybe I'm watching some different fights than other people have but Bowles looks like a guy who has a lot of holes in his game and makes mistakes that a finisher can capitalize on. Ribeiro can finish it standing or on the ground and I think he will finish Bowles. Will Ribeiro by TKO round 2.
Michael Fagan: I want to see Bowles/Torres. Bowles by submission.
Cannon Jacques: I think these guys a pretty evenly matched. Bowles is on a roll, and I think he'll improve upon his undefeated record. Bowles by TKO, round 2.
Wagnney Fabiano vs. Akitoshi Tamura
Luke Thomas: Tamura looked good against Rumina Sato recently, but I was shocked he lost to Kadowaki. I believe his outside striking game probably superior to Fabiano's, but his power is not. And on the floor, Tamura is a little more prone to the scramble, but he can't overwhelm Fabiano there either. I just don't see a way for him to win. Fabiano by unanimous decision.
Kid Nate: Fabiano really amazed me in his last couple of IFL fights, his wrestling and striking were as solid as his jiu jitsu game. I think Tamura can hang on the ground and should land some strikes standing, but I don't see him being dangerous enough in any aspect to beat Fabiano. I expect Wagnney to punish Tamura standing before going in for the kill on the ground. Fabiano by submission in 3.
Brent Brookhouse:Fabiano may be the most legit top level guy to come out of the IFL. Matyushenko, Nelson, Rothwell, Whitehead...none of those guys are for sure top 10 guys in the division but Fabiano is totally legit. Tamura is a solid guy, tough, decently well-rounded...but when push comes to shove he has been handled by better guys than Wagnney. Fabiano can reasonably finish this fight wherever he sees fit...but I think he plays it safe and does it on the ground. Fabiano by submission, round 2.
Michael Fagan: Looking forward to this. Fabiano has enough finishing skill on the ground to take it. Fabiano by submission, round 2.
Cannon Jacques: Fabiano impressed my during his time in the IFL. I see Tamura becoming the victim of a choke. Fabiano via submission, round 1.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Danny Martinez
Luke Thomas: Martinez has a similar skill set to Benavidez, but he has come up short against higher echelon competition. The jury is still out on how high the ceiling is with Benavidez, but I believe he's the superior athlete and technician. That's enough for me. Benavidez by submission, round 1.
Kid Nate: Martinez is skilled and dangerous, particularly as a striker, but I expect Urijah, Jr. aka Joseph Benavidez to swarm him with wrestling and get the submission. Benavidez reminds me of the Miller brothers or Jake Shields, someone who combines ace wrestling with lethal submissions. Benavidez via submission in 1.
Brent Brookhouse: Not too tough to call this one. Benavidez is good and does have the potential to be great. Martinez is a nice step-up test...but he doesn't have a lot of avenues to victory here. Benavidez by submission round 1.
Michael Fagan: Well, Benavidez isn't going to be Kid Yamamoto like Faber thinks, but he's pretty damn good. Benavidez by TKO, round 1.
Cannon Jacques: There seem to be a number of people who are high on Benavidez. I think this is his fight to lose. Benavidez by second round submission.
Johny Hendricks vs. Justin Haskins
Luke Thomas: Haskins is way in over his head here in every dimension except striking. Provided Hendricks isn't too cocky, this is his fight to lose. Hendricks, by submission, round 2.
Kid Nate: Johny Hendricks is another blue-chip wrestling prospect from Team Takedown. Haskins is also a former division 1 wrestler, not quite at Hendricks' level, but his training with Kurt Pellegrino should have his jiu-jitsu game to a level where it will be a threat for the relatively green Hendricks. Hendricks should have the wrestling and power edge to overcome that though. Hendricks by TKO in 2.
Brent Brookhouse:Hendricks doesn't have quite the upside of Rosholt but I also think he doesn't fight in quite as risky of a style. Haskins is a solid wrestler and his ground game is pretty decent. I still like Hendricks here but in a tough fight. Hendricks by decision.
Michael Fagan: Team Takedown continues their roll. Hendricks by decision.
Cannon Jacques: Hendricks' wrestling pedigree will be hard for Haskins to overcome. As long as Hendricks doesn't show any major holes in his game, he'll take this fight. Hendricks by decision.
Mark Munoz vs. Ricardo Barros
Luke Thomas: Munoz is going to slam the ring rust off of Barros. Munoz by TKO, round 2.
Kid Nate: This match up doesn't make much sense to me unless they're just dead set on building up Munoz. Barros is a jiu jitsu fighter who took a seven year break before coming back in January of this year. I expect Munoz' wrestling and ground and pound to be too much for Barros. Munoz by TKO in 1.
Brent Brookhouse: Sarry Barros but you are here to make Munoz's highlight reel. Munoz by TKO in round 1.
Michael Fagan: Guys taking seven years off generally don't do well up against active fighters. Munoz by TKO, round 2.
Cannon Jacques: The striking of Munoz will be the difference here. Munoz via TKO, round 2.
Diego Nunes vs. Cole Province
Luke Thomas: Submission artist versus submission artist. In this case, we have Nunes who is the better grappler and has a vicious guillotine choke. Whenever there is a better grappler in this style match up, you go with him. If the better grappler also has a more than serviceable high percentage guillotine choke, it's a wrap. Nunes by submission, round 1.
Kid Nate: I don't know enough about Nunes to have much to say here. Province by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Province by decision.
Michael Fagan: Nunes by experience.
Cannon Jacques: Province is undefeated thus far, and I believe he'll continue his winning ways. Province via TKO.
Bart Palaszewski vs. Alex Karalexis
Luke Thomas: Karalexis has ok wrestling, good power and a decent team to train with. That's about it. He's borderline one-dimensional and has enormous difficulty dealing with more technical fighters who can stand up to big punches. Palaszewski is a bit of a basket case, losing by armbar in fights where that never should've happened. But I don't see Karalexis being sneaky enough or adaptable enough to catch the often unsuspecting Palaszewski with either a huge punch of clever submission. Palaszewski by decision.
Kid Nate: Palaszewski was one of the many multi-syllabic stars of the IFL until he went on a long losing streak to end the promotion's run. He should be well rounded enough to beat the one-dimensional boxing of Karalexis. Palaszewski by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Bart's problem is that he has good boxing but doesn't use it well. He tries to slug and puts himself in positions to lose rather than being aggressive but reasonably cautious. Karalexis is the kind of guy that Palaszewski does well against though so he should be able to take the win here. Palaszewski by decision.
Michael Fagan: Karalexis has heart, but he's not very impressive. Palaszewski by TKO, round 3.
Cannon Jacques: This is an interesting match, in my opinion. Bartimus was a real force in the IFL before he dropped his last three with the promotion. Karalexis is a game fighter. I see this being a war with Palaszewki displaying the skills that won him a lot of fights in the IFL. Palaszewski by decison.
Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Cub Swanson
Luke Thomas: Takaya has the one punch KO power that could put Swanson lights out, but he doesn't have the quickness or agility to deal with Swanson's blitzkrieging style. Swanson needs a ton of polishing, but the style match-up here favors the quick aggressor. That's Swanson. Swanson by TKO, round 3.
Kid Nate: Hard to believe this fight is on the undercard, but both fighters lost quick their last time out. Swanson by submission to Jens Pulver and Takaya by KO to Leonard Garcia. I expect Swanson to have the wrestling edge here and I'm not that impressed by Takaya's guard game. Swanson by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: I'm hoping this makes it onto TV somehow. But I doubt it will. Swanson by submission, round 1.
Michael Fagan: Also hoping this makes it to TV. Something tells me to take the Japanese fighter here, so Takaya by TKO, round 2.
Cannon Jacques: Swanson's last appearance in the WEC included him making an early mistake that resulted in a quick submission victory for his opponent, Jens Pulver. Swanson should have learned something from that experience. Swanson by submission, round 2.
Shane Roller vs. Mike Budnik
Luke Thomas: Roller's overall game leaves much to be desired, but his wrestling prowess is his safety valve against Budnik. Roller by split decision.
Kid Nate: Roller is another Team Takedown prospect. Budnik a fairly well rounded journeyman. We've seen this match-up before. Roller by ground and pound in 2.
Brent Brookhouse: Roller by TKO, round 1.
Michael Fagan: Gonna keeping going with Team Takedown until they show me otherwise. Roller by decision.
Cannon Jacques: I think Budnik is the better fighter, but I can't say I'm terribly confident in this pick. Budnik by submission.