BloodyElbow.com Staff Predictions for UFC 87: Seek and Destroy
Saturday, August 9th
Luke Thomas: While my prediction for a stand-up fight controlled by GSP may or may not be accurate, it hardly matters. Wherever the fight goes, GSP has the advantage. I do expect Fitch to make a strong account of himself, but not strong enough to take the strap from what appears to be a very prepared GSP. Fitch is simply overmatched here. GSP, via TKO, round 4.
Brent Brookhouse: Fitch is #2 in the world at welterweight on most everyone's list...and he deserves to be. Unfortunately he just doesn't match up well with GSP. Georges is more the more explosive athlete and while everyone seems to be looking to GSP's wrestling to be the deciding factor here I think if you look at the
Mike Rome: Months ago I thought this would be a massacre, and while I've changed my mind on that...I just don't think Fitch has the power in his hands to beat
Nick Thomas: Fitch finally gets his shot after 8 UFC wins. I'm a big fan of Fitch but I just think GSP is better in every facet of the game. Most importantly wrestling.
Mike Fagan: As others have said, for as good as Fitch truly is,
Chris Nelson: Even with the crazy UFC win streak and all his impressive showings against top-flight competitors, it just doesn't seem like the right time for Fitch to be taking on
Heath Herring vs. Brock Lesnar
Luke Thomas: So, if there’s anyone in the universe who would care to tell me about the sturdiness of Lesnar’s chin or his cardio in later rounds or his composure under fire, please step forward. Oh wait, I forgot: that person simply doesn’t exist. Lesnar may very well be the tank some expect him to be, but ALL of Lesnar’s backers are simply acting on blind faith. The incontestable fact is that we have no idea about Lesnar’s ability and character regarding critical elements of success in fight sport. Until we do, betting on Lesnar is like flipping a coin…or worse. Herring via TKO, round 3.
Brent Brookhouse: Herring couldn't stop Cheick Kongo's takedowns, what makes anyone thing he'll be able to stuff Lesnar at any point in the fight? Heath will probably connect on a punch or two but I think Brock is training with the mentality that he is likely going to eat a punch or two to get inside and get his takedowns. And there will be plenty of takedowns. I see a slow, ugly mashing from Brock on top this fight eventually resulting in getting the fight stopped. Lesnar by TKO round 2.
Mike Rome: The odds here make no sense to me at all. I know Lesnar will get Herring down, and he'll probably do a good amount of damage, but Herring is very hard to finish, and I don't see Lesnar doing anywhere near the damage from the top Fedor did. Eventually Herring will sweep or get up, and then we'll find out about Brock's chin. Herring via KO, round 1.
Nick Thomas: Herring has been in alot of wars. But can Herring pull off a submission on Lesnar? I don't think so. Can Herring KO Lesnar? Probably. But Herring's last 4 fights have gone to decision. I think Lesnar can stop Herring in less than that. Lesnar by TKO.
Mike Fagan: Brent and I independently have agreed on this fight from the start. Herring isn't that good and Lesnar is bigger, faster, and more explosive than Jake O'Brien. Why would this fight go any better for Herring this time around? Lesnar by TKO, round 1.
Chris Nelson: Everyone is wondering about Lesnar's chin; I'm more curious to see him go three rounds. If anyone at this level can take him there, it's the durable Herring, who's gone to the cards in his last four fights. Lesnar shouldn't have much of a problem taking Heath down, but if the Mir fight is any indication the wrestler could tire himself out trying to finish with his frantic spaz attack. Lesnar via Decision.
Kenny Florian vs. Roger Huerta
Luke Thomas: This fight is so difficult to forecast. Ultimately, though, I believe that Huerta’s aggression and wild tendencies won’t work against an opponent who is technical, in-shape and durable. Kenny Florian is three for three on that account. Florian, by split decision.
Brent Brookhouse: This is a truly interesting fight as there are schools of thought out there saying that one guy or the other (or both) are overrated. I think both guys deserve the hype they've gotten. Say what you want about Huerta's wins in the UFC and the level of competition they were over or that Guida was winning the fight before Huerta stopped him..but in the end all that matters is that Roger Huerta has not lost a fight in the UFC. Florian is a well rounded guy and his MT game could pose some threats to Huerta, but Huerta's relentless style tends to mess up the technique of fighters. I'm going to pick Huerta here but regardless I think we're going to see a potential fight of the year. Roger Huerta by TKO round 3.
Mike Rome: Well, this is my first real upset pick, because I don't think Herring should really be an underdog. I happen to be among those that think Kenny Florian is incredibly overrated. I don't think any of his wins are all that impressive, and I don't think it will be easy for him to take down Huerta, who has spent months training with GSP and Rashad Evans. On the feet, I think this is a lot closer, and I think Huerta can win if he turns it into a wild fight, which is what he normally does. Roger Huerta via decision.
Nick Thomas: Roger has a nice looking record but his first five fights were all UFC debuts. Even in his fight against Guida, Guida was wining until he got caught. Can you say hype machine? Florian by TKO.
Mike Fagan: I just want to point out here that I'm really excited for the three featured fights on this card. Awesome effort by the UFC. Anyway, I admittedly have a pretty huge mancrush on Roger. He's exciting, he has a ton of heart, and, damnit, he's dreamy. And for all the crap Roger gets for being fed a silver spoon, Florian's resume isn't very impressive either (outside of the Sherk fight, which he lost). That being said, I think this fight might hinge on Huerta's tendency to put himself in trouble. If he can stay composed and fight smart while still being relentless, I believe he has the ability to overwhelm Florian. If not, Kenny's a guy who will punish you for positional mistakes. My mind says Kenny, but my heart is with Roger. Roger Huerta by TKO, round 3.
Chris Nelson: Unless GSP/Fitch turns into an all-out war, I don't think there's any doubt that this will be Fight of the Night. It's just too close to call so I gotta ride with Boston and the more known commodity in the man from Sityodtong, but I don't think Hellbows will be enough to put Huerta away. Florian via Decision.
Demian Maia vs. Jason MacDonald
Luke Thomas: MacDonald’s ace in the hole is lording his good guard over unsuspecting opponents. He isn’t some sort of phenomenal striker nor he is a very capable takedown artist. MacDonald is a great athlete, but I don’t think pure athleticism is enough to overcome Maia’s insanely good jiu-jitsu. Maia, via submission, round 1.
Brent Brookhouse: Maia is a lot of fun to watch but MacDonald is just a bad matchup for him. Look for Jason to pick him apart on the feet en route to a decision. Jason MacDonald by decision.
Mike Rome: Well I think this pick will make me unpopular, but I'm picking MacDonald. Maia's submission against Ed Herman was impressive, but I wasn't impressed by how he looked in that first round. I think MacDonald is big enough and skilled enough to keep this standing. MacDonald via TKO, round 2.
Nick Thomas: On the feet - Macdonald wins this. That and Maia will probably gas. MacDonald by TKO.
Mike Fagan: I'm going to have to agree with some of the others. MacDonald's size and Maia's apparent lack of gas is going to be the big factors. Jason MacDonald by TKO, round 3.
Chris Nelson: While Jason has been predicting first round TKO all over the place, all reports point to a hungrier, more prepared Maia coming into this fight. He may have to eat some strikes or get bullied against the cage, but I say Maia stays undefeated and pulls out a sub from the bottom. Maia via Submission, Round 2.
Rob Emerson vs. Manny Gamburyan
Luke Thomas: Emerson showed improved stand-up, but Gamburyan is the UFC’s wrecking ball (no disrespect to Marcus Hicks). If Gamburyan can’t take Emerson to the ground with conventional wrestling takedowns, he’ll resort to his fantastic uchi mata or harai goshi. Either way, Emerson’s getting submitted here. Gamburyan via submission, round 2.
Brent Brookhouse: This is a showcase fight for Gamburyan. As long as he takes the fight seriously he should have a reasonably easy night. Gamburyan by submission round 1.
Mike Rome: This has no business on the main card, but they are dedicated to Gamburyan because of TUF. Gamburyan via submission, round 1.
Nick Thomas: Emerson has no notable wins (maybe K-Taro). Absurd that Emerson’s even on the main card. Gamburyan by TKO.
Mike Fagan: Is Manny's shoulder gonna stay in place? If so, Manny Gamburyan by submission, round 2.
Chris Nelson: Does the UFC honestly believe people care about Manny Gamburyan because of The Ultimate Fighter? This should be on the undercard. Of the WEC. Gamburyan via Submission, Round 1.
Luke Cummo vs. Tamdan McCrory
Luke Thomas: McCrory is aggressive, has good reach, is well-rounded and more, but Cummo is actually pretty calm under fire. Cummo also has a pretty good gas tank and has experienced quite a bit more in the cage than McCrory. It’s a tough call, but I suspect will Cummo to weather an early storm and stop McCrory late in the fight. Cummo, via KO, round 3.
Brent Brookhouse: I really don't like this whole Cummo "fasting before the fight" thing. McCrory is a strong cat (pun fully intended) and shouldn't be taken lightly. Tamdan by decision.
Mike Rome: We last saw McCrory get submitted by Gono, but I think he has the advantage here. He is a lot more explosive than Cummo, and I expect him to finish this standing. McCrory via TKO, round 1.
Nick Thomas: Cummo could win this by decision but I'm going with McCrory by TKO.
Chris Nelson: Now here's a fight I'm hoping we get to see. I like Luke's whole schtick (because it's totally not just schtick) and "The Barn Cat" has the raw talent to be a real contender somewhere down the line. I think if Cummo has any chance to win here it lies with his BJJ, and McCrory should be able to explode on him before this goes to the floor. McCrory via TKO, Round 2.
Cheick Kongo vs. Dan Evensen
Luke Thomas: Evenson is a decent striker, but hasn’t really defeated anyone of note. Worse, Kongo is actually a better wrestler than he gets credit. Either way, Evensen is overmatched here. Kongo via KO, round 1.
Brent Brookhouse: Kongo by TKO round 2.
Mike Rome: Kind of a joke fight. Kongo via TKO, unless he decides to show off his BJJ "skills" again. Kongo via TKO, round 2.
Nick Thomas: Kongo has the look but will he ever be a threat in the division? Not yet… But he still takes this one. Kongo by TKO.
Mike Fagan: Funny anecdote. Before UFC 86 weigh-ins, I saw a sign saying that UFC stars were signing autographs downstairs. I ventured down there and went into the appropriate conference room. My thoughts, "Meh, it's just Cheick Kongo. Lata." Anyway, Cheick Kongo by decision.
Chris Nelson: Part of me actually wants Kongo to take this to a boring unanimous decision just so there's no way I'll have to watch Cheick Kongo vs. Dan Evenson on a PPV that I'm paying hard-earned money for. Wait, I said part of me? I meant all of me. Kongo via Decision.
Andre Gusmao vs. Jon Jones
Luke Thomas: Jon Jones seems like an interesting character and is perhaps a decent upset candidate. That being said, Gusmao is more than a BJJ fighter. He’s got great kicks and has won the majority of his fights by TKO. I just don’t see a reason to call the upset against him. Gusmao by TKO, round 2.
Brent Brookhouse: Jones has a nice story and everything. But he just doesn't have the experience (4 months?!) to hang with a guy like Gusmao who can be a real handful on a good night. I'll be rooting for Jones to pull it off but I don't see it. Gusmao by TKO round 2.
Mike Rome: Gusmao is a great BJJ guy, but he's facing a guy with heavy hands and a wrestling background, which is the kind of fighter we see consistently give BJJ guys a hard time. Jones has amassed a string of quick victories in short order, and I actually expect another one here. I'm going to pick Jon Jones for the upset. Jones via KO, round 1.
Nick Thomas: Gusmao comes from the IFL and is 5-0... Gusmao by TKO.
Mike Fagan: Gusmao by submission, round 2.
Chris Nelson: I believe in Jon Jones! (As long as Gusmao doesn't get him on the ground.) Jones via TKO, Round 1.
Chris Wilson vs. Steve Bruno
Luke Thomas: Bruno has had some success abroad, but he’s never faced anyone the caliber of Chris Wilson, particularly on the feet. Not only did he go the distance with Fitch, but Wilson beat Derrick Noble, Jay Hieron and Ray Steinbeiss on the way to that fight. Wilson by KO, round 2.
Chris Nelson: It's good to finally see Bruno in the big show - too bad for him he's running up against a very tough Chris Wilson. Bruno won't be able to crack
Ben Saunders vs. Ryan Thomas
Luke Thomas: Thomas is a game opponent, but Saunders is huge for his weightclass and trains with American Top Team. Saunders by submission, round 1.
Brent Brookhouse: Thomas by submission round 2.
Mike Rome: Saunders via submission, round 2.
Nick Thomas: Thomas by submission.
Mike Fagan: Ben Saunders by decision.
Chris Nelson: "Tank Engine" Thomas - whose nickname I fully endorse - has a solid submission game and decent power in his hands, but his 9-1 record consists mostly of sub-.500 guys. This is his UFC debut, and his fourth fight in four months. The lanky TUF 6 alum Saunders should take it right to Thomas and try to use his length to strike, but will probably have to resort to his BJJ if he wants finish this. Saunders via Submission, Round 2.