Note: Several Bloody Elbow staff members have decided to hedge their bets by submitting their predictions after the event.
Main Card Bouts:
Joe Lauzon vs. Jeremy Stephens
Kid Nate: I think Stephens is very game and hits very hard. Lauzon should have both a wrestling and submissions edge. I'll be rooting for Jeremy, but I'm picking Lauzon by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Lauzon fights smart, he is more technical and he is the better fighter overall. Stephens hits hard and is gutsy. I know my rep is being a guy who picks the big strikers but not this fight. Joe Lauzon by submission, round 2.
Michael Rome: I am going to go ahead and pick the upset. I feel like Lauzon comes on strong, and he's more skilled than Jeremy, but he wilts late and I think Jeremy can push him. Stephens via TKO, round 3.
Cannon Jacques: While Stephens is quite capable of pulling off the win, Lauzon is an intelligent fighter with more skills in his possession. Lauzon will likely take this to the ground where Stephens is less likely to inflict damage. Lauzon by submission, round 2.
Nick Thomas: Lauzon with the take down and wins by TKO.
Cain Velasquez vs. Denis Stojnic
Kid Nate: I'm not expecting much from Stojnic. I hope they give him a gimme in a European UFC to make up for feeding him to Velasquez. Of course there is the proverbial puncher's chance, but I don't think Stojnic is the guy to KO Velasquez. Cain Velasquez by TKO in 1.
Brent Brookhouse: Barring the proverbial "lucky punch" Stojnic is going to get smashed big time here. Velasquez is young but he is pretty much the worst possible kind of opponent for a guy like Stojnic. Cain Velasquez by TKO, round 1.
Michael Rome: This is a fight put on only because they couldn't find a legit heavyweight willing to fight Cain. Velasquez by TKO, round 1.
Cannon Jacques: Velasquez has a ton of potential. Stojnic could certainly make a name for himself with an upset, but I don't see it happening. Velasquez via TKO, round 1.
Nick Thomas: Velasquez by whatever he wants.
Anthony Johnson vs. Luigi Fioravanti
Kid Nate: If Johnson comes in in shape, he should beat Fioravanti. Luigi might have the more technical striking but Johnson has reach and power and his wrestling should keep it standing. I don't see anything that Fioravanti has to offer beyond some boxing technique. Johnson by KO.
Brent Brookhouse: I like Fioravanti. He has good boxing skills and has a good chin. But Johnson is just on another level as far as explosiveness and athleticism. It's going to take some work but Johnson will put Fioravanti away here. Anthony Johnson by TKO, round 2.
Michael Rome: Johnson is fantastic at times and lethargic at others. He isn't just inconsistent fight to fight, he's inconsistent within rounds. That being said, I don't think Fiorvanti is any kind of threat, and I think Johnson takes it. Johnson via TKO.
Cannon Jacques: Fioravanti is tough enough to make this fight interesting. However, I believe that Johnson's athleticism and size will end up ruling the day. Johnson by TKO, round 3.
Nick Thomas: Upset #1... Fioravanti by split decision.
Mac Danzig vs. Josh Neer
Kid Nate: I'm looking forward to this one in a big way. Danzig is well rounded but Neer is tough as nails. Neer has better wrestling and seems to have the power edge. Danzig might be the more polished on his feet and definitely has the better jiu jitsu -- although Neer is no slouch. If not for the DWI I'd pick Neer, but that has to have impacted his training. Danzig by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: It'd be a lie if I said that I wasn't a bit overly emotional about this fight. It may sound harsh but I want to see Neer dominated and put out of the UFC for good. I also think that Josh Neer is a guy who fights just good enough to lose while Danzig hopefully learned from his last fight and as such is going to be ready for this fight. I'm looking for Neer to come out strong in the first round and then collapse in the second and give up the submission. Mac Danzig by submission, round 2.
Michael Rome: Both guys are real tough, this is a pretty even fight. I'm not thrilled by Danzig's performances so far, but I think he has enough to take this. Danzig via decision.
Cannon Jacques: This fight looks pretty close on paper. I'm really not overly impressed with either guy, but they both have solid games. Neer took Nate Diaz to a decision, so I don't see Danzig pulling off a submission. I really think Neer will hang around in a grinding bout. Neer by decsion.
Nick Thomas: Danzig by spilt decision.
Undercard picks in the full entry.
Jake Rosholt vs. Dan Miller
Kid Nate: This is a very intriguing fight, kind of a tough one for both guys. Rosholt's poor striking defense isn't good but I doubt Miller can exploit it enough to get a KO. On the other hand, Miller's wrestling is good enough he should be able to force some scrambles, even against Rosholt's dominating wrestling. The X factor is Miller's submission skills. If he can stun Rosholt AND get Jake's back or top position, I could see him finishing the fight. But I don't see Miller winning from his guard. This could be a great fight. 1 wrestler = danger of a carpet getting laid. 2 wrestlers = throwdown. Its a very tough call, but I think Miller's skill and experience can overcome Rosholt's athleticism. Miller by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I'm not ready to give up on Rosholt yet and I honestly think that the Osterneck fight was more a product of Osterneck being a good fighter who didn't have the name value of Rosholt and as such was drastically overlooked by the wave of hype for Rosholt. I honestly think that Jake learned a lot from that fight, mostly that he needs to not mess around with the striking game and just put his opponent on his ass and punch him in the face. Miller is tough but I'm much higher on Jim than I am on Dan and I think he may have trouble dealing with the size and strength of Rosholt. If Jake's cardio holds up he'll pull off the small upset. Jake Rosholt by TKO, round 3.
Michael Rome: I'm looking for Jake to take him down and then get submitted. Miller via submission, round 2.
Cannon Jacques: Has Rosholt rounded out his game enough to hang with a dangerous fighter of Miller's caliber? I don't know. What I do know is that the Miller brothers have excellent ground games, and Rosholt's bread and butter is wrestling. Miller by submission, round 3.
Nick Thomas: Miller by decision.
Rich Clementi vs. Gleison Tibau
Kid Nate: Tibau is ginormous for a 155lber. He's well rounded and so is Clementi. As wiley as Clementi is, he won't have a striking or JJ edge and Gleison's power edge will come to the fore. I think he can hurt Clementi and finish him on the ground. Tibau by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: I like Clementi and he is another guy that is always there when the UFC calls so he is pretty much set to have a job for life with them if he wants it. Which is good for him because Tibau is a bad matchup for him. Tibau is big and isn't going to be outclassed by Rich anywhere in the fight. So similar enough guys and one of them is bigger and stronger...that's good enough for me. Gleison Tibau by decision.
Michael Rome: I expect a pretty boring fight here. Both guys are similar level with similar skills. I think Clementi via decision.
Cannon Jacques: Clementi is one of those guys you can't count out due to his poise and experience. Maynard was able to neutralize Clementi with overpowering wrestling. Tibau won't be able to replicate that gameplan. Clementi by decision.
Nick Thomas: Clementi by decision.
Kurt Pellegrino vs. Rob Emerson
Kid Nate: Emerson has come off two straight wins against guys who were supposed to beat him -- K Taro Nakamura and Manny Gamburyan. I was less impressed by his performances than disappointed by theirs: Nakamura cut the weight really badly and was slow and weak; Manny charged chin first into a KO. Pellegrino will end Emerson's run. Pellegrino by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Emerson is a hard guy to finish whereas Pellegrino is a guy who finishes pretty often. Both guys are competent in the other's wheelhouse but would be best to avoid spending too much time playing the other guy's game. Kurt needs to figure out a way to close the gap and put Emerson's back on the mat where he should be able to work for a submission. Emerson needs to use footwork to keep distance and use his technically solid straight striking in Pellegrino's face. If Pellegrino makes the mistake of thinking that he can hang with Rob on the feet he is in trouble. If both guys fight the smartest gameplan possible it comes down to who is the better fighter and will be able to impose their will on the other guy. Pellegrino is the better fighter and I like his finishing ability better. Kurt Pellegrino by submission, round 2.
Michael Rome: I think Emerson, while tough, is eventually going to end up on his back and get submitted. Pellegrino via submission.
Cannon Jacques: Emerson is a bit of a one trick pony (pardon the cliche'). As long as he can stand and strike, he's in the match. Pellegrino's skill set is a bit more diverse. If he can put Emerson on the mat, he shouldn't have much trouble. Pellegrino by submission, round 1.
Nick Thomas: Pellegrino by decision.
Matt Grice vs. Matt Veach
Kid Nate: Matt Grice should smoke Veach, but you never can tell. Ask Chris Wilson about that. If Grice isn't too rusty, he's got some promise as a lightweight. Grice by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Grice is more experienced and has fought tougher opposition (Jason Black, Terry Etim) than Veach who has not yet faced much of a stiff test...he has been out of action for about 16 months though while Veach has been fighting nobodies on the local scene. Seriously, Veach's last fight was against Alex Carter who sports a sparkling 4-25 record (going an amazing 1-5 in 2008 alone). As long as Grice can survive the first couple minutes here we'll see Veach have to deal with someone who isn't going to lose before the fight even starts. Experience trumps potential here. Matt Grice by decision.
Michael Rome: Always hard to evaluate guys that haven't fought anyone, though my general rule is to expect them to lose. Grice hasn't fought in a while, but he's very talented and I think he'll tap Veach out. Grice via submission.
Cannon Jacques: Grice has the UFC experience edge. Honestly, I don't have a good feel for either guy. Grice by decision.
Nick Thomas: Upset #2... going with Veach by decision.
Nick Catone vs. Derek Downey
Kid Nate: Downey is a short notice substitute. That's enough for me to pick Catone by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Catone has the advantage of a full training camp which makes it a pretty easy pick here. Catone by TKO, round 1.
Cannon Jacques: Derek Downey's nickname is "The Gentlemen." It was certainly nice of him to take this fight against Catone on short notice. Catone via TKO, round 2.
Nick Thomas: Catone by decision.
Steve Bruno vs. Matt Riddle
Kid Nate: Will Bruno's skill advantage be able to overcome Riddle's physical gifts? I'm guessing no. Riddle by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Riddle is talented, more than a lot of people have acknowledged. I don't think Bruno is going to be able to keep up with him. Matt Riddle by TKO, round 3.
Cannon Jacques: Riddle's inexperience could really get him in trouble against a seasoned veteran like Bruno. However, I think Riddle's athleticism and wrestling are enough to get him over the top in this bout. Riddle by decision.
Nick Thomas: Upset #3... Bruno by decision.