BloodyElbow.com Staff Predictions for UFC Fight Night 18: Condit vs. Kampmann
Carlos Condit vs. Martin Kampmann
Luke Thomas: I will give Kampmann credit for the Thales Leites win, insofar as he demonstrated an ability to work around an opponent's superior skill set both by staying active with damage and finding a way to avoid obvious pitfalls. And while Kampmann is clearly very talented, he's mostly defeated lower tiered UFC opposition with highly exploitable flaws. Condit has foibles, too, and while he denied nerves would be a factor on MMA Nation, I don't buy it. This is his first UFC fight with a new corner after training in a new camp and is in front of the biggest audience ever to watch him fight. This will be close and with back and forth and both guys can get stronger as the fight wears on (Condit a little more so). But Condit is a trickier grappler and absorbs punishment far better. Condit edges Kampmann in a close decision.
Kid Nate: They're throwing both of these guys in at the deep end here. Condit is making his UFC debut and this is Kampmann's first high profile fight as a welterweight. They're clearly hoping that the winner will be someone they can groom for a title shot in fairly short order. Both guys are well-rounded with wrestling as the weakest part of their game. Could be a shootout here. I'm going to assume that Kampmann will have the edge in striking, but he's no powerhouse and Condit can throw some strikes. Likewise, I'll give Condit the top rating on jiu jitsu but not by much. I'm hoping for a back and forth war and I think Condit will squeek by. Condit by decision.
Michael Rome: Loving this fight. Kampmann is very underrated, people forget the Leites fight too quickly. He was undersized at 185, so he's finally at the right weight. Condit has a slightly better ground game, but I think this is going to stay standing, so I'm going to give the slight nod to Kampmann. Kampmann via TKO, round 3.
Mike Fagan: First off, big ups to Joe Silva for the fight. Probably the best Fight Night main event since Sanchez/Parisyan. It's interesting that they aren't giving Condit a bit more of a "introduction" fight in the UFC because Kampmann is the real deal. He went 4-1 as a middleweight (including a vicious beating of current title challenger Thales Leites) despite being well undersized. I'd go so far as saying he's probably the most overlooked guy in the UFC, if not MMA. And I like him in this fight. Kampmann by decision.
Cannon Jacques: The general consensus is that this is a tough bout to call. I agree. Kampmann is an excellent striker who was a bit small for middleweight while Condit is the big fish moving from a small to a much bigger pond. Condit is not one of the few elite fighters in the welterweight division, but he is amongst the top ten. I don't know how Kampmann will look at welterweight, and that gives me additional cause to lean toward Condit. The former WEC champ has pulled out many competitive fights, and I believe he will here also. Condit via submission, round 3.
Tyson Griffin vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Luke Thomas: Griffin style of complete negation can get tiresome, but it's more than enough to defeat the very limited dos Anjos. The Brazilian obviously has excellent jiu-jitsu, but he doesn't have a special skill set Griffin hasn't seen before. And when it comes to boxing and athleticism (with speed), Griffin is too much. Griffin, TKO, round 2.
Kid Nate: Griffin has exceptional wrestling and decent boxing. Dos Anjos has good bjj. I doubt Griffin will allow the fight to get in the zone where he's at a disadvantage. I also doubt he'll score a convincing win. Griffin by decision.
Michael Rome: I think this will be Griffin keeping it standing and winning on points. He's looked flat for a while, hopefully the Sherk loss motivates him. I don't think an upset is out of the question, but I'm going with Griffin via decision.
Mike Fagan: Griffin's a guy with the talent to be a top 5 lightweight. Dos Anjos isn't there yet. 'Nuff said. Griffin by TKO, round 3.
Cannon Jacques: The wrestling advantage held by Griffin should be the difference. I don't see dos Anjos getting his first UFC win against Griffin, but I also don't see him becoming the victim of another highlight reel knockout either. Griffin will probably pick his spots and avoid his biggest threat - a submission. Griffin by decision.
Ryan Bader vs. Carmelo Marrero
Luke Thomas: Marrero is better than he's being given credit, but this is an example of graduated matchmaking for Bader. And that tells you most everything you need to know. Marerro is good and can win, but Bader has the comparative advantage everywhere. Bader by TKO, round 1.
Kid Nate: Two wrestlers turned MMA fighters here. Marrero used to be a heavyweight but isn't that huge at Light Heavy -- this seems to be his natural weight class. I think Bader might be a little more athletic and quicker with his strikes. This one could be a fun fight if both guys are willing to shoot in and transition to multiple phases of the game rather than indulge in bad kickboxing. I'm going pick Bader but Marrero is almost the perfect test for him. Bader by TKO.
Michael Rome: I originally thought this might be an upset, but upon further thought, I think Bader will power his way to a decision.
Mike Fagan:I agree with Cannon (even though you'll read his bit after mine) that the fight should be closer than the betting line. Marrero, for all his faults, is still someone who has experience at this level. Bader should prove to be too big and strong though. Bader by decision
Cannon Jacques: I'm inclined to believe that this fight should be closer than what the betting lines suggest, but I still like Bader, nonetheless. He's a really good wrestler with excellent power. I believe "Darth" Bader's power will eventually bite Marrero. Bader by TKO, round 2.
Cole Miller vs. Junie Browning
Luke Thomas: Miller is the super technician, but he's also in love with his own jiu-jitsu a la Charles McCarthy. I don't think he takes punishment very well and while Junie is not the BJJ player Miller is, he's got enough anti-BJJ to withstand most of Miller's attacks. Provided he's in shape and can constantly pressure Miller on the feet, this is Browning's fight to lose. Browning by decision.
Kid Nate: As much as I'd like to pick Cole Miller in a rout, I think Junie has a big power advantage over Miller and enough ground skills to avoid getting submitted. Browning by TKO.
Michael Rome: I wouldn't be surprised to see Browning win, but I think Cole is just going to overpower and outwork him everywhere. Miller via decision
Mike Fagan: Yeah, Junie Browning looked good against Dave Kaplan. But that's Dave Kaplan. And while I'm a little worried that Junie might be a little smarter about this MMA thing than we thought after reading his comments about Shinya Aoki, he's still a guy that struggled against some poor opposition on the reality show. I like Miller by submission, round 2.
Cannon Jacques: Cole Miller is not Dave Kaplan. While I wouldn't be surprised to see Browning take this one, I've got more confidence in Miller's skills and mental fortitude. Browning should have a difficult time with the length of Miller, and that may be enough to derail the controversial TUF alum's gameplan. Miller by submission, round 3.
Brock Larson vs. Jesse Sanders
Luke Thomas: Sanders is a good submission grappler, but so is Larson and Larson's the far better wrestler. Larson's also never given credit for his crippling power in his left, something that often takes opposition by surprise. Again, Sanders is talented, but this is his first UFC fight, not Larson's. And whatever Sanders is good at, Larson is better. Larson, by submission, round 2.
Kid Nate: Larson is a very powerful guy and a skilled wrestler. I always felt he was UFC caliber and think he'll do well back in the big leagues. Jesse Sanders on the other hand is a fighter who's compiled an impressive won-loss record against very questionable competition. Seems like a set up match. Larson by quick TKO.
Michael Rome: This is the MMA equivalent of a squash match. Larson via TKO.
Mike Fagan: Along with Condit, Larson's the other guy in the WEC that deserved to be fighting on the big show. I don't know who Jesse Sanders is by name, so Larson by TKO, round 1.
Cannon Jacques: Larson's record is listed at 24 wins, 2 losses. Those two losses came at the hands of Carlos Condit and Jon Fitch; that's quite impressive. There's nothing in Sanders' body of work to indicate that he's capable of besting the powerful Larson. Larson via TKO, round 1.
Ricardo Almeida vs. Matt Horwich
Luke Thomas: I actually think Horwich can avoid the submission more than Almeida can put it on him. And I also expect Almeida to pull guard more than some expect given Horwich's decent enough takedown defense. But if anyone's getting submitted its Horwich. Whether that will happen, I don't know. But at worst, Almeida can stall, sweep or working a passing game to rack up points. I don't see a finish here. Almeida, split decision.
Kid Nate: Unfortunately for Horwich, grappling has been his go-to skill and Almeida is in a whole 'nother league on the ground. Almeida by submission.
Michael Rome: Really tough fight for Horwich, his only strength is something Almeida is a lot better at. Almeida via decision.
Mike Fagan: I expect Almeida to pull this to the floor Demian Maia style. Just a matter of time from there. Almeida by submission, round 2.
Cannon Jacques: If only Horwich could keep this fight off the ground, he would have a chance. Unfortunately for him, I don't see Almeida being denied as he will take Horwich to his world and do what he is known for. Almeida via submission, round 1.
Jeremy Stephens vs. Gleison Tibau
Luke Thomas: Stephens's main weapon, big power, is usually enough to trouble most 155lbs'ers. But Tibau is a monster for the division and is accustomed to taking shots from large opponents and sparring partners. Tibau's also got the far superior BJJ and very good trips from the clinch. Even if Stephens hurts Tibau, he doesn't finish him. Tibau by decision.
Kid Nate: This is one I can't wait to see. Both guys are very powerful lightweights. Tibau is HUGE for this division. I think Tibau's strength and BJJ edge will be enough for him to finish the dangerous Stephens. Tibau by submission.
Michael Rome: Tibau is big, but I like Stephens' heart. Tibau seems to regularly put in sluggish performances, and I think Stephens will get him late. Stephens via TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: I'm starting to think Tibau may have this MMA thing figured out. That's trouble for 155 because he's HUGE. Tibau by TKO, round 1.
Cannon Jacques: Stephens could end this bout with vicious striking, but his ground game is suspect. Tibau is certainly no slouch on the mat, and he should take the fight there as soon as possible. If Tibau can put Stephens on his back, he should be able to finish. Tibau by submission, round 2.
Jorge Rivera vs. Nissen Osterneck
Luke Thomas: This is hard to call. Both have skill sets that can exploit the other fighter's liability. So who wins? If Rivera can get off first, he takes it. Rivera, by TKO, round 2.
Kid Nate: Interesting matchup here. Rivera is a pretty limited fighter -- good striking, not much else. Osterneck is a fairly decent grappler with so-so striking. Big test to see if the once hyped prospect Osterneck can handle UFC level competition. I'll wager he can't. Rivera by KO.
Michael Rome: Rivera via TKO.
Mike Fagan: Osterneck looked good against a green Jake Rosholt, but Rivera brings a ton of experience into this fight. Rivera by decision.
Cannon Jacques: Rivera's wealth of experience will likely serve him well against the less seasoned Osterneck. Rivera must use his dangerous striking while avoiding Osterneck's grappling. Rivera by TKO, round 2.
Rob Kimmons vs. Joe Vedepo
Luke Thomas: Poor Vedepo. He doesn't have the power to put Kimmons away and on the floor it isn't even a contest. Kimmons by submission, round 1.
Kid Nate: I'm not convinced that Vedopo is a UFC caliber fighter. Kimmons by TKO.
Michael Rome: I think Kimmons' experience will be too much. Kimmons via submission, round 3.
Mike Fagan: Kimmons by decision.
Cannon Jacques: Kimmons has a bit of an edge in the experience department. He's fought some decent competition though he's lost most of the contests against well-known guys. Kimmons by submission, round 2.
Aaron Simpson vs. Tim McKenzie
Luke Thomas: As good of a wrestler as Simpson is, he's got surprising speed and power. McKenzie is the bigger fighter, but he's slower and doesn't have any of the wrestling skills Simpson possesses. Simpson, TKO, round 2.
Kid Nate: McKenzie is one of the least promising migrants from the WEC and Simpson is one of the most. Simpson combines a blue-chip wrestling resume with real KO power. McKenzie has a bad haircut, a knack for brawling and a suspect chin. Simpson by TKO.
Michael Rome: Simpson has too much momentum and skill, he should steamroll here. Simpson via TKO.
Mike Fagan: Simpson by TKO
Cannon Jacques: I can't envision McKenzie placing a blemish on Simpson's perfect record. The "A-Train" keeps rolling. Simpson by TKO, round 1.
Nick Catone vs. Tim Credeur
Luke Thomas: Credeur lacks the wrestling to stop Catone (although Credeur's ability to pull shots off of his hips has improved), but Credeur doesn't get enough credit for being very durable as well as offering new striking threats of his own. He's not lightning fast, but he stands tall in the pocket and has underrated timing and accuracy. Then again, Catone can ride the guard position for three rounds, too. Catone by decision.
Kid Nate: Classic BJJ vs wrestling match here. Scissors-Paper-Rocks. I'll take Catone by Submission.
Mike Fagan: Catone by decision.
Cannon Jacques: While Credeur certainly isn't at the top of the food chain at 185, he does possess a solid game anchored by excellent jiu-jitsu. Catone's body of work is less complete though he does hold one UFC win. I'm more comfortable with the known quantity that is the Louisiana native. Credeur by TKO, round 2.