Luke Thomas: It's hard to argue since their last fight Koscheck has made up the skill difference. This fight being 5 rounds and Koscheck's improved offensive efficiency changes matters slightly, but not enough for The Villain of the Day. St. Pierre by TKO.
Kid Nate: Koscheck has a very real chance to win this fight. He hits incredibly hard and he might be able to control GSP positionally. But GSP is just too good and mostly, too smart for Koscheck. Koscheck can't phase shift at all. He's either striking or wrestling, not both. GSP by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Josh Koscheck is absolutely right. He is a better fighter now than when they first met. Then again, so is Georges St. Pierre. Is it possible Koscheck wins? Sure. He does hit fairly hard, he does have good wrestling. But I just don't see it as a reliable result that happens very often. Georges is just so much better as an overall fighter and he probably can win this fight wherever he wants. Georges St. Pierre by decision.
Mike Fagan: Koscheck is a better fighter than he was in 2007, but his striking still follows a predictable pattern: jab, overhand right. He'll throw in a head kick, too. And he still jumps in. And he still closes his eyes when he throws. Koscheck is one tough son of a bitch, and my sense for schadenfreude will be rooting for him, but I don't see this being any different than Georges' past title defenses or the first fight they had at UFC 74. Georges St-Pierre by decision.
Leland Roling: I think Josh has disadvantages in every area of this fight. He can be outwrestled, technically beaten on the feet, and outlasted by St. Pierre. Over five rounds, Koscheck will gas and St. Pierre won't. But I'm a gambler, and I'm going to bank on Koscheck finding a home for a stiff overhand that puts St. Pierre down for the count. Call me crazy, but I'm going against the grain. Josh Koscheck via K-O!
Anton Tabuena: Koscheck won't be able to stop the takedowns, and I think St-Pierre will get him down early and often. After he wears him down, I think GSP will stand up with him, and finish on the later rounds. Georges St-Pierre by TKO
Thiago Alves vs. John Howard
Luke Thomas: This style match-up is juuuust bad enough for Howard that he'll hang on for a while only to be eventually stopped by Alves' defensive wrestling, ostensibly improved cardio and punishing muay Thai. Alves by KO.
Kid Nate: This is a come back fight for Alves barring some awful weight cut issues. I wouldn't want to be Howard's thighs the day after the fight. Alves by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: John Howard simply isn't that good. Thiago Alves is really damn good. That's pretty much the end of the story here. Thiago Alves by TKO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Howard escaped the TUF 10 Finale with a knockout over Dennis Hallman, and Jake Ellenberger beat his face into looking like ET at UFC on Versus 2. Since his UFC debut, Thiago Alves has lost to Georges St-Pierre and Jon Fitch. As long as Alves wins his fight with the scale, Thiago Alves by TKO, round 2.
Leland Roling: Alves' stand-up is worlds better than anything Howard can offer, and his leg kicks are going to take the wind out of Howard's sails early. From there, it's lights out. Thiago Alves via KO.
Anton Tabuena: Howard will stand with Alves thinking he has the advantage here, but he will find out that's a huge mistake. Thiago Alves by TKO
Jim Miller vs. Charles Oliveira
Luke Thomas: I'm going to go with the upset here. I don't think Oliveira is the second coming of Jesus as some do. But he'll be competitive in every place where Miller can do damage. Eventually he's going to catch him or score enough points to win. Oliveira by decision.
Kid Nate: This is the second best match up on this card by such a wide margin it's not even funny. Miller is gritty and combines wrestling and subs very well. Oliveira has a wave of hype and a knack for mixing Muay Thai and BJJ. This comes down to whether or not you buy the Oliveira hype. I'm not there yet. Miller by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Miller is just too gritty and has too many tricks up his sleeve for Oliveira. This isn't the end of the road for Charles, but it will be a setback. Jim Miller by decision.
Mike Fagan: This is the most interesting and relevant fight on the card, in my opinion. Miller is going to beat a lot of UFC 155ers with his wrestling, espcially in a three-round fight. But I'm a sucker for blue-chip prospects, and Oliveira's speed and superlative skills have me fawning. Charles Oliveira by submission, round 2.
Leland Roling: Tough call here, but I think Miller is going to prove why he's one of the best fighters in the division by smothering Oliveira in wrestling and avoiding submissions. Jim Miller via decision.
Anton Tabuena: After this, we will see where Oliveira stands in the division. Is he headed for contendership, or is he still a young prospect with a very bright future? I'm leaning towards the latter. Jim Miller by Decision.
Sean McCorkle vs. Stefan Struve
Luke Thomas: McCorkle has a puncher's chance and Struve will blow a fight with unwieldy aggression even when he's ahead. If these two fought 100 times, Struve would be the winner 60% of the time. We'll see what happens tomorrow. Struve by TKO.
Kid Nate: I have to go with the fighter I see having more upside. Struve is 22 years old. He's only going to get better. McCorkle is already 34 and at or past his athletic peak. Struve by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: I'm a huge fan of Stefan Struve, but he needs to learn to fight tall. He never keeps opponents at a distance with his reach and he never punishes them when they try to get inside his long limbs. McCorkle has faced basically no competition at all during his MMA career and he has never been pushed at 265 and I just don't know that I can trust him to handle better competition at a weight that is still new to him. A McCorkle win wouldn'st shock me, but I just can't see it. Stefan Struve by TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: I let my thoughts be known. I don't even know who to pick. I watched McCorkle insta-sub Mark Hunt and dominate two guys more comparable to turtles than MMA fighters. Struve, despite what Mike Goldberg will tell you, fights like he wishes he wasn't born to be 7-feet tall. He should model himself after Semmy Schilt, but instead allows shorter men like Roy Nelson and Paul Buentello to get in range and land punches to his head. I'll take Struve on youth and experience, but I'm not happy about it. Stefan Struve by TKO, round 1.
Leland Roling: I can't believe this is a co-main event fight. Stefan Struve via submission.
Anton Tabuena: Struve is relatively easy to hit and takes a lot of unnecessary damage every fight, but that being said, I still think he still stops McCorkle early. Stefan Struve by TKO.
Ricardo Almeida vs. T.J. Grant
Luke Thomas: I bet you Grant comes close to winning this, only falling short just barely. Almeida by decision.
Kid Nate: I've becoem a big T.J. Grant fan but he's one of those guys who relies on having a grappling edge and that won't be the case here. Almeida by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Grant is decent but he's got nowhere that he is a better fighter than Almeida. Ricardo Almeida by decision.
Mike Fagan: I guess Almeida's the other side of the McCorkle coin, going from a featured bout to the prelims in the span of one card. It will be interested to see if the Hughes loss takes anything out of him mentally. Still, he should be better than Grant. Should. Ricardo Almeida by decision.
Leland Roling: I think Almeida is the better grappler overall, and his stand-up might actually be better than anything Grant can offer. Ricardo Almeida via decision.
Under card (May not be broadcast):
Joe Stevenson vs. Mac Danzig
Luke Thomas: Danzig's going to get outwrestled and grappled en route to a dismissal from the big show. Stevenson by submission.
Kid Nate: Joe Daddy is going to be way too much for Danzig. Too much wrestling. Too hard hitting. Too much Greg Jackson in the corner. Joe Stevenson by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: I just don't see this as a winable fight for Danzig. He's not going to be able to push forward on Stevenson standing and he's likely to spend a lot of time on his back where he isn't going to catch any submissions. Joe Stevenson by decision.
Mike Fagan: Danzig reminds me of Martin Kampmann. He's really technical and I love watching him fight, but he has a tendency to get bullied around. If he can cut the weight, I think he'd find more success at 145. Stevenson's had his troubles at 155 too, but he's faced a different level of competition than Danzig. Joe Stevenson by decision.
Leland Roling: Mac Danzig's streak of disappointment continues. Joe Stevenson via decision.
Anton Tabuena: I love Danzig's photography, but that won't help him stop Joe's wrestling. Joe Stevenson by Decision.
Mark Bocek vs. Dustin Hazelett
Luke Thomas: Hazelett is going to be sucked out from dropping to lightweight and Bocek is a better grappler anyway. Bocek by decision.
Kid Nate: Bocek is the better grappler, but Hazelett is HUGE for lightweight and should be able to beat him up on the feet. Hazelett by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Hazelett has flashy jiu-jitsu but against really technical guys like Bocek I don't think he's going to find any success. Mark Bocek by decision.
Mike Fagan: Bocek's will have the home crowd, he's more acclimated at the weight class, and his wrestling is much better than Hazelett's. Mark Bocek by decision.
Leland Roling: Bocek is probably going to put Hazelett out of a job here, but I'll bank on Hazelett using some Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizardry to surprise Bocek. Dustin Hazelett via submission.
Anton Tabuena: Hazelett is longer and is the better striker. I think he hurts him standing, then finishes with a submission. Dustin Hazelett by Submission
Matthew Riddle vs. Sean Pierson
Luke Thomas: I don't think much of Pierson at this point. Riddle should dispatch of him. Riddle by TKO.
Kid Nate: Pierson is going to be battling Octagon jitters in his UFC debut and Riddle is over that but Pierson is a better wrestler and a good striker. Pierson by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Riddle is improving rapidly and he's going to be far more than Pierson can handle. Matt Riddle by TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: I wonder if Riddle is the only fighter with more than 5 fights to his name that have all been in the UFC. Don't really care about this, but I'll take Matt Riddle by decision.
Leland Roling: I had Pierson winning this in my preview, but I'm changing my tune. Riddle has proven he can outwrestle some solid wrestlers, and Pierson, while being a very good wrestler in his own right, will have problems dealing with that while getting punched. Matt Riddle via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Matt Riddle will probably take another decision here.
Jesse Bongfeldt vs. Rafael Natal
Luke Thomas: Bongfeldt is a bit of scrapper and is going to be hard for someone like Natal to put him away. I like Bongfeldt here for sure. Bongfeldt by decision.
Kid Nate: Bongfeldt submitted T.J. Grant in their pre-UFC days so that's impressive and Natal fights really sloppy. If Bongfeldt's year long layoff doesn't ruin him, he should win. Bongfeldt by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I really don't know here. I guess I'm going to go the safe route. Rafael Natal by decision.
Mike Fagan: As someone with an unfortunate surname, I feel for Jesse. That said, Natal is lethal on clay. Decisions, decisions. Rafael Natal by decision.
Leland Roling: I haven't been impressed with Natal at all since his rise to the top of the prospect heap. Bongfeldt is by no means a world beater, but his powerful wrestling should give Natal problems. Jesse Bongfeldt via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Natal isn't all great, but he should be able to pick up a victory here. Rafael Natal by Submission
Joe Doerksen vs. Dan Miller
Luke Thomas: Dan Miller should absolutely body Doerksen at this point. I respect Joe's durability and grit, but he's not on the level. Miller by decapitating guillotine.
Kid Nate: Doerksen is a journeyman's journeyman. He's tough as all get out. He's well rounded. He's also going to get outwrestled by Dan Miller and lose. Miller by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Doerksen is just good enough to lose to guys like Miller. Dan Miller by decision.
Mike Fagan: Man. Sonnen, Maia, Bisping is a pretty lethal back-to-back-to-back. This should be a fight Miller can win. Dan Miller by decision.
Leland Roling: Doerksen should provide some challenges for Miller, but I think Miller is the overall better fighter. Dan Miller via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Miller will make it to the PPV broadcast. Dan Miller by Submission
John Makdessi vs. Pat Audinwood
Luke Thomas: I bet Makdessi ends it on the feet before Audinwood can sub him. Makdessi by TKO.
Kid Nate: Makdessi trains with GSP and he's got some decent striking. Audinwood is a submission guy, but no BJJ world champ. Makdessi by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: In the spirit of going against the grain here. I'd like to see John Makdessi get the win because I like strikers, but I think he'll get taken down in a flurry and end up submitted. Pat Audinwood by submission, round 2.
Mike Fagan: I was secretly hoping Kid Nate wouldn't notice that he left this off the predictions document. John Makdessi by decision.
Leland Roling: Makdessi's kickboxing skills should impress a few fans on Saturday. He has a heavy propensity to throw spinning back kicks however, and Audinwood may take advantage. But I think Makdessi's power and solid takedown defense should earn him the win on the feet. Makdessi via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: Awesomely Awesome Audinwood could make this interesting. Pat Audinwood by Decision