UFC 109 Predictions: Randy Couture vs Mark Coleman

UFC 109: FEBRUARY 6, 2010
Mandalay Bay Events Center
Las Vegas, Nevada
Luke Thomas
: Couture has to win on pace, not letting Coleman make the fight about Couture defensively wrestling and by showing Coleman enough looks to never let him establish any sort of top control rhythm. I have confidence Couture can do that, but the only question mark that still hangs in my mind is that of Couture's chin. Coleman can still take and deliver a decent shot to the jaw, Randy not to much on the former. I do think this fight will be closer than some expect, but The Natural should still prove the victor. Couture by decision.

 Kid Nate: Ah if only this fight had happened ten years ago or even thirteen years ago. Once upon a time, Coleman vs Couture would have pitted two of the top heavyweights in the sport against each other in an epic collision of Coleman's irresistible force vs Couture's immovable object. As it is, it's still pretty fun for a senior league match. I think Couture is too smart and too well conditioned for Coleman. Couture by unanimous decision.

Brent Brookhouse:  A typical Couture fight is a lot like a classical symphony.  It isn't overly aggressive or loud but there is a constant pace and a build toward something.  Coleman, on the other hand, has always been heavy metal.  Looking to come out loud and mean from the opening note.  But metal isn't meant to go on for 15 minutes and neither is Coleman.  If Mark can win the first round, Randy is almost sure to win the third round.  That makes round two the key to the entire fight.  I don't think Mark has it in him to keep up with Couture in a physical fight past the first 5 minutes, so I think Randy is going to take a decision that is MUCH closer than people are expecting.  I'll be pulling for Coleman, as nothing can change the fact that he was my first "favorite fighter" when I saw him run through the UFC 10 field on VHS as a 13 year old. I have to try and pick with my head and not my heart.  Randy Couture by close decision.

Michael Rome:  I think if Coleman has a chance, it's early.  He has a lot of power, and a very good double leg.  I just think Couture is going to use footwork to avoid standing right in front of him at distance for a nice double, which will create problems for Coleman.  Coleman's cardio is a big issue, simply because fighting Couture is always a battle of wills; Randy tries to break everyone's gas tank.  Even if Coleman steals the first round, it will probably be in a grueling grappling match that I don't think he has the gas tank for.  I think Coleman runs out of steam and gets stopped in the third.  Randy Couture via TKO, round 3.

Mike Fagan: I'm not sure if people just overwhelmingly think Couture will win or if people think Couture will overwhelm Coleman because I do think this fight will be competitive at the start.  And Coleman's chances lay entirely on how long he can stay competitive.  He will gas out at some point.  But if he can keep enough in the tank to go two good rounds, he might be able to steal the fight.  Still, Couture's a much better MMA fighter and barring his complete breakdown, you have to take Randy Couture by TKO, round 3.

Nick Thomas: Couture is better at everything. Couture by decision.

Leland Roling: Coleman's best opportunity to win is an all-out blitz in the early portions of the first round. If he can't gain the takedown and do some damage on Couture early, his conditioning will more than likely suffer, an area in which Couture excels. Couture will likely use his striking from a distance to pepper Coleman with shots throughout the fight, use the clinch to wear him down, and win via decision. Randy Couture via decision.

Nate Marquardt vs. Chael Sonnen

Luke Thomas: Sonnen doesn't have enough skills either standing or in the submission defense department to prevent a loss. Given his aggressive, move-forward style he applies in MMA, he'll eventually get caught one way or the other. Marquardt by submission.

Kid Nate: This is a really great bout. A #1 contender's match between two guys on hot streaks coming off tough title contention eliminator fights. Marquardt is the better striker and better jiu jitsu guy. Sonnen's the wrestler. Marquardt's grappling game hasn't really featured a lot of submissions from his guard though. I'm tempted to pick Sonnen just because he's tough and can probably control Marquardt physically with his greco. But Nate has more ways to finish the fight. Marquardt by TKO.

Brent Brookhouse:  Nate's striking is good, but there is a lot of flash to it and a lot of holes left open.  He's the striking version of Dustin Hazelett.  They're both very flashy when they're doing their thing but they can still be beaten in that area by the right guy.  Chael's striking isn't good enough to take advantage of those holes through.  Sonnen could out-wrestle him to get a decision but Marquardt should be able to neutralize the wrestling more often than Chael can neutralize the striking.  My world will be a lot more fun with Sonnen getting to continue to run his mouth though.  Nate Marquardt by unanimous decision.

Michael Rome:  I don't think this fight is that close.  Sonnen has done a great job talking himself up, but Nate is going to be very well prepared for the wrestling.  Even on his back I think he has the advantage here.  Nate Marquardt via TKO, round 2.

Mike Fagan: If Nate doesn't win with his dynamic striking, he'll catch Sonnen with a guillotine when Chael's shooting a double.  Sonnen needs to outwrestle Marquardt for 2 of 3 rounds.  Nate just needs to find an opening.  Nate Marquardt by submission, round 1.

Nick Thomas: Sonnen is going to hold Marquardt down for as long as he can, but at some point Marquardt is going to catch Sonnen. Marquardt by TKO.

Leland Roling: This is a solid scrap, but it really comes down to whether Sonnen has the power to put the bulkier Marquardt on his back repeatedly without getting submitted. Sonnen showed some exceptional strength in the Okami fight, but he wasn't able to keep Okami down too often. Marquardt will be able to work off his back much more effectively than Okami, and he has better striking and great conditioning to boot. Ultimately, I think Marquardt's striking advantage will be his key to success. Nate Marquardt via TKO, Round 2.

Demian Maia vs. Dan Miller

Luke Thomas: Some people smell an upset here, but I just can't see it. People are too worried about the way in which Marquardt finished Maia and letting that affect their judgment. I suspect Maia's defensive guard on his feet and distance-closing procedure have only improved. And in my view, all he has to do is get his hands on Miller to get the W. Maia by submission, round 2.

Kid Nate: Another very compelling match, that unfortunately for Miller, is a poor stylistic match for him. Miller is like a better version of Jason MacDonald -- a solid wrestler who's added a ood submission game to become a very effective fighter. But when a guy who relies on his submissions for most of his wins runs into Demian Maia, it's not a contest. Miller is the better striker, but not so much that he'll get the KO. Maia by submission.

Brent Brookhouse: I'm going with the upset.  Sonnen was dumb in how he applied his wrestling to the Maia fight.  Miller has the wrestling PLUS the BJJ game to be able to avoid having to play the ground game with Maia.  Maia's striking technique in the training videos didn't look significantly improved, there are still plenty of holes and Miller can take advantage of them.  As long as Miller is never content to remain on the ground he can just work, work, work his way to a decision.  Dan Miller by unanimous decision.

Michael Rome:  I'm going out on a limb and picking the upset here.  It's not that I think Miller is even in Maia's league grappling--it's just that these fights start standing, and I think Miller has the game both to keep it there and to survive if it does end up on the ground for a couple minutes.  Dan Miller via TKO, round 2.

Mike Fagan: Melvin Manhoef showed what K-1 level striking looks like against a good MMA striker.  Maia will show Miller the difference between black belt and world class without the embarrassing Hail Mary finish.  Demian Maia by submission, round 2.

Nick Thomas: Will black belt Miller get caught on the ground, I think so. Maia by submission.

Leland Roling: Miller is the better striker in this fight, but Maia's grappling in on another level in this sport. While some of the people I have talked to point at Miller's wrestling, Miller still isn't a world class wrestler by any means, and Maia cake-walked through an Olympic-level wrestler in Sonnen. I'll take Maia by the bait and switch, and he'll submit Miller quickly. Demian Maia via submission, round 1.
Matt Serra vs. Frank Trigg

Luke Thomas: Trigg looked awful at the weigh-ins. I just don't think his body is cooperating with where his heart and mind want to take him. Serra's likely going to spend a lot of time on his back, however, and that to me is problematic. I can't see Trigg get submitted, but I can see him get TKO'd. The question is how likely that might be. I'll give Trigg a chance on one last shot at relevancy. Trigg by decision.

Kid Nate: A second fun senior league match. Would love to have seen this one in 2002.  I think Trigg has less left in his tank than Serra. Plus Serra's KO power and jiu jitsu advantage gives him lots of ways to win. Trigg would have to control every moment of the fight to win and Serra has shown he can stymie Matt Hughes' attempts to do that. Serra by KO.

Brent Brookhouse: I know it's a dangerous thing to try and made determinations about what is going on in a fighter's head.  But Frank seems like he doesn't have a ton of competitive fire in him, he also gives up bad positions and can be hurt with punches.  Serra can hit hard, and can finish if he has the chance.  Matt Serra by TKO, round 2.

Michael Rome:  I could see Serra getting smothered, but I suspect he's spent all his time training wrestling because it's all Trigg really has to offer him.  Trigg's chin is suspect and Serra swings for the fences.  I think he'll connect early.  Matt Serra via KO, round 1.

Mike Fagan: It's like the Marquardt/Sonnen fight if Marquardt (Serra) lacked a dynamic stand up game and couldn't transfer his BJJ into MMA.  Oh, and Serra's a pastaweight.  I think Trigg can do the same thing Hughes did to Serra, and just as convincingly if he doesn't get butted. Frank Trigg by decision.

Nick Thomas: I don't think Trigg will be able to keep Serra down. Serra by decision.

Leland Roling: Trigg's wrestling will be the key to victory in this battle, and while he hasn't had great luck when his opponent takes his back -- he should be able to stop Serra from gaining those positions in this fight. Trigg will want to get inside quickly and avoid Serra's somewhat heavy hands. If he can do that, Trigg should be able to pound on Serra little by little over three rounds on his way to victory. Frank Trigg via decision.
Paulo Thiago vs. Mike Swick

Luke Thomas: AKA is doing a reverse Greg Jackson. That is, the former team will send out a test case to defeat an opponent. He'll lose but likely learn a lot and give those secrets to the next teammate who faces the same challenger, except the next teammate is a better fighter. In AKA's case (Koscheck fight notwithstanding), Fitch went first, won on skills that only Fitch has and is now trying to bring Swick up to speed. I don't think it's going to work. Thiago by TKO.

Kid Nate: I'm loving this card. Swick should win this one but Thiago has shown he's a dangerous man who can win at anytime. Swick's wrestling and range will make the difference. I'm going to take Mike Swick by decision.

Brent Brookhouse:  Thiago is tough, and he'll need to be in this fight.  He seems like the worlds most frustrating striker.  He looks dreadful at some moments, and others is using decent positioning and technique.  On the ground he's a handful and I think at some point he'll be able to force the fight there and take a submission.  Paulo Thiago by submission, round 2.

Michael Rome: I am a Mike Swick skeptic, but I think he can avoid a submission and use his range to win a striking match.  Of course I thought he'd win a striking match with Hardy given his range, so what do I know?  Thiago didn't really impress me against Volkmann.  Swick via decision.

Mike Fagan: I hate Mike Swick, but I have a hard time seeing Thiago drag this to the ground enough to submit or outpoint him.  I expect fifteen minutes of Swick striking from range leading to Mike Swick by decision.

Nick Thomas: Thiago is a tough fight for Swick. But I think Swick can win this standing up. Swick by decision.

Leland Roling: I was actually somewhat impressed with the composure and improvement in Paulo Thiago's technical striking in the Jacob Volkmann fight. I think if he can do the same in this fight, he'll surprise Swick with a few stiff jabs to setup some takedowns. I don't think he'll break out a submission or finish, but I think he can outgrapple Swick and possibly hurt him a few times on his way to victory. I'm going with the upset. Paulo Thiago via decision.


Preliminary Bouts:

Mac Danzig vs. Justin Buchholz

Luke Thomas: Look, it comes down to this: Buchholz just isn't UFC caliber. Danzig by TKO.

Kid Nate: Danzig should outclass Buchholz here. Mac Danzig by submission.

Brent Brookhouse:  I really wish any other fight would get shown.  Mac Danzig by gimmie submission.

Mike Fagan: Danzig's stated if he loses this fight he doesn't belong in the UFC.  That's exactly right.  Fortunately, he's fighting Justin Buchholz.  Mac Danzig by submission.

Nick Thomas: Buchholz has the reach on Danzig, but Danzig should be able to take Buchholz down and control him. Danzig by decision.

Leland Roling: This is Danzig's fight to lose. Mac Danzig via submission.

Melvin Guillard vs. Ronnys Torres

Luke Thomas: This is a very hard pick. Torres has the skills to beat him, but will he use them in his UFC debut? I honestly don't know which way to go on this one. I'll give Torres the very hesitant nod. Torres by submission.

Kid Nate: I have a soft spot for Melvin Guillard, but I don't think Greg Jackson can teach him not to make mental mistakes and fall into submissions. So that should mean I'm going to pick Torres right? Well, yeah. Against your average BJJ ace, I'd go with Melvin, but Torres has great wrestling. Torres by submission.

Brent Brookhouse: Melvin is in the running for pound for pound heaviest hitter in the sport.  His hands are also really fast and his boxing technique is awesome.  He even has decent enough wrestling to get by as a guy who JUST wants to strike.  But he just doesn't use his head in fights.  If Jackson can get him to just realize that the limiting factor in his career is his own judgement Melvin could go a long way in this sport.  Torres is big but so was Tibau.  I'm going to hope like hell that Melvin has it figured out.  Melvin Guillard by KO, round 1.

Michael Rome:  Real hard to pick.  As usual, you never know what will happen in a Guillard fight.  I'll predict he loses.  Ronnys Torres via submission, round 1.

Mike Fagan: It's hard to pick against Nova Uniao even with Guillard getting time in with Jackson's.  Ronnys Torres by submission, round 1.

Nick Thomas: Torres ring rust scares me, but as long as he can get this to the ground, it's Torres by submission.

Leland Roling: Tough call. I've watched Torres for quite some time, and he has a tendency to start brawling with guys and then suddenly realize he can just submit the guy. I'll go with Torres. Ronnys Torres via submission, Round 1.

Rob Emerson vs. Phillipe Nover

Luke Thomas: Emerson has proven to be dramatically more technical in kickboxing (leg kicks notwithstanding), an ability to take punishment and more. Who knows where Nover is really at? Emerson by decision.

Kid Nate: I'd like to think that Nover was operating on a higher plane than Rob Emerson, but Emerson has shown again and again that he can rough up technically more polished fighters. Emerson by TKO.

Brent Brookhouse:  I think Nover knows that this is it for him.  If he's ever going to shed the label of being a disappointment he has to beat the Rob Emerson's of the world.  That isn't a shot at a tough guy in Rob, but fair or not...there was a lot of expectation placed on Nover.  I think he rises to the occasion.  Phillipe Nover by TKO, round 3.

Michael Rome:  Nover disappoints so often, and I think Emerson is going to find a way to take this.  Emerson via decision.

Mike Fagan: I don't know what to think here.  Emerson's a stereotypical tough guy journeyman and Nover may or may not be a functional head case.  I guess I'll take the Filipino Anderson Silva...cough.  Phillipe Nover by decision.

Nick Thomas: I want to pick Nover, but he hasn't looked impressive since the show. Emerson by decision.

Leland Roling: For as much shit as Emerson gets for his "gang" activities in Orange County, the guy still shows up and scraps like a veteran in the Octagon. Sure, we can make fun of him all we want, but I'd rather have him getting his head punched in over me. Nover has a lot to prove here, and Emerson isn't exactly an easy fight for him. I like Emerson in this fight. Rob Emerson via decision.

Brian Stann vs. Phil Davis

Luke Thomas: I have commentated a Phil Davis fight cageside. While he's obviously a phenomenal wrestler and a physical specimen, he lacks finishing skills to a serious degree. That will show badly against Stann who has worked non-stop on his defensive wrestling. Let's also add the pressure of a UFC debut to Davis. I also know that Davis has correctly worked on his game by mastering two sweeps, submissions and strikes at a time. That's a great way to build a foundation, but is that enough to win at this level? I think this is all too early for him. Stann by TKO.

Kid Nate: Poor Brian Stann has gone from champ of the WEC to facing newbies on UFC undercards. Poor Phil Davis really needs more seasoning before being rushed into the UFC. Going to go with my hopes here as Stann has very good chances to win.  Davis by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: This is a very risky fight for Davis.  Too many people are sleeping on Stann.  Brian seems like he may be figuring things out a little bit and he has a definite experience edge.  I'm going to go with Davis because I think he should win.  But it wouldn't shock me in the least to see Stann get his hand raised.

Michael Rome:  I do think Brian Stann has a chance here.  Davis is very rough around the edges, and Stann has quietly improved.  I'm tentatively taking Phil Davis, but would not be shocked by a Stann win.  Phil Davis via submission, round 1.

Mike Fagan: I guess this is the end of the Brian Stann Experiment.  Phil Davis by submission, round 1.

Nick Thomas: Davis will take Stann down and submit him or grind out a decision. Davis by submission.

Leland Roling: Stann has a decent chance here if he's improved off his back, which I suspect he is since Greg Jackson is training him. The problem is that Davis has years of experience in holding guys down, and adding a submission game to that high level wrestling should give him a huge advantage in this fight. Phil Davis via submission, Round 2.

Tim Hague vs. Chris Tuchscherer

Luke Thomas: I'll give Tuchsherer the edge based on the skills in the wrestling department. Tuchsherer by decision.

Kid Nate: I'm loving this undercard too. This should be a nice slobberknocker between two behemoths. Tuchscherer should have the wrestling advantage to control Hague but has no way to finish him. Hague on the other hand only needs one punch to do in Tuchscherer. Hague by TKO.

Brent Brookhouse: Tuchscherer has the wrestling to win this.  He also has the striking to...um...he has the wrestling to win this.  Chris Tuchscherer by TKO, round 1.

Michael Rome:  Neither guy is a world beater, and I don't think this will be much of a fight.  Tuchscherer has more tools and should find a way to win.  Chris Tuchscherer via TKO, round 1.

Mike Fagan: Hague is heavyweight fodder. Chris Tuchscherer by TKO, round 1.

Nick Thomas: I hate picking against a fellow Canuck but Tuchscherer is a tough cat. Tuchscherer via wrestling.

Leland Roling: Hague could catch Tuchscherer early, but Tuchscherer's whole gameplan revolves around falling on people and smothering them. While Hague and Tuchscherer are very close in weight, Tuchscherer has the wrestling to make Hague's night a nightmare. Chris Tuchscherer via TKO, Round 2.

Rolles Gracie vs. Joey Beltran

Luke Thomas: Beltran's going to get submitted early here. Gracie by submission.

Kid Nate: Intrigued to see how Rolles does in the UFC. Beltran would seem to be the definitive gimme opponent.  The real intrigue here is whether or not this fight makes the PPV broadcast. Gracie by submission.

Brent Brookhouse:  Not a bad fight but certainly one Rolles should win.  Rolles Gracie by submission, round 1.

Michael Rome:  Beltran is a little more difficult of an opponent than I expected them to give Rolles, but I'm still picking Rolles via submission.

Mike Fagan: Pretty sure you have to take Rolles Gracie by submission, round 1, here.

Nick Thomas: As soon as this hits the ground, it's Gracie by submission.

Leland Roling: Rolles Gracie via submission, Round 1.

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