UFC 111: St. Pierre vs. Hardy
March 27, 2010
Newark, New Jersey
Georges St-Pierre vs. Dan Hardy
Luke Thomas: This notion that Hardy is some striking dynamo isn't supported by the evidence of his career. Is he a good striker? Sure. Is he great? Not hardly. Roping a left hook around the corner against a flat footed, brawling Rory Markham is not evidence of much. And no one seems to talk about the disparity in terms of submission grappling. If they contest the fight on those terms, look for GSP to clown him positionally before locking in a submission. I'm sure Hardy's improved. I don't think he's going to get blown out, but short of an errant punch this is GSP's fight to lose. GSP by TKO, round 2.
Kid Nate: The biggest question in my mind is whether or not GSP will continue his recent trend of grinding decisions or if he will grind Hardy down and all the way out before time runs out. Hardy might shock the world, but no, no he won't. St Pierre by TKO in 3.
Brent Brookhouse: Dan just doesn't have a ton of stopping power in his punches. He's a pretty good striker, and anyone can knock someone out in the small gloves but beyond the "small glove factor" I just don't think Hardy hits hard enough to really make GSP worry too much. Add in that Hardy is only "okay" when it comes to wrestling while GSP has some of the most effective wrestling in modern MMA and the odds start to get very long. A Hardy win would be entertaining, but it's just not realistic. Georges St. Pierre by TKO, round 2.
Michael Rome: It's MMA, and anything can happen, but Dan Hardy doesn't stand a chance here. His greatest strength is his boxing ability, and I think St. Pierre is the better boxer. Either way, St. Pierre isn't going to stand and trade. He's going to stay on the outside with his reach, and take Hardy down if he charges in. On the ground, Hardy does not have the defensive grappling to survive. Georges St. Pierre via submission, round 2.
Mike Fagan: There's nothing on paper to suggest that Hardy can beat Georges St-Pierre. Dan will need to clip St-Pierre coming out of the clinch or during a scramble. Otherwise, Georges St-Pierre by decision.
Chris Nelson: Hardy seems to be predicating his chance of winning this fight almost solely on his mental acuity and toughness. I guess that's not a bad look, 'cause frankly, I don't see any other way for him to take it. Even GSP's once-questionable chin seems to have been shored up, negating even a "puncher's chance." Feels like I'm picking a lot of chalk on this card, but Hardy's no Northern Iowa. St-Pierre via decision.
Nick Thomas: A stronger and faster GSP... it's going to be a rough night for Hardy. Hardy will be on his back after the first punch. St-Pierre by decision.
Leland Roling: Hardy has one shot. The "puncher's chance" as we all know it. He has some good footwork and counter-punching ability, but there is no way I can believe he has the grappling acumen or strength to deal with the beast that is Georges St. Pierre on the ground. Georges St. Pierre via submission, Round 2.
Frank Mir vs. Shane Carwin
Luke Thomas: Were the weigh-ins revelatory? Is this a softer, less prepared Shane Carwin? Is trying to hold down a full time job and having a newborn interfering with Carwin's ability to train? How could it not? Aside from that, what we know is that both are devastating finishers. The difference is that Mir has a wider arsenal of finishing capabilities. He's also not reliant on power, the more dynamic and mobile striker as well as the FAR more experienced of the two. Drag a less-than-fully-prepared Carwin into waters he doesn't know, get him desperate and then take advantage. That's what I expect Mir to do. Mir by TKO, round 2.
Kid Nate: Carwin is very very green to be in a title fight, even an interim one. He's also 35, has shown that he can be hit, and his ground work is an enigma. Mir has a history of taking beatings when put on his back and also of gassing out in longer fights. Somebody's going to prove the doubters wrong here and then will be rewarded with a bout against Brock Lesnar. I'm going to go with Mir here, Carwin has too many unknowns. Mir by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Carwin has been past 2 minutes in a pro fight once. In his debut. In 2005. And the fight went 2:11. Now there are a few takeaways here. 1) Carwin has a ton of power and finishes people. 2) Carwin is a huge man and we're not really sure where his cardio is at this level. Mir is the technically better offensive striker, but his defensive boxing leaves something to be desired. Carwin is the better "one punch power" guy. I don't know that I buy that Carwin has the better ability to control the placement of the fight. All this adds up to a very difficult pick, but I'm seeing Mir trying to drag the first round out and finishing Carwin in the second. Frank Mir via submission, round 2.
Michael Rome: This is a very difficult fight to pick. My natural inclination is to give the nod to Carwin given his power and Mir's porous striking defense. That being said, he is coming back from a long layoff and isn't even training full time. I'm going to pick Mir via submission, round 1.
Mike Fagan: I took Carwin as a +140 dog, but I think Frank's the right pick straight up. I'm worried with Carwin's power and his ability to control where the fight takes place, but Frank might be at an advantage in either realm. Frank Mir by submission, round 1.
Chris Nelson: As much as the guy rubs me the wong way, I must say that Mir's supreme confidence in himself is infectious. Given his increased size and new-found dedication to training and conditioning, and the long layoff that Carwin is coming off of, I've got to go Mir via submission, round one.
Nick Thomas: Mir looked very impressive against Kongo but I think Carwin is going to win this easily. 10 KO's in the first round is nothing to scoff at. Carwin by TKO.
Leland Roling: Carwin is being highly overrated in my opinion. Robotic striking and average takedown defense are made up with a knack for producing stunning knockouts. While Carwin has the ability to lay a blow on Mir's chin and come out victorious, I would only pick Melvin Manhoef in the same context. In this fight, I'll go with the far more technical fighter on the ground in Frank Mir. Frank Mir via submission, Round 1.
Kurt Pellegrino vs. Fabricio Camoes
Luke Thomas: Relative to Uno, Pellegrino is high octane and a better overall wrestler. He's also a much better striker. I like the Jersey native to dominate. Batman by submission.
Kid Nate: Camoes is promising but green and wasn't lucky in his initial UFC outing, getting a draw with Caol Uno due partly to a ref decision. Pellegrino has a lot of Octagon experience and I expect that to be the difference. Pellegrino by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: It's a risky pick but I think Pellegrino will fall back into the trap of doing just enough to lose. I think Camoes can and will outwork him en route to a close decision. Fabricio Camoes by decision.
Michael Rome: I think Pellegrino has enough skill to stuff Camoes and take this one. Pellegrino via decision.
Mike Fagan: I think Pellegrino's made some big strides in his game over his last couple of fights. He's still not good enough to be a serious contender at 155, but he's a damn solid fighter. Kurt Pellegrino by decision.
Chris Nelson: Don't know if Pellegrino will ever be a true contender, but he's certainly become solid enough to sort through them. I was high on "Morango" when the UFC signed him and still think he could have a bright future, but this isn't his fight. Pellegrino via decision.
Nick Thomas: Pellegrino will keep this on the feet. Pellegrino by decision.
Leland Roling: Kurt Pellegrino is just gritty and tough enough to punish Camoes from most of this fight from the top and beat the rising prospect in Fabricio Camoes. He's fought way too many fighters with the same style as Camoes in the past, and I think he'll be able to defeat Camoes much like he did Tavares. Kurt Pellegrino via decision.
Jon Fitch vs. Ben Saunders
Luke Thomas: The length of Saunders makes escaping his clinch very difficult, but I don't suspect Fitch even wants to try. I suspect Fitch will look to use the height disparity to get up under Saunders' hips and dump him on the floor. I don't think it'll be pretty, but I don't think it'll be close either. Fitch by decision.
Kid Nate: I was going to pick Alves over Fitch, despite the beat down Fitch inflicted on Alves in 2006. That was long ago and Fitch looked like he had some trouble against Mike Pierce in his last outing. Saunders sadly isn't Alves. If Fitch relies on watching a lot of tape, he might have more trouble with Saunders than we expect. Saunders height and aggressive Muay Thai clinch game give him a not inconsiderable chance of finishing Fitch -- IF he can ever manage to get Fitch in trouble, which I don't think he will. Fitch by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I would absolutely love to see Saunders win this fight, but it's just not likely. It's going to be hard to get a clinch and work the knees on Fitch because he's going to be constantly working for takedowns, not wasting time playing the striking and clinch game. I think Saunders will have his moments, but not enough to get the win. Jon Fitch by decision.
Michael Rome: I was ready to pick Alves to knock Fitch out given Fitch's porous striking defense. However, I don't see Saunders stopping the takedown here or being able to get up. The only way Saunders takes this is if Fitch tries to be exciting. I suspect Saunders will land some good shots, but Fitch will grind out a decision. Fitch by decision.
Mike Fagan: For posterity, I was gonna go with Fitch over Alves. So, it should be no surprise that I'm (and I expect everyone else) to take Fitch over Saunders. That said, Saunders natural gifts will provide Fitch will an interesting problem to solve. Which he'll solve like every other problem - slow, grindy decision. Jon Fitch by decision.
Chris Nelson: I planned on taking Alves to pull out the upset TKO on Fitch, but with a change of opponent this late in the game, expect the Purdue-vian to play it safe and fall back on what he knows. There's a reason Dana White promised Saunders a title shot if he wins this - because he knows it won't happen. Fitch via decision.
Nick Thomas: Great last minute replacement fight. Props to Saunders for stepping up to the plate but Fitch is too much, too soon. Fitch by decision.
Leland Roling: I really like this match-up because it'll give us a chance to see if Saunders has improved from his back since his loss to Swick. Length is going to be something that Fitch will need to overcome, but he's proven it fight after fight. I'm laying down a small bet on Saunders here as I think he's being underrated in the power he possesses in the clinch, but Fitch's grit and determination should put him in the win column. Jon Fitch via decision.
Jim Miller vs. Mark Bocek
Luke Thomas: Bocek just won't be able to deal with the speed and offensive wrestling of Miller. Miller by TKO.
Kid Nate: Bocek has some skills but Miller has better wrestling and Bocek's guard isn't the equal of his top control game. Miller by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Miller is the much better fighter. It's not a knock on Bocek, it's just that I think extremely highly of Jim. Jim Miller by TKO, round 2.
Michael Rome: These are both guys that win the fights they're supposed to win and lose the fights they're supposed to lose. I see this turning into a close grappling match. I'll take Miller via decision.
Mike Fagan: Both fought Mac Danzig. I'll take the guy who beat him. Jim Miller by decision.
Chris Nelson: With a little more seasoning, I think Jim Miller is a future 155-pound champ. Don't foresee him having any problems putting Bocek down, nor avoiding submissions from underneath. Miller via decision.
Nick Thomas: Bocek at ATT is delivering results but this will be Bcoke's toughest fight to date. I can't pick against a fellow Canuck so I'm going with Bocek by close decision.
Leland Roling: Miller has the edge on the feet, and his wrestling background combined with solid BJJ skills should be able to give him the ability to stop Bocek if the fight happens to become a grappling contest. Bocek is somewhat of a live dog here, but Miller can keep this fight standing and pepper Bocek with blows until the final bell. Jim Miller via decision.
Nate Diaz vs. Rory Markham
Luke Thomas: Markham gets reckless. Markham gets subbed. Diaz by submission.
Kid Nate: I haven't been hugely impressed with Rory "Dan Hardy's UFC highlight reel" Markham and I'm a fan of Nate. I could see Diaz being beaten by a fighter with the skills of Markham but I don't see Markham executing on the possibilities. I think Diaz discover the things a jab can do to control distance, might bust out some judo, and then get a submission. Diaz by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Speaking of guys who do just enough to lose...look everyone! It's Nate Diaz! Markham is a fight that Diaz absolutely should win and I think he will. If he doesn't it spells real trouble for his future. Nate Diaz by submission, round 1.
Michael Rome: Markham has the power to end this early, but Diaz's reach and grappling skill should prove too much. Diaz via submission.
Mike Fagan: I think we'll find out early on how the fight plays out. I'm going to assume that not cutting a ton of weight will work the same way it worked for Nick - well. Nate Diaz by submission, round 2.
Chris Nelson: It's always been feast or famine with Markham. I think the skinny kid from Stockton will be doing the feasting here. Diaz via submission, round one.
Nick Thomas: Can't wait to see a non-starved Nate Diaz. I could see either guy winning this but I'll go with Diaz by decision.
Leland Roling: Nate Diaz has the reach, decent boxing, and grappling prowess to win in all areas of this fight. Markham could explode inside and land a knockout punch, but I don't see that happening. Nate Diaz via submission.
Ricardo Almeida vs. Matt Brown
Luke Thomas: I think it will be very close and Brown is certainly a live underdog, but I suspect Almeida will pull out a squeaker thanks to endless double legs against the cage. Almeida by decision.
Kid Nate: Almeida hadn't been a real factor at middleweight in years and I'm expecting even less from him at welterweight. Brown should hit harder and should be able to fend off Almeida's predictable single leg attempts. Brown by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Almeida doesn't change his game very much and I don't know that I like the idea of him cutting down to 170. Brown is going to be aggressive and that may put him in some trouble. Almeida is a remnant of the previous stage in the game and I think he gets a loss here. Matt Brown by TKO, round 2.
Michael Rome: This is a good test for both men. If Almeida can easily take Brown down and submit him, we're looking at a guy 2-3 fights away from GSP given the absence of challengers at 170. Matt Brown is very underrated, and has improved his grappling significantly, but I don't think he'll be able to keep this off the mat. Almeida via submission, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Kenny Florian may always be the trivia answer to "who best leveraged their time on TUF", but Matt Brown might be a close second. He's improved his game since the show, and his style will keep him in Dana's good graces for awhile. I'm going to take him in the upset, though I'm not putting my money on it. Matt Brown by TKO, round 3.
Chris Nelson: Tough fight to call without seeing how the cut to 170 affects Almeida. Unless the big dog comes in looking like an Irvin-esque skeleton, his solid wrestling and top-flight BJJ should serve him well here. Almeida via decision.
Nick Thomas: Almeida's debut at 170, how is his gas tank going to be? I have to go with the tested Matt Brown by TKO.
Leland Roling: Brown certainly offers a tough test for Almeida standing as he's an aggressor with good pace, but Almeida's grappling should be the difference. While Brown has improved on the ground as well, I think Almeida is going to show up in New Jersey and prove he's the more dominant fighter in a ground war by putting Brown in some bad positions. Ricardo Almeida via submission.
Jared Hamman vs. Rodney Wallace
Luke Thomas: Hamman is eventually going to get hit. I honestly think at this level that's all it takes. Wallace by TKO.
Kid Nate: Hamman is too one dimensional. Wallace lost to Brian Stann, but sadley Hamman is no Stann. Wallace will get him down and finish him. Wallace by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Rodney Wallace is short. Jared Hamman is chinny and not very well rounded. Rodney Wallace by TKO, round 1.
Michael Rome: I think Hamman is going to be on his back all night. Wallace via TKO, round 3.
Mike Fagan: A couple of UFC prospects coming off debut losses. I'm gonna shoot in the dark and take Rodney Wallace by TKO, round 2.
Chris Nelson: Hamman's got some inches on Wallace, but the EliteXC vet also seems prone to flash knockouts. Beside that, "Sho Nuff" has demonstrated the ability to acquit himself against larger opponents, so I think this one's his to lose. Wallace via TKO, round one.
Nick Thomas: Hamman by decision.
Leland Roling: Rodney Wallace is a takedown machine, and Jared Hamman has some reach and some proven knockout power. The problem is that Hamman is going to find his reach and power nullified while he's on his back after being double legged and slammed in Rampage-esque fashion. He'll work some punches, but he'll ultimately submit Hamman. Rodney Wallace via submission.
Tomasz Drwal vs. Rousimar Palhares
Luke Thomas: Palhares' takedowns are better than Drwal's takedown defense. Palhares' ticking-time-tomb submission hunting style is just too much for the Polish powerhouse. Palhares by submission.
Kid Nate: Palhares really showed impressive MMA wrestling against Jeremy Horn. I think Drwal's stand up advantage will be irrelevant because he'll be tapping. Palhares by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: I'm going to say it just to piss people off. This is a classic case of striker vs. grappler. Rousimar Palhares by submission, round 3.
Michael Rome: This is an old school fight, and I think Palhares will be the one to get this where he wants it. Palhares via submission.
Mike Fagan: Disappointed this isn't guaranteed to air. Good style clash, but I think Drwal can avoid the ground and kickbox his way to Tomasz Drwal by decision.
Chris Nelson: Waffling on this one. Palhares has been hit hard, but hasn't really faced a striker like Drwal. I like the Pole to be able to stay outside and kickbox with the BJJ practicioner, but in the end I think "Toquinho" will be able to drag him down and finish this. Palhares via submission, round two.
Nick Thomas: Big fan of Drwal here. As long as this doesn't hit the ground, it's Drwal by decision.
Leland Roling: I like this clash in styles, and Drwal has been improving. But the factor a lot of people forget is that Palhares, for such a short guy, has immense power in his frame. That and I have a man crush on Palhares breaking legs. Rousimar Palhares via HEEL HOOK!
Greg Soto vs. Matt Riddle
Luke Thomas: Soto could be somebody to watch, but he really hasn't defeated anyone that should give you confidence to ride on him. Riddle by decision.
Kid Nate: Riddle by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Soto is okay, Riddle is better. Matt Riddle by decision.
Michael Rome: Squash match for Riddle. Riddle via TKO.
Mike Fagan: Local boy against TUF alum. Cool. Matt Riddle by TKO, round 2.
Chris Nelson: Riddle via decision.
Nick Thomas: I'm guessing Soto will be another victim of Octagon jitters. Riddle by decision
Leland Roling: Someone made some good points to me about Soto being a black belt in Judo along with having decent wrestling credentials as well, but I'm still sticking with Riddle in this fight. I think he can punish Soto over three rounds in a stand-up battle. Matthew Riddle via decision.