Event: UFC Fight Night 21
: "Florian vs. Gomi"
Date: Wednesday, March 31, 2010, at 8 p.m. ET on Spike TV
Location: The Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina
Kid Nate: I would desperately love to see the Fireball Kid return and make a name for himself in the Octagon, but Gomi hasn't had his head on straight in a long time. Florian will have reach and an effective kicking game that would trouble even a top-form Gomi. I hope I'm wrong. Florian by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: While I don't buy the huge odds against Gomi, I also don't buy the talk from people that say that Gomi has a ton left to give the sport. Kenny Florian is no so-so King of the Cage fighter like Tony Hervey and if Gomi fights like he did toward the end of that fight he will absolutely get finished. I also don't think that Gomi is going to be able to deal with the fact that Florian has the more diverse game. Kenny Florian by lopsided decision.
Michael Rome: I see a long night for Gomi. Florian's really better just about everywhere, so barring a KO punch this should be Florian's night. Ultimately I think Florian mounts Gomi and pounds him before locking in a choke. Florian via submission, round 2.
Nick Thomas: Florian is legit. This is a tough first fight for Gomi. Florian's elbows will be the deciding factor. Florian by decision.
Mike Fagan: Which Takanori Gomi are we gonna get: The guy who looked like the "Fireball Kid" of old in his first three rounds against Tony Hervey or the guy who flamed out in the last two rounds in a microcosm for his post-PRIDE career: unmotivated and uninspired? Florian's a huge favorite with the books, and I'm not sure I agree. This isn't Gomi's first trip to America, nor his first time in a cage. Stylistically, Gomi's wrestling allows him to dictate where the fight takes place, and I expect him to keep it standing. Is Florian really a 3-1 favorite in an ultimate kickboxing fight? I've got my PRIDE glasses on and am taking Takanori Gomi by decision.
Chris Nelson: In any other fight, I'd be happy to forecast a win for the native Bostonian, but here... it stings a little. While rumors of Gomi's demise have been greatly exaggerated by those seeking to bury any trace of Pride, the fact is that even a prime "Fireball Kid" might not take this fight. Florian has ever-improving strength, length and all the cage experience to say that he should take this handily, but I don't expect Gomi to go down without a fight. I see lots of clinching against the fence as Florian tries to drag Gomi to the mat, but, eventually Florian via decision.
Leland Roling: Kenny Florian should have the more well-rounded style in this fight. He'll have the advantage of being a proven offensive nightmare when it comes to top control and the use of elbows, and his grappling is very good as well. Gomi's motivation is the true x-factor here. If he shows up in good shape, motivated, and strong in his base skills of wrestling and striking, he could surprise all of us. My heart says Gomi, but my mind picks Florian. Hopefully, Takanori Gomi will prove me wrong. Kenny Florian via TKO
Kid Nate: The "X" factor that no one is bringing up about this fight is Struve's huge height and reach advantage. Nelson for all his tummy is a very small heavyweight and his take down game primarily relies on trips from the clinch. But I don't see Struve taking "Big Country" down either. I think it will be decided on the feet and I expect Nelson to outpoint him standing. Nelson by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Everyone around the site knows I've been pimping Struve since before he signed with the UFC. I'm very interested to see where he is in this fight. He's constantly improving in addition to putting on mass to go with his long frame. Nelson's wrestling has never been much to write home about and size is actually a very major factor here. Assuming that Struve finally learned how to use his length to keep the fight at a good distance I think he can pick apart Nelson on the way to a decision. Even if Roy gets close enough to start looking for a takedown I think that Struve will punish him with knees. It just doesn't seem to me that Nelson's game is SO good that on the ground he'll really be able to have his way with Struve. I know all about the Mir grappling match, but Stefan's length is going to decide the fight. Stefan Struve by decision.
Michael Rome: A tough test for both men, but I think Roy has the grappling chops to grind out a top position decision here. Nelson via decision.
Nick Thomas: Interesting fight here. I'm a big fan of both fighters. Nelson will probably keep this standing but dealing with Struve's reach could be a problem. I'd love to pick Struve but Nelson has never been submitted. Nelson by decision.
Mike Fagan: For how big his name is, Roy Nelson's record doesn't particularly look impressive. He's definitely talented, but Struve becomes his most impressive notch in the event of a win. On the other hand, Stuve has fought a bunch of Eurotrash, and just squeaked by Paul "Pinky" Buentello at UFC 107. I'm gonna take Roy Nelson by submission, round 2, and hope I'm not putting too much faith in a guy who trains two hours a day. (Ninja edit: I'm very intrigued by Struve's increased mass showcased at the weigh-ins!)
Chris Nelson: Unless Struve's striking has improved tenfold from his last fight, this looks like a cruise control victory for Big Country. Nelson via decision.
Leland Roling: Struve doesn't offer too many dangers to Nelson in this fight. He was fairly sloppy in his striking against Buentello, and Nelson won't be a wild, power puncher who opens himself up to the counter. Nelson will work the jab, and possibly try to gain top control from the side mount and punish Struve. I think Nelson can win in either case, ground or stand-up. Roy Nelson via TKO.
Kid Nate: Two well-known veterans of The Ultimate Fighter meet here, both in their late thirties with any hope of contention likely long past. Both fighters are game and gritty sluggers who live to bring it. But Rivera has shown a bit more cage-savvy than Quarry IMO, I expect he'll take Quarry down and win on the ground. Rivera by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: I actually went ahead and changed my pick here. Rivera looked as good as he has in years against Kimmons. I think his having more tools to use in the striking battle this is sure to be will be key here. Jorge Rivera by decision.
Michael Rome: I don't expect this to last too long, as neither is a particularly big fan of "defense." Nate Quarry via TKO, round 1.
Nick Thomas: Love this fight. Rock-em, sock-em. I picked Rivera against Grove and Kampmann. Rivera lost the Kampmann fight but I still have faith. Rivera by decision.
Mike Fagan: Both these guys are 38, but Rivera seems older to me for whatever reason. I've been hard on Quarry for being stiff and immobile, but he's looked better in recent fights. Should be an entertaining fight, and I'll take Nate Quarry by decision.
Chris Nelson: Battle of two 30-somethings whose bodies must feel 60-something. This may come down to who lands the first big salvo. Quarry via TKO, round one.
Leland Roling: This is probably somewhat of a do-or-die fight for Rivera. He's already stated that retirement is within the next couple of years, and a win here would keep him going. He'll have a tough task though. Quarry has the size and strength to be a menace, and his boxing isn't too shabby against an opponent who likes to wing straight overhands. Rivera probably has a speed advantage, so he'll need to come out guns ablaze to win here. I think Quarry's chin ultimately gets him through though. Nate Quarry via TKO.
Kid Nate: Siver has survived in the UFC past all reckoning. He's somehow riding a four fight win streak accumulated while bottom-feeding on the undercards of mostly European events. I don't think Pearson has the kind of power to overawe Siver and will get beat up by the German. Siver by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: I'm very impressed with the improvement shown by Pearson. Siver's four fight run is nothing to take lightly, but I just can't pick him. Ross Pearson by decision. And yes, that is all decisions for the main card. I'm not expecting any prelim fights to make the broadcast.
Michael Rome: I think Pearson should be able to grind this one out. Pearson via decision.
Nick Thomas: Siver is on a 4 fight win streak and he beat a tough Paul Kelly. I'm going to go with the underdog here and pick Siver by close decision.
Mike Fagan: I had no expectations for Pearson and left Siver for dead following the Maynard and Guillard losses. Both bit me in the ass instead. Siver's probably not as big a dog as the books say, but Pearson's still the favorite. Ross Pearson by decision.
Chris Nelson: Total coin flip, like a number of fights on this card. I'll pick the TUF winner to catch the German late. Pearson via TKO, round three.
Leland Roling: Siver is a wild underdog in this fight as he has some solid power, brawling counter punches, and very effective spinning kicks. He isn't half bad on the ground either, but Pearson should be able to manhandle him along the fence and devastate him with knees and strikes. If Pearson can't do that, he might find himself on the end of some brutal counter punches. I'll take Pearson here in a patient, methodical beatdown. Ross Pearson via decision.
Kid Nate: Lentz is pretty green and Emerson hits really hard. Theoretically Lentz has the wrestling to beat Emerson, but I have to go with the veteran. Emerson by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Emerson should take this one. Emerson by TKO, round 2.
Michael Rome: Lentz should be able to use his wrestling ability to take this, but his defense is porous and Emerson has finishing skills. Going to go with Rob Emerson via TKO, round 1.
Nick Thomas: Lentz will grind Emerson on the ground. Lentz by decision.
Mike Fagan: Emerson's better than his 9-8 record would indicate and Lentz's card is filled with unknowns. Rob Emerson by decision.
Chris Nelson: Lentz will be able to dictate where this fight takes place, and he can win it standing or on the floor. Soooo... Lentz via decision.
Leland Roling: Emerson seems to always be a surprise. He can bring a tenacious pace and enough knowledge to grab wins over solid grapplers, but he can also punch for power at times. Lentz brings a lot of leg kicking power and good wrestling to this fight. He's been fairly successful at combining the two techniques, and I think he can be effective enough to frustrate Emerson and eek out the decision. Nik Lentz via decision.
Kid Nate: Really curious to see what's going to happen at the weight cut with Tibau. But regardless, Uno's day, glorious as it was, has long passed and Tibau should maul him on the feet and in the take down battle. Tibau by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I'm rolling with Tibau here, and just hoping that the odd rules don't make the cut too difficult on him.Gleison Tibau by decision.
Michael Rome: Very hard fight to pick. Tibau is talented on the ground and big enough to end up in top position for a lot of this fight. Uno has not looked energetic in a long time, but it's not as if Tibau is tearing it up either. I'm going to flip a coin and go Uno via decision.
Nick Thomas: This will be a very close fight. Tibau by decision.
Mike Fagan: Did you guys hear that Gleison Tibau cuts a lot of weight? Did you also hear that North Carolina has some backwards double weigh in rule? Tibau and his camp have known about it since they signed the bout agreements, and I don't see it having that big an effect on the fight. This is another fight that I don't think is as wide as the line. Tibau is huge and holds guys down, but Uno is a crafty and dynamic grappler. I'm going to take Gleison Tibau by decision, but I'm not going to be shocked when Uno outworks him either.
Chris Nelson: My gut says Tibau will simply overpower Uno and pin him down for a decision win, but I'm heartened by how muscular Uno looked at the weigh-ins. I'll take a flyer on Uno via submission, round two.
Leland Roling: Tough call for me here. The smart pick is Gleison Tibau here. Uno hasn't shown a lot of ways he can punish opponents and actually finish in his fights. He'll be tough to out grapple for anyone, but he just doesn't have the strength or tools in his skill-set to devastate a guy like Tibau. The weight cut could be a problem for Tibau, but I think he ultimately overpowers Uno and wins. Gleison Tibau via decision.
Rafaello Oliveira vs. Andre Winner
Kid Nate: I haven't been impressed by Oliveira thus far. Winner by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Winner may have a decent UFC future, I don't think you can say the same for Oliveira. Andre Winner by TKO, round 2.
Michael Rome: Winner needs to keep this standing to win, and I don't think he's going to be able to. Oliveira via decision.
Nick Thomas: Another close fight here. Winner by decision.
Mike Fagan: Winner lit up Rolando Delgado (whoopee). Oliveira lost to Lentz and beat John Gunderson (yay). I'll take Andre Winner by decision, because I like British accents.
Chris Nelson: Winner's range should give him the edge here if he uses it effectively, but I'm not sure he'll be able to put the durable Tractor away. Winner via decision.
Leland Roling: Oliveira will more than likely want Winner down on the ground as he is a BJJ black belt, but Winner seems to be improving with his training at Team Rough House. He showed some knockout power against Roli Delgado, and he seemed to be much more confident in his hands than we've seen in the past. Oliveira will threaten to blanket him on the ground, but I'll go with Winner's hands in this fight. Andre Winner via TKO.
Ronys Torres vs. Jacob Volkmann
Kid Nate: Volkmann was thrown in at the deep end of the welterweight division, losing to contenders Martin Kampmann and Paulo Thiago. Torrys lost a tough decision to Melvin Guillard in his debut. I'm very impressed with Torres, but I think Volkmann's wrestling and power will be too much for him. Volkmann by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: It took writing these predictions to make me realize just how many of these fights could go to decision. Volkmann has displayed some of the absolute worst MMA wrestling of a three time D-1 All-American I've ever seen. Some guys just can't translate those skills into MMA, and he is one of those guys. Torres is very solid and probably should win this fight but I've got to go with my gut. Volkmann is used to fighting at 170, he's dropping to 155. Yes, Torres is a very large 155, but Volkmann is used to guys cutting to 170 (including his entire college wrestling career). I think Volkmann can control the bout positionally and win a decision. Jacob Volkmann by decision.
Michael Rome: Volkmann has the wrestling and grappling ability to stay on top and get a win. Volkmann via decision.
Nick Thomas: How will Volkmann look at his debut at 155? On the ground, it's all Torres. Torres by submission.
Mike Fagan: Volkmann had trouble with another good BJJ guy in Paulo Thiago, and I think he'll have the same problems here. Ronys Torres by decision.
Chris Nelson: There are matchups at 155 that Volkmann could take with ease, but this isn't one of them. Torres out-boxes him before Volkmann decides to take it down and the Brazilian catches a sub. Torres via submission, round one.
Leland Roling: I like Ronnys here as he's a very aggressive fighter with decent hands and a good ground game. Volkmann has shown some deficiencies in his stand-up game, and his wrestling is really his only strong suit. Ronnys may just be aggressive enough and strong enough to thwart Volkmann on the ground, but I imagine we'll see a torrid pace from Torres and a victory for the Nova Uniao fighter. Ronnys Torres via decision.
Gerald Harris vs. Mario Miranda
Kid Nate: I'm not feeling Harris here. Miranda by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Harris is going to explode on him early. Gerald Harris by TKO, round 1.
Nick Thomas: Fantastic fight here. Both upcoming prospects. Harris's wrestling and stand-up will be slightly better. Going with Harris by decision.
Mike Fagan: Miranda is undefeated and has more impressive victories on his resume. Mario Miranda by submission, round 1.
Chris Nelson: Lots of late hype on Miranda, and I'm in complete agreement that he could be something special in the UFC with more seasoning. I expect him to play it relatively safe here, take Harris down repeatedly and get a win on the cards. Miranda via decision.
Leland Roling: I've been really leaning on this fight as of late. I picked Harris in my initial preview, but I'm a bit concerned about his conditioning. The Salter fight was a pretty bad fight until the very end when Harris unleashed a barrage that put Salter out in the third round. If Miranda has the jiu-jitsu chops we've been hearing about and can be effective on the ground, I'll take him with the upset. My only concern with Miranda is that I've heard some past accounts of fights where being overpowered was a problem, and Harris could definitely do that with ease. I'll take Harris, but I'll put the dollars down on Miranda. Gerald Harris via TKO.
Charlie Brenneman vs. Jason High
Kid Nate: High has by far the better resume. High by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Where's the check box for I don't care? Brenneman is a "whatever" fighter to me and I really don't like High's attitude. I suppose High pulls it out though. Jason High by decision.
Michael Rome: Jason High via TKO.
Nick Thomas: High is the better wrestler here. High by decision
Mike Fagan: Brenneman won the first season of Pros vs. Joes while High was fighting legit guys over in DREAM. Jason High by decision.
Chris Nelson: Close contest, but the Dream veteran should be able to out-wrestle the UFC first-timer here. Jason High via decision.
Leland Roling: I'm not overly impressed with Brenneman's strength of record. Sure, that's not something to obsess about, but it does give me an idea of the type of challenges Brenneman has been taking in his career. High has a stronger record, well-known fight camp, and Antonio McKee in his corner. Cardio shouldn't be an issue for High, and Brenneman is going to have massive problems keeping up with anyone that McKee trains. I'll take High via demoralizing cardio wrestling. Jason High via decision.
Lucio Linhares vs. Yushin Okami
Kid Nate: Linhares isn't getting any favors from Joe Silva here. Okami by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Okami spent a lot of time as arguably the most overrated fighter on the planet, now he's spending time at the bottom of the card. He should pick up a W but Linhares catching him wouldn't shock me. Yushin Okami by decision.
Michael Rome: This one should be all Okami. He won't be submitted and he should dominate Linhares. Okami by decision.
Nick Thomas: I will never pick against Okami. Okami won't get submitted here. Okami by decision.
Mike Fagan: Poor Yushin. Yushin Okami by Jon Fitch decision.
Chris Nelson: Lucio Linhares, prepare to be Okami'd. Okami via decision.
Leland Roling: Okami versus another strict BJJ black belt = top control pounding. Yushin Okami via TKO.