UFC 112: Invincible
Abu Dhabi, UAE
April 10, 2010
Anderson Silva vs. Demian Maia
Luke Thomas: There's no reason to pick Maia. Silva is going to win this, but I've been wrong about Silva so many times I see no reason to stop. Maia by submission, round 1.
Kid Nate: Demian Maia has a much better chance than Thales Leites had against Anderson Silva and I don't expect him to do much butt flopping either. Nevertheless it won't be enough. Silva by KO.
Brent Brookhouse: Nate is right on target here. Maia isn't a passive guy. He doesn't wait for things to come to him, he tries to make things happen. It's a great style and one that is very effective for him. Anderson could get caught here, do not discount that possibility. That being said, I have to go with what makes sense and what makes sense is Anderson Silva by TKO, round 3.
Michael Rome: Maia is a very live dog at these odds. That being said, there's no way to justify picking him to win, even if he has a chance and the odds are long. Silva is going to finish this, but he will be cautious. Silva via TKO, round 3.
Mike Fagan: Livest 7-1 underdog ever? Silva's going to crush, but the image of him in excruciating pain against Ryo Chonan sticks in my head. Anderson Silva by TKO, round 2.
Chris Nelson: Fluke or not, Maia couldn't take Nate Marquardt's punches; I have a tough time believing he'll be able to handle what the Spider will send his way. Silva via TKO, round two.
Nick Thomas: This is going to be ugly for Maia. Silva by TKO round 1.
Leland Roling: Wading through Anderson Silva's power and reach is going to be rough for Demian Maia. If he doesn't get flash knocked out and gains a takedown, it could get interesting... but I can't bet against Silva. He has huge advantages in the striking and clinch games, while Maia is average at best. Anderson Silva via KO
B.J. Penn vs. Frankie Edgar
Luke Thomas: Edgar will be competitive here longer. He doesn't take a ton of damage and his willingness to use his speed in boxing against Penn's accuracy and power will enable him to push well into championship rounds. Still, I don't see how he wins here short of jabbing Penn to death. He can't hurt him and can't submit him. BJ can do both to Edgar. Penn by decision.
Kid Nate: Edgar is a very capable fighter. Good boxing and solid wrestling is a dangerous combination. Sadly for him, Penn is great at everything. B.J. Penn by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Penn could finish this fight standing or on the ground. Edgar doesn't have the striking power to stop Penn (other than a classic "small gloves" KO) and he certainly doesn't have the submission game to catch B.J. So what does that leave? Working his way to a decision? I just don't see Edgar being able to win 3 of 5 rounds. Honestly I don't see him being able to last 5 rounds. B.J. Penn by TKO, round 3.
Michael Rome: Edgar is a game fighter with naturally fast hands and a rare tendency in MMA: he actually goes to the body a lot. The problem is he has major defensive liabilities and gets hit a lot, and he won't be able to shake off Penn's hooks. BJ Penn via submission, round 3.
Mike Fagan: Unlike Maia, Edgar has no path to victory. He better pray Penn's ACL explodes. B.J. Penn by submission, round 2.
Chris Nelson: Good as Edgar is, and as much as I like going out on limbs, I just see no way for the New Jersey kid to win this. Penn via submission, round three.
Nick Thomas: Edgar is fast but I still think Penn lights him up on the feet. Penn could also take this fight to the ground if need be and end it there. Penn by TKO.
Leland Roling: Edgar's only real chance is showing up with a highly-evolved striking game. Without that, Penn dominates this fight. B.J. Penn via TKO, Round 4.
Matt Hughes vs. Renzo Gracie
Luke Thomas: I've heard from several sources over the years Renzo doesn't really train like he's supposed to and even if he did, he's far too willing to play guard forever. Since Renzo doesn't have the lanky guard that can sometimes give Hughes problems, I don't see how Gracie wins here. Is Hughes the new Sakuraba? Hughes by TKO.
Kid Nate: Renzo has vowed to avenge his cousin Royce's loss to Hughes. It's a vow he won't keep. Hughes by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Takedowns and ground and pound. It's a match-up that will let Matt look like his old self. Matt Hughes by decision.
Michael Rome: This is going to be the most one-sided fight of the night. Renzo cannot compete at this level anymore, the only question is what level is Hughes actually at in 2010? I really doubt this fight motivated him to train that hard, but I still expect an easy win for him. Hughes via TKO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Renzo's not going to outstrike Hughes to a decision and he's not going to be on top for very long either. Matt Hughes by decision.
Chris Nelson: Sadly, this one's a no-brainer. Hughes via decision.
Nick Thomas: As much as I'd love to see Gracie win. It's not going to happen as long as Hughes avoids the submission attempts. Hughes by decision.
Leland Roling: This fight will likely hit the ground with Hughes controlling from the top while Renzo finds it troublesome to grip Hughes and submit him. Hughes via decision.
Terry Etim vs. Rafael Dos Anjos
Luke Thomas: Dos Anjos can't really win unless he can submit Etim, but Etim can win either way. Moreover, Etim won't be overwhelmed on the ground against the much smaller Dos Anjos. I like the Brit here. Etim by decision.
Kid Nate: Etim is a tough kid, but Dos Anjos is a bad style match-up for him. Dos Anjos by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Etim could win, but I wouldn't count on it. I think Dos Anjos will spend the majority of the fight dominating position before eventually finding a way to finish with a sub. Rafael Dos Anjos by submission, round 2.
Michael Rome: Etim is on a bit of a roll, and I think it continues here. Anjos has serious defensive liabilities, and I think Etim will drop him. Etim via KO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: I'm going to love Mike Goldberg saying "classic striker vs. grappler matchup" nine thousand times in the lead up. I'll take the grappler. Rafael dos Anjos by decision.
Chris Nelson: Such a tough fight to call. Dos Anjos is just the type of fighter who can give Etim fits, but my gut tells me... Etim via TKO, round two.
Nick Thomas: I don't think Etim can keep this fight standing and Dos Anjos will give Etim fits on the ground. Dos Anjos by decision.
Leland Roling: I think Dos Anjos has a significant chance of winning, and I actually think he has more tools to win. But I'm going with Terry Etim. I think his length will give Anjos problems in the striking department, and from all indications -- Anjos is looking to show off a highly-improved Muay Thai boxing striking game. Against the length Etim presents, I'm willing to bet Etim can punish Anjos. Terry Etim via decision.
Mark Munoz vs. Kendall Grove
Luke Thomas: I actually think Grove's defense standing has improved dramatically. While Munoz could easily sleep him, I actually think sometimes Grove's recklessness (or is it fearlessness?) can come in handy. It keeps him game enough to take advantage of mistakes. Grove's got upset potential here. Grove by decision.
Kid Nate: Munoz is beginning to put his MMA game together. Grove is weak-chinned and erratic. Munoz by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I really want to pick Grove in this one because I think he has the tools to win. I just don't trust his chin against the solid power of Munoz. You know what? Screw it. Kendall Grove by submission, round 1.
Michael Rome: I see Munoz getting submitted here. Grove is very capable off his back (almost submitted Almeida) and Munoz is not particularly adept at staying out of bad positions on the ground. Grove via submission, round 2.
Mike Fagan: I think Munoz only needs to protect himself from Grove's long legs on the floor. Otherwise it's his fight to lose. Mark Munoz by TKO, round 2.
Chris Nelson: I was ready to pick Grove on experience, but I can't overlook his flakiness and chin issues. Munoz has serious power and he seems like he's starting to figure this MMA thing out. Munoz via TKO, round one.
Nick Thomas: I want to pick Munoz simply because of the caliber of fighters he's training with and the fact he's a wrestler. But Grove proved me wrong in the Rosholt fight. I think experience will winning be the factor here. Grove by submission.
Leland Roling: Munoz has a lot of power, and Grove has proven he can't take a huge hit. While Grove could submit Munoz, I think all that training with the Nogueira's should pay off here. Mark Munoz via TKO, Round 2.
Phil Davis vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Luke Thomas: Davis is going to steamroll him. Davis by decision.
Kid Nate: Gustafsson is a very promising prospect. But Phil Davis is a much more promising prospect and his skill set is kryptonite for Gustafsson. Davis by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I'd like to see Davis show more of an ability to finish should he find himself constantly in dominant positions again, but I don't see him losing here. Phil Davis by decision.
Michael Rome: I think Davis will slowly develop finishing abilities, but I hope he doesn't rush it just to prove people wrong. If he lets it come to him he will be a major threat. He should cruise to victory here. Phil Davis via decision.
Mike Fagan: Anyone named after Paul Orndorff gets my vote. Phil Davis by decision.
Chris Nelson: Davis seems a mortal lock here. Gustafsson just won't have anything for his wrestling. Davis via decision.
Nick Thomas: Davis will take Gustafsson down instantly and dictate the fight like Davis did against Brian Stann. Davis by decision.
Leland Roling: Gustafsson is a guy I have followed for quite some time, so it pains me to pick against him -- But Davis is such a freak of nature with a controlling style and understanding of the submission game that should allow him to avoid Gustafsson's submission attempts. Davis should positionally dominate in this fight. Phil Davis via decision.
Paul Taylor vs. John Gunderson
Luke Thomas: I've never been sold on Taylor, although I'm not making Gunderson out to be someone he isn't. But Gunderson is a veteran with tough losses against good competition. He's also got a more well-rounded skill set. As long as Gunderson doesn't make it a brawl, he's got real upset potential. Gunderson by submission.
Kid Nate: Taylor is far and away the better striker and Gunderson isn't good enough at take downs to get the fight to the ground. Taylor by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Paul Taylor is decent enough at combination striking and good enough at scrambling to fight this fight where he wants. Paul Taylor by decision.
Michael Rome: Paul Taylor should be good enough and quick enough on his feet to take a decision. Paul Taylor via decision.
Mike Fagan: I don't think Taylor's that great of a fighter, but he should be better than Gunderson. Paul Taylor by decision.
Chris Nelson: Taylor = overhyped, Gunderson = undersold. Gunderson via decision.
Nick Thomas: Taylor keeps this on his feet and wins it here. Taylor by decision.
Leland Roling: Taylor is much more dynamic in the stand-up game, and Gunderson is roughly an average run-of-the-mill fighter with top-of-the-bell-curve skills. He isn't an outlier by any means, and Taylor should be a much better striker while also being able to gain his feet if Gunderson resorts to takedowns continually. Paul Taylor via TKO.
Nick Osipczak vs. Rick Story
Luke Thomas: I'm a huge believer in Rick Story. I think he's got fantastic wrestling, a good chin, respectable athleticism, gameness and a demonstrated ability to improve. I worry about his decision to play guard, but short of that this is his fight to lose. Story by TKO.
Kid Nate: Osipczak is the more polished striker, but Story has a big raw power edge. Story by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Rick Story is very strong and that power should be the deciding factor. I think Osipczak could possibly try and use tighter boxing to maybe win two rounds, but he's going to have to risk getting hurt the entire fight. Rick Story by TKO, round 2.
Michael Rome: I think Story's power is going to be too much, even if he is technically not as sharp as Osipczak. Story via KO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Rick Story arm triangled a man from guard. Not gonna pick against that guy. Rick Story by decision.
Chris Nelson: Story's wrestling credentials make him an easy pick for a decision win, but I don't even think he'll need all three rounds. Story via TKO, round two.
Nick Thomas: As long as Story doesn't get caught on the ground. It's Story by decision.
Leland Roling: Rick Story has monster strength, and he'll likely use that in combination with his wrestling to put Osipczak down to the mat consistently. Rick Story via decision.
DaMarques Johnson vs. Brad Blackburn
Luke Thomas: Blackburn has his issues, but not like Johnson. And unlike Johnson, he's got fight ending power. Blackburn got lit up by Sadollah, but looked serviceable enough against Chonan and Giboo. Blackburn by TKO.
Kid Nate: Blackburn hits really hard and I expect he'll bust up Johnson who will be too aggressive and sloppy. Blackburn by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Blackburn is a better fighter than some people realize, and he's certainly a better fighter than Johnson. Brad Blackburn by TKO, round 1.
Michael Rome: Should be a fun fire fight. Taking Johnson via decision just so I stop having the same picks as everyone else. Just kidding, I'm not going with Nelson over everyone else! I've got Blackburn via decision.
Mike Fagan: Don't really care about either fighter, and I care about Johnson less. Brad Blackburn by decision.
Chris Nelson: Honestly had no idea Brad Blackburn was still in the UFC. Johnson via decision.
Nick Thomas: Blackburn is hard to finish and will win this on the feet. Blackburn by decision.
Leland Roling: I think this is somewhat of a slugfest with Blackburn getting the better of the exchanges and taking Johnson out. Brad Blackburn via TKO.
Matt Veach vs. Paul Kelly
Luke Thomas: Veach is the better wrestler. That should be enough. Veach via decision.
Kid Nate: Kelly is only a threat if he gets top control. He won't get it against Veach. Veach by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Oh good...a Paul Kelly fight. Matt Veach by decision.
Michael Rome: Paul Kelly is a fun little fighter but Veach has a ton of raw power. I think he's too strong to let Kelly get on top (Edgar couldnt take him down), and he'll end up on top and grinding this out. Veach via decision.
Mike Fagan: I'm not sure Kelly's beaten anyone at Veach's level, which is saying something. Matt Veach by decision.
Chris Nelson: I think Kelly's gone about as far as he can in the UFC with his skill set and talent level. Veach via submission, round one.
Nick Thomas: Kelly isn't going to be able to push Veach around. Veach by grinding decision.
Leland Roling: Veach is a better striker, better wrestler, and Kelly really only has one successful gameplan that has worked -- laying on guys. Veach won't let that happen, and he'll likely stuff any attempts by Kelly in implementing that style. Veach lands a big one in this fight, ends Kelly's UFC contract. Matt Veach via TKO.
Jon Madsen vs. Mostapha Al-Turk
Luke Thomas: I must be on an island. I don't think much of Al-Turk's abilities, but I think they're better than Madsen's. I guess we'll see. Al-Turk by TKO.
Kid Nate: Madsen can wrestle. Al-Turk can win fights if he gets top control. He won't get Madsen down. Madsen by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: So long Mostapha Al-Turk. Jon Madsen by decision.
Michael Rome: This should be an easy one for Madsen. Madsen via TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: Just noticed I've taken every side Nate has. Let it ride. Jon Madsen by TKO, round 1.
Chris Nelson: Peace out, Mostapha. Madsen via decision.
Nick Thomas: Madsen's wrestling will be better than Al Turk here. Madsen by decision.
Leland Roling: Madsen gains top control, Al-Turk can't transition to a submission, Madsen bombs him. Jon Madsen via TKO.