Saturday, July 3, 2010
MGM Grand Garden Arena
Las Vegas, Nevada
Luke Thomas: The number of unknowns swirling in this bout is dizzying. Is Lesnar going to have ring rust? Is Carwin going to fold in the later rounds? Will Lesnar be able to take Carwin down enough? How will Lesnar respond when hit by Carwin? I'm not sure how to cook with these ingredients. I certainly believe Carwin is more than capable of stopping the fight at any time. If you're picking him, you've got plenty of good reasons to do so. I'm going to lean ever so slightly to Lesnar, though. I just think he's got the sort of gameplan to wear down Carwin. Over time he'll compromise Carwin's power, physically tire him and impose his game. Unless he gets KO'd. We'll see what happens. Lesnar, TKO.
Kid Nate: Some X factors here, the biggest being Lesnar's health. It's hard for me to see how such a serious illness, uncorrected by surgery doesn't affect him greatly. That tempts me to pick Carwin who is the definition of "puncher's chance." But I have to go with the fighter I believe is the superior athlete and the more serious student of the game. Brock Lesnar by TKO in 3.
Brent Brookhouse: Brock was out because of an illness, not an injury. It's entirely possible he comes back better than ever unlike an injury where he'd be hesitant to attempt certain things and possibly weak. Carwin's cardio remains a big question, judging by body type and his breathing after his short fights I'm a bit tempted to think he has some cardio problems but that's not a sure thing. I trust Lesnar's cardio more and I think the gameplan is going to be to make Shane defend and play the wrestling game so much that he can't set up his big punches. I think he wears him down in round one, wears him out in round two and finishes him off in round three. Brock Lesnar by TKO, round 3.
Mike Fagan: Carwin needs one of three things to happen. 1) Land a big KO bomb. 2) Establish clinch dominance early. 3) Lesnar's diverticulitis stripped him of some of his ability. These are all live possibilities, but I'm still confident taking Lesnar here. He looks to be fully recovered from his illness, and a peak Brock Lesnar is head-and-shoulders above most other heavyweight in terms of athletics. I think that combination of size, strength, and speed will be the difference here. Brock Lesnar by TKO, round 2.
Chris Nelson: Here's a terrifying thought: what if this fight goes to the championship rounds? Seems highly unlikely, but I could see Lesnar tasting Carwin's power early and going for ride time. Tough as it is for me to pick a guy coming off such a lengthy layoff, I favor both Lesnar's striking power and wrestling game over Carwin. Lesnar via TKO, round two.
Nick Thomas: Experience is everything here. Carwin by TKO.
Leland Roling: Tough call. I wouldn't have given Carwin much of a chance months ago, but his strength in the clinch was an eye-opener against Mir. If he can dominate the clinch early and push his weight on Lesnar, he may be able to land some huge overhands to Lesnar's chin. But I think Lesnar's athletic ability on top of his outstanding wrestling credentials bring Carwin into his world on the ground and end this fight in the second. Brock Lesnar via TKO, Round 2.
Jonathan Snowden: Unless Lesnar's illness really did a number on him, he should win this going away. We still don't know much about Carwin as a fighter, but there's nothing there leading me to believe he's not going to be put on his back early and often. Lesnar via TKO.
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Chris Leben
Luke Thomas: I actually think this fight is probably a lot closer than we expect. I just bank of Akiyama's underrated toughness and well-rounded ability. Akiyama by TKO.
Kid Nate: Akiyama is undersized for the UFC middleweight division. He'd be a force at welterweight. Leben has the power to end his night, but Akiyama has such better boxing it's not even funny. And on the ground, oh my. Leben's musing about judo not applying to MMA is going to be painfully refuted. Akiyama by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: The return of Leben is a really great story if he wins here. I don't think all that highly of Akiyama (although I'd like him much better at 170 as pointed out by everyone else). I'm going to pick with my heart rather than my head here. I think Leben survives a really bad first round and lands a bomb in the second. This isn't based on logic, history or anything other than an admitted gut/heart decision. Chris Leben by TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: Count me in on Akiyama at 170. I think Leben will prove to be a much tougher fight than some people seem to expect, but Akiyama edges him technically in almost every area. While Akiyama's coming off a year layoff, I think Leben's kamikaze mission two weeks from his last fight is much more harrowing. Yoshihiro Akiyama by decision.
Chris Nelson: Got a funny feeling about this one -- largely because of Akiyama's attitude toward Wanderlei Silva dropping out and having to fight a replacement -- but realistically, the judoka would find a way to beat Leben on zero days' notice. Akiyama via decision.
Nick Thomas: Alan Belcher > Chris Leben. Akiyama by decision.
Leland Roling: Leben will more than likely come in at less than 100%, and I think Akiyama's overall skill is being highly underestimated due to his lackluster performance against Alan Belcher. I think Akiyama can mimic a one-two straight combination with possibly an overhand like Bisping and maintain range while also threatening with more creative ways to take down Leben. Akiyama is surprisingly good on the feet for a Judo convert, but his submission ability will show up here. Yoshihiro Akiyama via submission.
Jonathan Snowden: I think Akiyama was right to fear a last minute change in opponent. It has to be hard to be so singularly focused on one man, only to have to switch things up at the drop of the hat. Perfect time for Leben to take two to give one. Bad math unless you're a power puncher with a granite chin. Leben via TKO.
Matt Brown vs. Chris Lytle
Luke Thomas: Lytle, generally speaking, has more ways to hurt and finish Brown than vice versa. Lytle by decision.
Kid Nate: Hard to muster up the energy to think about this fight. These two guys won't be thinking about it. Should be a good scrap but I think Brown is outclassed here. Unless time has caught up with Lytle he should have this one. Chris Lytle by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Brown is good, and is a hard worker. But the chances he finishes Lytle are slim and the chances Lytle wins a decision or submits him are high. Chris Lytle by submission, round 3.
Mike Fagan: Interesting stat. Chris Lytle has 17 losses, 15 by decision, 2 by TKO via cuts. Matt Brown has 8 losses, 6 by submission (one by guillotine to Lytle outside the UFC), 2 by decision (0 wins by decision as well). There's always a worry that Lytle forgoes grappling in favor of banging. Still, the grappling advantage gives him a clear edge here. Chris Lytle by submission, round two.
Chris Nelson: Honestly wouldn't be shocked if Brown was able to put hands on Lytle here, but I've got to go with Lytle via decision.
Nick Thomas: Lytle wins the stand-up easily. Lytle by decision.
Leland Roling: Unless Lytle blows his wad in the first round, I don't see how Brown outlasts Lytle. Lytle will either A.) Bomb Brown and knock him out B.) Catch Brown in the scramble and submit him. or C.) Outbox him over three rounds to a decision. In any case, Brown basically has a puncher's chance against a guy who basically has to get cut above the eye to lose or gas himself out completely. I don't see that happening. Chris Lytle via TKO.
Jonathan Snowden: I am out on a limb here, but Lytle has to be close to a million years old. The fight game is not kind to older dudes. Brown by TKO.
Luke Thomas: I actually think the speed of Pellegrino is going to be a big difference maker here. He's got better hand speed, faster takedowns and quicker transitions. Add in his physicality and I see Pellegrino - provided he doesn't choke - being too much of a handful for Sotiropoulos. Pellegrino by decision.
Kid Nate: As a jaded old MMA fan, I'm so used to anticipating grappling wars between jiu jitsu aces and getting bad kickboxing instead. Fortunately these two guys are too well rounded for that. Pellegrino is the more physical of the two and a better wrestler, but Sotiropoulos is coming in behind a wave of hype. I'm feeling Batman for some reason. Pellegrino by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Pellegrino's ground game gets some more credit than it deserves. Sotiropoulos is better off his back or from the top and I think he'll get Kurt down and finish the fight. George Sotiropoulos by submission, round 2.
Mike Fagan: This should be a good one. Both have great ground games and solid standup. I think George is getting hyped because of the Stevenson fight. Pellegrino's wrestling is much better than Joe's, and his standup much crisper. I'm worried about Kurt making a mistake like the Nate Diaz fight, but I think he's a solid underdog pick. Kurt Pellegrino by decision.
Chris Nelson: Pellegrino is without a doubt the better all-around fighter at this point, but his ground game isn't entirely without fault. I expect Sotiropoulos to find a hole and capitalize in the later rounds. Sotiropoulos via submission, round three.
Nick Thomas: Sotiropoulos is going to dominate Pellegrino. Sotiropoulos by decision.
Leland Roling: Great opening fight for this card. Pellegrino should have an edge on the feet, but Sotiropoulos could keep him at bay with his range. On the floor, I don't think Marcelo Garcia is going to improve Pellegrino immensely overnight, and I think Sotiropoulos' frame in combination with his quick transitions and guard passing mauls Pellegrino to a decision. Sotiropoulos via decision.
Jonathan Snowden:Pellegrino and Sotiropoulos are both from areas filled with criminals and criminally bad accents. It's a push there. Is it wrong I'm more interested in whether George will be allowed to wear grappling pants (excuse me, neoprene shorts, knee braces and ankle wraps) than the actual result of this fight? Necessity demands I choose someone: Sotiropoulos by decision.
Stephan Bonnar vs. Krzysztof Soszynski
Luke Thomas: As long as Soszynski shows some decent movement circling and in and out of the pocket, it's his fight to lose. Soszynski by decision.
Kid Nate: As the pioneer of MMA as bad kickboxing, Bonnar is one of my least favorite fighters. Should be his Waterloo here. Soszynski's already won this once, he'll do it again. Soszynski by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Unlike Nate I enjoy what Bonnar does. He's a scrappy guy who is okay in all areas but not great at anything other than the intangibles like "heart" and "determination." I'm going to keep my "pick with your gut" thing rolling and say that since I picked Bonnar the first time around I'll pick him the second. (by the way, I'm going to have an awful record on these picks) Stephan Bonnar by decision.
Mike Fagan: Bonnar just looks old these days. Not bad. Just old. Like he's the same fighter as he was in the Griffin fight, but slower, more wear-and-tear. I thought Krzysztof was winning the first fight, and I think he'll win again. Krzysztof Soszynski by decision.
Chris Nelson: Deja vu all over again. Soszynski via decision.
Nick Thomas: Soszynski wins this fight just like he did the first one. Plus he's a fellow Canuck. Soszynski by decision.
Leland Roling: Very similar skill-sets, but I think Bonnar's time has over. I think Soszynski will be a bit more cautious in the later rounds as Bonnar seems to turn it on, but he'll bomb Bonnar early and make Bonnar play catch-up. Soszynski via decision.
Jonathan Snowden: I'm with Nate here. Bonnar-Griffin was an amazing fight, but its evil influence is still being felt five years later. Soszynski was a professional wrestler who new the immortal Bad News Brown. That means something to me. Soszynski by Ghetto Blaster.
Luke Thomas: Schaub's fight to lose. Schaub by TKO.
Kid Nate: This is very similar to the Duffee-Russo fight except I don't think Schaub can shrug off Tuchscherer's take downs as easily and Tuch doesn't have the Russo KO power. Could be an ugly fight for Spike with the untelegenic Tuchscherer blanketing Schaub. But I'll go with Schaub by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: I'm no Tuchscherer fan and I don't think there is a ton of upside to Schaub either. It's a Joe Silva special though, he knows Schaub should win and they can talk about a win over a top Lesnar training partner his next time out. Brendan Schaub by TKO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: I don't think Brendan Schaub is all that great, but I think Chris Tuchscherer has a job because of Brock Lesnar. Brendan Schaub by TKO, round 1.
Chris Nelson: Good example of a fight where the UFC clearly thinks they know what the outcome will be. They're probably right, too. Schaub via TKO, round one.
Nick Thomas: Schaub - younger, bigger + Greg Jackson gameplan = Schaub by decision.
Leland Roling: Tuchscherer has a real chance at smothering Schaub for three rounds, but Schaub is a much better fighter in almost all areas with the exception of maybe wrestling. In any case, Tuchscherer is way too slow to shoot so quickly that Schaub can't escape. And Schaub simply has a more diverse skill-set to pull from than Chris. Brendan Schaub via TKO.
Jonathan Snowden: I haven't really seen the same Schaub that the others must have watched. I do know this: if the UFC is actually looking for a particular fighter to win, well, it's time to throw up the red flag. Because that never works out well for them. Tuchscherer by decision.
Seth Petruzelli vs. Ricardo Romero
Luke Thomas: Petruzelli can win, but there's no reason he should. No good reason, anyway. Romero by submission.
Kid Nate: Seth should send Kimbo and Kendall Grove thank you cards for getting on Spike TV. He should ask where he can find a wrestling and BJJ coach while he's corresponding. Romero by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Romero is going to rearrange Petruzelli's face on his way to a decision victory. At that point Petruzelli will get his walking papers and run around the regional circuit as the Kimbo Killer for a few more years. Ricardo Romero by decision.
Mike Fagan: I admittedly don't know much about Romero, but he's a significant betting favorite. Ricardo Romero by decision.
Chris Nelson: While I'll miss watching Romero on Ring of Combat cards, it's great to see him finally getting the call up. He should have some real staying power in the UFC's 205-pound division. Romero via submission, round one.
Nick Thomas: Romero by decision.
Leland Roling: I threw down support for Petruzelli in this fight, and I think he might be able to pull it off here. A lot of people are discounting him, but a lot of people said Chris Baten would knock his block off, and the complete opposite happened. Petruzelli has found some knockout power, surprisingly, and to be perfectly honest -- he's improved quite a bit. Romero has the submissions and wrestling to hurt him, but I'll go with the ol' upset special. Seth Petruzelli via TKO.
Jonathan Snowden: This is such a horrible card for SPIKE. Seriously, this is the worst two fight combo since they started running these undercard fights. It shows how weak this card is. Basically, there is nothing of significance after the main event.Romero via submission.
Dave Branch vs. Gerald Harris
Luke Thomas: I've been super unimpressed by Harris. I'll go with Branch for the upset.
Kid Nate: Branch seems like a promising prospect with good grappling, but Harris, a classic boxer/wrestler with a knack for ground and pound, is a bad match up for him. Harris by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Harris is too good at top controlling ground and pound for Branch to catch him. Gerald Harris by TKO, round 3.
Mike Fagan: Going with UFC experience. Gerald Harris by decision.
Chris Nelson: Fight of the Night contender right here. Harris is legit, but Dave Branch is not for play. The guy is otherworldly tough and able to mount great comebacks. Branch via decision.
Nick Thomas: Harris will keep this on the feet. Harris by decision.
Leland Roling: Miranda was a much better BJJ fighter than Branch, and he had freestyle wrestling credentials to boot. Branch is simply relying on BJJ skills to stop a massive train from wrecking him, and that's not going to happen. Gerald Harris via TKO.
Jonathan Snowden: When in doubt, go with the guy most active on Twitter. Gerald Harris via TKO.
Jon Madsen vs. Karlos Vemola
Luke Thomas: Hard to say if Madsen is going to catch a knee coming in or not. I'll bet no. Madsen by decision.
Kid Nate: Madsen is a wrestler. Vemola is a Czech who's been fighting in Britain. Prepare for a blanketing. Madsen by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I'm picking Vemola only because no one deserves to sit through a 15 minute Madsen blanketing. Karlos Vemola by TKO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Unless your name is Roy Nelson or you're fighting a total shlob, I feel like I have to pick against TUF 10 guys out of principle. Karlos Vemola by TKO, round 2.
Chris Nelson: Even though the most notable win on Vemola's 7-0 record came against Stav Economou, I think he'll be able to put it on Madsen early and avoid a prolonged wrestling match. Vemola via TKO, round one.
Nick Thomas: Wrestler vs. wrestler here. Madsen by decision.
Leland Roling: As Nate points out, Madsen could probably blanket Vemola with the typical American wrestling style of MMA, but Vemola can be an absolute nightmare in the opening minutes. He intimidated nearly everyone in Europe, but this is the big leagues. Madsen won't be scared, but I think he will be unconscious after Vemola flurries all over him in the fence. Karlos Vemola via TKO.
Jonathan Snowden: One thing is for sure: I'll bet Madsen and Chris T. were working hard preparing for these fights. Madsen by decision.
Kendall Grove vs. Goran Reljic
Luke Thomas: I give Grove huge credit for improvement, but the hard hitting Reljic is going to land at some point. That should be enough. Reljic by TKO.
Kid Nate: Reljic ought to be on TV. But Kendall Grove is a dummy outside the cage too. Reljic by KO.
Brent Brookhouse: This is fun because it's two guys who are very flawed and provide the other with very legitimate finishing opportunities. I hope if this is a good fight and there is broadcast time available that the Grove/UFC spat doesn't prevent it from getting in front of my eyeballs. Goran Reljic by TKO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: It's unfortunate that Grove's mouth prevents me from watching Reljic. Hopefully he got the kinks out in the Dollaway fight because this is a good matchup for him. Goran Reljic by decision.
Chris Nelson: If the UFC really wanted to punish Grove, they should have left this fight on TV. Reljic via TKO, round one.
Nick Thomas: Grove by decision.
Leland Roling: I'm not confident in Grove's chin at all, but for some odd reason -- I can't get over the fact that Reljic simply doesn't have the grappling experience in the cage to warrant my thinking to change. Grove's frame is a problem, and while I realize his chin will probably be tested once again -- I think he can catch Reljic on the ground. Kendall Grove via submission.
Jonathan Snowden: Based on how most sponsor deals work, Grove got penalized at least $5-10,000 for opening his mouth about SPIKE. Maybe he'll get some back with sub of the night? Kendall Grove via submission.
Daniel Roberts vs. Forrest Petz
Luke Thomas: Petz just doesn't have the wrestling or true boxing to do much but counterfight. Roberts by decision.
Kid Nate: Petz works body punches well. That's about it. Roberts has some promise and should show it here. Roberts by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Nate stole my thunder by mentioning Petz's body attack. It's a really cool attack that would be awesome if he had more skills to go with it. Roberts is a tough fighter and, more importantly, is better than Petz. Daniel Roberts by decision.
Mike Fagan: Roberts took a hard loss against John Howard. This should be a good bounce back. Daniel Roberts by decision.
Chris Nelson: Petz probably wouldn't be in this fight if it weren't for a questionable decision over the very green Ralph Johnson at Moosin. Daniel Roberts via submission, round one.
Nick Thomas: Petz is a tough fight for anybody but I got Roberts by close decision.
Leland Roling: The last time I saw Petz, he was sloppily throwing the biggest overhands I'd ever seen in a professional mixed martial arts contest. Perhaps he and Hermes Franca should battle it out at my local pub. Roberts should submit him in this one. Daniel Roberts via submission.
Jonathan Snowden: Roberts by decision.