UFC on Versus 2 Predictions
Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010, at 9 p.m. on Versus
San Diego Sports Arena in San Diego, California
Jon Jones vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
Luke Thomas: Matyushenko fights at a measured pace, is very tough, doesn't take a ton of risks and obviously packs legit wrestling credentials. He's also used to fighting big guys. What that means is he'll last longer than many would against Jones before succumbing to too much punishment. Jones by TKO, round 3.
Kid Nate: I remember when Matyushenko was a formidable member of the hot new wave of highly credentialed wrestlers called the RAW Team. That was a long ass time ago, in another decade, century and millennium. Jones by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: I don't like certain things Jones does when he throws punches. His kicks are really sharp and he throws them from a distance that doesn't allow for him to be countered, but I think a sharp striker could counter his punches. That being said he's way too fast and long for Matyushenko. Barring some sort of fluke ending I don't see any way Jones loses here. Jon Jones by TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: Even if Matyushenko has a significant edge somewhere on Jones, it wouldn't matter. Jones is much faster than the "Janitor" and that's all that really matters. This ends as quickly as Jones wants it to. Jon Jones by TKO, round 1.
Chris Nelson: Jones has been at this for just over two years; Matyushenko is a few months shy of celebrating his 13th MMAnniversary. Nonetheless, young "Bones" has developed quickly and should be able to stop the crafty veteran. Jones via TKO, round two.
Nick Thomas: Matyushenko will not be an easy fight for Jones. But Jones is faster and has a huge reach advantage. Jones by decision.
Leland Roling: Wrestling will be Matyushenko's only plus, and while his striking has improved - Jones has better wrestling, immense strength, and an unpredictability factor in his stand-up. He isn't overly technical by any means or shown proven conditioning in the late rounds, but he'll trounce Matyushenko here. Jones via TKO.
Jonathan Snowden: Jones via not being 39 years old. TKO, Round 2.
Yushin Okami vs. Mark Munoz
Luke Thomas: The fact is Okami has a tendency to fight at his competitor's pace and he's never faced a wrestler the caliber of Munoz. Okami is strong and tough and defensively sound, but the onslaught of wrestling as well as the pace/speed of Munoz will be too much. Munoz by decision.
Kid Nate: I think Okami's recent display of crisp aggressive boxing will be too much for the hapless-on-his-feet Munoz. If Munoz can outwrestle him though, Okami's in big trouble. But I'm going with Okami by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Munoz had a lot of trouble with Kendall Grove, Yushin Okami is a much better fighter than Grove and he won't let Munoz off the hook if he has him in trouble. I like Okami's boxing but I think it'd be a mistake for him to become too reliant on it and move away from the best parts of his game. Yushin Okami by decision.
Mike Fagan: One might point to the Sonnen fight as a blueprint for Munoz, but it's important to note that Okami was fresh off a torn knee ligament in that fight. I expect the typical Okami counterfest. Yushin Okami by decision.
Chris Nelson: Could really see this going either way - including a crushing KO from Munoz - but in this case I think the most obvious answer is the correct one. Okami via decision.
Nick Thomas: Hopefully Okami has learned enough from the loss to Sonnen to not let that happen against Munoz. Okami will finish what Grove was unable to do. Okami by decision.
Leland Roling: Munoz has the wrestling to keep Okami down and out in this fight, but Munoz's stand-up isn't great at all. Okami's improving striking along with being 100% healthy should give him the win here. Okami via decision.
Jonathan Snowden: Okami via jab, jab, jab. Decision.
Jake Ellenberger vs. John Howard
Luke Thomas: Tough call. I tend to think the physicality of Ellenberger will be too much here. Ellenberger by decision.
Kid Nate: Ellenberger gave Carlos Condit a scare and Condit is one of the hardest to finish guys in the game. He'll snuff Howard. Ellenberger by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: I hope I'm wrong but this is going to be a snoozer. Ellenberger is the better of the two though. Jake Ellenberger by decision.
Mike Fagan: Ellenberger has better performances against better competition. Jake Ellenberger by decision.
Chris Nelson: Even though Howard tends to win close decisions that he shouldn't, and Ellenberger has been known to lose them, I'll say Ellenberger via decision.
Nick Thomas: Wrestler vs. wrestler here. Going to pick Ellenberger by being just a little bit better at everything. Ellenberger by decision.
Leland Roling: Not too much discrepancy in our staff picks, and this is no different. Ellenberger has the wrestling and top control game to stay away from Howard's underrated grappling. Howard won't pull off a miracle here. Ellenberger via decision.
Jonathan Snowden: Howard via contrariness. Decision.
Takanori Gomi vs. Tyson Griffin
Luke Thomas: I wouldn't rule out Gomi giving Griffin a decent crack here or there. But Griffin tends to get himself into problems against superior positional BJJ players in loose scrambles. Gomi ain't that guy. Griffin by decision.
Kid Nate: Ahh I want Gomi to come back and win so bad but I just can't bring myself to do it. Griffin by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Gomi against these kind of UFC guys just isn't going to get "back on track." And honestly, while some people will try to argue, Gomi is shot. His time is over. Tyson Griffin by decision.
Mike Fagan: I think this is actually a very winnable fight for the "Fireball Kid", but Griffin's pace will be a big factor in this one. Tyson Griffin by decision.
Chris Nelson: For once, I really don't doubt that Gomi is focused and wants to win here... it's just a terrible matchup for him. Griffin via decision.
Nick Thomas: Griffin is a tougher fight than Stevenson imho. Plus after seeing Gomi vs. Florian, I don't see it any other way than Griffin by decision.
Leland Roling: Gomi has a solid chance in this fight, and he's always game for landing one of his patented one-two combinations that puts opponents on ice. Griffin, while a good fighter, can get sucked int a stand-up war, which would not bode well for his chin. I think Griffin will stay away from that, but honestly.... WAR GOMI! Takanori Gomi via TKO!
Jonathan Snowden: Gomi via BUDO! Decision.
Paul Kelly vs. Jacob Volkmann
Luke Thomas: Tough call again. Obviously the question is who controls the wrestling here. I'll gamble and give Kelly the nod. Kelly by decision.
Kid Nate: I don't believe in Paul Kelly. Volkman will out muscle him and dominate the wrestling to a decision. Volkmann by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Volkmann is now at a good weight and should be a bit better in what he can get done. He's still a bit lacking but I think he's a bad fight for Kelly and should be able to win two out of three rounds. Jacob Volkmann by decision.
Mike Fagan: This is either a short night for Kelly, or a long three rounds for all involved. I'm banking on the latter. Jacob Volkmann by decision.
Chris Nelson: This is either a short night for Kelly, or a long three rounds for all involved. I'm banking on the former. Kelly via submission, round one.
Nick Thomas: Kelly looked amazing against Veach. Kelly by decision.
Leland Roling: Volkmann is a question mark in this fight, and he needs to prove he's a legitimate wrestler here by pressing the pace and hitting the takedowns before Kelly can do the same. I think Volkmann edges him out. Volkmann via split decision.
Jonathan Snowden: Volkman via wrestling. Decision.
DaMarques Johnson vs. Matt Riddle
Luke Thomas: Riddle's got too much in every department but BJJ for Johnson. That should be enough for him to find a way to win. Riddle by TKO.
Kid Nate: We're a considerable distance down the card before some TUF vets are featured. I have to go with Riddle based on rock-paper-scissors, ie a stylistic advantage. Riddle by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Good fight here. Riddle is improving and is very physically gifted as well as willing to learn. Johnson has looked great lately. I could honestly see this one going either way but I'll go with...Matt Riddle by decision.
Mike Fagan: I think Riddle's wrestling will be the difference here. Matt Riddle by decision.
Chris Nelson: Johnson via decision.
Nick Thomas: Johnson has been a beast in his last couple fights. Johnson by decision.
Leland Roling: Johnson has shown solid improvement, and Riddle has been brought along quite slowly. Riddle has the opportunity here in this fairly even match-up, but I like Johnson's resilience in his last couple of fights. Johnson via decision.
Jonathan Snowden: Johnson via explosive athleticism. Decision.
James Irvin vs. Igor Pokrajac
Luke Thomas: I guess I'll go with Irvin, but I wouldn't be surprised to see any winner here. Irvin by KO.
Kid Nate: Hard to muster up much excitement here, but I'll take the dangerous but vulnerable Irvin over the not-ready-for-the-UFC Pokrajac. Irvin by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Irvin looked like death making that cut to 185. Pokrajac is not UFC caliber so it will be the kind of fight where you get to see Irvin knock a guy out quickly and declare that he is "back." James Irvin by KO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Pokrajac is not very good. I'm not sold on the Irvin/185 stuff, as I haven't heard anything about it from Irvin himself. Whatever. James Irvin by TKO, round 2.
Chris Nelson: Glad to see Irvin back at 205; while I'm no great fan of his, I really didn't want to see "The Sandman" die from complications related to weight cutting. This is a nice opponent for him to return to, as well, since Pokrajac seems to struggle against any half-decent fighter. Irvin via TKO, round two.
Nick Thomas: Irvin back at his natural weight = 3rd loss for Pokrajac. Irvin by decision.
Leland Roling: Unless Irvin compound fractures his entire leg, he should crush Pokrajac with some devastating power. Irvin via TKO.
Jonathan Snowden: Irvin via bad tattoos. TKO, Round 2.
Brian Stann vs. Mike Massenzio
Luke Thomas: Despite the fact that he hates my guts, I like Stann here. He's a more physical fighter at middleweight, which perfectly fits his general style. He's also got better defensive wrestling than people realize. Massenzio might get more than a few takedowns, but he's going to lose on points. Stann by TKO.
Kid Nate: Massenzio has been out too long to beat Stann. Stann by KO.
Brent Brookhouse: Stann has some big ol' problems in his wrestling game. Massenzio is not anything special but he could take advantage of that and get a decision win. I'm going to bank on Stann catching him early though. Brian Stann by TKO, round one.
Mike Fagan: Has Stann learned to wrestle yet? I don't think so. Mike Massenzio by decision.
Chris Nelson: Stann is going to be a handful at middleweight. Stann via TKO, round one.
Nick Thomas: Stann's 185 debut vs. Massenzio's ring rust. Ring rust always loses. Stann by decision.
Leland Roling: Massenzio's wrestling will be a factor, and he's actually pretty aggressive when the confidence is there in gaining the clinch and getting takedowns. I like Massenzio via decision.
Jonathan Snowden: Hopefully this will be the fight that knocks Stann out of the spotlight. I'm not a big fan of someone trying to commercialize their service. Massenzio via Decision.
Darren Elkins vs. Charles Oliveira
Luke Thomas: I'd be very surprised to see Oliveira lose. Oliveira by submission.
Kid Nate: The money is on Oliveira, so am I. Oliveira by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Oliveira by decision.
Mike Fagan: Oliveira's a huge favorite with the books. In gambling I trust. Charles Oliveira by decision.
Chris Nelson: Oliveira has shown some great slams and speedy strikes, but he's also extremely susceptible to takedowns. Elkins has a solid wrestling base and can probably grind out a close decision here. Elkins via decision.
Nick Thomas: Elkins by experience.
Leland Roling: Oliveira is very susceptible to the wrestling game, but I'm going to risk it and go with the rookie here. Charles Oliveira via TKO.
Jonathan Snowden: Oliveira via Brazilian-ness. TKO, Round 3.
Rob Kimmons vs. Steve Steinbeiss
Luke Thomas: Kimmons isn't a world beater, but he's too much for Steinbeiss. Kimmons by submission.
Kid Nate: Not really into focusing on this fight but I'll pick Kimmons by utter domination. Should be it for Steinbeiss in the UFC. Kimmons by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Steinbeiss is going to have nothing for him here. Rob Kimmons by TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: I'm surprised these guys have contracts. I'm guessing loser leaves town. Rob Kimmons by decision.
Chris Nelson: Steinbeiss caught a tough break in his last fight with Ryan Jensen, but he wasn't exactly having the best night of his (brief) career before the botched submission stoppage. Kimmons should be able to do as Jensen did: take Steinbeiss down, ground and pound, and maybe even submit him for real. Kimmons via submission, round one.
Nick Thomas: Kimmons by decision.
Leland Roling: Kimmons' grappling should catch Steinbeiss here, who really doesn't belong in the UFC quite yet.
Jonathan Snowden: The SUPER BOWL of mixed martial arts! Kimmons via grappline. Submission, Round 1.