UFC 119: Frank Mir vs Mirko Cro Cop Predictions

Event: UFC 119: "Mir vs. Cro Cop"
Date: Saturday, September 25, 2010, at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view (PPV)
Location: Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana

Main card:

Frank Mir vs. Mirko Cro Cop

Luke Thomas: I was fortunate to be on Sherdog.com's roundtable this afternoon. You can hear in-depth previews there from me and others. As for this fight, I'm reluctantly taking Mir. He's got more weapons to win. And Mirko's short prep time plus eye injury (for what that's worth) is disconcerting. But Mir often seems to unable to adapt when gameplan isn't going right. That problem could plague him here again. Mir by TKO.

Kid Nate: Hard to get too pumped for this fight. Cro Cop is on the verge of retirement, fighting on short notice and injured. Mir is two fights out of contention. I have to go with the guy who's still reasonably on top of his game. Frank Mir by whatever he wants.

Mike Fagan: I might be the only person in the world interested in this fight. It's not an A+ main event by any means, but whatever. Frank Mir should take this on his age and athleticism alone, but I think the style matchup favors the Croatian. "Cro Cop" sprawls well, and Mir lacks an effective takedown game. If Mir can press forward and bully "Cro Cop" standing, he can win the fight standing, but I'm not sure he has the technique and footwork to do that. I'm so far behind in the prediction standings anyway, so Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic by TKO, round 2.

Chris Nelson: Mir could very well have trouble taking "Cro Cop" down, but I expect the younger, stronger heavyweight to find a way to grind this out regardless. Something tells me he doesn't have the same level of respect for the Croatian that Pat Barry did. Mir via decision.

Nick Thomas: If Mir comes in around 265, this is his fight to lose. Mir by decision.

Leland Roling: Interesting battle here as CroCop's takedown defense in combination with Mir's awful takedown game should provide some intriguing exchanges on the feet. In the end however, I think Mir should win due to the fact that CroCop's technique has declined considerably. Frank Mir via decision.

Jonathan Snowden: My own post got me fired up for this one. My head says Mir, my heart is with the Croation. Cro Cop, Cemetery, Round 1

Ryan Bader vs. Antonio Rogerio NogueiraBader_nogueira_medium

 Luke Thomas: I'm not high on Nog's boxing nor am I sure Bader has the base and wherewithal to avoid getting put in precarious decisions. Over the long run, Nog's cardio is way better. I'm not impressed with Cane win because it appears it's more lefties that give Cane problems than balls out strikers. I'll go with Nog, but again, not confidently.

Kid Nate: Nogueira will have his hands more than full against a very physical Ryan Bader. But the inexperienced Bader will have his hands full against the wily veteran. I think Bader will keep this on the feet and take it there. Bader by decision.

Mike Fagan: After the Luis Cane fight, fans penciled the younger Nogueira twin for a rematch with "Shogun" Rua. One less-than-stellar performance against a very quality fighter on short notice later, and "Little Nog" is the same battle-worn fighter that his brother is. Bader might take the first round, but he's going to gas. The Brazilian will take over from there. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira by submission, round 3.

Chris Nelson: Not ready to write "Lil Nog" off just yet. Bader's inexperience will show at some point and it'll be Nogueira via submission, round two.

Nick Thomas: If the Lil'Nog vs. Jason Brilz shows up against Bader, Bader can win on the feet or on the ground. Bader by decision.

Leland Roling: I'm not about to write off Nogueira just yet. After a poor showing, both Nogueira brothers seem to bounce back quite well, so we'll see. Whether Bader stays on the feet or not is the story here, and I almost believe pressing Nogueira and gaining top control is ideal. But will he do that? Probably not, and standing with Nogueira is a risky thing to do. Nogueira via decision.

Jonathan Snowden: I think at some point over the course of 15 minutes experience will trump physical prowess. Nog, sub, round 3.

Chris Lytle vs. Matt Serra

Luke Thomas
: Lytle's game is full of tricks, but the magic isn't advanced enough for Serra. They are different fighters this time around and this is a different fight, but Serra will slow it down and control just like he did the first time. Serra by decision.

Kid Nate: Serra's power will be a constant threat to finish this fight. He'll also get better position on the ground. Serra by decision.

Mike Fagan: I thought Chris Lytle won the first fight. Regardless of the outcome, it's safe to say this will be much more exciting than the TUF 4 final. I'll take the Chris Lytle based on fighting in his hometown and size advantage.

Chris Nelson: Lytle uses his size to stay out of range of Serra's bombs and takes this handily. Lytle via decision.

Nick Thomas: Lytle by being the more aggressive fighter. Lytle by decision.

Leland Roling: Lytle will use footwork and boxing to pepper Serra to a decision. He won the first fight in my mind, and Serra has continued to decline with age. Lytle via decision.

Jonathan Snowden: Lytle will get egged into a stand and bang scenario. That's where Serra will hit him with the proverbial ton of bricks. Serra, TKO, Round 2.

Evan Dunham vs. Sean Sherk

Luke Thomas
: I look to the Sherk vs. Diaz fight for something analogous. If Dunham can stick the jab, move and avoid a defensive wrestling battle along the fence, he's ok. But the idea that Dunham can roll Sherk over and take his back like he did with Griffin is fantasy. Sherk won't let that happen. Dunham by decision.

Kid Nate: Sherk has been away from the game for too long. Dunham has reach, power and speed advantages. Dunham by decision.

Mike Fagan: This is gonna be that groupthink fight that we all lose. Whatever. Evan Dunham by decision.

Chris Nelson: Wow, I thought some folks were still hanging onto the notion that Sherk is a top lightweight. Guess not. Young gun on the come-up for the win. Dunham via decision.

Nick Thomas: Sherk is coming in with a ton of ring rust. Dunham by decision.

Leland Roling: Sherk will have a lot of ring rust to shake off, and he seems to be on the backside of his career as well, reverting mostly to looping overhands to beat opponents. He has the wrestling, but I think Dunham's length will negate that on the ground. Dunham via decision.

Jonathan Snowden: I’m riding with Sherk until something shows me he’s done. I think he’ll use strategic takedowns to steal every round and send the young buck back to the drawing board. Sherk, Decision.

Melvin Guillard vs. Jeremy Stephens

Luke Thomas: I expect a wrestling attack from Guillard that won't go far enough to stop Stephens. Stephens, in turn, has the better able to take and deliver a shot. Stephens by TKO.

Kid Nate: Tough fight to call. I'm going with the fighter I feel is the better athlete with the better camp. Melvin Guillard by KO.

Mike Fagan: Guillard beat Tibau, who beat Stephens. Easy game. Melvin Guillard by decision.

Chris Nelson: Someone's getting slept. Guillard via TKO, round one.

Nick Thomas: Since Guillard has the ability to take this fight to the ground ...it's Guillard by decision.

Leland Roling: Melvin Guillard has the speed to beat Stephens, and he's improved his takedown defense considerably over the last few fights. He should keep this standing and eventually bomb Stephens. Guillard via TKO.

Jonathan Snowden: Hopefully Guillard teaches Stephens it’s not okay for white folk to drop N-Bombs. Guillard, TKO.


Spike TV Prelims (Televised):

C.B. Dollaway vs. Joe Doerksen

Luke Thomas
: Dollaway should win, but I can him see rocking Doerksen and recklessly following up into trouble. Dollaway by submission.

Kid Nate: Doerksen is tough but Dollaway should be able to avoid the submission and dominate from top position. Dollaway by decision.

Mike Fagan: It's about time for Dollaway to do his Chael Sonnen impression again. Joe Doerksen by submission, round 1.

Chris Nelson: Doerksen has really surprised me over the past few years, consistently improving when logic dictates he should be sloping downward. His experience and Dollaway's tendency to panic both play into this one. Doerksen via submission, round one.

Nick Thomas: This is going to be a close fight. Because of that, I have to go with my fellow canuck. Doerksen by decision.

Leland Roling: Doerksen's stand-up has been damn good in recent battles, but I think Dollaway will avoid the submission and grind out a decision over Doerksen from top control. Dollaway via decision.

Jonathan Snowden: Dolloway should win this. Why does it feel like I’ve said this before? And more than once. Fighters training themselves is a bad thing. I’m not sure about Bader, et al. leaving the Lally brothers to find their own way. I think he’ll find a check in the loss column instead. Doerksen via submission.

Joey Beltran vs. Matt Mitrione

Luke Thomas: I like Mitrione because he's always letting his hands go without getting overly reckless. Training with Duke Roufus can only improve his timing and polish. I think that's enough. Mitrione by TKO.

Kid Nate: Beltran is strictly a brawler. Mitrione is a gifted athlete who's shown steady improvement in his skills. Mitrione by KO.

Mike Fagan: Mitrione looked good in his last two fights. Kimbo Slice and Marcus Jones aren't the best barometers of one's talents, though. He's no worldbeater himself, but Joey Beltran by TKO.

Chris Nelson: I have no idea how good Matt Mitrione really is, so I've got to go with the more proven commodity. Beltran via TKO, round two.

Nick Thomas: Beltran is no Kimbo Silce. This is going to be a tough fight for by Mitrione. Beltran by decision.

Leland Roling: Honestly, I'm not sure how anyone can say Mitrione was good in his two stints in the UFC, but I suppose it's possible considering he's only two fights into his career. Beltran is a better fighter overall, in every department. Beltran via TKO

Jonathan Snowden: The TUF special. STAND AND BANG. Meanwhile, Todd Duffee is at home watching these two guys. Hmm. Beltran via decision.

Under card (May not be broadcast):

Pat Audinwood vs. Thiago Tavares

Luke Thomas: Audinwood has decent small-show experience coming into this fight, but Tavares - if he's aggressive enough - should be too much for him, especially in the BJJ realm. Tavares by submission.

Kid Nate: Tavares has too many advantages over Audinwood. Tavares by submission.

Mike Fagan: Bleh. Thiago Tavares by decision because he doesn't want to lose his UFC job.

Chris Nelson: Not only would I have real issues with picking against a man who goes by "Awesomely Awesome," but I genuinely think Audinwood will surprise a lot of people here. Though it may not be a thriller, give me Audinwood via decision.

Nick Thomas:  Tavares has been spotty but I think he's good enough to win this. Tavares by decision.

Leland Roling: I didn't like Abercrombie & Fitch. Tavares via submission.

Jonathan Snowden: FYI - Sharkfights had a better undercard than this. Tavares by decision.

Steve Lopez vs. Waylon Lowe

Luke Thomas: Terrible fight. Lowe.

Kid Nate: Lopez isn't quite UFC caliber. Lowe by decision.

Mike Fagan: I'd flip a coin, but I'm afraid the coin is more apathetic than I am. Steve Lopez by inevitably exciting finish.

Chris Nelson: Lowe's fought three times in 2010, while Lopez has been on the shelf since September of last year with a shoulder injury. For that alone, I'll take the much smaller Lowe via decision.

Nick Thomas: The wrestler Lowe by decision.

Leland Roling: Toss-up. Lowe the wrestler, or Lopez, a man training with elite wrestlers? I'll go with Lopez. Steve Lopez via decision.

Jonathan Snowden: I'm not even going to Sherdog for this. That's how little this moves me. Lopez via decision.

T.J. Grant vs. Julio Paulino

Luke Thomas: Grant should win this with his superior wrestling, but I've got a feeling he'll jack this up. Paulino by TKO.

Kid Nate: T.J. Grant is very tough and has Paulino outmatched in every respect. Grant by decision.

Mike Fagan: I guess the Canadian should take this. T.J. Grant by submission, round 1.

Chris Nelson: While it's not always a reliable metric, the disparity in strength of schedule here speaks for itself. Grant via decision.

Nick Thomas: Going with my fellow canuck. Grant by decision.

Leland Roling: T.J. Grant via decision.

Jonathan Snowden: TJ Grant looks like Ole Anderson. Once Black Lesnar pointed that out, there was only one way I could go. Grant via sugar hold.

Mark Hunt vs. Sean McCorkle

Luke Thomas: Hunt should win, but who knows if he will? The whole thing rests on his ability to take a shot by a big puncher, albeit one who hasn't faced guys capable of standing up to his power. Is Hunt that guy? Hunt by TKO.

Kid Nate: One last hurrah for the old shark. Mark Hunt by KO.

Mike Fagan: He may be in shape, but whatever. Sean McCorkle by decision.

Chris Nelson: Coinflip on this one. Hunt is finally training with a real camp, but it could be too late. Much as I'd love to be wrong, I think it'll be McCorkle via submission, round one.

Nick Thomas: As long as McCorkle gets this fight to the ground, it's McCorkle by decision.

Leland Roling: WAR MARK HUNT! Mark Hunt via KO!

Jonathan Snowden: Hunt. And I hope he makes them regret putting him in the opener. Hunt via KO.

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