Cyrille Diabate vs Anthony Perosh
As much as I respect Perosh for stepping in to fight Cro Cop on short notice back at UFC 110, he isn't a UFC-level fighter. Diabate barely is, but his striking is significantly better than his opponent's and that should be enough to earn himself a TKO win.
Prediction: Cyrille Diabate by 3rd round TKO
Terry Etim vs. Eddie Faaloloto
Remember that whole thing about Perosh not being a UFC-level fighter? Well, Faaloloto is even less deserving of the title. With a 2-2 record (and those two wins coming against winless rookie opponents) it's downright perplexing that this man is stepping into the Octagon. Unless Etim's injuries and time away from the cage have completely robbed him of his abilities this is as much of a freebie win as he's ever going to get.
Prediction: Terry Etim by 2nd round submission
Thiago Alves vs. Papy Abedi
Considering the struggles Alves has had recently and his drop in the rankings, one has to wonder how mentally strong he is these days. Pair that with the fact that he missed weight on his first try on Friday (a recurring issue for him) and you've probably got one nervous athlete who is wondering if he's still got 'it'. His opponent? A debuting fighter who is undefeated and has finished 7 of his 8 fights. This should be an exciting stand-up battle and though on paper Alves should win it, I smell an upset.
Prediction: Papy Abedi by unanimous decision
Brad Pickett vs Renan Barao
Brad Pickett is one of the most underrated fighters in the UFC. He holds a win over former title challenger Demetrious Johnson, he took former title challenger Scott Jorgensen to a decision (loss) he has heavy hands, great boxing and a top-grade submission game. Despite all this he is not universally recognized as a top ten bantamweight. All that should change after this fight. Barao, while a legit talent is riding a huge wave of hype. Sure he is undefeated in 26 fights, but Jason Reinhardt went 18-0 too, and his three UFC losses lasted less than one round combined. Expect an exciting back and forth battle here with equal time spent on the mat and the feet. Pickett should land just a little harder, and have more left in the tank by round 3, stealing him the fight in the final frame.
Prediction: Brad Pickett by unanimous decision
Chris Leben vs. Mark Munoz
The winner of this fight will become a top five middleweight and likely be one more win away from a shot at Anderson Silva. Leben knows this, and Munoz is pretending he doesn't. The smart money is on Munoz using his excellent wrestling to control Chris on the ground en route to a ground and pound stoppage or lopsided decision. While Leben's jiu-jitsu is now a legitimate weapon for him to use, Munoz out -scrambled Demian Maia so it shouldn't be a factor in this fight. Where Leben can win this fight is when entering and exiting the clinch, or the pocket. Munoz has tendency to drop his fists in scrambles on the feet and has been tagged repeatedly by lesser fighters like Maia and Kendall Grove. If Demian Maia could hit him with slapping, looping hooks, Chris Leben can absolutely level him.
Prediction: Chris Leben by 2nd round KO
- Sam Stilson (70-37)