UFC on Versus 3 Staff Predictions

via cdn0.sbnation.com

Event: UFC on Versus 3: "Sanchez vs. Kampmann"
Date: Thursday, March 3, 2011, at 9 p.m. ET on Versus
Location: KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky

Diego Sanchez vs. Martin Kampmann

Kid Nate: This is a top level matchup. Kampmann is known as a kickboxer but he has almost no punching power. Diego is limited on the feet but can bring some pain. Kampmann probably has the better submissions, but Sanchez’ wrestling is way better. Sanchez by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: Kampmann brings very overrated kickboxing (isn’t technically sound enough to get away with not hitting all that hard) and a very underrated ground attack to the fight. Sanchez is still the better all-around grappler of the two and is unlikely to get overwhelmed in the striking department. Combine that with his seemingly endless gas tank and Diego should be able to dictate where the fight takes place and I’d go as far as to say is more of a handful in the ground game than Jake Shields as he is never content to hold position but is always attacking. I’m looking at this as a very winnable fight for Diego and one where he will control all three rounds. Diego Sanchez by decision.

Mike Fagan: I might be forgetting something, but this is my favorite free TV main event since Kampmann fought Carlos Condit in 2009. That ended up as a fight of the year candidate, and I expect this one will as well. Kampmann struggles if pressured, so this fight comes down to Sanchez’s gameplan and Kampmann’s ability to control distance. I took Sanchez on the radio show yesterday, but with the caveat that I might change my mind today. Sanchez completes a takedown early, but Kampmann gets up and stuffs him the rest of the way. Martin Kampmann by decision. Final answer, Regis.

Nick Thomas: Love this fight. If Kampmann learned from his mistakes from the Shields fight and keeps this on the feet. This fight is his. Kampmann by decision.

Leland Roling:
Another main event showdown in which I’m torn and leaning toward the fighter who doesn’t have the two skills that can win any fight: wrestling and conditioning. Sanchez possesses both. Kampmann, on the other hand, is the better striker and offensive grappler, but he will be sucking wind by the third round if Sanchez can maintain a torrid pace. The question is... can Kampmann win the first two rounds before fading? My crappy season record indicates I’m being way too wishful this year, but I’ll take another chance. Martin Kampmann via decision.

Anton Tabuena: Training again with Greg Jackson has made Diego focus more on his wrestling and his ground and pound. This had made him a more effective fighter as evidenced by his fight against Paulo Thiago, but I just don’t think it will be enough to win this bout. Kampmann is more fluid and dynamic standing up, while Diego usually looks a bit stiff and sometimes even robot-like with his strikes. Shields, who is a far better wrestler and grappler, had a ton of trouble controlling Kampmann, and I don’t think he Diego can replicate that. Martin Kampmann by Decision

Duane Finley: Kampmann had the victory against Jake Shields in his hands and made a poor decision that cost him the fight. I know Diego is looking to regain his previous power and status in the UFC but there is something about Kampmann that won’t let me pick against him. Sanchez brings a power wrestling game to the octagon but training at Xtreme Couture will have prepared Kampmann for everything Diego brings. Martin Kampmann by Decision.

Matt Bishop:
This is an absolutely tremendous main event. The fact that Kampmann couldn’t beat a half-dead Jake Shields back in October makes me think he’s going to have a hard time with someone who isn’t going to completely gas. Sanchez needs to keep a high pace and work hard to tire Kampmann out. Once there, Sanchez will get his takedowns, work on the ground and cruise to victory. Sanchez by decision.

C.B. Dollaway vs. Mark Munoz

Kid Nate: Despite having passable striking, Munoz doesn’t set up his take downs well and that won’t work against a wrestler as good as Dollaway. Munoz is the better pure wrestler but Dollaway is building the more integrated game. Nevertheless, styles makes fights. Dollaway will want to submit Munoz, but going to your back for a guillotine will get you KTFO’d against Munoz. Munoz by TKO.

Brent Brookhouse: For whatever reason I just can never get on board with the idea of Dollaway holding his own against legitimate opposition. I think Munoz is simply too much for C.B. in all areas and will be on top doing enough damage to get the stoppage in the second half of the second round. Mark Munoz by TKO, round 2.

Mike Fagan: Munoz’s power won’t come in to play here. This will look a lot like the Okami fight: Munoz shoots in, can’t complete, holds on to a single leg like a child hugging his mother’s leg. C.B. Dollaway by decision.

Nick Thomas: Wrestler vs. wrestler here. It will be a close fight, but I'm going to pick Dollaway with the reach advantage. Dollaway by decision.

Leland Roling:
Dollaway’s submission game is a risky skill to bet against, but Munoz’s continued progression in all areas of his game should allow him to avoid the submission and pound out Dollaway in this one. Mark Munoz via TKO.

Anton Tabuena: This will be a tough match up for Mark Munoz stylistically, and there will also be an additional advantage for Dollaway, as his teammate, Aaron Simpson recently faced the Filipino as well. It’s funny though, as I also said that Simpson would cause a ton of trouble for him, but as shown in his past fights, somehow Munoz always finds a way out of adversity and ends up grinding out a victory. I think Dollaway will turn this into a dog fight, but I think Munoz will have better wrestling and punching power, and I think that will be enough to earn him a decision victory or a late stoppage. Mark Munoz via Decision.

Duane Finley: This fight will push the winner into the upper tier of fighters at 185 lbs. and Munoz is tough to pick against. While the wrestling credentials of both fighters are top notch, Munoz transitions and scrambles like an animal. With that being said Dollaway isn’t the cocky kid he was on TUF so I’m expecting a fast paced affair. I see a close fight but Munoz will be the aggressor and that swings it on the judge’s cards. Mark Munoz by Decision.

Matt Bishop:
Third straight fight against a wrestler for Munoz. He’s 1-1 there and this is another interesting fight. Munoz has some of the sickest ground-and-pound in the sport but will he be able to get Dollaway to the mat? Will Dollaway be looking for the takedown? A lot of interesting strategy will come into play here. We’ll see what happens. Munoz by decision.

Alessio Sakara vs. Chris Weidman

Kid Nate: Sakara should be able to handle the late replacement but he can’t wrestle and Weidman can. Weidman by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: Weidman just isn’t a good enough fighter to where I think that Sakara will be thrown off badly in a late replacement situation. Yeah, it’s conceivable that he wrestles his way to a decision but I think Sakara hurts him and finishes it early. Alessio Sakara by TKO, round 1.

Mike Fagan: I imagine Weidman’s camp accepted a UFC invite in his fourth pro bout only if they thought he could beat Sakara. I also imagine Alessio Sakara wouldn’t have a UFC job if his name was Alex Smith. Chris Weidman by decision.

Nick Thomas: Weidman's wrestling is going to dictate this fight. Weidman by TKO.

Leland Roling:  
Very tough call. Weidman’s rib injury makes me nervous, but there is no way in hell that Alessio Sakara is going to be stuffing Weidman’s shots and battering his chin. Serra and Longo will undoubtedly have Weidman shooting for the takedown, and Sakara won’t stop a NCAA Division I All-American. Chris Weidman via TKO.

Anton Tabuena: Some people still question Sakara’s chin, but I think he’s good enough to look good and take another TKO victory over the late replacement in Weidman. Alessio Sakara by TKO.

Duane Finley: Sakara has been on a merry go round of cancelled match-ups and has had plenty of time to prepare, even if Weidman is a late replacement. Sakara by TKO.

Matt Bishop:
Sakara, on a three-fight win streak, holds a huge experience edge of Weidman. In my mind, experience is a huge thing. Weidman will be making his UFC debut in his fifth fight. That’s a ton to handle. If anyone can find a way to lose, it’s Sakara, but I think his experience helps him edge Weidman. Sakara by decision.

Brian Bowles vs. Damacio Page

Kid Nate: Bowles hits really really hard. Bowles by TKO.

Brent Brookhouse: I’m pretty into the idea of a Bowles/Torres rematch. Hopefully Bowles hand doesn’t shatter when he touches Page on the chin with it early in the second. Brian Bowles by TKO, round 2.

Mike Fagan: Has anyone made a "Bowles over" headline pun yet? Kind of shocking if not. Anyway, weird rematch. If we get a Bowles/Torres rematch down the line, I hope the UFC sticks a camera on Frank Mir and streams it on the internet. Brian Bowles by TKO, round one.

Nick Thomas: Bowles is coming in with some ring rust, but he'll still take this fight. Bowles by decision.

Leland Roling:
Both Bowles and Page have knockout power, but Bowles is a much more proven finisher. While I think Page is more than a challenge for Bowles here, he’ll succumb to Bowles’ better submission game or get his block knocked off early. Either way, Bowles reaffirms his status as awesome. Brian Bowles via TKO.

Anton Tabuena: This is a great fight that would definitely show how the bantamweight division stands. Both guys are looking to get back on track, and while a victory for Bowles gets him back in contention, a loss could send him tumbling down the ladder and shake up the division once more. Damacio Page is very talented, but I don’t think the former Bantamweight champ will do a Mike Brown and fall of contention just like that. I’m thinking Brian Bowles wins the rematch via TKO this time.

Duane Finley: UFC fans were disappointed in the last WEC showcase when Miguel Torres fought Banuelos but this one will deliver. The biggest question mark in this rematch will be Brian Bowles and how his hand has healed. It’s a well known fact in combat sports that hand injuries can be a fighter’s undoing and I’m excited to see if Bowles still has the "lights out" touch he displayed against Torres. Brian Bowles by Submission.

Matt Bishop:
It’s hard to believe these two already fought once, but they did. I don’t see Bowles losing here. He’s a very good fighter and the division needs him to make another run to fight Dominick Cruz. Bowles by TKO, round 2.


On Facebook:

Joe Stevenson vs. Danny Castillo

Kid Nate: The UFC is letting Stevenson get a bounce back fight against a WEC guy. If Joe Daddy can’t win this one, he’s gone. Fortunately he’s a big leaguer and Castillo isn’t and won’t be without an upset. Stevenson by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: Stevenson feels too young to talk about how he is on the "downside of his career" but that may actually be the case. He has been fighting for a long time and seems to have an identity crisis every other fight. He’s a boxer, he’s a submission guy, he’s a grindy wrestler..etc. Castillo is good but if Stevenson fights smart this is his fight to lose. Joe Stevenson by TKO, round 3.

Mike Fagan: Both guys are fighting for their jobs. Joe Stevenson is falling into vanilla UFC lightweight, but that should still be enough to beat vanilla WEC lightweight, Danny Castillo. Joe Stevenson by guillotine choke, round two.

Nick Thomas: Stevenson by decision.

Leland Roling:
Castillo is a scrappy guy, but Stevenson, despite having some major setbacks recently, can still put a drubbing on a guy like Castillo. Joe Stevenson via TKO.

Anton Tabuena: Stevenson is on a two fight losing streak against Danzig and Sotiropoulos, while Castillo is on a two fight winning streak against WEC guys, Poirier and Kerr. Neither will reach three straight. Stevenson by TKO.

Duane Finley: This is one of the most interesting matchups for me personally because I’m curious to see how Stevenson bounces back from not only back to back losses but getting KO’d by Danzig. Castillo is a member of Team Alpha male so he is constantly facing fighters who fit "Joe Daddy’s" M.O. but my gut won’t let me pick against Stevenson in this one. Stevenson by Submission Rnd 2.

Matt Bishop:
I’m surprised to see Stevenson fighting only three months after being knocked silly by Mac Danzig. If he can’t get past Danny Castillo, he doesn’t belong in the UFC. His back is against the wall here and hopefully he comes out and fights like it. Stevenson by decision.

Steve Cantwell vs. Cyrille Diabate

Kid Nate:  Both of these guys are struggling a bit but I’m going with the younger man. Diabate has a slight stylistic edge but I’m going with Cantwell by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: I’m a big fan of Cantwell but his career has suffered far too many setbacks for me to hang on to the hope that he’ll develop into a top ten fighter like I thought earlier in his career. I still think he’s better than Diabate and, barring injury holdover, he should win this one. Steve Cantwell by TKO.

Mike Fagan: Another Pink Slip Special. Luiz Cane aside, Cyrille Diabate is not a UFC-level fighter, and Steve Cantwell is fighting his own body more than anything. Steve Cantwell by submission, round two.

Nick Thomas: Cantwell by decision.

Leland Roling:
Hey Steve, take down Diabate and use your Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. If you do that, my pick won’t seem so idiotic. Steve Cantwell via submission.

Anton Tabuena: I think this is a pretty even match up stylistically, and the loser will probably be extremely close to the chopping board after. While losing to Cane and Stann doesn’t look as bad now, Diabate is another extremely dangerous guy to stand up with. If Cantwell does that, and I think he probably will, he’s probably going to get tagged over and over. Cyrille Diabate by Decision.

Duane Finley: A short time ago Cantwell was packed full of promise but after injuries and a brain issue took him out of action it’s difficult to tell what he’ll bring to the cage. I think Diabete is the worst type of opponent for Cantwell coming back because Cyrille stays busy. I think Cyrille will get to Cantwell early and "The Robot" will have a tough time recovering. Cyrille Diabate by Decision.

Matt Bishop:
Cantwell has been out of action for about 18 months and that is not a good thing. Diabate has some power and can hurt Cantwell and vice versa. This should be an entertaining affair. Diabate by TKO, round 2.

Under card (May not be broadcast):

Thiago Tavares vs. Shane Roller

Kid Nate: Other than the headliner, this is my personally most-anticipated card on the fight. I’ll hate to see the loser get cut, but it’s very possible. Coin toss. Tavares by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: This is an interesting fight but Tavares is battle tested and I think probably presents the exact kind of fighter that Roller would have trouble handling. Thiago Tavares via decision.

Mike Fagan: I’d rather watch this than Cantwell/Diabate. Tyson Griffin, Matt Wiman, Kurt Pellegrino. There’s a pattern here. (Hint: It rhymes with "breastling.") Shane Roller by decision.

Nick Thomas: Tavares by decision.

Leland Roling:
Awful striking and lacking conditioning put Roller on my blacklist for now. I just can’t rely on the guy to go three rounds with a proven fighter like Tavares. Thiago Tavares via decision.

Anton Tabuena: Both guys have looked good recently, but I think Roller has been more impressive. Does have anything to do with the WEC’s weaker lightweight division? Maybe. Maybe not. Roller’s skills seem to be better, and come to think of it, this might be the only time I’m picking a guy who has faced relatively weaker competition. Shane Roller by Decision.

Duane Finley: There is no doubt that Shane Roller has looked solid and his only misfire came against Anthony Pettis but Tavares looked like a monster at UFC 119 and I believe Thiago makes it two in a row in a hard fought battle. Thiago Tavares by Decision.

Matt Bishop:
Great fight. I’m sad this didn’t make the Facebook broadcast. I like Roller a lot. His wrestling is solid and if anything, Tavares has been susceptible to wrestlers in the past. I can’t see Tavares submitting Roller (famous last words, there), so that’s going to leave him in a tough spot. I think Roller takes him down, roughs him up and goes on to victory. Roller via decision.

Takeya Mizugaki vs. Reuben Duran

Kid Nate: Mizugaki ought to be able to handle this one. Mizugaki by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: Takeya Mizugaki is a guy who is just bad enough to lose to top level competition but just good enough to get past guys like Reuben Duran. Takeya Mizuagaki by decision.

Mike Fagan: Takeya Mizugaki eats Duran until the referee says, "No mas." Takeya Mizugaki by TKO, round two.

Nick Thomas: Mizugaki via decision.

Leland Roling:
Duran could surprise here, but I’m not willing to take a risk on a guy coming in on short notice against Mizugaki. Takeya Mizugaki via decision.

Anton Tabuena: andddd the Japanese star gets back on track once again. Takeya Mizugaki by Decision.

Duane Finley: The classic version of Mizugaki was absent against Urijah Faber but I believe he’ll find his footing against Duran . Takeya Mizugaki by Decision.

Matt Bishop:
Haven’t seen Duran fight and I fully know what Mizugaki is capable of. This is a big fight for Mizugaki. A loss here and he’s probably gone. We’ll see that desire here. Mizugaki by TKO, round 3.

Rob Kimmons and Dongi Yang

Kid Nate: Dongi Yang is better than he showed in his UFC debut. Yang by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: Dongi Yang by decision.

Mike Fagan: I guess I’ll keep it real. Rob Kimmons by decision.

Nick Thomas: Yang by Decision.

Leland Roling:
Dear South Korea, quit letting me down. Dongi Yang via KO!

Anton Tabuena: A win by a Korean is good for the development of MMA here in Asia. I cannot pick against him. Dongi Yang by Decision.

Duane Finley: Kimmons has been in a pattern of win one lose one and I think the pattern drops off against Dongi Yang. The only loss on his record came via split decision and with the win Dongi Yang gets back to his winning ways. Dongi Yang by TKO.

Matt Bishop: Yang by TKO, round 2.

Rousimar Palhares vs. Dave Branch

Kid Nate: Branch is a painfully unfun fighter to watch. Palhares is always good for a painful leg lock but I doubt he’ll submit Branch. But he will get many takedowns and he will beat Dave Branch. Palhares by submission.

Brent Brookhouse: Not all black belts are created equal. Rousimar Palhares by submission, round 1.

Mike Fagan: Duane, Matt, Luceo Linhares is a BJJ black belt too. Rousimar Palhares by heel hook, round one.

Nick Thomas: Palhares by submission.

Leland Roling:
Branch better have good insurance. Rousimar Palhares via heel hook.

Anton Tabuena: Ouch. The matchmaking seems like the UFC doesn’t enjoy watching Dave Branch anymore. Too bad. He’s a really nice guy when I met him, but I think he’s getting fed to the sharks here. Branch is good enough to avoid the subs, but I think Palhares will take this by Decision.

Duane Finley: I think a lot of people take Palhares from Jump Street on this one but with Branch being a blackbelt in BJJ he will be able to stay out of Rousimar’s traps. I’m going with Dave Branch by Decision.

Matt Bishop:
I’ll jump on what Duane said: Branch isn’t a BJJ chump. He’s not going to fall into something. I’m interested to see how this plays out. Palhares has a lot to make up for after his loss to Nate Marquardt. Can he leglock Branch? Probably not. Branch by decision.

Igor Pokrajac vs. Todd Brown

Kid Nate: Loser leaves town. Pokrajac by TKO.

Brent Brookhouse: Igor Pokrajac by decision.

Mike Fagan: Todd Brown sounds like a guy George Carlin would hate. A lot. Igor Pokrajac by decision.

Nick Thomas: Pokrajac by decision.

Leland Roling: Pokrajac via TKO.

Anton Tabuena: Loser probably gets cut here, and while Pokrajac has been on the virtual chopping block for a while now, I think he’s experienced enough to defeat Brown. Igor Pokrajac by Decision.

Duane Finley: This fight is do or die for Pokrajac as he has dropped 3 out of 4 in the UFC. With that being said he has faced some tough customers so I expect we will see what Igor has to offer against the Indiana native. Brown has only had one showing and I think he’ll get another after he beats Pokrajac. Todd Brown by Decision.

Matt Bishop: Pokrajac by decision.
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