Date: Saturday, March 26, 2011, at 9 p.m. ET on Spike TV
Location: KeyArena in Seattle, Washington
Main Card (Televised):
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Phil Davis
Kid Nate: I’m a huge fan of Little Nog, always have been. Can’t wait to see him reprise his epic war with Shogun Rua after he loses this fight. Davis is too big, too fast, too good a wrestler to lose to Nog. The only way Davis can lose is if he tries to get cute and thinks he’ll submit Nogueira. Davis by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Davis is suddenly being elevated too much by fans desperate to see another "hyperathlete" that can challenge Jon Jones for the light heavyweight championship. He’s a fine talent and someone that really could work his way up to a title run somewhere down the road. But right now he has very good wrestling and submissions but very rudimentary striking. Still, Nogueira doesn’t have the takedown defense to stay vertical and Davis has a good enough top game to stay out of submissions for three rounds. Phil Davis by decision.
Mike Fagan: Ryan Bader completed five takedowns against Rogerio Nogueira. Jason Brilz three. Mauricio Rua seven. Dan Henderson two. Kazuhiro Nakamura three. Phil Davis has completed just over three takedowns per fifteen minutes of fighting in the UFC. Davis is a better fighter than Bader and Brilz, who Nogueira had trouble with no matter what you thought of the judging. Some people were shocked that Davis opened as a heavy favorite, but there’s a pattern that’s going to continue here. Phil Davis by decision.
Nick Thomas: Davis is going to out wrestle Nogueira all three rounds. Davis by decision.
Leland Roling: Rogerio’s stand-up game won’t be much of a factor if he can’t stuff takedowns, which he has proven time and time again that he can’t. Relying solely on defensive grappling abilities and opponents making mistakes isn’t MMA friendly, mainly because you take an absolute beating in trying to find holes. Rogerio is going to take a beating off his back, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he submits Nogueira late. I won’t bank on that though. Davis wrestles his way to victory. Phil Davis via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Phil Davis is not only facing the most dangerous and most experienced opponent of his young MMA career, he’s also doing it on short notice. The two have trained numerous times together, meaning there won’t be any surprises. This, I think makes the match up of styles even more important... Nogueira will be dangerous standing up, but Davis fights smart and hasn’t really shown that he would risk exchanging with people when he doesn’t need to... and as shown in his recent bouts against Jason Brilz and Ryan Bader, Lil’ Nog’s wrestling is a weak point that the former NCAA wrestling champ can exploit. Phil Davis by Decision.
Matt Bishop: Could there been a worse possible matchup for Nogueira here? Brilz and Bader gave him problems and I’d say Davis is a bit more dangerous of a wrestler than those two. I hope we get to see Nogueira test Davis’s submission defense here, but I don’t see this being a good night for Nogueira. Davis by decision.
KJ Gould: Phil Davis was known throughout college for his top control, and he can certainly get Nogueira down and at the least run down the clock while on top of him. He’s yet to show a devastating Ground’n’Pound game and frankly it’s risky against the ever active BJJ black belt. But even on short notice he’ll have been working with Alliance MMA and possibly Lloyd Irvin so I can see Davis just shutting down Nogueira on his way to a unanimous decision. Phil Davis by Decision.
Dan Hardy vs. Anthony Johnson
Kid Nate: The statistics are pretty damning, nothing hurts a fighter’s chances of winning more than a long layoff from the cage. Johnson hasn’t fought since 2009 and has battled injuries, personal problems and a whole lot of excess weight. Hardy by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Long layoff plus making a cut that has always been difficult to begin with should equal Johnson getting picked apart. If Hardy can survive the early part of the first round he should be able to have Johnson gasping for air the rest of the fight. Dan Hardy by decision.
Mike Fagan: Both guys insist that they’re going to keep it standing, but Johnson would be foolish to eschew his wrestling here. It’s not difficult to imagine him playing the fool after starting camp well north of 200 pounds, though. Given the questions surrounding Johnson I like Dan Hardy by decision, but I reserve the right to change my opinion if Johnson misses weight.
Nick Thomas: If Johnson has any problems on the feet, he'll take this to the ground asap. Johnson by decision.
Leland Roling: I’m betting money on Johnson to obliterate Hardy’s chin in this contest, mainly because he has an immense reach advantage, proven power, and a solid chin. Hardy is going to have all sorts of problems wading through that. But I can’t pick him here. Ring rust continues to plague my predictions, so I’m changing it up. I’ll go with Hardy’s technical prowess on the feet catching Johnson. Dan Hardy via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: Dan Hardy is coming off the first KO loss of his career, so there are a few unknowns on this one. Anthony Johnson though, hasn’t been inside the cage since 2009, and is reported to have started his 8-week camp severely overweight at around 230 lb. As Rampage Jackson learned on his fight against Rashad Evans, spending your entire camp trying to get back in shape isn’t really a good thing... On top of that, Hardy is also the more technical striker of the two. Dan Hardy by TKO.
Matt Bishop: This should be an interesting fight. Both are promising to stand and bang, but I don’t see that being the case the entire fight. I bet one of these guys looks to take it to the ground after feeling the other’s power. If Johnson’s going to win this fight, he needs to paste Hardy real early. I think Hardy’s too good for that. This is a solid fight and Hardy needs a win real bad here. He gets it. Hardy by TKO, round 3.
KJ Gould: I just haven’t understood how a lot of people think Johnson is a better striker then Hardy. More power, sure, but I thought it was clear Hardy is the more technical and accomplished striker. I’d be surprised if this fight didn’t come down to Johnson’s offensive wrestling and Hardy’s ability to defend against it and from what I hear Hardy has been really focused on this area since the GSP fight. Training daily with Daley (ugh) should also mean Johnson shouldn’t have anything in his arsenal that could surprise Hardy though it will be interesting to see if his KO loss to Condit will make him conservative in this fight. Dan Hardy by Decision.
DaMarques Johnson vs. Amir Sadollah
Kid Nate: Sadollah has the advantage of getting a full camp. Sadollah by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Sadollah’s stand-up game is fine, but it’s not that good. Regardless, it’s better than Johnson’s. Johnson’s path to victory is takedowns and top work, Amir’s is to keep it standing and scramble when he gets taken down. I can’t shake the feeling that Amir is going to get taken down over and over for at least two rounds and I don’t think he has the finishing power to ever really put Johnson in danger of being stopped. I’ll be the guy who goes the different direction with this one. DaMarques Johnson by decision.
Mike Fagan: I might be rooting for Johnson just to avoid having to hear Sadollah’s corny schtick. Amir Sadollah by decision.
Nick Thomas: On the feet, Sadollah has the edge. Sadollah by decision.
Leland Roling: I think Sadollah’s stand-up holds the key to victory. Johnson has the skills to win, but Sadollah has proven he can take a beating and still produce considerable offense later in fights. I think he outlasts Johnson and beats on him for three rounds for the victory. Amir Sadollah via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Amir Sadollah is just the more impressive fighter overall. Plus, Johnson is also coming in on short notice. I think Sadollah wins the battle of TUF vets by decision.
Matt Bishop: Johnson is coming on on such short notice it’s hard to pick him. At this level, Sadollah can win fights and his skills are good here. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, but I like Sadollah by decision.
KJ Gould: Johnson has a great top game and Sadollah is good off his back. Assuming they end up neutralising each other if it goes to the ground it could come down to the stand up in which Sadollah has an obvious advantage. Sadollah by Decision.
Leonard Garcia vs. Chan Sung Jung
Brent Brookhouse: A few things, 1) Jung is going to try to change his style? That’s going to be hard to do against a guy who is, if nothing else, relentless. 2) It is no longer a mere theory that "throw punches and be aggressive regardless of if they land" is a legitimate path to victory now. Garcia is like a kid who has found a cheat code in a video game. He doesn’t have to be good at it, but he has figured out the loophole that lets him win at least half the time. Leonard Garcia by decision.
Mike Fagan: Garcia throws a bunch of punches that miss, gasses by the middle of the second round, and takes a decision. Leonard Garcia by decision.
Nick Thomas: It's going to be hard for this fight to live up to the first one. Garcia via decision.
Leland Roling: Sigh... if Jung comes out in that ridiculous zombie stance and mimics Roger Hollet vs. Emanuel Newton for three rounds, I’ll stab my eyes out. I don’t expect it considering Jung’s training camp with Alpha Male, but who knows. I should go with Garcia via Cecil. Leonard Garcia via split decision (30-27, 27-30, 29-28)
Anton Tabuena: Jung has recently been KO’ed for the first time, and has promised to never fight with that "zombie" style again. How does that look like? I don’t know, but unless his chin has gotten severely weaker from that, I don’t think Garcia can stop him. He’s always hyped for his power, but even though he throws with maximum force every single time, Garcia has only stopped 3 out of the 22 guys he faced by (T)KO, with the last one was back in 2008, against an aging Jens Pulver. Chan Sung Jung won the first fight, but apparently, the judges score points for people who just wildly throw punches regardless if they connect or not... Unless they repeat that non-sense, I think the Korean Zombie takes this by decision.
Matt Bishop: I think Mike Fagan just copied and pasted his prediction from Garcia’s last three fights here and really, who can argue? Jung is coming in on short notice but he is the better fighter. There’s no doubt in my mind. I think we see a focused Zombie and he comes out and takes care of Garcia. Chan Sung Jung by TKO, round 2.
KJ Gould: I’d hope something like karma catches up with the luckiest Featherweight in the game today but Jung’s surprising KO loss to George Roop doesn’t fill me with confidence in this rematch. This fight could end up a carbon copy of the first encounter, but I’ll say fate favours the Korean Zombie this time around. Chan Sung Jung by decision.
Alex Caceres vs. Mackens Semerzier
Kid Nate: Semerzier has the wrestling to shush Bruce Leroy right up. Semerzier by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Alex Caceres isn’t all that impressive, Semerzier is more impressive than most people realize. Mackens Semerzier by decision.
Mike Fagan: This really is an atrocious non-televised card. Oh, and we get to watch this one on Facebook? Hooray. Mackens Semerzier by decision.
Nick Thomas: Semerzier takes this on pure experience. Semerzier by decision.
Leland Roling: I read some analysis from other fans regarding this fight. According to most, Mackens Semerzier sucks and shouldn’t be a favorite. Apparently, nobody watched the Swanson fight, or the other two losses he had inside the WEC. Semerzier isn’t a bad fighter by any means. He’s developing, and he’s shown solid skills. Mackens Semerzier via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Not that interested in this bout, but I think they want Bruce Leroy to win this one, so Alex Caceres by Decision.
Matt Bishop: Semerzier by decision.
KJ Gould: I completely blanked on the name Alex Caceres. Maybe he should go by Bruce Leroy as a stage name the same way Kevin Ferguson goes by Kimbo Slice. At least it’s not Warmachine. Anyway, sidetracked … Semerzier has lost 3 in a row but at least two of those can be considered to ‘good’ guys. His triangle choke win over Wagnney Fabiano also sticks out and is vastly more impressive then anything Caceres has done. Mackens Semerzier by submission.
Jon Madsen vs. Mike Russow
Kid Nate: Full-time fighters beat part time fighters. Madsen should dominate. Madsen by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I’m not going to stop saying it. Mike Russow is terrible. Surviving a beating and knocking out a flawed fighter isn’t something where I get impressed. Jon Madsen by decision.
Mike Fagan: What a barnburner to put on Facebook. Jon Madsen by decision.
Nick Thomas: Madsen by being a better wrestler and stronger. Madsen by decision.
Leland Roling: Can lightning strike twice? No. Jon Madsen via epic beatdown.
Anton Tabuena: Madsen will do what he always does... Grind. Jon Madsen by Decision.
Matt Bishop: Man, everyone is so down on Madsen here. He won his last fight in under two minutes! Now, there’s no way he gets on Russow like that, but hey, Russow took a beating from Todd Duffee in his last fight and came back with a miracle KO. Let’s go with Russow by decision.
KJ Gould: Madsen takes Russow down and stays on top until the end of the round. Lather, rinse and repeat twice more. I’d like to see more out of Madsen considering who he trains with and will be cornered by but I’m not going to hold my breath on that. It’ll also be interesting to see if people start un-liking UFC on Facebook as the fight progresses. Jon Madsen by Decision.
John Hathaway vs. Kris McCray
Kid Nate: McCray’s only hope is that his wrestling is the stylistic solution to Hathaway. I’m guessing it’s not. Hathaway by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: This is a slightly better fight but still should be pretty one sided. McCray just doesn’t seem UFC quality. John Hathaway by TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: Hathaway’s progression in the UFC looks a lot less impressive if you buy Diego Sanchez’s story about UFC 114. Still, McCray isn’t very good, and probably gets cut after this. John Hathaway by decision.
Nick Thomas: If John Hathaway can beat Rick Story, he can beat Kris McCray. Hathaway by decision.
Leland Roling: If McCray is actually competitive in this fight, it’ll be a nice surprise. Unfortunately, I expect him to get hammered from range and probably out grappled if he gets it to the floor. John Hathaway via decision.
Anton Tabuena: More awesome matchmaking from Joe Silva. I think Hathaway can use his length and take this by decision. If I’m right, sadly, Kris McCray probably gets cut after. John Hathaway by Decision.
Matt Bishop: Hathaway rolls here. He’s going to be way too much for McCray. Hathaway by TKO, round 2.
KJ Gould: Hathaway is a strong, in shape kid who can bounce back from the Pyle loss and treat it as a learning experience. He’s also at a great gym by UK standards when it comes to wrestling and he has pretty good hands too. McCray is a little older but never struck me as a prospect to look out for who could go on and achieve great things. Hathaway should take this and it’d be a nice recovery form the first loss of his career. Hathaway by Decision.
Michael McDonald vs. Edwin Figueroa
Kid Nate: Figueroa is short-notice chum. Hopefully he’ll get a second chance to dive into the shark tank. McDonald by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: What everyone else said. Michael McDonald by TKO, round one.
Mike Fagan: Good luck on short notice, Edwin. Michael McDonald by TKO, round one.
Nick Thomas: McDonald by TKO.
Leland Roling: Figueroa has brutal power for the weight class, but he hasn’t faced a competitor like Michael McDonald. This will be bad. McDonald via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: Figueroa is going to make his UFC debut on extremely short notice, against a young and well regarded prospect. McDonald is one of the youngest guys in the UFC, but I expect him to make some waves. McDonald by TKO.
Matt Bishop: This should be a good one. McDonald by TKO, round 2.
KJ Gould: McDonald is definitely a prospect to keep an eye on and providing he doesn’t make a silly mistake the late replacement in Figueroa should provide a perfect showcase for his UFC debut. McDonald by TKO.
Sean McCorkle vs. Christian Morecraft
Kid Nate: Morecraft has more of everything except keyboard skillz. Morecraft by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: McCorkle is a one-trick pony without much of a gastank and no stand-up. I don’t really see this going well for him. Christian Morecraft by TKO, round two.
Mike Fagan: Back to the prelims, Sean McCorkle. I don’t think I could care less about this fight. Sean McCorkle by something.
Nick Thomas: McCorkle via submission.
Leland Roling: Who cares. Morecraft via inverted triangle choke.
Anton Tabuena: McCorkle probably has better submissions to go with his much better keyboard and marketing skills, but Morecraft is younger, stronger and has better cardio. Either way, I think Morecraft will come out and dominate in this battle of the Stefan Struve victims with weird nicknames. "World of Morecraft" by TKO.
Matt Bishop: The battle of those who lost to Stefan Struve in their last fight. Because of the base McCorkle has built for himself with the Internet and such, Morecraft needs a win more. He’s not going to get it. McCorkle by submission, round 1.
KJ Gould: Morecraft had a tough debut against Stefan Struve, but a loss to McCorkle would be devastating for his UFC career. I think McCorkle’s worth keeping around as a litmus test for fighters to see if they’re ready for the big stage even in a division which is still one of the shallowest despite vast improvement in recent years. The last thing we should want is for the Heavyweight division to become full of bad fighters. No thanks. Anyway, it’s a pick ‘em but I’ll go with Morecraft this time out. Morecraft by TKO.
Under card (May not be broadcast):
Johny Hendricks vs. T.J. Waldburger
Kid Nate: Waldburger is being thrown in really deep here. Hendricks by whatever he wants.
Brent Brookhouse: I’m firmly in the "Waldburger gets trucked" camp. Johny Hendricks by TKO, round one.
Mike Fagan: If Hendricks loses to Waldburger, he might join Jake Rosholt in the Team Takedown Hall of Shame. Johny Hendricks by decision.
Nick Thomas: Hendricks wins this on the feet. Hendricks by TKO.
Leland Roling: Heh. I find it funny that people are giving Waldburger no chance. This is a fun fight, and it should have been pushed up a few slots to the Facebook stream. This is by no means a cakewalk for Hendricks, but I do expect him to edge out Waldburger here. Hendricks via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Hendricks will walk through Waldburger I think. Hendricks by TKO.
Matt Bishop: Power of the beard. Believe it. Hendricks by TKO, round 1.
KJ Gould: I expect Hendricks to be able to channel the souls of Leonidas and Arlovski into his fists and put out Waldburger in spectacular fashion. Johny Hendricks by KO.
Mario Miranda vs. Aaron Simpson
Kid Nate: This is a last chance for both guys. I have to go with Simpson just based his better wrestling. Simpson by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Simpson may not be as good as a lot of people thought he was, but he is probably a step above Miranda. Aaron Simpson by TKO, round three.
Mike Fagan: Simpson needs to show up like he did in the Munoz fight, not the Leben fight. Aaron Simpson by TKO, round two.
Nick Thomas: I always pick Miranda for some reason. Here we go again. Miranda by TKO.
Leland Roling: Love this match-up. I think Miranda has the strength and grappling ability to be a menace on the ground, but Simpson’s relentless drive and better stand-up game should get him to the promise land. Aaron Simpson via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Great fight, and I think it’s almost a toss up with their styles. Miranda has always been underrated, but I think Simpson’s wrestling is enough to dictate where this fight takes place. Aaron Simpson by Decision.
Matt Bishop: Both men badly need to win and hopefully that creates a good fight. I liked Simpson a lot but then the Tom Lawlor fight happened. He really hasn’t been the same since. Still, his wrestling, should he use it, is a great weapon. Simpson by decision.
KJ Gould: Aaron Simpson may be getting on in sporting years but he’s still in great shape, and a tough nut to crack as Mark Munoz and Chris Leben found out. Mario Miranda proved more of a challenge then most expected against Demian Maia and is also another fighter who comes in shape. Very similar fighters so it’s a great match up but I’m wondering if Miranda’s being a bit younger will be an X-Factor. I like Simpson but I’ve a feeling this might be his last fight and Miranda takes it. Miranda by Decision.
Kid Nate: This one could actually be fun since it’s hard to layNpray or wallNstall a wrestler. Lentz by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Seriously, what the hell did Lentz do to deserve the bounce down the card? Oh, he keeps beating guys they want to win while being pretty painfully boring to watch? Gotcha. Nik Lentz by decision.
Mike Fagan: Nik Lentz beats Rob Emerson, Andre Winner and Tyson Griffin, and he gets Waylon Lowe. As the opening fight. Of a Spike TV show. I don’t think Zuffa likes you. Nik Lentz by decision.
Nick Thomas: Lentz by decision.
Leland Roling: There were plenty of fans via Twitter saying they wanted to see this fight. Why? I have no idea. I think this has the chance of being a cage-hugging fest, a type of fight that Lentz is "pro" at. Nik Lentz via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Lentz will Lentz another decision... Nik Lentz by Wall-N-Stall. (PS: Yes, I invented that term long ago.)
Matt Bishop: Nik Lentz is 4-0-1 in the UFC. And he’s fighting in the opener of a Spike TV show. It seems like the UFC is just waiting for Lentz to lose so they can cut him. Well, sorry, but that’s not coming this weekend. Lentz by decision.
KJ Gould: Lentz is essentially a lightweight version of Jon Madsen, and again it frustrates me neither have shown more considering who they train with and under. Lowe’s going to be the latest filling in a Fence’n’Lentz sandwich. Nik Lentz by Decision.