As with all major events, we're very happy to bring you our official staff predictions for UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields. This predictions post is proudly sponsored by the King of Predictions iPhone app. The application gives fans a chance to submit their predictions for MMA events and compete against their friends and the entire world.
Event: UFC 129: St Pierre vs. Shields
Date: Saturday, April 30, 2011 at 9 p.m. ET on Pay-Per-View
Location: Rogers Centre, Toronto
Main Card (Pay-per-view)
Georges St. Pierre vs. Jake Shields
Kid Nate: Shields has gotten very far in MMA as possibly the best two-dimensional fighter in the game. Unfortunately for him, GSP is the best three-dimensional fighter in the game. GSP will beat him up on the feet and cruise to a decision. Georges St Pierre by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Jake Shields is a very talented fighter, but he has no shot. I'm sorry, but it just is not going to happen. People continually bring up how Shields outwrestled and looked stronger than Dan Henderson, but they overlook that at this point in his career Henderson is best at 205 and cutting an additional 20 lb. isn't making him stronger or better. Georges St. Pierre is in his athletic peak, getting better constantly and very much at home at 170. GSP is going to do whatever he wants in the stand-up, he isn't going to die if the fight hits the ground (he swept Fitch) and the real secret to this fight is that GSP is better off his back than Shields. GSP can do whatever he wants all fight and it's not even going to be close. Georges St. Pierre by TKO, round 3.
Mike Fagan: Some people may underrate Jake Shields, but he isn't being undervalued in this fight. Shields has one avenue to victory in this fight, and the road to get there involves his wrestling improving to a level greater than Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch, or Matt Hughes. Let's also not forget that Shields' rash of submission victories included noted such grappling luminaries as Paul Daley and Robbie Lawler. GSP's standup is far ahead of Shields, and a four-inch reach advantage is only going to accentuate that. Georges St. Pierre by decision.
Nick Thomas: On the feet, GSP is going to pick Shields apart. Can Shields get the takedown? Yes. But can that win the fight over 5 rounds? No. St. Pierre via decision.
Leland Roling: A lot of fans are hinging their upset predictions on the fact that Shields was able to take down and out grapple Dan Henderson. Unfortunately, the idea that Henderson has great takedown defense and a wrestling game that has succeeded greatly in mixed martial arts is a myth. St. Pierre, on the other hand, has both in his arsenal along with an overpowering and constant striking game on the feet. I have no doubts that Shields has some creative ways to bring this to the ground, but Shields is in for a rough night facing GSP's straight punches and jabs. George St. Pierre via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: Don't be surprised if Jake Shields grapples his way to victory. Very few people give him a chance, but I think he's a better grappler than GSP and Koscheck (who was able to stuff a lot of GSP's shots, and even took him down). IF Shields can get this to the mat, this will be a very interesting fight. If he can't, it would get ugly real fast... That being said, while I won't be shocked to see Shields grind out a victory, in the end, the logical pick would be the guy who has more avenues to win a fight. Georges St. Pierre by TKO.
Matt Bishop: I feel almost dirty counting out a guy who has won 15 straight fights against top competition like Shields has, but unless GSP makes a horrendous mistake or blows out his knee, I just don't see how Shields is going to win this one. While this is the biggest fight of Shields' career, it's just another blip on the radar for GSP. Once St. Pierre beats Shields up on the feet, Shields won't have anything left for the ground and GSP will tar and feather him. St. Pierre by TKO, round 3.
KJ Gould: GSP is too well rounded, too athletic, and too experienced against consistently world class fighters in his class. Shields is as legit an opponent as Jon Fitch was, perhaps a little more so, but I can't help but feel Shields will be just as badly brutalised. I don't watch St. Pierre fight because I think he'll be challenged, I watch him fight in the hope of witnessing a masterful and artistic performance as part of a body of work that can be poured over for years to come. St. Pierre by Decision.
Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick
Kid Nate: Aldo's cage rust could be a big factor here. As could Hominick's precision kickboxing. But I think Aldo is just too much. Too powerful. Too fast. Jose Aldo by KO.
Brent Brookhouse: I don't feel like getting frisky here and picking Hominick but he's got a shot. Still, Aldo is a bit more diverse in his attack and more explosive. Jose Aldo by TKO, round 4.
Mike Fagan: For all the talk of Jake Shields being underrated, I think Mark Hominick's more of a live dog in this fight. Jose Aldo is returning from a neck injury - an injury in which he opted for rehab instead of surgery - and hasn't fought since September. Hominick is technical and dangerous on the feet, which has me hoping we'll finally see Aldo's ground game. Aldo's still the big favorite here, though. Jose Aldo by submission, round 3.
Nick Thomas: Aldo is coming in with a little ring rust and after an injury but he's still favoured in this fight. Hominick needs to take this to the ground to win. On the feet, it's all Aldo. Aldo via TKO.
Leland Roling: Hominick's aggressive stalking and constant work rate on the feet has allowed his technical prowess to shine in past fights. It's a style that will offer something different for Aldo, but wading into Aldo's wheelhouse will be required in order for Hominick to work a similar gameplan. That won't bode well for his ability to maintain his feet or avoid being devastated by Aldo's diverse skill-set. Aldo via submission, round 2.
Anton Tabuena: Hominick is a very talented striker with good footwork, sure. But Aldo's Muay Thai is on another level and this would be a great way to showcase his skills... I'm just hoping we also see his ground game. Jose Aldo by TKO.
Matt Bishop: Like the main event, I feel almost dirty counting out someone as talented as Hominick. I think he's got a better shot at winning than Shields does, but Aldo is spectacular on the feet and solid on the ground. Bad combo for Hominick. Aldo is going to run head first into anything and he's going to work Hominick's lead leg over and at the very worst, win a decision. Aldo by TKO, round 4.
KJ Gould: This should be Aldo's coming out party from the relative obscurity of WEC to the big stage of the UFC. Featherweight and Bantamweight are classes that are still in an early growth stage and this should be a good showcase for fans who are still new to the lighter divisions. Jose Aldo by TKO.
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Jason Brilz
Kid Nate: Hard to figure out how this made the main card. Guess they didn't want it on the Spike card where it would hurt the buy rate. The younger Brilz should be able to grind this one out. Jason Brilz by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Not that I expect Couture/Machida to go five rounds. But wouldn't you rather that be a five round fight (they're both former champions) and possibly have this not make the air because of three five rounders? I mean, would that really alter your night? Especially when we live in a world where every prelim can be seen anyway? Oh, and Diaz/MacDonald is a way better fight than this and would fit into the main card much better. Vladimir Matyushenko by decision.
Mike Fagan: Matyushenko vs. Brilz, or what happens when 55,000 people take a piss break. This isn't a "bad" fight by any means, but it's an odd inclusion for the main card of the UFC's first megashow. Vladimir Matyushenko by decision.
Nick Thomas: Matyushenko is better than Brilz all around. Matyushenko via decision.
Leland Roling: "The Janitor" cleans up on the UFC 129 main card by outwrestling Brilz, although I would prefer to see Matyushenko's improved boxing on display. Matyushenko via decision.
Anton Tabuena: I would've preferred seeing Diaz vs MacDonald on the main card, instead, I get this. I'm not too excited for this, but I expect it to be a really close fight probably with Matyushenko winning by Decision.
Matt Bishop: Tough call here. Very similar fighters, but if Brilz hasn't lost the momentum he gained after he narrowly lost to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, he'd be a solid pick here. I like Brilz on the feet and I think he'll sprawl and brawl his way to victory. Brilz by decision.
KJ Gould: Vladimir comes out to Motorhead. He's also a better wrestler in my opinion with great experience to boot. Matyushenko by Decision.
Randy Couture vs. Lyoto Machida
Kid Nate: Randy's too old. Machida's too hungry. Machida by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: This was the fight where I kept thinking I was going to reach for an upset. I figured that Randy could get the clinch and hold Machida against the cage and get two of three rounds. But his chin is shot and even the hesitant Machida that we saw against Rampage Jackson for two rounds could put a serious dent in it. I don't want to say it, but Lyoto Machida by KO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: We're either going to see the Randy Couture that took a beating from Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira or the Randy Couture that squeaked a decision win from Brandon Vera, and neither option is appealing. Even if Randy conjures up another winning gameplan, I'm not sure he has the physical tools to implement it. I expect to see something similar to Lyoto Machida's fight with Tito Ortiz. Lyoto Machida by decision.
Nick Thomas: Machida is going to destroy Couture. Machida via TKO.
Leland Roling: We all know what Randy intends to do in this fight. He'll try to initiate a clinch and use his strength to overwhelm and wear down Machida. Machida's footwork and elusive style should be able to stop him, and Randy is the far inferior striker from range. Lyoto Machida via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: Randy has a chance if he can constantly take Lyoto down, or keep him on the fence, but I just don't think it will happen. Machida is the much better striker. He is faster, and is also very good in the clinch... At some point, Machida will find Randy's aging chin and he will end it from there. Lyoto Machida will end Randy Couture's career by TKO.
Matt Bishop: Let me tell you something, brother. Here's what's going to happen in this one, as I outlined on Thursday's radio show: Couture is going to come out, here's going to clinch with Machida. He's going to use some vintage dirty boxing and he's going to take him down. He might not keep him there, but he'll score points. And he'll score enough points to win the fight. Machida will take a round, but Couture will win two. And that is not just a Matt Bishop Five Star Bank On It Prediction. This one has been upgraded. It's now a Matt Bishop FIVE TRILLION STAR Bank On It Prediction! Couture by decision.
KJ Gould: I'd really like Couture to win and show off some of the grappling he's been learning from Neil Melanson. But then I remember his fight with Vera and remember thinking just as the fight was over that I have no desire to see either man compete in MMA again. I wasn't fussed that Couture got the nod, I was more concerned it was a horrible fight and that for all Couture had achieved he no longer had any business being in a UFC cage as a competitor. I'd like Couture to retire on a high note, but I'll make the sensible pick and say Machida catches him. Machida by TKO.
Mark Bocek vs. Ben Henderson
Kid Nate: Really competitive fight here. One I can't wait to see. I'm going to bet that Henderson's competition in the WEC was better than many think. Henderson by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: This is a very solid fight. I just think Bocek is a little bit more dangerous than guys who have given Ben fits in the past. With that in mind. Mark Bocek by decision.
Mike Fagan: Part of the reason I hate Ben Henderson is that people started ranking him after beating such names as Jamie Varner and Donald Cerrone and Anthony Njokuani. The other part is that he does the throws the whole god thing in his postfight. Mark Bocek by submission, round 2.
Nick Thomas: Henderson is going to take Bocek down at will. But that will play right into Bocek's game. Henderson will avoid getting caught on the ground, but it's Bocek via decision.
Leland Roling: A fight I've been looking forward to for sure. Bocek showed improved skills against Jim Miller, nearly stealing the fight in the end. I'm still not a huge Ben Henderson believer, mainly because many of his fights have relied on his transition skills to the submission for wins when he was being beaten. He's improved greatly however. Tough call, but I'll go with the better grappler. Mark Bocek via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Is Ben Henderson really un-submittable? I don't think so. But he has decent wrestling, and better striking than Bocek, so I think he can take this. Ben Henderson by Decision.
Matt Bishop: Tremendous matchmaking here. Henderson is a good fighter and it'll be interesting to see how he performs on the big stage of the UFC. Bocek really impressed me against Dustin Hazelett, another solid grappler. I think Henderson has a lot to prove after being posterized. He takes it. Henderson by decision.
KJ Gould: I think we'll continue to see the disparity between former WEC fighters and their UFC counterparts in the form of Bocek making Henderson look pretty mediocre. Maybe I should be giving Henderson more of a chance, but lessons should have be learned from when Stann, Cantwell, and Condit originally crossed over. Bocek by Submission.
Preliminary Card (Spike TV)
Nate Diaz vs. Rory MacDonald
Kid Nate: MacDonald has a world of potential and the skill set to beat Diaz -- in theory. But Diaz is a gamer and he will be a stiff test for the 21 year old Canadian. MacDonald by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: What a great fight! And no one is talking about it! MacDonald was a guy that everyone thought of as a huge prospect, and then he lost to Condit after giving him hell for the first two rounds. Now suddenly no one remembers who he is. Diaz is a tough test for him, but one he should pass as long as the layoff hasn't set him back too badly. Rory MacDonald by TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: This should be fun. I'm surprised that the UFC is tossing Rory MacDonald in deep waters after the great job in building up Jon Jones. Dude goes from Mike Guymon to CARLOS CONDIT and then Nate Diaz. That said, Rory was controlling the Condit fight until the third round, and that's pretty damn impressive for a 21 year old. This is the Fireball Showdown of the Night. Rory MacDonald by decision.
Nick Thomas: MacDonald is coming off an injury, so it's hard to pick him here. But I think he avoid Diaz's submission attempts, he can take the decision here. MacDonald via decision.
Leland Roling: This is by far one of the most interesting match-ups on the card. Hard-nosed Nate Diaz against a top notch prospect who is likely the future of the division. I'm wary to pick MacDonald here, mainly because Nate Diaz is exactly that... a Diaz. He's a gamer with a lengthy reach, bad attitude, and built-in instinct to prove himself to any and all comers. With that said however, MacDonald possesses the skills to control Diaz for three rounds and win. Rory MacDonald via decision.
Anton Tabuena: The Philippines gets free UFC PPV's, but we don't get Spike prelims. This bout has the potential to be the most action packed match up of the night, and I'm pissed that I might not be able to watch it... Anyway, I think Rory MacDonald has a bright future ahead of him, and he has a very real chance of winning, but Diaz has faced better competition, and I think he will be able to pull it out. Nate Diaz by Decision.
Matt Bishop: This is another one of those criminally underrated bouts on this show. MacDonald's wrestling is going to give Diaz problems, but I think the experience factor combined with MacDonald's long layoff give Diaz the edge here. Diaz via decision.
KJ Gould: Diaz is still developing as a fighter and is in a similar stage to where his brother Nick was just a few years ago before really getting his game together. I think MacDonald takes it this time around but could see them fighting again in a couple of years time where things could turn out differently. MacDonald by Decision.
Sean Pierson vs. Jake Ellenberger
Kid Nate: Ellenberger should blitz here. Ellenberger by commanding decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Yeaaaaah. Jake Ellenberger by decision.
Mike Fagan: Speaking of guys who almost beat Carlos Condit. Jake Ellenberger by decision.
Nick Thomas: Ellenberger is no joke. Ellenberger is going to over power Pierson. Ellenberger by decision.
Leland Roling: I think Pierson should get a bit more of a fair shake here, but Jake has stopping power in his hands. Pierson's wrestling could be a monumental oversight for Ellenberger, who should have the edge due to experience. But Pierson could provide a challenge. I'll go with Ellenberger, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Pierson make Ellenberger work extra hard for it. Jake Ellenberger via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Hmm. Ellenberger by TKO.
Matt Bishop: Tough fight for Pierson and a huge step up in competition from Matt Riddle. He has a chance if Ellenberger coming in on short notice hurts him, but even so, Ellenberger should have enough. Ellenberger by decision.
KJ Gould: Anyone who goes to a Billy Robinson seminar and gets a photo with him is ok in my book. It also helps that Ellenberger is already pretty talented this early into his career. Ellenberger by TKO.
Preliminary Card (Facebook)
Claude Patrick vs. Daniel Roberts
Kid Nate: Hard call here. Going to buck the pack and pick Daniel Roberts by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: I'll go with Patrick here based on nothing more than feeling like Patrick will win. Claude Patrick by TKO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Dude that sounds like a professional hockey goon or the dude that sounds like the name of the hero in some JCVD movie. Goon. Claude Patrick by TKO, round 2.
Nick Thomas: Love this fight. Only 1 loss for each fighter. Both fighters cancel each other out on the ground. Such a close fight... Bias here, picking the Canuck. Patrick by decision.
Leland Roling: Solid grappling duel here. Patrick offers a little more in terms of skill. I like him here. Claude Patrick via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Another close fight that's hard to predict... but I think it's Claude Patrick by Decision.
Matt Bishop: I cannot believe Roberts has had as many UFC fights as he has. Patrick is going to be amped up by the home crowd and take this one. Patrick by TKO, round 3.
KJ Gould: Patrick is being brought in to help warm the crowd up alongside other fellow Canadians. Patrick by TKO.
Ivan Menjivar vs. Charlie Valencia
Kid Nate: Time may have passed Menjivar by but Valencia is not necessarily the man to expose him. Menjivar by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Menjivar should have one last grindy win left iin him. Ivan Menjivar by decision.
Mike Fagan: UFC 129 trivia: Ivan Menjivar was Georges St. Pierre's first ever MMA opponent. Ivan Menjivar by decision.
Nick Thomas: Have to go with my fellow Canuck. Menjivar is better all around. Menjivar by decision.
Leland Roling: Menjivar isn't going to resurrect his career here, but Valencia will have problems dealing with his skill on the ground and the power he sometimes flashes on the feet. Ivan Menjivar via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Charlie Valencia by Decision.
Matt Bishop: Menjivar by decision.
KJ Gould: I'll succumb to peer pressure rather than buck the trend and pick Menjivar. Menjivar by Decision.
Jason MacDonald vs. Ryan Jensen
Kid Nate: MacDonald was born to win this fight. MacDonald by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: This should be MacDonald's fight to control en route to a decision. Jason MacDonald by decision.
Mike Fagan: It's crazy to me that Ryan Jensen has seven UFC fights. Even crazier that Jason MacDonald has eleven. Ryan Jensen by decision.
Nick Thomas: Surprised to see MacDonald as the underdog here. Once Jensen gases, MacDonald takes this. MacDonald via submission.
Leland Roling: Jason MacDonald via decision.
Anton Tabuena: This card is full of toss ups. Jensen is tough, but I think MacDonald can win this. Jason MacDonald by Decision.
Matt Bishop: As Forrest Lynn said on Bloody Elbow Radio on Tuesday, this fight is straight out of 2007. This is such a woefully out of place fight on this show. I like MacDonald by submission, round 2.
KJ Gould: MacDonald by Submission.
John Makdessi vs. Kyle Watson
Kid Nate: Makdessi will put on another TKD clinic. Makdessi by KO.
Brent Brookhouse: Makdessi is fun to watch, I'm a little bummed that I probably will miss this fight. Although, if he does what I think he's going to do, they'll find an excuse to air it later. John Makdessi by KO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: My BJJ instructor is good friends with Kyle. He's going to stand in his wedding. (Or stood in his wedding? I forget when that's going down.) I'm not a sentimental man though. John Makdessi by decision.
Nick Thomas: Striker vs. submission fighter here. Makdessi keeps it standing and ends it there. Makdessi via TKO.
Leland Roling: Makdessi's versatility on the feet will put Kyle Watson on ice. John Makdessi via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: Makdessi has got nice kicks, and I haven't been impressed by Watson. Makdessi by Decision
Matt Bishop: Makdessi by TKO, round 1.
KJ Gould: Makdessi by TKO
Yves Jabouin vs. Pablo Garza
Kid Nate: Pablo Garza should outclass Yves. Garza by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Yves Jabouin by easy TKO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Jabouin is outclassing Garza at the books. Yves Jabouin by TKO, round 2.
Nick Thomas: Garza's flying knee was amazing and will have the reach advantage here. But I think Jabouin is better on the feet. Jabouin via decision.
Leland Roling: Jabouin gets a bad rap for some reason, but he's a very speedy striker who continues to improve under the guidance of Firas Zahabi. Garza's reach will be problematic, and I think he can win here. But I'll take Jabouin. Yves Jabouin via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: Everytime Jabouin gets even a small step up in competition, he loses. Pablo Garza by TKO.
Matt Bishop: Jabouin by decision.
KJ Gould: Garza by TKO