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Event: UFC 131: "Dos Santos vs. Carwin"
Date: Sat., June 11, 2011, at 9 p.m. ET on pay-per-view (PPV)
Location: Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Main Card (Pay-per-view):
Junior Dos Santos vs. Shane Carwin
Kid Nate: This is a really good fight. To me the biggest X factor is Carwin's ability to recover from a long layoff at his age. I suspect Carwin will have traded a good deal of raw power for stamina of questionable utility. If Gabriel Gonzaga can rock Carwin, prepare to see Junior KTFO him. Junior dos Santos by KO.
Brent Brookhouse: Somebody has to do it. I don't like Carwin's layoff but I think his striking is a little bit underrated, not in power but in technique. I also think people overrate Junior's striking, especially his defense. People kind of forget that Roy Nelson hit JDS a little bit more than he should have in their fight. Not that dos Santos didn't still beat him up pretty well. But if he lets Shane hit him clean, that will be a problem. I don't know that I believe Carwin is suddenly ready for a long fight, but I don't think he's likely to have such a huge energy dump in one round like he did against Lesnar. If this gets to the third it'll be all JDS, but I don't think it does. Shane Carwin by TKO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Great recovery matchmaking from the UFC, blah blah blah. I'm in the minority that was more interested in Lesnar/dos Santos. I think Carwin's weight drop is a positive -- in theory. Though he says he'll come in around 255 (and this was written a few hours before the weigh-ins), he LOOKS smaller than his UFC debut when he weighed in around that amount. Junior's movement and volume probably kills Carwin on the feet, and I don't trust Carwin to shoot for takedowns. If he wins, I expect Carwin to spend a lot of this fight pressing dos Santos against the fence. Junior's quickness prevails, however. Junior dos Santos by TKO, round two.
Leland Roling: Carwin's power is the obvious x-factor thrown into an otherwise decided upon outcome by most fans. On paper, dos Santos is the more proven technical puncher and his tactics will rely heavily on whether he can keep this fight on the feet. Unless Carwin can get inside and close distance, dos Santos should be able to zing straight punches down the pipe and batter Carwin. Since Carwin is has many question that have to be answered in this match-up, I have to go with dos Santos. Junior dos Santos via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: Carwin has power, and he can end it at any point, but the easiest path to victory for him would be to push him to the fence, dirty box, or turn it into a wrestling match. If he stands with Junior, chances are, he's going to get beat by a guy who can match his power, but is also faster, and a lot more technical. This is a great match up stylistically, but I think Dos Santos can keep it on the feet long enough to get quality licks in. Junior dos Santos by TKO.
Matt Bishop: I keep debating internally if these two are going to go all out or if one, or both, are going to be a bit more reserved. The more I think about it, the more I think this is going to hit at least the second round. If I'm dos Santos, I want to test Carwin's gas tank out. I want to use my speed advantage and make him work by moving constantly. Carwin has undergone some big changes since his last fight. He's smaller and underwent a pretty serious back surgery. Dos Santos has to be patient and make sure he doesn't put himself in any bad positions. Carwin needs to do the same. He should look for takedowns and try to wear dos Santos out. Standing, I think dos Santos gets the better of it. Carwin's best friend in this fight will be ground-and-pound. I don't know if he gets it. Junior dos Santos by TKO, round 2.
K.J. Gould: This is a more interesting match up for many than the originally planned Brock Lesnar vs. dos Santos bout. Lesnar would have been the fresher opponent for Dos Santos but he's never displayed the same fight ending power Carwin has. The only time I can remember Carwin using his wrestling to get it to the ground was against Neil Wain when Carwin got tagged a few times. Carwin mounted Wain and finished with Ground'n'Pound. I can see this fight being contested on the feet and Carwin only going to the ground if he gets tagged and we'll see how dos Santos' take down defense is. I've a feeling that even though Carwin had been in training for a fight on the same card, dos Santos is radically different to J.O.E. and as it stands the second best fighter in the weight class right now. I just see dos Santos keeping it on the feet and landing better and more technical strikes on his way to a first or second round stoppage. Junior dos Santos by TKO.
Fraser Coffeen: I detailed this fight more in my two stand-up analysis articles, but I think dos Santos's speed and technique will bring the win home against a slower opponent with a questionable gas tank. Look for him to counter Carwin's right with an uppercut. Of course, if Carwin lands that right, it's over, which makes this a close one. Junior dos Santos by TKO
Jon Olav Einemo vs. Dave Herman
Kid Nate: I can't believe this is a main card fight. Herman has a golden opportunity to make a big splash against an aging, rusty and limited fighter in Einemo. He might blow it, but I'm betting he won't. Dave Herman by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: I can't help but remember the way Herman folded against Choi Mu Bae and he rebounded from that with a run of pretty iffy competition. Still, Einemo is so far removed from his last MMA fight that it seems hard to pick him. Here's an idea, if it's such a struggle to get enough fights for everyone on your roster...maybe don't sign a guy who hasn't fought since 2006. Dave Herman by decision.
Mike Fagan: This is a pretty good cap to the Facebook prelims. What's that? It's on the PPV? Oh jesus. Dave Herman by TKO, round two.
Leland Roling: Einemo was already being brought in to get pounded by Carwin, and Herman isn't exactly an easier fight. Similarly to Carwin, Herman has proven knockout power, and Einemo's BJJ black belt isn't going to hold up long if he can't bring this fight to the ground quickly. I don't see that happening. Dave Herman via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: He was supposed to be a sacrificial lamb to Shane Carwin, but now he's getting a relatively easier opponent in Dave Herman. I still don't think Einemo can win this though. He's training with Alistair Overeem and the other monsters at Golden Glory, but it's just been years since he's competed... I've got Dave Herman by decision.
Matt Bishop: Dave Herman has had all 22 of his MMA bouts since Einemo last competed. That's all you need to know about this fight. What is Einemo going to bring to the table against Herman? I think Einemo was simply a live body for Carwin to fight, albeit a completely random one. Einemo has a lot to prove here, but I think Herman is going to be too much. Dave Herman by decision.
K.J. Gould: I don't care how revered a grappler Einemo might be, this is his first MMA fight in 5 years against a relatively active up and coming heavyweight. It's a UFC debut for both but I see the active MMA fighter beating the in-active fighter. Dave Herman by decision
Fraser Coffeen: Einemo is such a weird pick-up for the UFC. He's very talented, but at 35 years old and five years removed from his last MMA bout, I just don't know what he has to offer at this point. Herman is, I think, one of the best heavyweights out there that most people haven't seen, and I think he'll be a solid gatekeeper type in the UFC. Dave Herman by TKO
Donald Cerrone vs. Vagner Rocha
Kid Nate: Rocha has a very very small chance that depends on Cerrone fighting stupid. It could happen but it won't. Cerrone by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: I did the "let's check out this Rocha guy" thing. He's okay, Cerrone is better (I didn't enjoy typing those words). Donald Cerrone by submission, round two.
Mike Fagan: I hope one of our readers complains that most of us haven't seen Vagner Rocha fight. Rocha lost to some 37-year-old called "Bret Bergmark," who sounds like the first opponent in a generic boxing game. I'm willing to wager Cerrone is a better fighter than this Bergmark character. Donald Cerrone by submission, round two.
Leland Roling: Late notice against a prospect that I wasn't all that impressed with in watching footage. I think is going to be a rude awakening for Rocha as Cerrone has damaging stand-up and a quick ground game. Rocha can put up a fight on the floor, but I imagine Cerrone keeps this standing and picks apart Rocha. Donald Cerrone via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: I would've picked Cerrone over Danzig, and with Rocha stepping in on late notice, it just makes this pick even easier. Cerrone by Submission.
Matt Bishop: It's too bad Mac Danzig had to pull out of this fight. I still would've favored Cerrone, but it would've been a real interesting fight. I've never seen Rocha, so I don't really know what he brings to the table, but I expect Cerrone to be Cerrone and win this one. Donald Cerrone doesn't really lose to people he should lose to. This is one of those fights. Donald Cerrone by decision.
K.J. Gould: Cerrone looked OK against Kelly though struggled where many thought he shouldn't have. He's still a big leap up in competition for Rocha who is still early into his career and has time to grow and develop from a loss. Cerrone's experience should secure him this. Donald Cerrone by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: Rocha is a replacement jumping way into the deep end in his UFC debut, and I think it's going to be too much for him, although his strong jiu jitsu could get him through. Cerrone impressed me in his transition to the UFC; he should keep it standing here to a void Rocha's strong ground game. Donald Cerrone by TKO
Demian Maia vs. Mark Munoz
Kid Nate: Great fight. Maia has shown he can submit some very dangerous opponents in the UFC but I don't expect him to be able to do that to Munoz. On the other hand I think Maia is too good on the ground for Munoz to connect with a lot of ground and pound. Could devolve into some bad kickboxing. Advantage Munoz. Mark Munoz by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Munoz's striking isn't so good that I worry about Maia being unable to close distance and find a way to get the fight to the ground. Even if he just makes Munoz's wrestling instincts kick in and take him down. Maia is just more of a proven commodoty in my eyes and I can't pick against him. Demian Maia by submission, round two.
Mike Fagan: How quickly we forget Demian Maia flipping Chael Sonnen like a CSAC decision. The biggest impediment to this fight getting to the floor is Maia wading through Munoz's power. That said, I like Maia if the fight stays standing. Demian Maia by submission, round two.
Leland Roling: Probably one of the best fights on this card as Munoz has proven he has the ground and pound and strength to make some waves in the division. Maia's grappling is on a different level, and his stand-up game continues to improve. With his inventive ways of getting takedowns and that improvement on the feet, I think Maia can edge Munoz in multiple areas, although I'm more prone to believe he'll find a way to the ground and dominate each round. Demian Maia via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Munoz, obviously, is the stronger guy with much better wrestling. He will be hard to put down, but even if it goes to the ground, training with guys like Wanderlei, Shogun, Mayhem, Fabricio Werdum, Ryron Gracie, Rener Gracie, and Marcel Louzado (a guy who has beaten Maia in competition multiple times), is surely going to help him. If he can keep it standing long enough, which I think he can, he can end it with one of those bombs. Mark Munoz by TKO.
Matt Bishop: Great fight. Love the matchmaking here and think it's a good test for both men. I think this is going to end up staying on the feet and who knows what's going to happen there. If we're talking KO power, you have to favor Munoz, but I'm just not sure. I don't think Maia wants to pull guard because of how strong Munoz's ground-and-pound is and Munoz probably won't want a takedown because of how strong Maia's ground game is. This is a coin-flip fight for me. Mark Munoz by decision.
K.J. Gould: The only way I see Munoz going to ground is if he knocks Maia down first, or if Maia pulls out a sneaky trip. I have to imagine Munoz has been studying tape of Maia against the likes of Chael Sonnen and knows to avoid the clinch to prevent just that. Both guys come with improved striking but Munoz has the proven KO power and might end the fight in a similar way Nate Marquardt did. Munoz by TKO.
Fraser Coffeen: I'm looking forward to a really exciting jiu jitsu vs. wrestling ground battle, which means this will likely end up a kickboxing match. If it does, I like Maia's improved stand-up and ability to stay in
the fight. Demian Maia by Decision
Kenny Florian vs. Diego Nunes
Kid Nate: Unless Florian is debilitated by the weight cut he should be able to beat Nunes. He will be giving up some speed but I think he's got the chops to take it. Florian by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Nunes has very tricky timing in the stand-up. Florian should be able to take this fight pretty much wherever it ends up, but I'd be much more comfortable if he just gets the takedown and works from the top. Regardless, Kenny Florian by decision.
Mike Fagan: Split-decisioning a decrepit Mike Brown doesn't do much for me. Kenny Florian by decision.
Leland Roling: Nunes is a scrappy competitor, and I don't think he's an easy introduction to the 145 lb. weight class by any means. But he relies heavily on this stand-up game, and I think Florian has the chops to edge him both standing and on the ground. Kenny Florian via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Florian seems to be doing the right things to make 145 lbs, and barring any weight cutting issues he might encounter, he is still the more talented fighter overall. I expect Kenny to dominate this one. Kenny Florian by a late TKO or a lopsided decision.
Matt Bishop: Obviously a huge step up for Nunes. I really like Florian's skills and think he's really done a lot to improve a ton as a fighter during his UFC run. He's just never been able to win the big one. Florian is much like Cerrone is that sense. He doesn't lose to people he probably shouldn't lose to. This is another one of those fights. Florian needs to make a statement and I think he does. Florian wins big here. Kenny Florian by submission, round 2.
K.J. Gould: Nunes is a striking dynamo but we've yet to see much else out of him other than a couple of well timed whizzers when defending a take-down. Florian is a smart enough fighter surrounded by the right people to know how to drop down in weight properly so I'd like to think the cut shouldn't be a problem. Florian will be the bigger and stronger fighter but more importantly one with world class experience with solid well rounded skills. I expect Florian to make a statement in his Featherweight debut. Kenny Florian by Submission.
Fraser Coffeen: This one is all about how Florian handles the weight cut. Because Kenny only loses to the very best, and while Nunes is good, he's not there. I think Florian is a smart enough fighter that he wouldn't make the cut if he couldn't handle it. Kenny Florian by Decision
Preliminary Card (Spike TV)
Yves Edwards vs. Sam Stout
Kid Nate: Ah would that it was 5 years ago, I'd happily pick Edwards but I'm afraid he's lost a step and Stout is still....Sam Stout, UFC lightweight gatekeeper. Stout by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I'm either going to look like a fool or a genius by going against the majority this often. I bet it's fool though. Still, Edwards is tricky and I think he can find a way to take two of the rounds with just cleverly executed closing of distance and maybe even throw Stout off with a few takedown attempts. I don't know, I think I'm just trying to trick myself into picking one of my all time favorites. Yves Edwards by decision.
Mike Fagan: Stout eats some shots, but makes Edwards eat some more. Probable Fight of the Night. Sam Stout by decision.
Leland Roling: Stout batters Edwards from range over three rounds. Sam Stout via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Stout will out-point and out-strike him all through out and win a dominant decision. Sam Stout by decision.
Matt Bishop: "Hands of Stone" is no longer a fitting nickname for Stout, as he hasn't knocked anyone out in the UFC ever. Stout controls this one on the feet and wins a decision. Business as usual. Sam Stout by decision.
K.J. Gould: I don't know why but I always look forward to a Stout fight even though they've become fairly predictable at this point. Edwards beating Cody McKenzie recently means nothing other than an extra point in his win column but then Stout has been so-so even in victory. I think I have to go with Stout just because he has to beat someone whose continuing the joke of ‘Thugjitsu' that's well past its use by date. Sam Stout by Decision.
Fraser Coffeen: I know neither of these guys is really relevant at this point, but I love this fight. Put it in 2006 and it would have been amazing, and I still think it will be a world of fun. In the end though, Stout will
do what he does best and point his way to the win. I'll also predict this wins the Fight of the Night bonus. Sam Stout by Decision
Jesse Bongfeldt vs. Chris Weidman
Kid Nate: Weidman impressed me in his UFC debut and this time he should be healthy and better prepared. Weidman by dominating decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Weidman is on his way to being a guy that people complain about watching but wins a lot of fights. Chris Weidman by decision.
Mike Fagan: I hope Weidman improves on his short-notice, rib-injured performance against Alessio Sakara. Chris Weidman by TKO, round two.
Leland Roling: Weidman should easily outwrestle Bongfeldt, and he won't have a lingering rib issue to slow him down in this one. Chris Weidman via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Weidman, as you might already know, is a very promising prospect who has a chance to go far on his UFC career. Bongfeldt is good, but I just think Weidman has more upside. Chris Weidman by TKO.
Matt Bishop: Weidman had a solid debut against Alessio Sakara and gets a good test here. Bongfeldt is much more than a live body, but Weidman will do what he does best: Wrestle. Chris Weidman by decision.
K.J. Gould: Bongfeldt has a loss to Jonathan Goulet. C'mon, son. But in all seriousness Chris Weidman has way more upside being a solid wrestler with Serra Jiu Jitsu and Longo Boxing behind him. Sorry Cannucks, Bongfeldt's just being brought in as a ‘local' guy to be fed to a prospect who needs ring time. Chris Weidman by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: Bongfeldt is on a solid run and hasn't lost in 4 years, but I don't see him moving much higher in the ranks, while Weidman has some serious potential. He should take another good step here. Chris Weidman by Decision
Preliminary Card (Facebook/YouTube):
Dustin Poirier vs. Jason Young
Kid Nate: Unless Young surprises everyone as much as Poirier did in his debut against Josh Grispi, expect Poirier to administer a beat down. Poirier by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I'd much rather be watching this fight on the PPV than Herman/Einemo. I like Young's style but I think Poirier is a much better fighter. Dustin Poirier by TKO, round 3.
Mike Fagan: Young doesn't have a Wikipedia page AND he's English? Oh hell no, son. Dustin Poirier by decision.
Leland Roling: Fans should keep an eye on this match-up. Young is far from a novice fighter. He has decent stand-up skills, and I think he can compete with Poirier on the feet. Young's ability to mix combinations high and low and counter is very good. Poirier's footwork and quickness at 145 is tough to gauge though, and it's on the high end of the spectrum after completely crushing Josh Grispi. Great fight on paper, but I'm going with the upset. Poirier looked phenomenal against Grispi, but Young will put the pressure on hard. Jason Young via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: He's just the more talented fighter and he has faced tougher opposition. Poirier by lopsided decision.
Matt Bishop: Poirier's domination of Josh Grispi looks less impressive now than it did a week ago, but it doesn't take away from what Poirier is: A very, very solid up-and-comer. We must remember that Poirier is still a very young fighter and still putting everything together. He continues that here. Dustin Poirier by decision.
K.J. Gould: I'd be shocked if Young didn't succumb to the Octagon jitters we hear so much about. He's talented but has also spent most his career battling locals in the UK. Poirier has the edge in experience, and come fight time we may see he has the edge nerves. Poirier by Decision.
Fraser Coffeen: Young is unheralded and coming in on short notice, so he's the obvious underdog. But I like his stand-up, and that's where I see this fight taking place. Poirier is riding high from the Grispi upset, but I think Young gives him the same treatment here and steals that momentum. Jason Young by TKO
Mike Massenzio vs. Krzysztof Soszynski
Kid Nate: Not really fair to Massenzio to have to step up on short notice against someone as physical as KSos. Soszynski by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Everyone knows I'm not Soszynski's biggest fan. But I've been warming up to the guy a little over the past few fights. I feel bad for him in how many times he has had to get ready for a different opponent, but solid move by him to continue to fight on the card anyway. I figure he takes over as the fight wears on and the late notice drains Massenzio. Krzysztof Soszynski by TKO, round 3.
Mike Fagan: I wonder if Massenzio's gone if he loses, given that he took the fight on short notice. I can't imagine Soszynski hanging around should he drop this. Krzysztof Soszynski by decision.
Leland Roling: Short notice for Massenzio spells victory for Soszynski. Krzysztof Soszynski via submission.
Anton Tabuena: It's hard to prepare for three different opponents, but it's much harder to win on extremely short notice, against a tough and gritty guy like KSos. Krzysztof Soszynski by Submission.
Matt Bishop: Super tough fight for Massenzio on super short notice. This is Soszynski's fight to lose. He won't. Krzysztof Soszynski by submission, round 1.
K.J. Gould: K-Soz will be too big and strong for Massenzio. Massenzio's only chance is if he can some how survive and drag the fight out in the hope K-Soz will gas. Unfortunately for Massenzio I think he'll be finished by the vowel averse Polish-Canadian before he gets that chance. Krzysztof Soszynski by Submission.
Fraser Coffeen: There's something about Soszynski that rubs me the wrong way. I'm sure he's a very nice person, but I can't root for the guy for some reason. That said, I recognize his talent. Massenzio will be moving up in weight here on very short notice, which doesn't speak well for his chances. Krzysztof Soszynski by TKO
Darren Elkins vs. Michihiro Omigawa
Kid Nate: I think Omigawa has the skill set to beat Elkins, but he's at an age where he'll start to fade. Elkins by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Yeah, I don't really believe this will work out well for Omigawa. Darren Elkins by decision.
Mike Fagan: Chad Mendes welcomed him back to America. Darren Elkins will be sending him off. Darren Elkins by decision.
Leland Roling: Omigawa and I had a heart to heart, and world domination starts this weekend. WAR OMIGAWA! Michihiro Omigawa via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: I always root for these Japanese fighters, but more often than not, they just let me down. Still, Omigawa SHOULD take this one. Michihiro Omigawa by Decision.
Matt Bishop: Omigawa needs a win and he needs a win bad. He didn't look bad by any means against Chad Mendes, but couldn't get it done. As for Elkins, I still can't get over how Charles Oliveira made him his personal grappling dummy last year. Michihiro Omigawa by decision.
K.J. Gould: If you're a Japanese fighter in the UFC whose name is not Yushin Okami, you're screwed. Darren Elkins by Decision.
Fraser Coffeen: I fear this is going to be Elkins in top control, not doing much, while Omigawa fights off his back and Elkins takes the decision. I love Omigawa - his 2009 run is one of my favorite runs in recent MMA history - but I think the wrestling will be too much. I'd love to be wrong here. Darren Elkins by Decision
Joey Beltran vs. Aaron Rosa
Kid Nate: Fighting on short notice is no way to make your debut at heavyweight AND in the UFC. Beltran by KO.
Brent Brookhouse: Heavyweight fight, I figure ends early. That means I don't worry as much about short notice, plus Beltran isn't exactly Mr. Cardio himself. So I'll just pick the better fighter. Aaron Rosa by TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: Books like Rosa, so I do too. Aaron Rosa by KO, round one.
Leland Roling: I think this is a bit closer than most people think. Rosa is fairly accurate, and Beltran gets a bit tired and starts winging punches. That won't bode well for him here, but on short notice -- I'm not willing to bet the bank on him. Joey Beltran via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: I like Beltran... and he should be able to win this one easily. Joey Beltran by TKO.
Matt Bishop: Short notice is usually never a good thing, especially when you're making your UFC debut. Beltran is experienced inside the Octagon and that alone should help him immensely. Joey Beltran by TKO, round 1.
K.J. Gould: Beltran better finish this early or I can see the crowd getting restless ... or at the least leaving their seats to get their final refreshments ready for the fights they want to see. Beltran by TKO
Fraser Coffeen: I like Rosa, but I'm still not sold on his move to Heavyweight, and the short notice won't do him any favors. Hopefully he'll stay in the UFC, but this is a tough debut. Joey Beltran by Decision
James Head vs. Nick Ring
Kid Nate: Hopefully Ring is over his injuries and we can see what he can really do. Ring by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I guess I'll go with Ring here. Nick Ring by decision.
Mike Fagan: Prepare for #headpuns on Twitter tomorrow night. Nick Ring by decision.
Leland Roling: "Oh, no you didn't!" - Nick Ring via decision.
Anton Tabuena: On toss-ups and evenly matched fights like this, when you're unsure on who you think is the better prospect, just ask yourself -- Who do you think Zuffa wants to win here? You shouldn't assume that you're smarter than Joe Silva. Nick Ring by Decision.
Matt Bishop: Head will gain a measure of revenge for all you Fukudamaniacs out there. James Head by decision.
K.J. Gould: UFC is giving Ring another chance. Yes, he won his last fight but by gawd it was bad and many believe he was gifted a judges decision. First fight of the night and Ring either impresses or much like the fight after it is just filler to allow the audience to fill out the arena. I'm just glad I won't have to sit through it. Ring by Decision.
Fraser Coffeen: I think both of these guys are solid prospects for the UFC, and I really want to pick Head, but I believe Ring will have the striking advantage and will eek out another (perhaps controversial) decision.
Nick Ring by Decision