UFC 132 Fight Card: Bloody Elbow Staff Predictions

Ufc-132-poster_mediumAs with every major event, the Bloody Elbow staffs puts together it's official predictions for UFC 132. Will Dominick Cruz defend his title against Urijah Faber? Will Wanderlei Silva find success in his return from injury against Chris Leben? Read on and find out!

Event: UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber 2
Date: Saturday, July 2, 2011 at 9 p.m. ET on pay-per-view
Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada

Pay-Per-View Card

Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber

Kid Nate: As much as I'm rooting for Faber since he's the much bigger draw and more compelling personality AND I hate watching Cruz point fight, Faber's too slow. This could be a really ugly long boring fight. Cruz by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: I've not thought Faber looked particularly good in his last few fights and I actually think he is starting to look a touch on the slow side. Cruz is quick and it's very difficult to figure out his timing. I don't think Faber is going to be able to muscle Cruz around which means a fight on the feet and at distance. That's a fight I pick Cruz in all day long. Dominick Cruz by decision.

Mike Fagan: I think we can throw their 2007 fight out the window. While Urijah was in the middle of prime at 28, Cruz was a 21-year-old kid in his tenth pro fight. Faber's moving into his waning thirties while Cruz finds himself at the base of his peak. I still believe that Cruz's funky movement is going to cost him one day -- a well-timed feint followed by a high kick is going to Nogueira him, but I don't think Faber has the tools to exploit that. Dominick Cruz by decision.

Leland Roling: I've been torn on this fight for the last couple of days. It's tough to gauge exactly what we can expect from Faber due to the added speed and strong grappling skills he possesses at a smaller weight. Benavidez couldn't overcome Cruz's frame and skills, but Faber might be just the man to overwhelm Cruz on the ground with speed and strength. Cruz should be able to stifle Faber and out point him over the course of five rounds, but I'll rely on my gut and go with Faber, pressing the clinch and threatening Cruz on the ground repeatedly. Urijah Faber via submission, Round 3.

Anton Tabuena: Unlike a lot of fans and analysts out there, I absolutely enjoy watching Dominick's footwork and very elusive fighting style... And no, he doesn't fight anything like Frankie Edgar... Dominick Cruz has improved leaps and bounds since their first fight, and I can't say the same about Faber. Unless he somehow catches Cruz with another submission, I think we are going to see another masterful performance from the champ where he slips and slides his way to a one sided victory. Dominick Cruz by Decision.

Matt Bishop: Like Fagan said, the first fight between these two really means absolutely nothing. Faber claims to have figured Cruz's style out, at least to some extent. I remain skeptical. Faber could certainly catch Cruz with a guillotine if he gets sloppy, but I think Cruz is going to be too much. I think he'll be faster than Faber and will be able to stay away from Faber's takedown attempts. I see him, ahem, cruising to victory. Dominick Cruz by decision.

K.J. Gould: I'm not sure if Faber has settled in at Bantamweight just yet but I understand UFC wanting to make this fight now rather than later. I just see Cruz using his footwork to bewilder Faber for 5 straight rounds landing shots when he wants to while avoiding Fabers and either stuffind or scrambling out of shots. It'll be a decision but I think it'll be fascinating to watch. Cruz by Decision.

Fraser Coffeen: I find myself intrigued by Faber's recent comments where he accurately outlined Cruz's unique striking offense. I had thought this was all Cruz, but it gives me pause. Still, I think Cruz has such a superior stand-up game, and is also underrated in his takedowns and takedown defense. Faber needs a perfect fight here, and I'm not sure he has that in him anymore. Dominick Cruz by decision.

Dallas Winston: It's tough to predict on intangibles, but I think the years of posterboy stardom weigh Faber down more than they help him these days. He and everyone else knows that another loss leaves him nowhere else to go, and Cruz is just hitting his stride. I was never a huge Faber fan, but the kid's heart is unquestionable, and his inherent destiny of just flat-out being a fighter might carry him through in later rounds, but the odds favor Cruz for his size, footwork, and overall evolution. Dominick Cruz by decision.

Wanderlei Silva vs. Chris Leben

Kid Nate: Unless Silva blasts Leben early and finishes it quick, this is coming down to who's got the better chin and Wandy left his chin in the Pride ring in 2006. Leben by TKO.

Brent Brookhouse: I like this fight for the action but it's certainly not an important middleweight fight. I think Silva's more diverse attack gives him a good chance, but he has an "old chin" and Leben hits hard. I feel dirty thinking about how fun this should be to watch given that both of these guys have already taken a ton of punishment. It's too hard for me to ignore Silva's chin enough these days. This is a thing I never thought I'd be doing: picking Leben to be Wandy. Chris Leben by TKO, round 1.

Mike Fagan: These guys are both "fight game old," but Silva's 34 now and coming off a 15-month layoff. Whereas he once beat guys with speed and dynamism, Silva's game has devolved to plodding around the cage flat footed, planting, and throwing wild hooks. I'm not exactly hot on the prospects of Chris Leben's game, either, but consider this shorting Wanderlei's career. Chris Leben by decision.

Leland Roling: Rock'em, sock'em robots. In a nutshell, that's what this fight is going to look like, and the winner will be the man who lands more consistently with more force. It's a simple, yet entertaining slugfest that fans will eat up. Leben, while unbelievably resilient and effective in a zombie state, tends to get lit up a bit more by his opponents. His chin normally gets him through those stages, but Silva's aggressiveness will be too much once Leben's eyes run red from getting blasted. Wanderlei Silva via TKO.

Anton Tabuena: Wand is getting older, and he's coming off a major knee injury. Chris Leben is going to stop Wanderlei, and PRIDE die hards are going to be sad. Leben by TKO.

Matt Bishop: I've been having this prevailing feeling that because everyone expects this one to end rather quickly, this is one of those fights that will go to decision. But I'm going to completely contradict that feeling with my prediction here. It's going to be interesting to see how Silva looks, and Leben too for that matter. He did not look right against Brian Stann and I think Leben can beat Silva in 2011. Will he, though? I could see Leben getting rocked and coming back with a shot of his own that puts Silva down, but I'm going to go with the homer pick here. Wanderlei Silva by TKO, round 2.

K.J. Gould: Both guys have taken more shots to the head than is recommended in both of their careers but I get the sense Leben has surpassed his shot limit. Even just before his KO loss to Brian Stann, listening to him speak at the pre-fight press conference he just sounded off. Not scientific in the least but I just think Leben is broken now while Silva's wheels are still rolling. However Leben probably has good enough wrestling to take Silva down and play it safe which he might just do based on recent interviews. The trouble is Leben reverts to the old brawling strategy as soon as he takes a few shots and I think that'll be his undoing. Silva by TKO.

Fraser Coffeen: This is a fight that just feels right. It's also a very tough one to call. On one side, Silva has been off over a year, which is rough. But Leben will likely look to brawl here, and I think in that setting, the edge goes to The Axe Murderer. I'm torn. Wanderlei Silva by decision.

Dallas Winston: In a nutshell, they both hit hard, but Leben's chin has been more durable. Since I've been trying to be all grown up and not pick sentimental favorites just for the hell of it, I've earned one fanboy credit, and will use it here. I never understood Silva's nickname or why he hates woodcutting tools, but he will murder another axe here. Wanderlei Silva by TKO.

Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader

Kid Nate: Tito is old, injured, has no power standing and lost the speed on his shot years ago. He's still tough but Bader is young, healthy, hits hard and still has a killer shot. It'll be close cause Tito is tough as hell but no way he wins. Bader by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: Like I said on Twitter a short time back. Babies have been born, learned to crawl, walk and started going to school since Tito Ortiz won a fight. The time to pick Tito Ortiz is well in the rear view mirror. His striking is bad, his wrestling isn't effective and that leaves no reason to pick him. Ryan Bader by decision.

Mike Fagan: Ryan Bader is a young, faster, stronger, better version of Tito Ortiz. And he doesn't have the baggage -- or at least the high-publicized baggage -- of a public separation from a woman that most adult Americans have seen in the nude. Ryan Bader by decision.

Leland Roling: Bader's striking is still a work in progress, and most upper-echelon fighters could out strike him on the feet due to his all-or-nothing style. Ortiz, however, has some of the worst striking in the division. I mean, it's abysmal. And his wrestling game usually fades by the second round. That will spell disaster unless something has changed significantly, and unless he got younger overnight -- this is Bader's fight to win. Ryan Bader via decision.

Anton Tabuena: Much like the Wanderlei fight, I would love to see Tito Ortiz turn back the clocks and some how pull off a victory, but I just don't think that will happen. He'll be facing a younger, stronger, faster, and more explosive guy in Bader, who also has better striking and wrestling skills. Ortiz has nothing to offer here, and this match up really never made sense to me. I would've preferred seeing Ortiz vs Vera in a loser gets cut match, instead, we get this bout that won't even be competitive. Ryan Bader via a very lopsided decision.

Matt Bishop: Is there any scenario in which Ortiz wins this fight? I fail to see any way outside of a miracle submission that Ortiz takes this one. It will be interesting to see how Bader responds to such a crushing, humbling defeat against Jon Jones. This is Bader's fight all day long and he picks up a dominant win and we can finally write Ortiz's UFC obituary. Ryan Bader by decision.

K.J. Gould: Forget Bader got owned by Jon Jones, and you're looking at a wrestling based fighter with genuine fight ending KO power. It won't be as technical or mean as much as when Liddell stopped Ortiz but I think we could see Bader sprawl'n'brawl to a stoppage. Bader by TKO.

Fraser Coffeen: The question here is not really who wins (HINT: His name rhymes with "Ryan Bader") but more how he will win. Bader is heavy handed, but Tito is not an easy man to stop. I think Bader controls this, but can't quite get the job done. Ryan Bader by decision.

Dallas Winston: I came to same conclusion as Matt Bishop, which is that Tito's best chance is a submission. Bader seems to be a younger, stronger, and faster version of today's Tito. If anything, my standard bias has been for Tito and against Bader, but the latter thoroughly impressed me against Little Nog, and I think he knocks off another old schooler here. Ryan Bader by decision.

Carlos Condit vs. Dong Hyun Kim

Kid Nate: Condit is incredibly tough, skilled and well-rounded. Unfortunately take down defense is his weakness and Stun Gun Kim is a take down machine. Kim by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: Echoing the idea that Condit has poor takedown defense and that could be where this fight gets decided. This is a really interesting fight though and one that I could make a legit case for either man winning, but I'll stick with Kim to win 2 of 3 rounds. Dong Hyun Kim by decision.

Mike Fagan: Excusing the Dan Hardy fight (for obvious reasons), Condit has been taken down three times in every bout dating back to his last WEC title defense against Hiromitsu Miura. Even in first round finishes, Carlo Prater and Brock Larson found takedowns. And superstar John Alessio had four takedowns in a second-round loss to Condit in 2007. Dong Hyun Kim by decision.

Leland Roling: I'm looking forward to this scrap the most. It's a highly-intriguing showdown between differing styles. Kim's methodical clinch tactics and top game will come into play in this bout. There is a reason why most fighters cannot stop him, and it's because he's a very strong welterweight with a lengthy frame to boot. The problem for me is that he's far too one-dimensional in only using that style to win, and Condit is much more diverse. Condit have proven to be a survivor, and I think he somehow wastes Kim during this fight on the feet. Carlos Condit via TKO.

Anton Tabuena: This is an excellent match up. Condit has better striking, but as we all know, that won't matter if you can't get the Judoka off of you. Condit can probably scramble out on a few of those takedown attempts and take advantage of a few moments standing up, but as all Kim bouts go, I expect this to be an extremely close grind out match up. This could go either way, but I think Condit can pull something out of his hat. Carlos Condit by Decision.

Matt Bishop: Great fight here. Kim has great size and strength for the 170-pound division and I fully expect him to use that here against Condit. I see Kim taking him down repeatedly and really working his way to a win. The only thing that concerns me is Kim has shown some cardio issues in the past and Condit can take advantage of that if Kim fades. Still, I expect Kim to come out and have an impressive performance and potentially earn a title opportunity. Dong Hyun Kim by decision.

K.J. Gould: What a great fight with two contrasting styles. DHK is grappling based with a Judo background he'll use to get things to the mat while working a stifling top game to keep it there and may even work in some nasty Gorund'n'Pound if given an opportunity.. Condit is a scrappy striker with BJJ whose very active off his back and is on a roll. Condit's been more active fighting and has momentum on his side and I can see him getting a decision in what has the potential to be an absolute dogfight. Condit by Decision.

Fraser Coffeen: This fight is getting lost in the shuffle, but it's awesome. Very close one, and I buy each man saying a win makes them a title contender. In the end, I think Condit's aggression vs. Kim's more methodical approach will give Condit the opening he needs at some point to put him out. Carlos Condit by KO.

Dallas Winston: I can't help but liken this to Diaz vs. Kim. On paper, the machine-like grappling of Kim should persevere, but every once in a while, you just have to guess that something dramatic will happen. Condit will do a better job of using his reach to keep Kim out of the pocket, relying on his diversity to whittle through Kim's fairly transparent approach. Carlos Condit by TKO.

Dennis Siver vs. Matt Wiman

Kid Nate: Wiman is faster than Siver and should be able to get him down. Siver's been beating a higher level of competition lately, but I think Wiman has a stylistic edge here. Wiman by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: Fagan is crazy, Wiman is much more handsome than Grice and Veach. Matt Wiman by decision.

Mike Fagan: Here's a problem for the UFC: Matt Wiman has ten fights in the UFC (and I've seen most of them), but I couldn't pick him out from Matt Grice or Matt Veach. Dennis Siver by decision.

Leland Roling: A very close striking duel here. Wiman isn't getting the love he deserves. He's quick, moves in and out of range quickly, and strings together combinations when he does move in to attack. He has all the tools to defeat Siver. Siver's power concerns me though, both on the feet and on the ground. People forget that Siver's strength played a pivotal role early in his career in the grappling department. In any case, I think he crushes Wiman with something fierce standing, roughs him up a bit, and takes the decision. Dennis Siver via decision.

Anton Tabuena: Dennis Siver is going to run through Wiman. Siver by TKO.

Matt Bishop: Another good fight here. If Wiman comes out with the same aggression he had against Cole Miller, he's going to be a tough fighter to beat at this level. Siver, to his credit, has completely reinvented himself after a 1-3 start to his UFC career. Both these guys are looking to take the next step but I think Wiman is going to exert his will in this one and take the fight. Matt Wiman by decision.

K.J. Gould: Wiman should have sharper hands, but then so should have Andre Winner when he fought Siver. Siver's just a powerful striker for Lightweight and his Karate / TKD style of kicking being different to Muay Thai can make him more difficult to prepare for. I usually keep counting Wiman out when I shouldn't but I see Siver striking his way to a KO of the Night bonus. Siver by KO.

Fraser Coffeen: Siver is the obvious pick here as he has looked great in his last few fights. I'm just not sure if he has looked great because he now has put it all together, or because those were just very "on" nights for him. Wiman is the kind of all around, well rounded fighter that I think can drag Siver out of a kickboxing fight and take this. Matt Wiman by decision.

Dallas Winston: Really, there's evidence that both will lose. Since that prediction won't come to fruition, I think Wiman's versatility, quickness, and footwork will allow him to combine a varied attack, leaving Siver with only hitting the homerun to win. Wiman's defense standing has improved, but his shelling offers opportunities for arcing strikes and body-shots to get through, which is Siver's specialty. Still ... Matt Wiman by decision.

Ufc_132_button_medium

Preliminary Card (Spike TV)

Melvin Guillard vs. Shane Roller

Kid Nate: Roller's skilled and tough but Guillard is far more skilled, much faster and hits harder. Guillard by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: Guillard is done if this hits the ground but I think he's developed a game where he can stay standing and land the punches that finish Roller. Of course, this could just be the Njokuanki/Roller fight all over again. Melvin Guillard by TKO, round 2.

Mike Fagan: Guillard stops Roller's takedowns, outpoints him in each round, and everyone complains about "the Greg Jackson" victory. Melvin Guillard by decision.

Leland Roling: Roller has a chance, but I haven't been impressed with the way in which he's transitioned his vaunted wrestling to MMA. Guillard is no slouch in the takedown defense portion of his game. It has improved immensely, and the power he can unleash after an opponent gives up is enormous. Roller lazily shoots in and gets blasted. Melvin Guillard via TKO.

Anton Tabuena: This is the kind of match up that Guillard needs to win to prove that he's ready for contention. I think he'll pass with flying colors and steps closer to being a true contender at lightweight. Melvin Guillard by TKO.

Matt Bishop: I love this fight, but I don't see a scenario in which Shane Roller doesn't get knocked out here. Guillard has been impressive as of late and if he comes out here and takes care of business, I think he wins this one in the first round. One thing that concerns me is Guillard said he wasn't happy with having Roller as his opponent. If he's taking Roller lightly, he could get upset here. Still, I think Guillard's striking is going to be too much. Melvin Guillard by TKO, round 1.

K.J. Gould: Roller is a good wrestler with a great submission game, but while he dominates at Grapplers' Quest level competition this is MMA and Guillard is constantly being molded under Greg Jackson's. Guillard's resurgence is nothing short of remarkable considering a lot had written him off just a few years ago and he's now a ‘must see' fighter to watch at Lightweight. I just see his speed and striking as well as balance too much for Roller who will desperately look for a takedown while getting lit up on the feet only to eat bone and leather. Guillard by TKO.

Fraser Coffeen: Both of fighters have really built up some great momentum lately with some serious wins on their resume. Dunham, Stephens, Varner, Tavares - these are all impressive wins. To me, the difference will be the newfound fighting maturity we've seen out of Guillard since his move to Jackson's. He's focused and patient now, and when you add those to his power, it's a scary combo. Melvin Guillard via TKO.

Dallas Winston: Melvin was always alarmingly fast with hefty power, but now he's infused sound technique to avoid takedowns or get back up from them. Roller needs to reinvent his takedown setups, which mostly consist of traditional singles and doubles from outside or winging meathooks as a distraction. I don't see Guillard falling for either. Melvin Guillard by TKO.

Rafael dos Anjos vs. Georges Sotiropoulos

Kid Nate: Sotiropoulos looked really good for a while there and I'm expecting him to have a reach advantage in the striking. But dos Anjos has killer leg kicks and I think his BJJ is more fundamentally sound than George's 10th Planet stuff. Nevertheless, I'm going with G Sot because he's more proven in big fights. Sotiropoulos by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: Sotiropoulos is the better fighter, that's all I need to know. George Sotiropoulos by decision.

Mike Fagan: George Sotiropoulos has actually beaten guys with merit in the lightweight division. Georges Sotiropoulos by submission, round two.

Leland Roling: This is a fight that there has been much debate over on Twitter. By all indications, George has the grappling skills to overwhelm Dos Anjos. I'm not convinced of that however. Dos Anjos, in my mind, is more diverse on the feet than George's standard one-two-three combinations. He's improved his Muay Thai attacks significantly, and his ground skills are at a high level. I think it's an incredibly competitive fight, and I may throw a little dough on Dos Anjos' underdog line. But I'll pick George. I think he outguns Dos Anjos on both the feet and the ground to edge him on the scorecards. George Sotiropoulos via decision.

Anton Tabuena: This match up will be closer than what most people think, but I still think Sots will have his hand raised. George Sotiropoulos by Decision.

Matt Bishop: I've never been a big dos Anjos guy, but Sotiropoulos needs to prove he just had an off night against Siver back in February. I think he does that here. George Sotiropoulos by decision.

K.J. Gould: G-Sot had legit BJJ skills before going to 10th Planet. I'd be more concerned if he was strictly brought up on a diet of 10thPJJ but as it is he has some unorthodox tools to play with rather than rely on. Dos Anjos is the common Brazilian prototype of being a BJJ-Muay Thai mix and I think it'll come down to wrestling and who can stay on top. G-Sot has a very good top game and passes guards like a buzzsaw, and his boxing isn't bad either. The Aussie should use his hands to setup takedowns and look to crush on top though he might not submit. Sotiropoulos by decision.

Fraser Coffeen: The Siver loss kind of threw me for a loop in evaluating Sotiropoulos. After a few unremarkable years, he really broke out in 2010, but then lost that momentum against Siver. I'm not sure if he will come back, or if that was his big streak. Dos Anjos is returning from injury, but he's been looking much improved in his stand-up game in his last few fights. I think that stand-up makes the difference. Rafael dos Anjos by KO.

Dallas Winston: If G-Soto comes out trying to make a statement, Dos Anjos could whirlwind low kicks to his gangly lead-leg and jump ahead on the cards early. This could cause more urgency from Sotiropoulos, and I don't think his typical advantages will shine through when pressing the attack. How he closes the distance and his improvements in wrestling should dictate the outcome, and I think he can edge Dos Anjos, but I can't find a pick I'm confident in. George Sotiropoulos by decision.

Preliminary Card (Facebook)

Brian Bowles vs. Takeya Mizugaki

Kid Nate: Bowles has too much power. Mizugaki might outpoint him for a while, but eventually he'll get caught. Bowles by TKO.

Brent Brookhouse: Brian Bowles is a legitimately good fighter and he hits very hard. Mizugaki is tough but that's about it. Brian Bowles by decision.

Mike Fagan: Fraser nailed it below. Mizugaki's living off his performance against Miguel Torres. Brian Bowles is going to smash him in the face. Repeatedly. Even with that Rod Blagojevich haircut. Brian Bowles by TKO, round two.

Leland Roling: I'm a bit confused as to how Mizugaki is nearly a 3-to-1 underdog in this fight. He has the skills to take Bowles down and control him for three rounds. Not exactly an unfathomable scenario that should garner those odds. In any case, I think Bowles can outstrike Mizugaki and beat over the course of three rounds. But that Mizugaki line is enticing enough to throw a little cheddar his way. Brian Bowles via decision.

Anton Tabuena: I think Bowles will win this and move closer to another shot at the title he lost to Cruz. Brian Bowles by Decision.

Matt Bishop: I cannot fathom this being on Facebook. This is a real important bout in the bantamweight division and I think Bowles is going to come out with another impressive performance here. He was stymied by Cruz in 2010 but that's not going to be the case here. Bowles is going to do something not many have done, finish Mizugaki. Brian Bowles by TKO, round 2.

K.J. Gould: I don't tend to like making broad, sweeping statements but I said in one of the last predictions that if you're a Japanese fighter in the UFC that's not Yushin Okami, you're screwed. This match up doesn't change my mind on this. Bowles hits hard and Mizugaki won't know what him him. Bowles by TKO.

Fraser Coffeen: I just am not behind the Mizugaki support. He's not bad, but his entire reputation seems built around taking Torres to the decision two years ago. That's just not enough to get him past the man who KO'd Torres one fight later. Bowles's year off after the Cruz loss made him fall off most people's radars, but he'll be back in the title hunt here. Brian Bowles via submission.

Dallas Winston: Mizugaki has the reach and striking to give Bowles the same trouble Cruz did. Bowles will snap off tight, straight punches with excellent balance and defense one moment, then flail forward with a ghastly discharge of shovel punches the next, all thrown from the waist with his chin hanging out. While Mizu could capitalize, he cannot, however, break Bowles' hand with his skull. Or can he? (Spooky spirits begin wailing in the background) Brian Bowles by decision.

Brad Tavares vs. Aaron Simpson

Kid Nate: I think the years are catching up with Simpson. Tavares by TKO.

Mike Fagan: According to Wikipedia, no only did Simpson and his wife adopt a 16-year-old girl, but they had twins...via surrogate...Simpson's mother-in-law. That's weird and awesome. Aaron Simpson by decision.

Leland Roling: If Simpson actually wrestles, this should be an easy win for him. If he tries to break open Tavares' face with heavy overhands, it's a risky endeavour that could leave him open for the counter and a possible loss. I'll go with the former. Simpson takes Tavares down and beats him with ground and pound. Aaron Simpson via TKO.

Anton Tabuena: Simpson takes this one easily I think. Aaron Simpson by Decision.

Matt Bishop: Simpson's star has faded ever since his hot start to his WEC/UFC career. I know a lot of people like Simpson here, but Tavares has shown a little something and I like the moxie he showed against Phil Baroni back in January. I think he comes in here and really puts on an impressive performance and takes care of Simpson. Brad Tavares by decision.

K.J. Gould: Hard fight to call. Simpson has solid wrestling and experience on his side. Tavares is still developing but has youth and agility on his side. Tavares training out of Xtreme Couture should mean he's had plenty of wrestlers put him through the gauntlet and I'm wondering if Simpson is past the point of being able to compete at a high level due to his age. Tavares by TKO.

Fraser Coffeen: Simpson's path to victory is to grind it out, but as we saw in the Leben fight, a grinder without flawless cardio is in some real danger. Tavares has the stand-up skills to hurt Simpson in the striking exchanges, but is he's on the mat, I don't think he's diverse enough to capitalize on any Simpson troubles. Aaron Simpson via decision.

Dallas Winston: This was the one fight I thought was a lock, but I've slowly talked my way into believing Tavares is improving rapidly and has the wrestling to hang and the power to end it. You have to factor in Simpson's porous defense standing and the referees chattily demanding "action!" and to "work!" to gauge Simpson's ability to hold him down. Still, I'm speculating A-Train's punching power and position-work opens up a basic sub for him to grab. Aaron Simpson by submission.

Anthony Njokuani vs. Andre Winner

Kid Nate: Njokuani is a bad match up for Winner. Njokuani by TKO.

Mike Fagan: Be prepared for #WinnerPuns tomorrow night. Anthony Njokuani by decision.

Leland Roling: Either man can win here, but I was impressed with what Njokuani brought to the table against Barboza. If he can perform that well against Winner, he should come out on top. Anthony Njokuani via decision.

Anton Tabuena: Not that excited for this one, but I think the TUF winner gets back on track here. Andre Winner by Decision.

Matt Bishop: For losing, Njokuani sure put on a good effort against Edson Barboza in March. Winner has not been impressive lately and I see that continuing here. Anthony Njokuani by TKO, round 1.

K.J. Gould: Njokuani is a dynamic fighter to watch and arguably has more tools in his toolbelt, but I still really like Winner's hands against almost anyone in this weightclass. Winner looked bad against Nick Lentz who up until recently was making every fighter he faced look bad, and he got clouted by Siver who has emerged as a bit of a force at Lightweight after his rocky start. I think this is do or die for winner and the match up stylistically favours him as it'll likely stay on the feet until someone goes out. I'll go out on a limb and say Winner gets it done. Winner by TKO.

Fraser Coffeen: Winner has had some decent showings, but he was mauled in that Siver fight. Njokuani is a very different fighter from Siver, but I think he's still a step above Winner. Anthony Njokuani by TKO.

Dallas Winston: This is the perfect example of an "anything can happen" fight, and has all the unpredictable makings of Kongo vs. Barry. While Njokuani is the more dynamic and powerful striker, I think his wide, spinning, and looping style -- while more enjoyable to watch -- is not a good fit for Winner's lightning-fast, linear boxing. This, along with Condit x Kim, should be appetizingly violent. Andre Winner by decision.

Jeff Hougland vs. Donny Walker

Kid Nate: Walker by TKO.

Mike Fagan: I don't normally drink scotch, but when I do, I drink Donny Walker Blue. Donny Walker by TKO, round one.

Leland Roling: I don't hold much hope for a guy who busts up regional talent in the Pacific Northwest. Walker has been fighting in the better portion of the Midwest circuit in Ohio, and he's defeated a couple of tough fighters in the process. He's dropping to 135 for this fight, so I expect him to run over Hougland. Donny Walker via TKO.

Anton Tabuena: Neither guy has won against stellar competition yet, but Walker has faced slightly better opposition... so I guess Donny Walker by Decision.

Matt Bishop: Donny Walker by decision.

K.J. Gould: A debut for both guys, Walker has slightly more experience but both have had a similar amount of success and come in with multi-fight winning streaks. It's also a classic striker vs grappler match up and while all fights start on the feet at this level of experience the grappler tends to be able to get the fight to the ground and finish. Hougland by submission.

Fraser Coffeen: Hougland's fought Melendez, and he's dropping weight, AND he's a fellow Chicago native? Sold! Jeff Hougland via TKO.

Dallas Winston: Great Hougly-Mougly by "ouch, stop punching me"-plata. Jeff Hougland by submission.

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