Event: UFC Fight Night: Shields vs. Ellenberger
Date: Saturday, September 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Spike TV
Location: Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana
Mike Fagan - I'll be watching this out of the corner of my eye, as most of my focus will be on Mayweather vs. Ortiz. Shields-Ellenberger could turn into a barnburner, but the three-round limit mitigates the drama. I know five-round, non-title fights are coming, but guys at Shields' level should always go five rounds. Jake Shields by decision.
Leland Roling - My biggest concern with Ellenberger is his love affair with his hands. He fights as if he can crush his foes with booming power in his hands, forgets how to defend against takedowns, and finds himself in precarious situations on the floor. Unless that changes, Shields will put him down and dominate. Jake Shields via decision.
Tim Burke - The only thing that's holding me back from picking a complete Shields blowout is the death of his father/manager. It's impossible to know how it will affect his mental game. On paper though, it's a blowout. Ellenberger isn't great at stopping takedowns, and Jake's takedowns are very, very good. Ellenberger's power is a non-issue because he'll never get to use it. Jake Shields by dominating decision.
Matt Roth - I like this match up and thought it was a solid test for both fighters. The death of Jack Shields adds more intrigue as there are questions on how Jake will handle his father's death. Ellenberger isn't great at stopping takedowns but he's been super competitive in all of his UFC fights. His power is an X-Factor. I'll go with my gut and say that Jake Shields will overcome whatever is going on his in brain. Jake Shields by decision.
Fraser Coffeen - Logic says Shields, especially after rewatching Ellenberger vs. Rocha at 126 where Rocha gave him far too much trouble with takedowns and on the ground. But I have this nagging feeling that Shields is going to have trouble mentally, and is on the path to unfortunate UFC washout. Jake Ellenberger by decision.
Anton Tabuena - Takedown, grind, takedown, grind, which eventually leads to a submission that would make his dad proud. Jake Shields by Submission.
Staff Picking Shields: Tim, KJ, Roth, Anton, Fagan, Leland
Staff Picking Ellenberger: Fraser
Mike Fagan - Listen, I know this card is bad, but McGee and Yang are in the co-main? And on the poster? Court McGee by decision.
Leland Roling - Neither fighter is going to ever be relevant without some massive improvements in their overall skills. Yang's power is a major advantage at these lower levels however, and he'll find a way to uncork a shot that downs McGee here. Dongi Yang via TKO.
Matt Roth - Yang was originally brought into the UFC as one of the top Korean prospects. He hasn't panned out that way but still has a ton of talent. I'm not really high on Court McGee since he benefited from the weakest season of The Ultimate Fighter. Dongi Yang by Decision.
Anton Tabuena - Do you have any idea how big a win over a TUF winner could for be for Asian MMA? Dongi Yang via being Biased.
Staff Picking McGee: KJ, Fagan
Staff Picking Yang: Tim, Roth, Fraser, Leland
Mike Fagan - It's going to be very difficult for me to watch this fight without thinking how much Koch looks like the lovechild of John Malkovich and a Conehead. Erik Koch by decision.
Leland Roling - Koch got himself a tanning sponsor along with Jersey Shore tan for this fight. I imagine the orange glare coming of Koch's skin will blind Brookins, allowing Koch to unleash some nasty kickboxing on the feet. Erik Koch via decision.
Anton Tabuena - He's coming off multiple injuries and a long layoff, plus, he's also weaker with stand up... There's a lot question marks coming in to Brookins' first bout since winning TUF. He's is naturally the underdog on this match up, but I think he can use his grappling and grind out a victory. Jonathan Brookins by Decision.
Matt Roth - Something about Brookins' face. This is the guy who is supposed to be one of the top prospects at 155? He's not really that good and everything he does well Koch does better. I'm going with Koch by decision.
Staff Picking Brookins: Anton
Staff Picking Koch: Tim, KJ, Roth, Fraser, Fagan, Leland
Mike Fagan - MacDonald hits Belcher in the face. Either A) Belcher freaks out about his eye and enters Panic Mode or B) Belcher deals with it and wins the fight. Alan Belcher by TKO, round two.
Leland Roling - MacDonald won't last on the feet, and he'll have a hard time bringing a bigger Alan Belcher into his world on the ground. Belcher keeps it standing and batters MacDonald to a stoppage. Alan Belcher via TKO.
Matt Roth - There was a time when fans were certain that Alan Belcher would be the man to dethrone Anderson Silva. He possesses creative striking and his grappling is severely underrated. J-Mac is one of the most inconsistent fighters in MMA. Sometimes he's super impressive and other times he's awful. Even with the massive lay off I'll still give the advantage to Belcher. Alan Belcher by TKO.
Anton Tabuena - Both guys are good, but Belcher is the more complete fighter. I think he's the much better striker, and I think he might be good enough to avoid getting subbed. Alan Belcher via TKO.
Staff Picking Belcher: Tim, Roth, Fraser, Anton, Fagan, Leland
Staff Picking MacDonald: KJ
Mike Fagan - I assume the Mayweather-Ortiz 24/7 replays will be running at this point. Cody McKenzie by decision.
Leland Roling - Rocha didn't look great against Cerrone due to the offense that "Cowboy" was able to produce off his back. McKenzie doesn't have those skills at all, and his stand-up is terrible. Rocha will avoid the guillotine and do whatever he wants. Vagner Rocha via submission.
Tim Burke - Guillotines, blah blah. Cody's gonna get worked by a better grappler this time around. Rocha looked terrible against Cerrone, but this is a fight that suits his style a lot better. Vagner Rocha by submission.
Fraser Coffeen - No offense meant to Yves Edwards here, but if Cody McKenzie is losing, via submission, to 2011 Yves, he's going to get tapped by Rocha. Vagner Rocha via submission.
Anton Tabuena - He's going to guillotine a much better grappler? Not happening. Rocha by Submission
Staff Picking McKenzie: Fagab
Staff Picking Rocha: Tim, KJ, Roth, Fraser, Leland
Mike Fagan - At 29, Dunham's window for a title shot is starting to close. This should be the start of his last serious run at a belt. Evan Dunham by submission, round two.
Leland Roling - Remember when Dunham beat Sherk, got robbed, then got fed to Melvin Guillard? The UFC decided to add insult to injury by burying him on the undercard of a terrible show. Bailey has nothing but takedowns and top control. Dunham can stifle those attempts and threaten both on the feet and on the ground. He wins easily here. Evan Dunham via decision.
Tim Burke - This will be complete and utter domination from Dunham. Bailey really has nothing to offer other than wrestling, and he'll probably get submitted if he tries to grapple with Dunham. In fact, that's my call. Evan Dunham by submission.
Anton Tabuena - Guillard was a bad match up for him, this fight on the other hand, is great for him. Evan Dunham by a very lopsided Decision.
Matt Roth - Shamar seems like a really nice guy. But he's just not in the same league as Evan Dunham. Dunham's fallen off a bit with losses to Guillard and Sherk but he's still one of the top 155 guys in the UFC. This isn't gonna be a close fight. Evan Dunham by submission.
Staff Picking Dunham: Tim, KJ, Roth, Fraser, Dunham, Leland
Staff Picking Bailey:
Leland Roling - I might be the only staff member who's seen many of Benoist's fights. He's a decent striker, and he has the know-how on the ground to threaten with submissions. Matt Riddle isn't terrible though. His striking has improved, and it took a national level wrestler in Sean Pierson to grind through him in his last appearance. Riddle turns the tables, takes down Benoist, and grinds him out. Matt Riddle via decision.
Tim Burke - This fight actually looks to be a lot closer than people realize. Benoist doesn't have the wrestling background Riddle does, but he's a good grappler and probably has better standup than Riddle. I originally sided with Riddle due to the wrestling, but if he's gonna try and stand with Benoist like he did with Pierson, I think he could definitely lose this. I'll go with Lance Benoist by close decision.
Matt Roth - Is Benoist Canadian? Sounds like a French Canadian last name. Matt Ridddle by decision.
Staff Picking Riddle: KJ, Roth, Fraser, Anton, Fagan, Leland
Staff Picking Benoist: Tim
Mike Fagan - There's some bad Keystone Light vs. Johnny Walker Red joke here. Maybe that's the joke. Ken Stone by decision.
Leland Roling - Ken Stone got thrown to the wolves in his first two appearances, so this should be an easier fight for him. I'll side with American Top Team all the way in this one. Ken Stone via decision.
Tim Burke - I've spent five minutes sitting here trying to find something to say about this fight, and I still have nothing. Stone was doing okay against Jorgensen before he got knocked out, I guess. I'll go with three minutes of surviving against Young Guns over 15 minutes of lethargy against a guy nicknamed "Hellbound". Ken Stone by TKO.
Matt Roth - Thanks a lot Fagan for stealing my joke. Ken Stone by decision.
Staff Picking Stone: Tim, KJ, Roth, Fraser, Anton, Fagan, Leland
Staff Picking Walker:
Leland Roling - TUF'er vs. the 6'3" "Polish Pistola"? After Seth ran all over prospect Alex Garcia in his last fight, it's difficult for me to see him losing against Harvison. Seth Baczynski via TKO.
Tim Burke - Seth will win by way of not having a terrible nickname like "Heavy Metal". Wait, his is "Polish Pistola"? Now I want to call it a draw, or hope the power goes out when they get into the cage. I'll go Baczynski because his name is worth more points in scrabble. Seth Baczynski by decision.
Matt Roth - Things I am not looking forward to: typing Baczynski a lot tomorrow night. Hopefully he wins really fast. Seth Baczynski by TKO.
Staff Picking Harvison: Fraser
Staff Picking Baczynski: Tim, KJ, Roth, Anton, Fagan, Leland
Mike Stumpf vs. T.J. Waldburger
Mike Fagan - Christ, there's three more of these to do? Waldburger and Stumpf sound like rejected names for the Muppets' Statler and Waldorf. T.J. Waldburger by decision.
Leland Roling - Late replacement Stumpf has his work cut out for him. Waldburger is a cagey veteran with the ability to grind out opponents on the ground. Stumpf isn't a better grappler than Waldburger, so do the math. T.J. Waldburger via decision.
Tim Burke - Both are submission fighters. T.J's faced the much tougher competition. Stumpf was out of MMA for two and a half years, and returned in May with a decision win. Still though, being a super-late replacement is not going to help Stumpf's chances. T.J. Waldburger by lackluster decision.
Matt Roth - I saw Waldburger fight last year in Austin. I kept calling him Whataburger. T.J. Waldburger by decision.
Staff Picking Waldburger: Tim, KJ, Roth, Fraser, Anton, Fagan, Leland
Staff Picking Stumpf:
Mike Fagan - When did it become evident that I'm more interested in the boxing on Saturday night? Mike Lullo by decision.
Leland Roling - I can't pick anyone who trains in Illinois besides maybe Clay Guida. The state just isn't conducive to creating a high quantity of quality fighters. Peralta has the better record and strength of record, and that will show in this fight. Robert Peralta via decision.
Tim Burke - Peralta is best known for winning a split decision over Hiroyuki Takaya at a Strikeforce event. Lullo is dropping from LW and will likely have a size advantage. Peralta is a black belt in taekwondo and wants it on the feet, while Lullo will be looking for a ground battle. I think Lullo's size will be the difference, and he'll pick where the fight takes place. Mike Lullo by decision.
Anton Tabuena - Peralta has fought the better opposition. Lullo's only notable opponent beat him up badly. Robert Peralta by Decision.
Matt Roth - Matt Roth fun fact: I once drank a boot filled with Spaten Optimator. Robert Peralta by Decision.
Staff Picking Lullo: Tim, KJ, Fagan
Staff Picking Peralta: Roth, Fraser, Anton, Leland
Mike Fagan - Premise. Set-up. Mexican punchline. Jorge Lopez by TKO, round one.
Leland Roling - Jorge Lopez would have made the 2011 Scouting Report if his campmates took a handicam to his fights. He's a legit prospect, and he should bombard Justin Edwards. Jorge Lopez via TKO.
Tim Burke - Wanderlei Silva's protege Lopez has some good striking and has looked really impressive in his last two TPF fights. I'm not sure why Edwards is still in the UFC, to be honest. I expect Lopez to light him up. Jorge Lopez via TKO.
Matt Roth - If Jorge Lopez doesn't walk out to Sandstorm I'm gonna be so mad. Jorge Lopez by TKO.
Staff Picking Edwards:
Staff Picking Lopez: Tim, KJ, Roth, Fraser, Anton, Fagan, Leland