The first 'mega-card', but my definition, of the year is finally here. 142 wasn't bad, the first fight night on FX was very good, and UFC on Fox had the potential to be 3 decisions that weren't too exciting from the get-go. UFC 143 is the first mega-card in my book because there is no way in hell the main event doesn't deliver. Everyone knows the routine, below are my picks for the event.
Preliminary card (Facebook)
I'm not going to lie, I know very little about all members involved in these fights...so I literally am just going with a bit of a gut reaction.
Preliminary card (FX)
Welerweight: Matt Riddle vs Henry Martinez - Riddle is just plain not amazing, while Martinez is taking the fight on literally a few days notice. He did just fight on the 21st though, so he should be in shape...but he is also naturally a LW fighter. I don't know, something tells me Riddle is good enough to get a win here. Riddle via Decision
Welterweight: Matt Brown vs Chris Cope - Everyone likes to hate on how crappy Chris Cope is or this and that...I'm not saying he is great, but Brown has lost 4 of his last five and might simply be fading at this point and 'losing' whatever he had. Chris Cope via decision.
Bantamweight: Alex Caceres vs Edwin Figueroa - Bruce Leroy looked surprisingly good in his last fight against Escovedo and I think if he can continue to improve and ride the momentum of finally getting a win, that he should be able to take this. Figueroa is game...but I don't think it'll be enough. Alex Caceres via Decision.
Featherweight: Dustin Poirier vs Max Holloway - Undefeated or not, taking a short notice fight against one of the best young guns in the division isn't a good idea, other than to get a freebie into the UFC. Dustin Poirier via Submission.
Main Card (Pay-Per-View)
Middleweight: Ed Herman vs Clifford Starks - I'm not going to be as shocked as many will be if Starks pulls this off...but I honestly don't expect him to, he's a wrestler, which should play right into Herman's BJJ game. Ed Herman via Submission.
Bantamweight: Renan Barao vs Scott Jorgensen - The 'Baron' is on a hell of an unbeaten streak. Record wise, he's almost like a Bantamweight Fedor Emelianenko(I've been waiting for ages to make that crappy analogy). Jorgensen should have the edge wrestling, but nowhere else. BJJ, Striking, and I think overall grappling goes to Barao. Many of his fights have been against lower level competition(at higher weight classes, though) but going so many fights without every making a fatal mistake or even getting caught is crazy...he is either very talented, very smart, very lucky, or a combination of both. I don't think Jorgensen ends the streak with what he brings to the table. Renan Barao via Submission.
Welterweight: Josh Koscheck vs Mike Pierce - On paper, it would mostly seem like Kos simply does everything that Pierce does, but just a little bit better. Either way, I'm feeling the upset special and I'll say Mike Pierce via TKO
Heavyweight: Fabricio Werdum vs Roy Nelson - After his performance against Alistair Overeem, that could barely be called a 'performance' at all...I am just extremely skeptical of Fabricio Werdum's ability to, well, perform. I think Nelson is wary enough to not be submitted(far easier said than done against Werdum) and will actually do a good enough job of keeping it on the feet and will eventually land something big and put him away. Roy Nelson via TKO
Welterweight: The Interim Title is on the line as we truly have a battle of champions. Diaz was the Strikeforce WW champ with 3 defenses before heading over to the UFC and he still unofficially 'brings' the title he never lost into every fight. On the other hand, Condit would still have the clout of being the WEC champion with 3 successful defenses if not for a razor thin split-decision loss to Martin Kampmann in his first UFC bout.
These guys really don't know how to do anything but come forward and try to eliminate you. They both have shown all kinds of heart in comebacks wins where they overcame adversity, they've both shown incredible chins and a huge amount of tenacity. Niether of them are amazing wrestlers either...so we shouldn't have to worry too much about one getting into trouble and trying to stifle the other that way.
Carlos Condit has finished 26 of his 27 wins, which is a vicious statistic, while Diaz has finished 21 of his 26 wins. These guys are killers, no two ways about it. This is a fight I wish I didn't have to call. But forcing myself to do so, I'll go out on a limb that Condit suffers the same problem as Diaz's last 11 opponents and just can't handle the pace and style that Diaz brings to the table. I'll be happy with either guy winning, and I feel like it'll be a war that could go either way...but Nick Diaz via Decision in a Fight of the Year candidate.