UFC 145: Jones Vs. Evans Staff Picks And Predictions

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Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans

Brent Brookhouse: As a big Rashad Evans fan, there's no doubt that I'll be rooting for him. But I think Jones is too much here. He's too long for Rashad to reliably win the striking game, his wrestling will be too good for Rashad to outwrestle him and even if Rashad does get a takedown, I don't think he's going to be aggressive enough to go for a finish before it's back on the feet with Jon taking back over. Basically, I'm worried Rashad has nothing more than a home run swing chance here. Jon Jones by TKO, round 4.

Anton Tabuena: As a fan I will be rooting for Evans and will be hoping he lands that big punch, or is able to control position on the ground. Although as much as I want to see that, my head tells me that's less likely to happen. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm picking Jon Jones by Late Submission.

T.P. Grant: Oh man, I can't wait for this fight. Not just for the back story but for the match up of styles. Both are excellent wrestlers, Jones is fantastic in the clinch with a hybrid greco-judo attack while Evans works a relentless attack on the legs. I think Evans presents a lot of interesting problems for Jones with his fantastic ability to mix striking and wrestling together. Evans presents the best chance we've seen to put Jones on his back. If Evans had shown any interest in submission offense I might even be tempted to pick him, but I'm done picking against Jones. He keeps Evans on the outside and hurts him on the feet. After a few rounds of striking and counter wrestler, Jones will take Evans down and lock on a submission. Jon Jones by Submission, Round 4.

Tim Burke: I'm thoroughly bored with this fight by now. Many can look at the long lead-up and say it adds to the allure. Not me. This fight never really interested me, and nothing they've said has made it interesting. Jones is MMA 4.0. Evans is still updating at 2.5.11. The sub idea is ridiculous to me considering Rashad's grappling pedigree (which is highly underrated), but his chin ain't iron. Bone is gonna get to it. Jon Jones by TKO, round 3.

Jack Slack: This one seems pretty cut and paste to me. Jones will establish methodical kicks and long punches and brutalise Rashad throughout this match up. Rashad does not have the head movement to keep attacking in and out, and Jones will catch him with a heavy counter sooner or later. Rashad's one hope in this fight is to close the distance immediately. When I say immediately, I mean swarm on top of Jones when Jones does his predictable crawl to the centre of the octagon. Jones has received so much hype in recent weeks that he is essentially carrying the UFC brand, in this fight he is even being sponsored by the company. Add to this the premature and borderline foolish comparisons to Muhammad Ali, and you have a man who has never been hurt and is carrying the weight and expectations of a great many people on his shoulders. A well timed punch to the jaw could break Jones mentally for the entire fight. Most likely though, Rashad is going to get push kicked to the knee for a couple of rounds, before having the theories around his own chin tested. Jones, TKO, Round 3

Fraser Coffeen: There's this weird part of me that keeps wanting to pick Rashad here. But the problem I keep coming back to is, how? How does Rashad win? I don't see him consistently taking Jones down and controlling him on the mat, and I don't see him outpointing Jones on the feet. Rashad is a smart fighter, but I think there's a skill gap here he can't overcome. Jon Jones by submission, round 4

David Castillo: I think Rashad Evans will make it a tentative fight early on, try to clinch, get in close, and do anything to avoid Jones at range, but I can't think of a single scenario in which he's able to instigate any sort of offense. If he keeps it on the feet, he gets destroyed. If he gets taken down, he gets destroyed. He can't play defense because Jones stalks well and being defensive won't do him any favors with that reach disadvantage. I personally think Evans put on a brilliant, calculated performance against Davis. And so I feel like he's a live dog, but Jones is every bit as good as the UFC says he is, unwise comparisons be damned. Jon Jones by TKO, round 2.

Dallas Winston: Jones has offered only tiny shreds of vulnerability to analyze, but the dynamic that makes sense for Rashad is what Machida was able to do in the 1st. Jones is an unbelievably unorthodox and creative striker, yet Machida found success with simple, patient and frighteningly quick counter punching. Rashad has always been fast for a 205er and I'd say his biggest improvement is the way he's developed his footwork and hand speed to complement his wrestle-boxing approach. I expect Rashad to stay coiled like a spring and then explode with a flurry of cracking lefts and rights when Jones commits to distance strikes. Rashad has the most formidable combination of footwork, wrestling and striking that Jones has ever encountered. Still, the champ's jaw-dropping length, diversity and momentum are too hard to pick against. Jon Jones by submission (D'arce perhaps?).

Staff picking Jones: Brookhouse, Grant, Anton, Jack, Stephie, Fraser, David, Tim, Dallas
Staff picking Evans: KJ, Thapa

SBN coverage of UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans

Rory MacDonald vs. Che MillsMacdonald_x_mills_medium

Brent Brookhouse: Che Mills has good power, he'll beat a lot of C and B level talents in the UFC, but Rory MacDonald is not that guy. MacDonald has run through better guys than Che and I expect him to do it again. Rory MacDonald by TKO, round 1.

Anton Tabuena: Contrary to what they've been saying during the build up, Che Mills is not "an elite elite fighter". He's a talented fighter, but he's taking a gigantic step up in competition and I don't think he's on the level of MacDonald. This will end up looking like a complete showcase fight for MacDonald, introducing him to the thousands and thousands of new fans buying the card for the main event. Rory MacDonald by Domination.

T.P. Grant: A future title challenger, MacDonald is rising very quickly. Very skilled and physically gifted fighter at just 22-years-old, MacDonald has future title contender written all over him. Mills on the other hand was eliminated from Ultimate Fighter UK vs US in the preliminary round. MacDonald all day. Rory MacDonald by TKO, Round 2.

Tim Burke: Bottom line - Che's not that good. He's a mid-level UFC welterweight at best, riding a sick KO into the only co-main event bout he'll ever see in the big leagues. Rory is a monster in every sense of the word, and I'll be waving my Canadian flag while he feasts on the mismatch Joe Silva set up. Rory MacDonald by submission, round 2.

Jack Slack: Che Mills is an exciting prospect, but stands far too upright at all times. Rory MacDonald is a competent striker, as he proved against Carlos Condit, but I doubt he'll severely hurt Mills by taking advantage of this in their fight. More likely he is going to take advantage of Mills' rigid posture by taking him to the ground and submitting the Englishman. MacDonald, Submission, Round 2

David Castillo: Che Mills is a decent enough fighter. Rory is a certified blue chip prospect. Do the math. Mills has a decent enough chance on the feet, but Rory is more than capable, and I expect this one to end quickly enough. Rory MacDonald by TKO, round 2.

Dallas Winston: Considering MacDonald's only loss was to the current interim champion in a fight where he dominated the first rounds and literally lost in the last few seconds, there's not too many welters I'd pick to beat him. The way he's matured into in an A-level fighter at such a young age is quite remarkable. Rory MacDonald by submission.

Staff picking MacDonald: Brookhouse, Grant, Anton, Jack, Stephie, Fraser, David, Tim, Thapa, Dallas
Staff picking Mills: KJ

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Brendan Schaub vs. Ben Rothwell

Brent Brookhouse: Picking Rothwell would be an insane overcorrection of expectations following Schaub's being KO'ed by Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Nogueira crushed Mir with a punch also and had him about out, he's been sitting down on his power more and not looking for a ground fight. I don't think Schaub's chin is outstanding, but I don't see a reason to treat him like he's made of glass either. He's certainly better than Rothwell, who has looked pretty horrible in his UFC run. Brendan Schaub by lopsided decision.

Anton Tabuena: Rothwell can turn this into an ugly fight tilting the odds a bit closer to his favor, but even then, I still think Schaub is likely to win. It could be a complete blowout, or a grueling bout, but I just don't see many avenues that Rothwell can win. Brendan Schaub by TKO.

T.P. Grant: Schaub's still a pretty solid heavyweight prospect despite his knockout loss to the slightly larger Nogueira brother and Rothwell is a decent gatekeeper test for him. Rothwell's wins most come from being decently well rounded, but he doesn't seem like he will give Schaub much trouble. Schaub's biggest problems have come against heavy handed punchers and while Rothwell does have pretty solid striking, I don't think he'll be able to keep up with Schaub. I expect the Hybrid to be on his bike and use his jab to keep Rothwell on the outside. As the fight wears on Rothwell will fade and one of Schaub's heavy punches will find a home. Brendan Schaub by TKO, Round 3.

Tim Burke: I hate fights like this. Logic says that Schaub owns Rothwell across the board and Big Ben will have nothing for him. But the bitter fight fan in me wants Ben to turn Schaub's lights out and brush his shoulder off afterwards. I have to keep up with Dallas and Fraser (sounds like a crappy lawfirm) though, so I'll go with the safe pick. Brendan Schaub by decision.

Jack Slack: I am going to go against the grain here. Both fighters are pretty average in most areas, with massive shortfalls in others. In Rothwell's case it is an obvious lack of technique in his area of strength, brawling, and a seeming inability to fight for more than 2 rounds without almost collapsing from exhaustion. He does however have a big punch and a granite jaw. Brendan Schaub, on the other hand, has perhaps the most suspect chin in the UFC's heavyweight division. Getting knocked out by Roy Nelson is no shame on a man's chin, but by Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira? Nogueira's only KO up to that point was over the barely 185lbs Sanae Kikuta. That's pretty indicative of Schaub's poor capacity to take a punch. Schaub takes the lead early, connecting big punches, then gets clipped and covers against the cage before being stopped again. Rothwell, KO, Round 3

Fraser Coffeen: I'm not sold on Schaub's power or his ability to survive being hit. But Rothwell has looked increasingly lethargic lately. Schaub should be able to use speed and movement to avoid Rothwell at first, then pick him apart slowly. Also, I have a sneaky suspicion this is going to suck. Brendan Schaub by decision

David Castillo: I don't think much of Schaub, but he's capable, fast, and infinitely more polished than Rothwell, who seems to be deteriorating at an exponential rate. The Rothwell that fought Arlovski might stand a good chance, but we're far removed from that universe, and so are Ben's chances against the moderately competent Schaub. Brendan Schaub by Decision.

Dallas Winston: Schaub has phenomenal size and athleticism for a heavyweight, along with tight and powerful boxing. Big Ben used to have comparable agility and either overpower quicker opponents or rely on quickness against powerful opponents. The only time we've seen the Rothwell of old was in the first 5-minutes against Yvel, but he came out flat in the 2nd and 3rd and was swept (and close to being finished). I'd give him a better chance if his punching power didn't deteriorate along with his cardio. He could catch Schaub or hop on his back in a transition, but I expect a competitive, back-and-forth 1st round before Schaub takes over. Brendan Schaub by decision.

Staff picking Rothwell: Jack
Staff picking Schaub: Brookhouse, KJ, Grant, Anton, Stephie, Fraser, David, Tim, Thapa, Dallas

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Miguel Torres vs. Michael McDonald

Brent Brookhouse: McDonald is very good, but I feel like Torres is going to be a bit too tough and too savvy for him. Even the new "patient" Torres tends to allow himself to get caught up in slugfests in moments where he gets hit so we may see a bit of slugging, but I think he can still win the majority of the fight standing. I think it's important to remember what Torres was able to do against the better Johnson when someone tried to outwrestle him. Torres just is a little bit too good here. Miguel Torres by decision.

Anton Tabuena: I am absolutely stoked for this fight. Some people think this is one of those "hot young prospect vs. old dog" bouts, but considering that he already has almost 50 fights on his 12 year career, Torres is still relatively young. It could go either way, but I think Torres can win his 4th straight bout (we won against Johnson) and finally get a title shot on that terrific stylistic matchup against Cruz, or that long overdue super-fight against Faber. Miguel Torres by Submission.

T.P. Grant: This has fun scrap written all over it. Torres' style has gone through a transformation from brawler to aggressive yet intelligent and McDonald seems like the kind of fighter to indulge him in the kind of high paced fight Torres thrives in. I think McDonald could win this fight as Torres does get reckless and he does have better wrestling, but Torres is very dangerous both on the feet and off his back. I think at some point the action will hit the mat and Torres will take the back. Miguel Torres by Submission, Round 1.

Tim Burke: I'm the biggest Mayday fan in all the land, so don't look at me for an objective opinion. But this fight looks kinda weird to me - I honestly think the new Miguel Torres can't hang with McDonald. The old Torres that attacked with reckless abandon could, because as good as he is, Mayday's a bit gunshy at times. But the new Torres looks for the W rather than the finish, and that plays right into McDonald's hands. Sorry Miggy. Michael McDonald by decision.

Fraser Coffeen: Torres is not the world beater he once was, but the only guys that beat him are next in line for title shots, and that's not where I see McDonald just yet. But if he drags Torres into a wild scrap, I think McDonald is crisp enough to take him out. I'll go with the young gun here. Michael McDonald, TKO, round 2

David Castillo: If this were for the WEC title, Torres takes an upset loss, but since his maturation, he's learned to avoid brawling, and those instincts will serve him well against the heavy handed McDonald. I'm not as high on McDonald as others, in part because I haven't found him that impressive against unimpressive competition. But he's obviously got a ton of upside. Still, expect Torres to stick the jab in his face, and work the clinch if McDonald starts firing. Miguel Torres by decision.

Dallas Winston: Toughest call on the card. Mayday is a unique talent with the speed and footwork to cause fits, but Torres has a freakish reach length and the edge with intelligence and experience. This should be a range game, with Torres keeping McDonald on the fringe with a spearing jab and circling into open space and McDonald looking to shrink the gap to fire quick combos or shoot doubles. The length and more proven BJJ/Muay Thai medley of Torres should prevail in a Fight of the Night barn-burner.

Staff picking McDonald: KJ, Stephie, Fraser, Tim
Staff picking Torres: Brookhouse, Grant, Anton, David, Thapa, Dallas

Hominick_x_yagin_medium

Mark Hominick vs. Eddie Yagin

Brent Brookhouse: Yagin is in there to play punching bag. Hominick is going to be upset ater his last loss and will be looking to prove a point. I think he does so and then some. Mark Hominick by KO, round 1.

T.P. Grant: Hominick is on a two fight slide and this fight seems tailor made to get him back in the W column. Yagin is a game fighter, but Hominick should be another level. The death of Shawn Tompkins hit Hominick hard, as did Chan-Sung Jung's fist, but he has had time pull things together and get focused. Mark Hominick by TKO, Round 3.

Tim Burke: Eddie Yagin might be the laziest fighter in the UFC. The UFC wanted Hominick to recover from that terrible Zombie murder death kill, and they picked the perfect opponent. Yagin will sit there and take everything Hominick has to offer, which is a lot. He's tough as hell though, so we'll hear a final bell. Mark Hominick by decision.

Fraser Coffeen: There's just no reason for Yagin to win here unless Hominick is still really struggling to find his footing after Tompkins's death. Trouble is, that might indeed be the case. As a huge Hominick fan, I'm going to hope it's not, and that he finds his form here. Hominick should dissect him for 15. Mark Hominick, decision

David Castillo: Hominick has always been prone to the odd, embarrassing loss, but Eddie Yagin isn't good enough to catch Mark even on his worst day. Mark Hominick by TKO, round 3.

Dallas Winston: This is close to a gimme as you'll get in the UFC. Yagin is unquestionably durable and tough with legit power in his counters. Hominick will have to use his speed and technique to flit in and out without eating a monster right hand. Some of his techniques, like the wheeling left hook to the body, leave Hominick's chin dangerously exposed but he should cruise to a decision as long as he doesn't underestimate Yagin. Mark Hominick by decision.

Staff picking Hominick: Brookhouse, KJ, Grant, Anton, Stephie, Fraser, David, Tim, Thapa, Dallas
Staff picking Yagin:

Bocek_x_alessio_medium

Mark Bocek vs. John Alessio

Brent Brookhouse: It's just a question of if Alessio can get through the fight without being finished. I'll go ahead and give him the benefit of the doubt. Mark Bocek by decision.

Anton Tabuena: Pass, Pass, Choke. Mark Bocek by Submission.

T.P. Grant: Bocek's grappling has made huge strides in recent years and is one of the best on the mat at lightweight. Alessio has recently dropped down and is a well rounded fighter. Alessio is something of a jack of all trades, master of none. Bocek is no stranger to dealing with welterweights descending a weight class and I think he takes this one. Mark Bocek by Submission, Round 2.

Tim Burke: John Alessio is from Vancouver Island. This would normally be a default backing. But...sorry John. Mark Bocek's big grappling advantage over you is big. I'm leaning soulless ginger. Mark Bocek by decision.

Fraser Coffeen: Alessio is one of those fighters who is fine, not great at anything, and at his prime just barely UFC caliber. Now that prime has passed, and he's going to struggle to hang in there I think. Mark Bocek, decision

David Castillo: I think Bocek is one of the more underrated fighters in MMA. His grappling is elite, he knows how to apply it well even against opponents he should be outmatched by (like Miller), and he's fairly durable despite the terrible stoppage to Edgar. Alessio is simply a less talented Bocek. Mark Bocek by submission, round 2.

Dallas Winston: I've been on the fence about this one and further tempted to pick Alessio just because no one else is giving him his due respect. People are quick to note his 7 submission losses and pick the BJJ black belt, but 5 of those catches were in his first 12 fights and against the likes of a prime Pat Miletich, Joe Doerksen (33 sub wins) and Egan Inoue (subbed Doerksen). His only 2 sub losses since are to BJJ world champ Andre Galvao and interim champ Carlos Condit. Alessio also shut down Diego Sanchez's takedowns better than anyone else (Sanchez was 1 for 16) and Bocek, while still capable with takedowns, is not a natural wrestler. Hell ... I've talked myself into it. John Alessio by decision.

Staff picking Alessio: Dallas
Staff picking Bocek: Brookhouse, Grant, KJ, Stephie, Fraser, David, Tim, Thapa

Travis Browne vs. Chad Griggs

Brent Brookhouse: I gotta be me and pick an upset sometiUfc_145_fx_prelims_mediumme and I think this is a good fight for it. Browne seems to have a bit of trouble with opponents who display much tenacity. He should have lost to Kongo if Kongo wouldn't have been stupid and got a point taken for fouls that weren't helping him a ton. He KO'ed Struve which was a good win but didn't prove a ton aside from having power and then the Broughton fight was an absolute embarrassing mess for Browne. Altitude in Colorado had something to do with that, but I think Griggs may be able to survive early and take over as Browne fades in round 2 and finish him in the third. I'm absolutely going out on a limb here, but Chad Griggs by TKO, round 3.

T.P. Grant: Browne is an up and coming heavyweight who actually might have some skills. Griggs is a scrappy dude no doubts but his most impressive career performance came from allowing Bobby Lashley to tire himself out from mount. I'll go with Browne. Travis Browne by TKO, Round 2.

Tim Burke: I think it's hilarious that people are riding some sideburns and insane dreams long enough to give Chad Griggs a chance here. He's gonna get tooled by a massive HW with much better skills. I want Strikeforce guys to succeed as much as anyone, but this is a terrible matchup for him. Hapa in the house. Travis Browne by TKO, round 2.

David Castillo: Chad Griggs will get smashed here. Browne still gets too tentative for my liking, but the reach and the power will be too much for a guy who is already prone to slugging. This isn't a Strikeforce tournament reserve bout. Which is where Griggs belongs (and I don't mean that in a negative way). Travis Browne by TKO, round 3.

Dallas Winston: I'll admit to under-rating Griggs in the past. The guy is a hard-nosed brawler with a big heart. Though Browne looked flat in his last outing, I think his striking is too clean and diverse for Griggs and he can always fall back on his solid ground game, which he hasn't shown a lot of in the UFC. Travis Browne by submission.

Staff picking Browne: Grant, KJ, Anton, Fraser, David, Tim, Dallas
Staff picking Griggs: Brookhouse, Stephie, Thapa

Matt Brown vs. Stephen Thompson

Brent Brookhouse: Bad fight for Thompson. I want him to win because I think he has more upside and is a lot of fun to watch, but Brown is too much for him. Brown is going to push him into the cage, work in the clinch, get takedowns and eventually finish him with a submission. Matt Brown by submission, round 2.

Anton Tabuena: Karate! Thompson by TKO.

T.P. Grant: This is a fun match. The karate kid vs a muay thai brawler, speed vs power, technique vs brawn all of these and more will be used to describe this fight. Just looking at the fight, it seems Brown is the type to beat Thompson. That is how MMA works, the gritty muay thai guys beat up finesse traditional martial arts based strikers, right? Not this time, I may be drinking the kool aid but I feel like Thompson brings the right skills and attitude to succeed in MMA. I think at some point we see some of Thompson's vaunted ground game. Stephen Thompson by Submission, Round 3.

Fraser Coffeen: The stand-up fan in me demands that I pick Thompson, and I am happy to oblige. Brown is a guy who has never impressed me much. I think he actually does have the tools to grind Thompson out, but he'll get pulled into a stand-up war, which he'll lose. Stephen Thompson, KO, round 2

David Castillo: The problem with Matt Brown is that he's crafty veteran in a journeyman's body. He's got a fairly diverse set of skills, and yet he often falters to bad mistakes, and average cardio. Thompson is an athlete, and the athlete usually wins. Especially athletes who happen to apply traditional martial arts into mixed martial arts seemlessly. Stephen Thompson by TKO, round 2.

Tim Burke: I'm going out on the "incomplete fighter" limb here. Matt Brown isn't just the next victim for Wonderboy to me. Brown's not gettin' his head kicked off. I'd be surprised if he even had to block one, because he'll be too busy working the fight against the cage or on the ground. Matt Brown is 13-11, and everyone looks at his record and sees failure. I see a terrible style matchup for Stephen Thompson, and I'm going with Brown for the first time ever. Matt Brown by decision.

Dallas Winston: Um, does everyone realize that Brown has never lost via strikes? I'm as excited for Wonderboy as anyone but it's crazy for him to be such a drastic favorite over one of the toughest S.O.B.'s at 170 while still being entirely unproven at the UFC level. Brown, "The American Kazushi Sakuraba", will push Thompson in every aspect that an inexperienced and one-dimensional newcomer struggles with. Matt Brown by submission.

Staff picking Brown: Brookhouse, Tim, Dallas
Staff picking Thompson: Grant, KJ, Anton, Stephie, Fraser, David, Thapa

John Makdessi vs. Anthony Njokuani

Brent Brookhouse: Njokuani is awesome. Anthony Njokuani by TKO, round 2.

Anton Tabuena: Taekwondo! John Makdessi by TKO.

T.P. Grant: Njokuani fought Edson Barbosa, another Taekwondo based striker to a stand still, but I think Makdessi is a little more controlled in his approach. That might play into Njokuani's hands but I think Makdessi out-strikes him. John Makdessi by Decision.

Tim Burke: Love the matchup. I'm tempted to take Njokauni if I thought it'd be a straight standup fight. But Makdessi is a more well-rounded fighter despite the loss to Hallman. I just think Makdessi has more options. John Makdessi by decision.

Fraser Coffeen: This fight is awesome. Njokuani has shown that he's game to get in there and exchange with the skilled strikers, and that description fits Makdessi nicely. Hallman showed that Makdessi's ground game is a major liability at the moment, and he needs to tighten that up to progress his UFC career much. But Njokuani is not the man to test it. John Makdessi via decision

David Castillo: Difficult matchup to pick in part because Njokuani has the power to put Makdessi away, but I think John is more polished, and makes less mistakes. He should be able to land just a few more punches and kicks, and once he gets comfortable, Anthony will be less willing to pull the trigger, as he's shown in the past. John Makdessi by decision.

Dallas Winston: Makdessi is cleaner with his technique and has a bunch of tricks up his sleeve. Makdessi wins an artsy-fartsy kickboxing match but I think Njokuani will take him out of his element with clinching, close-quarters brawling and perhaps even a few takedowns. I'm hoping for some Makdessi hook-kick brilliance but logic steers me otherwise. Anthony Njokuani by decision.

Staff picking Makdessi: Grant, KJ, Fraser, Tim, David
Staff picking Njokuani: Brookhouse, Stephie, Thapa, Dallas

Mac Danzig vs. Efrain Escudero

Brent Brookhouse: Close fight but I have to give the slight edge to Danzig in his abiity to control the fight a bit more than Escudero. Mac Danzig by decision.

T.P. Grant: Two TUF champions in a match where the loser likely is out of the UFC. Escudero was actually having a fairly decent post TUF run until he was cut for missing weight. He fought his way back into the UFC and it has become pretty clear that the guys who beat Escudero are superior grapplers. I don't think Danzig is going to be able to stop Escudero's takedowns and I don't think he'll be able to tap Danzig. Either Escudero wrestles his way to a win or Danzig wins from the clinch or off his back. I lean Escudero. Efrain Escudero by Decision.

Tim Burke: I want to have faith in Mac. He's friends with Tucker Max, after all. But I don't, at least in this bout. Efrain has some major flaws, but he's faster than Mac and if he can stay off his back, it's his fight to win. Efrain Escudero by decision.

Fraser Coffeen: Two fairly seasoned fighters here; both with good all around games. I see Danzig being able to hit just a bit harder, control the ground just a bit better, which should sneak him by with the win. Mac Danzig via decision

David Castillo: Escudero's strength might be a factor early on, but I like Danzig in this one. He's more well rounded, and craftier, and even though Efrain has the ability to control him on top, I don't see him doing it with any consistency. Mac Danzig by decision.

Dallas Winston: I think Mac is a lock here. He's highly technical everywhere and has better stand up and BJJ with much heavier hands. Escudero is the better wrestler but I don't think he can keep Mac there. Mac Danzig by submission.

Staff picking Danzig: Brookhouse, KJ, Anton, Stephie, Fraser, Thapa, David, Dallas
Staff picking Escudero: Grant, Tim

Chris Clements vs. Keith Wisniewski

Brent Brookhouse: Given that Clements is making his UFC debut, I doubt he's in a loser leaves town situation. Wisniewski isn't a bad fighter, but Clements has really huge power so I'm going to go with him to score the knockout and get KO of the Night honors. Chris Clements by KO, round 1.

T.P. Grant: Two MMA veterans fighting in what is likely an another loser leaves town match. Wisniewski is likely best known as the guy Shinya Aoki put an Aikido standing armlock on and UFC newcomer Clements isn't much known to fans at all. Nothing seems to really give either guy an edge, I'll take Clements as he seems to be somewhat on the rise. Chris Clements by Decision.

Tim Burke: Meh. Wisniewski has a helluva chin, but Clements is Canadian. I think it'll be fun, but it'll end with a Canadian getting his hand raised. Chris Clements by decision.

Fraser Coffeen: Wisniewski has been around forever, and is your classic low level journeyman fighter. Which I respect, don't get me wrong. But I'm also not inclined to pick that person. Clements has wins over similar (and superior) journeymen in Clementi and Goulet, so he gets my nod here. Chris Clements by TKO, round 1

Dallas Winston: Clements should be a crowd-pleasing animal. He has monster stand up and, despite having a beefy chin and a serious experience advantage, I don't think Wisniewski can keep him at bay. Chris Clements by TKO.

Staff picking Clements: Brookhouse, Grant, Stephie, Fraser, Tim, Thapa, David, Dallas
Staff picking Wisniewski: Anton

Maximo Blanco vs. Marcus Brimage

T.P. Grant: A regular slobber-knocker to start things off, both guys are hyper aggressive on the feet. Blanco started out as a high school wrestler but he has made his bones as a striker and Brimage has a strong aversion to ground work. While my inner child loves the homage Brimage pays to martial arts cartoons in his inspiration, I think Blanco's experience and take down ability carries this fight. Maximo Blanco by TKP, Round 3.

Fraser Coffeen: I've been a big fan of Maxi since his Pancrase days. How can you not? The man is a whirling dervish of crazy, with fun (if raw) fight skills and some wild finishes to his credit. The loss to Healy was a bummer, but that's his only real loss since his 3rd pro fight. If he can avoid being DQ'd (which is, admittedly, a legitimate concern), he should stampede through Brimage here and earn a Paul Harris-esque place in the hearts of UFC fans. Maximo Blanco via KO of the Night, round 1

Tim Burke: Blanco worries me. He's a killer on the feet, but was carefully fed people that wouldn't put him on his back in Sengoku (because they were sponsoring him). Healy was clearly too big for him, and that was an easy fight to call. But a 145 TUF failure? I think Maxi will just go Tazmanian Devil nutso on him and be the perfect curtain jerker. Maximo Blanco by epic KO, round 1.

David Castillo: Blanco should have an easy, though highly active time with Brimage. It's the perfect fight for him since Marcus won't have the strength to put him down, or keep Maximo's back against the cage. Maximo Blanco by TKO, round 2.

Dallas Winston: I have no idea which Sengoku fighters could have possibly put Maxi on his back. He's a Pan-Am medalist in freestyle with violent striking who will unleash hell on earth as a featherweight. He's never been KO'd and I can't fathom Brimage taking him down or subbing him. Maxi Blanco by TKO.

Staff picking Blanco: Brookhouse, Grant, KJ, Anton, Stephie, Fraser, Tim, Thapa, David, Dallas
Staff picking Brimage:

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