Mike Swick vs. DaMarques Johnson
After two and a half years on the shelf due to numerous health problems, Mike “Quick” Swick is back and looking for his first victory since 2009. If this were the movies, Swick would return to the form that earned him his nickname and knockout Johnson in under a minute. But real life is rarely as beautifully composed as it is in our imaginations and DaMarques Johnson does not care about Swick’s hardships. He has come to spoil the party and progress his own career.
Norman’s Prediction: It might not be in a storybook ending type of fashion but I do see Swick taking the victory in this bout, whether by decision, TKO or Swickotine.
Izzy’s Prediction: Johnson is a very inconsistent fighter who loses every fight he is supposed to. Swick has the advantage anywhere this fight goes and I expect him to finish Johnson via strikes in round 2.
John’s Prediction: Swick hasn’t seen the cage in over 2 years, so, rust could be a problem for him. However his advantage over Johnson is that Swick has fought some great names. I see Swick getting a welcome back TKO in the first.
Joe Lauzon vs. Jamie Varner
“J-Lau” is one of the most talented submission artists in the 155-pound division. He has won submission of the night four times, and fight of the night three times. Varner is a former WEC champion who hit a four-fight skid in 2010, prior to his release from the Zuffa subsidiary. Earlier this year he got the call to fight undefeated phenon Edson Barboza on short notice, and Varner shocked the world by finishing the Brazilian inside of one round. He comes in as a late replacement underdog once again. Can he pull off the upset again or will Lauzon put his name back in the title picture?
Norman’s Prediction: I picked Varner to beat Barboza and he made me look like a genius. How traitorous it would be for me to abandon him now. Varner UD
Izzy’s Prediction: Varner is riding high after his surprising victory over Barboza but he runs into a fighter who could be better than him no matter where the fight goes. Lauzon gets back into the win column with a third round submission win.
John’s Prediction: When Varner ended Barboza’s unbeaten streak, he showed the world he belongs in the UFC. I see Varner getting another finish on Lauzon to further prove he deserves to be considered one of the best at lightweight.
Lyoto Machida vs. Ryan Bader
Bader will look to get his second straight win over a former UFC light-heavyweight titlist after trouncing Quinton “Rampage” Jackson last February. He comes into this fight with back-to-back victories following back-to-back losses to Jon Jones and Tito Ortiz last year. Machida has faltered in three of his last four bouts, but only to the finest competition in the weight class. Despite the dark spots on their records, one of these men could be right back in the title hunt with an impressive victory in front of a national audience.
Norman’s Prediction: Machida used to be an unbeatable enigma, but now he’s lost his mystique and his groove. If Bader can follow the game plan (and there is a game plan to beat Machida) then his size and wrestling ability will lead him to a decision victory.
Izzy’s Prediction: Machida has lost to great opposition in three of his last four fights while Bader has won two straight. I find it heard to believe that Machida can beat Rashad Evans and not beat Bader. The Dragon wins via UD.
John’s Prediction: This fight is a little more interesting. Their fights usually end in a knockout or a decision. So we can expect either a highlight real KO, or a long brutal fight from these two. I favor Bader with a KO in the 2nd.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Brandon Vera
“Shogun” has accomplished nearly everything a fighter can in this sport. At 23 he won the 2005 Pride middleweight grand prix. Five years later he won the UFC light-heavyweight championship. He may have come up short in his last outing against Dan Henderson, but there is no shame in losing in one of the best fights in MMA history.
Brandon Vera entered the UFC in 2005 and sliced through the heavyweight division. Young and cocky, he boasted that he would capture the heavyweight crown and drop down to take the 205-pound belt as well. Now more mature, Vera’s illusions of grandeur have been roped in. He has hit a few rough spots lately but now he faces the biggest opportunity of his career.
Norman’s Prediction: Vera has always had the potential for greatness but has tripped over too many stones along the way to build any measure of momentum. No offense to Vera but this is almost a primer fight for “Shogun”. Rua TKO.
Izzy’s Prediction: “Shogun” destroys Vera via 1st round TKO. This fight is a joke so there is nothing else to say.
John’s Prediction: “Shogun” is coming off a 1-2 record in his last three fights. Vera is 1-2 with 1 NC in his last four fights. Although they have even records for their recent fights, I just don’t think Vera is in the same league. Shogun KO in the first.
||De Fries, TKO