Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche
Brent Brookhouse: It’s a fight, in a fight either fighter can lose. With that out of the way, like I was saying on Twitter earlier this week (and I’ve said in articles earlier in the year), Carmouche would probably be the lowest ranked WMMA fighter in the UFC if you were to be honest. She is 0-2 in the two times she faced someone currently sporting a winning record. Zingano has better wins than her, Tate has better wins, Rousey has better wins, if Sara McMann is in the UFC she has better wins. That’s not a shot at Carmouche, I have plenty of respect for her and her toughness, that’s just reality. The two times she has fought anyone even kind of approaching Rousey, she has lost. Ronda Rousey by submission, round 1.
Tim Burke: I’m not even going to waste my time with some analysis. Ronda Rousey, armbar, 46 seconds of round 1
Mookie Alexander: No point in trying to overcomplicate something that only has one outcome. Rickson Rousey by armbar, :51 mark of round 1..
Fraser Coffeen: I’ll say the same thing I said for Rousey vs. Kaufman: some day, a Ronda Rousey fight is going to have an outcome other than Rousey armbar 1. But that day is not today. Rousey, armbar, 1
Chris Hall: There’s a reason why Rousey is a -1200 favorite. The UFC expects one thing out of this fight and it’s a quick submission from Rousey. I have to agree with them. Rousey by armbar, 1 minute.
T.P. Grant: I’m a big fan of both fighters, but Liz Carmouche is likely going lose. I don’t think Ronda is suddenly going to be exposed as an overly weak striker or fold in the face of pressure, that doesn’t fit with anything else we’ve seen from her. The kind of Judo and ground attack Ronda is bringing is not something you can prepare for in a 6 week fight camp. There isn’t a way to drill to stop all the different entries to armbars Ronda has in her tool belt, and just drilling armbar escapes is fool’s gold. You might get out of one or two but a grappler as good as Ronda will get you eventually. I think we have a good chance to see a fight here that doesn’t end instantly and might go a few rounds and Carmouche may be able to touch Ronda up but as Dr. Ann Maria DeMars is fond of saying you can hit Ronda multiple times but she only needs to snatch your arm once. Ronda Rousey by Submission, Round 3.
Dallas Winston: Carmouche is about as tough and tenacious as they come, but I don’t see anything more prevalent than the poor match-up Rousey presents. Carmouche has won 5 of 8 by TKO but that’s attributed more to her frenzied volume attack than being a heavy-handed striker. Her game is grinding away in the clinch and on top, which are 2 positions that Rousey excels in. I’m not overlooking the possibility of Carmouche testing Rousey’s heart and resilience with a nonstop downpour of ground strikes and stellar submission defense, but I don’t see enough evidence to outweigh Rousey doing her thing. Ronda Rousey by submission.
David Castillo: Until the division increases its depth, these predictions will continue to sound like collective deja vu. Rousey will armbar her in the first round like everyone else. Carmouche is a good fighter, and I’d go nuts if she won, but she’s too workmanlike, and Rousey is too good at initiating the clinch herself. Ronda Rousey by submission, round 1.
Staff picking Rousey: Stephie, Mookie, Fraser, Chris, Grant, David, Brookhouse, Dallas, Tim
Staff picking Carmouche:
Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida
Brent Brookhouse: I wish I could pick Henderson here. It’s really unfortunate that he didn’t get the "one last title shot" because of injury and now has this fight in front of him which is just a miserable match-up. I just don’t think Machida is going to be easy to land the right hand against and Machida will dictate the fight. Lyoto Machida by decision.
Tim Burke: As much as I want to see Hendo get the KO, it’s going to be very tough against Machida and his "elusiveness". I don’t think Hendo’s done yet, this just isn’t a good style matchup for him. Lyoto Machida by decision.
Mookie Alexander: Henderson’s only way to win is the H-Bomb. I mean, that’s a pretty damn good "only way to win", but Machida is faster, stronger, has better cardio, and isn’t 42 years old. As much as I like Hendo, this run can’t continue forever and I argue that Machida is better than every LHW opponent he’s faced in his winning streak. Lyoto is more precise and technical with his strikes, and I see him hurting a fading Hendo in the 3rd round, taking him down and submitting him. Lyoto Machida by submission (arm-triangle choke), round 3.
Fraser Coffeen: I have great appreciation for all Hendo has accomplished in MMA. It seemed like his career was maybe winding down ages ago, but here he is, still relevant. That said, he’s now 42, hasn’t fought in over a year, and has dealt with injury. Time catches up to everyone, and something tells me that time for Hendo is now. Lyoto Machida, decision
Chris Hall: Since the UFC announced this fight, I’ve considered it Dana’s punishment to Henderson for getting injured. He probably should have been given the title shot that Chael’s getting at UFC 159, instead he’s facing a nightmare matchup in Machida. The Dragon will most likely pepper Henderson with stiff straight punches while leaping in and out of range. I expect Hendo to struggle to land the counter as he plods forward. I’m tempted to pick Machida by TKO, but if nothing else Henderson is one of the most difficult fighters to finish in the game. Machida by decision.
Dallas Winston: No matter how primitive it is, Hendo’s arsenal of the H-bomb, Greco Roman wrestling and daunting toughness is still a viable threat to any mammal of any size. However, if there was a fighter who could really exploit the risks of Hendo’s style, it’s Machida. His defense, footwork, timing and grasp of striking range are unparalleled and timelessly unique, which will drastically reduce the ever-present threat of getting touched by Hendo’s right hand. Wrestling wise, since Hendo is much more of an upper-body clincher than the type to drop low for a single/double, he’ll have his hands full with Lyoto’s elaborate clinch game and, on the feet, with Machida’s unpredictable changes of direction and movement. Lyoto Machida by dominant decision.
David Castillo: I love this fight on paper, but I think it’ll be predictable in practice. Machida is too elusive (yea I said it) and intelligent to succumb to Dan’s predictable right hand. Although I think Dan has become better with timing it, and he’s gotten better at landing sneaky short shots (the first right that hit Shogun was deceptive enough), but I truly believe Machida will win this fight on the ground. I think he’ll trip Dan down, and like the replicant from Blade Runner, Machida will have no concept of what it means to help the Team Quest turtle off his back. Lyoto Machida by Decision.
Staff picking Henderson: Stephie
Staff picking Machida: Mookie, Fraser, Chris, Grant, David, Brookhouse, Dallas, Tim
Urijah Faber vs. Ivan Menjivar
Brent Brookhouse: Faber is clearly on the downside of his career but, while Menjivar has been decent lately, Ivan isn’t exactly a youngster either. 30 year old 135 pound fighters with 34 fights are near the end of their careers too. This is going to be a tough fight but it’s the kind that Faber wins. Urijah Faber by TKO, round 3.
Tim Burke: Yes, Faber loses title fights. But he doesn’t lose many fights that aren’t for a title. He’s got a solid chin and excellent submission defense. He’s also the better athlete and better wrestler. I hate having to do this, but Urijah Faber by decision.
Mookie Alexander: It’s a good thing that Barao beat McDonald, because you just know that if McDonald and Faber were to both win they’d be setting up that title fight ASAP. Faber has lost only one three-round fight in his career (vs. Tyson Griffin by TKO), and I don’t see the admittedly underrated and talented Menjivar ending that streak. Urijah Faber by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: It’s been over 4 years now that Faber has been in the same holding pattern - defeat everyone who is not a world champion, lose to everyone who is. Menjivar is very talented. But a world champion he is not. Urijah Faber by decision.
Dallas Winston: That’s kind of a fascinating fact that Mookie listed about Faber’s consistency in 3-round fights. These two are fairly similarly styled with complete weaponry on the feet, in the clinch, with wrestling and with submissions. Menjivar is craftier with better composure and more experience, but Faber is faster, more explosive, upholds a higher pace and better at Phase Shifting. Barring another "What Would Sakurabu Do?" epiphany, this is a rough match up for Ivan. Urijah Faber by decision.
David Castillo: As much as I love Menjivar, this is a terrible matchup. He’s got all the ability to make this competitive, but not the mentality. Menjivar loves to experiment in the cage; he improvises but like Tyson Griffin he never does enough to pull away from his opponent whenever he gains an advantage. Faber will land, and Ivan will find himself in trouble early. Urijah Faber by TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Faber: Stephie, Mookie, Fraser, Grant, David, Brookhouse, Dallas, Tim
Staff picking Menjivar:
Court McGee vs. Josh Neer
Tim Burke: The fact that this is a main card fight bothers me, and is just another reason I won’t be shelling out the cash for it. I guess McGee by wrestling and chin? Court McGee by decision.
Mookie Alexander: Neer has looked BAD in his last two fights. His historically iron chin was melted by Mike Pyle, whose string of KOs and TKOs is only very recent. Then he followed that up with a technical submission loss to Justin Edwards, a significant underdog. I have no idea how McGee is going to perform at 170, but I’m picking him more on Neer’s recent offerings than the rather unremarkable UFC career of the TUF winner. Court McGee by decision.
T.P. Grant: Why? Why is this fight going to be on the PPV? Why is it going to be on TV? Or happening at all? I’ll take McGee and then refuse to think any more about this fight. Court McGee by Decision.
Chris Hall: Like Muckie said, Neer has just not looked good lately. McGee probably won’t be able to put him down, but he shouldn’t have any problem outworking him to a decision. Court McGee by decision.
Dallas Winston: Yeah … dammit. I can’t really cook up a passably sensible basis on which to pick Neer -- other than the fact that I really appreciate his gameness, and you could basically dub audio of a snarling Pitbull over any words he says and it’d make more sense and be cooler. Neer is a former 155er fighting a former 185er; his length can compensate for his lack of burly physical strength but McGee has the longer wingspan here (76" vs. 72"), he’s never been finished and he’s an excellent wrestler with sound submission defense. So it’s only natural that my confident pick is: Josh Neer by so-what-I’m-a-fanboy, fuckos.
David Castillo: Several years ago, I’d pick Neer all day, everyday (maybe). Court may not be anything special, but he’s an overachiever, and is tough enough to handle Neer’s rote striking. I’m expecting a bit of a war, but Neer is well passed his prime here. Court McGee by Decision.
Staff picking McGee: Stephie, Mookie, Grant, Fraser, Chris, David, Brookhouse, Tim
Staff picking Neer: Dallas
Josh Koscheck vs. Robbie Lawler
Brent Brookhouse: I really wish we weren’t all so close to in unison on these picks. It seems like that never ends well. Josh Koscheck by TKO (GNP stoppage), round 2.
Tim Burke: I believe Lawler will make the weight. But it’s going to be a huge drain on him. Plus, what does he really have to offer Kos except devastating power? It’s possible Lawler lands the kill shot like Paulo Thiago did, but I highly doubt it. Josh Koscheck by decision.
Mookie Alexander: Hooray! This PPV starts and ends with squash matches. Robbie Lawler last made welterweight in 2004 (!!!), when Nick Diaz knocked him out viciously. That’s right, TUF did not even exist when Lawler last competed at 170. Josh is going to put on a wrestling clinic and he’ll finish him late. Josh Koscheck by submission, round 3.
Fraser Coffeen: Lawler is a far cry from what he once was, plus he’s making a huge weight cut. Koscheck is slipping from his top 5 or top 10 status, but he’s still a dangerous fighter. This one is a no brainer. And yet, why do I think that Kos decides he can stand and bang with Lawler, only to discover that Ruthless still packs a punch? Robbie Lawler by KO, round 1
T.P. Grant: Oh man two abrasive, generally unlikeable wrestlers who love their hands more than grappling are going to meet and it should be fireworks. Koscheck has shown in the past that he is smart enough to take down fighters that can blast on the feet. Expect Koscheck to grapple for one round, get Lawler gassed and then beat him up. Josh Koscheck by Submission, Round 2.
Chris Hall: This is pretty much Koscheck’s fight to lose. He shouldn’t have too much problem grinding down Lawler in the earlier rounds to pick up the decision. The only question mark is whether or not he’ll get too comfortable on his feet and let Lawler score the upset. It’s a real possibility as Kos has been KO’d before, but I doubt it. Koscheck by decision.
Dallas Winston: OK, so, at this point, I’m going all "Tim Burke predicting a Strikeforce card." Maybe I’m reveling in the alleviated pressure from not doing Dissections anymore, or maybe I really believe that Lawler’s boxing is still technical, explosive and fast enough to catch Kos, or that his veteran experience will allow a perfectly timed step-in knee on a Koscheck double leg. Or maybe I’m just "that guy." Robbie Lawler by me accepting that I have a faux hawk.
David Castillo: While I agree that Koscheck will make the mistake of standing in front of Lawler in spurts, it didn’t cost him completely against hendricks, who landed a ton, and the fight was still competitive. Unlike Johny, Robbie doesn’t have the takedown defense to keep from being put on his back. Josh Koscheck by Decision.
Staff picking Koscheck: Stephie, Mookie, Grant, David, Chris, Brookhouse, Tim
Staff picking Lawler: Fraser, Dallas
Lavar Johnson vs. Brendan Schaub
Brent Brookhouse: Johnson’s first two fights in the UFC were a cool story, a nice surprise from a guy no one expected much out of. But Schaub is a better athlete and I don’t see himself getting clipped and finished here. Brendan Schaub by TKO, round 3.
Tim Burke: I just don’t think Schaub is that smart of a fighter. He gets caught by guys when he shouldn’t, and Lavar Johnson isn’t someone you want to mess with. Could he take it down and sub him? Sure, he’s fighting Lavar Johnson after all. But he’s never shown any inclination to do that before and his chin can’t go 15 with Lavar on the feet. So, that only leaves one conclusion - Lavar Johnson by KO, round 2
Mookie Alexander: I hate picking this fight because Schaub should absolutely win this, but he should’ve absolutely won the Big Nog and Rothwell fights. If Schaub stops falling in love with his striking, he should win by submission or ground-and-pound TKO. But I have no reason to bank on that at all, and if Lavar connects on Schaub he’s going to sleep. Lavar Johnson by KO, round 1.
T.P. Grant: It is do or die time for Schaub and I think he fights smart, and gets the much needed win here. Brendan Schaub by Decision.
Dallas Winston: This boils down to Schaub using his athleticism and agility to score takedowns without getting his chin touched and, based on those variables, only a prodigy-type fight analyst could conclude that Lavar Johnson looks just like Soda Popinski. Lavar Johnson by TKO.
David Castillo: I don’t expect Schaub to fight smart since he’s on record as saying he wants to "box the brawler", which is funny, because I think Lavar is the better boxer. Expect Schaub to get hit with the jab, and then get cracked by a right ala the Nog fight. Lavar Johnson by KO, round 1.
Staff picking Johnson: Mookie, Fraser, David, Chris, Tim, Dallas
Staff picking Schaub: Stephie, Grant, Brookhouse
Michael Chiesa vs. Anton Kuivanen
Tim Burke: Anton Kuivanen sounds like he should be the goalie for the Columbus Blue Jackets or something. Apparently Chiesa is decent, so I’ll go with the TUF guy. Mike Chiesa by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: I’m actually really looking forward to Chiesa making his proper debut, as I’m curious to see if he has improved his stand up in the half year since TUF. He’s a good controlling wrestler who knows how to transition his wrestling into a submission win. I’m not sure how far he can go in the UFC, but he can do this. Mike Chiesa by submission, round 1.
Dallas Winston: This is a more experienced and versatile fighter against a lanky wrestler with good submission grappling. I’m not just being a smart ass and really think Kuivanen, though rightfully the underdog, can pull this off with a fine-tuned sprawl and brawl and solid defensive wrestling/grappling. Anton Kuivanen by decision.
Staff picking Chiesa: Stephie, Mookie, Fraser, Grant, Chris, Brookhouse, Tim
Staff picking Kuivanen: Dallas
Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice
Tim Burke: I actually like this matchup. Both are strong wrestlers and it’ll be interesting to see who actually controls position. If it’s a stalemate, I think Grice has the better standup and can take a decision. But I don’t think it will be a stalemate - Bermudez is a tank. Dennis Bermudez by decision.
Dallas Winston: I’m somewhat intrigued by this match up as well. I see them as quite similar with Grice having the more polished striking and the cleaner game overall, which should help him exploit some of the holes in Bermudez’ risky aggression. Matt Grice by decision.
Staff picking Bermudez: Mookie, Fraser, Grant, Brookhouse, Tim
Staff picking Grice: Stephie, Dallas
Caros Fodor vs. Sam Stout
Brent Brookhouse: Fodor’s best asset here is that he is ridiculously relentless. Stout is going to get worn down by that pace and lose rounds two and three. Caros Fodor by unanimous decision.
Tim Burke: This is kind of a weird matchup. Stout looked bad against Makdessi because he just couldn’t adapt to his style. Fodor is tough, but I dunno if he can hang with Stout all day on the feet. I’ll lean Canada here. Sam Stout by decision.
Mookie Alexander: Can you believe Sam Stout is only 28 years old? He’s younger than Fodor, but obviously he’s had plenty more fights. I believe that mileage is starting to show on Sam a little bit. He’s losing to guys he should be beating like Makdessi and Tavares and looking pretty average beating a shot Spencer Fisher. I’ll go with Phoenix Jones’ brother (seriously, read up on Phoenix Jones). Caros Fodor by unanimous decision.
Fraser Coffeen: I am done underrating Strikeforce guys. Caros Fodor by decision.
Dallas Winston: Fodor is a sleeper. He has no off-switch and loves to chip away in the clinch with knees delivered from the single collar tie, and also excels at turning that hold into neck chokes. Stout is obviously the more polished marksman but I think Fodor can get inside and make this an ugly grind-fest. Caros Fodor by decision.
Staff picking Fodor: Mookie, Fraser, Grant , Brookhouse, Dallas
Staff picking Stout: Stephie, Stout, Tim
Brock Jardine vs. Kenny Robertson
Tim Burke: Kenny’s the better wrestler. Losing to Aaron Simpson and Mike Pierce shouldn’t make people forget that he’s very good at controlling people. I’ll go for the slight underdog. Kenny Robertson by decision.
Mookie Alexander: BROCKJARDINE! He has lunchboxes for fists, drinks Coors Light, has a weak chin, but has a very underrated ground game. BROCKJARDINE also trains at Greg Jackson’s Death Clutch where they help him with his unorthodox fighting style. BROCKJARDINE by unanimous decision.
Staff picking Jardine: Stephie, Mookie, Fraser, Grant, Brookhouse, Dallas
Staff picking Robertson: Chris, Tim
Neil Magny vs. Jon Manley
Tim Burke: When in doubt on TUF guys, listen to Fraser. Neil Magny by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: These guys are both from the little seen Nelson/Carwin TUF season. I always felt like Magny was a diamond in the rough on that season, and I still maintain that he has the best long-term potential out of that entire cast. Manley is just there. Neil Magny by KO, round 1
Staff picking Magny: Stephie, Mookie, Fraser, Tim, Dallas
Staff picking Manley: Grant, Chris, Brookhouse
Nah-Shon Burrell vs. Yuri Villefort
Tim Burke: I still think Villefort’s a decent prospect, and he’s only 21. Yuri Villefort by TKO, round 2.
Dallas Winston: This is actually a pretty fascinating pairing. Yuri was stamped with the "next big thing" label for a while and Burrell might have that same potential at only age 23. I think Villefort’s got all the skills to win but I wouldn’t be surprised if Burrell can take over in the 2nd half of the fight and just out-tough him. Yuri Villefort by TKO.
Staff picking Burrell: Stephie, Mookie, Fraser, Brookhouse
Staff picking Villefort: Grant, Chris, Tim, Dallas