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UFC 88: Breakthrough Staff Predictions

Ufc88_tomorrow_email_01a_medium UFC 88: Breakthrough Staff Predictions


Chuck Liddell vs. Rashad Evans

Luke Thomas: As much as Evans’ newfound striking ability is touted, he has resorted to wrestling any time and everytime wrestling was required. He doesn’t handle pressure well, particularly in the stand-up. The problem is that Liddell won’t concede the takedown to Evans, thereby disrupting his rhythm and potentially rattling his stability. While I’m not convinced Liddell will finish him, I am very confident Liddell will do at least enough damage on the feet to win a decision. Liddell by unanimous decision.

Nate Wilcox: The only question in my mind about this fight is whether or not Chuck Liddell is going to start showing his age. The Chuck Liddell that beat Randy Couture and Tito twice each would KO Evans in 2 rounds tops. Until I see evidence that Chuck is losing more than a step, I'm going to stick with the Iceman. Liddell by KO.

Brent Brookhouse: It's been said by pretty much everyone but Rashad is the kind of guy that Chuck usually feasts on.  I don't trust the Liddell we've seen since the Jackson fight as being the kind of guy who can reliably beat top level 205'ers.  However, I think he still can roll against a guy like Rashad who lacks the dynamic striking to set up the takedowns he needs to win this fight.  I think late in the second round we see Rashad lose his cool and panic a little bit, he'll get sloppy and get caught with a big shot ending his night.  Chuck Liddell by TKO round 2.

Michael Rome: I'm always concerned now when Chuck fights, but I think he'll win here.  Every time they hype Rashad we hear we're going to see a new, aggressive striker.  It never happens.  Rashad isn't that hard to hit, he got hit by Bisping and Tito.  Chuck via TKO, round 1.

Mike Fagan: This match is tailor made for Chuck to set him up for a title shot.  Unless he starts to show his age, Chuck Liddell by KO.

Rich Franklin vs. Matt Hamill

Luke Thomas: Ultimately, I don’t know that Hamill has enough risk management to not let Franklin do what Franklin does best: pile on offense in spurts, waves and drives. I don’t know that Hamill will necessarily get finished, but it wouldn’t surprise me. This is too strong a test for Hamill even with his massive improvement. Franklin via TKO, round 3.

Nate Wilcox: The pointlessness of this fight makes it hard for me to think clearly. Franklin going to 205 doesn't accomplish anything, especially if he loses. I'd much rather see Rich Franklin vs Dan Henderson than either of their matchups on this card. But I digress. I don't think Hamill will be able to handle Franklin's unconventional southpaw striking, nor will he have the reach to connect with many powerhouse rights. Franklin by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: I don't trust Hamill's gas at all, especially not against a guy like Rich who will make him work.  Even more, I don't like the way Hamill seems to react when he takes punishment and Rich is going to hit him enough that we'll see if he is reacting any better these days.  The upset wouldn't shock me, but I don't see it happening.  Rich Franklin by TKO round 3.

Michael Rome:  I like Hamill, but he is being overrated after his last two fights.  His head movement is still terrible, and he throws flat footed, which will be a big problem against Rich Franklin.  I suspect he may win a round with takedowns, but Rich is too good to lose via lay and pray.  Franklin via TKO, round 3.

Mike Fagan: I think Hamill still has too many flaws and growing pains to beat someone as good as FranklinRich Franklin by decision.

Dan Henderson vs. Rousimar Palhares

Luke Thomas: The word inside the grappling world is that Palhares is tapping everyone on the mat…and I mean everyone. He is clearly the better submission wrestler than Henderson. But the only time Henderson has been submitted is by larger opponents or after being desperately hurt. Torquinho is not larger and has very rudimentary stand-up. This is Henderson’s fight to lose. Henderson via TKO, round 2.

Nate Wilcox: Henderson is definitely less effective at 185 than at 205. He's also notoriously had troubles with BJJ aces. Nonetheless, I think his standup will be too much for the sawed-off Palhares. Toquinho is also no Big Nog or Murilo Bustamante -- by the time they faced Henderson they were both savvy vets. Also lets not forget that Dan  KTFO'd Bustamante once and decisioned Big Nog. I think he's going to give Palhares a beat down that might send the kid to welterweight. Henderson by TKO.

Brent Brookhouse: Dan really needs to win and look great doing it.  A loss here would put Dan at 0-3 in the octagon which just isn't good enough to stick around.  Palhares is anything but an easy fight for Henderson and anyone who gets out of the first round against Rousimar without tapping out to a submission has to feel like they're doing something right.  I'm going to go with the experience and desperation here but don't be shocked to see Hendo take his third straight loss.  Dan Henderson by close decision.

Michael Rome: Too early for Palhares, I think he is going to get smoked.  I don't see him taking Dan down, and he's nowhere near Dan's class standing.  Henderson via TKO, round 1.

Mike Fagan: If Rousimar had more size, I'd feel more uncomfortable about this pick.  Henderson struggles against good BJJ guys, but I think his size will allow him to keep this standing.  Henderson by decision.

Karo Parisyan vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida

Luke Thomas: Karo’s rested on his laurels too long. He’s rested on his unique skill set, toughness and aggression. And while he was resting, the MMA game was catching up. Yoshida has the judo to neutralize Karo and the vicious ground and pound to score serious points with the judges. Karo resorts to desperate measures when he can’t throw an opponent and I expect Yoshida to take advantage of Karo’s recklessness. Yoshida by split decision.

Nate Wilcox: Karo's back is up against the wall. Yoshida is on the fast track. The stakes couldn't be higher. Both guys are Judo-based fighters. Karo is promising that THIS TIME he's actually trained for the fight, but we'll see Saturday. As much as I want to pick Karo, I'm going to with the evidence of their recent fights -- Karo hasn't looked really good since beating Josh Burkman in May 2007. Yoshida on the other hand has been on a tear -- including against top competitors like Akira Kikuchi. Yoshida by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: I really don't like Karo's lack of finishing ability, the longer you stay in a fight with someone who can finish you off the more chances you are giving them to do so.  Karo also doesn't have the advantage of being much more familiar with fighting in a cage so he loses an edge there.  Yoshida by decision.

Michael Rome: This is really a hard pick.  Karo has lost a lot of luster of late, and he's looked flat, but I think he'll come out looking better here.  That being said, the way he underestimated the threat from Yoshida on Luke's show makes me think upset.  Yoshida via TKO, round 2.

Mike Fagan: I'm big on Yoshida.  I'm not big on Parisyan.  Zenko should be able to hold off Karo's judo.  Yoshida by TKO.

Nathan Marquardt vs. Martin Kampmann

Luke Thomas: Kampmann is a very good fighter, but he’s not the sort to make a run through the middleweight division. He lacks serious power and his grappling won’t stand-up to an Abu Dhabi veteran like Marquardt. Unless Marquardt gets careless again, this is his fight to lose. Marquardt via TKO.

Nate Wilcox: I think Marquardt will prove that Kampmann is a paper tiger. Kampmann is very well rounded, but the most impressive name on his win list is Thales Leites and he didn't really beat Leites so much as out last him once he got gassed. Kampmann doesn't have the power to KO Nate nor can he win on the ground. I expect Marquardt to win a dominating 3 round decision.

Brent Brookhouse: The biggest problem here is that Kampmann is a very good striker without a lot of power.  So Nate doesn't have to be overly cautious in the striking game, which will allow him to close distance, use his wrestling to get the takedown and punish Kampmann from the top position.  Nate Marquardt by TKO round 2.

Michael Rome: Nate routinely lets me down, but I think he will power his way to a decision here, hopefully with another piledriver.  Mardquardt via decision.

Mike Fagan: Marquardt by TKO.


Kurt Pellegrino vs. Thiago Tavares

Luke Thomas: Both fighters have been big disappointments, but Pellegrino poses a larger choke factor. I had picked him to defeat Nate Diaz, but as Pellegrino often does when the chips are down, he got caught getting careless. Tavares is overrated, but is at least a talented BJJ fighter. Still, though, I see Pellegrino being hungrier here and busting Tavares up on the feet. Pellegrino via KO, round 3.

Nate Wilcox: This is nearly a loser-leave-town match. Both of these guys have flirted with contention, both are coming off losses. I'm going with Tavares, I think he's the blue chip prospect and will have learned a great deal from his KO loss to Matt Wiman. Tavares by submission.

Brent Brookhouse: Pellegrino is getting shafted in the odds a bit here as I don't think he has any business being at +300, but he is certainly the dog.  Both guys need a good showing coming off of losses so we could see some explosiveness here.  Tavares should have the tools to get this done but I threw a little bit of money on Kurt as he is a very live dog.  Thiago Tavares by decision.

Michael Rome: Clearly this should be on the main card.  I expect a really fun match on the ground, but I think Tavares is better then Pellegrino, and really needs this win.  Tavares via submission, round 2.

Mike Fagan: Tavares by submission.

Jason Lambert vs. Jason MacDonald

Luke Thomas: I could easily see either guy winning here, but I feel like Lambert’s only real way to win is on top with ground and pound. MacDonald has gotten better about absorbing punishment and his guard is his best asset. Lambert’s going to sleep. MacDonald via submission, round 2.

Nate Wilcox: This is an interesting match-up. Both of these guys are good on the ground, Lambert with the GnP, MacDonald with the submissions. Will be interesting to see if Lambert has problems adjusting to the weight loss. I'm going with MacDonald by submission. The guy is just too quick on the ground for Lambert.

Brent Brookhouse: Lambert's striking technique tends to be SO bad but MacDonald probably isn't the guy to exploit it.  He can exploit the fact that he is the better fighter though.  MacDonald by submission round 1.

Michael Rome: Jason Macdonald has shown me that he is just not a smart fighter of late.  I expect that he will be overwhelmed by Lambert's wrestling at 185, but it's not like Lambert is a genius either.  This is really tough, but I'm picking Lambert via decision.

Mike Fagan: MacDonald by submission.

Roan Carneiro vs. Ryo Chonan

Luke Thomas: Carneiro is the world’s most unreliable fighter on planet earth. He will be the hometown favorite, but Chonan’s skill set is, if nothing else, patient. He won’t fall prey to Carneiro’s ground game on route to a very boring decision. Chonan via decision.

Nate Wilcox: This is another head scratcher. These guys have fought before, Chonan won via a cut. I would pick Carneiro but he looked so bad in his last fight. Chonan by decision.

Brent Brookhouse: Carneiro is a bit too inconsistant for my tastes, not that we always see the same Chonan showing up every fight either.  It's a coin flip fight here but I'm going to take Chonan by decision.

Michael Rome: Carneiro via submission, round 2.

Mike Fagan: Chonan by TKO.

Dong Hyun Kim vs. Matt Brown

Luke Thomas: Nate’s exactly right. Kim is a big time international prospect that the UFC needs for oversees endeavors. Compound that with the fact that he’s actually a lot better than Matt Brown and the choice is clear: Kim via submission, round 2.

Nate Wilcox: Kim is being fed Matt Brown so he can rack up another impressive win
on Korean TV. They have big plans for international expansion and Dong Hyun Kim could be the leader of that invasion. Kim by TKO.

Brent Brookhouse: I really like Matt Brown, he seems like a guy who just "is who he is" and is happy with that.  Unfortunately who he is, is not a dynamic enough fighter to beat the very tough Kim.  Unless he can catch Kim with a home run punch Kim is going to beat him badly.  Kim by TKO round 1.

Michael Rome: This is another that could be very exciting.  Dong is a league above though and is gonna hurt Matt Brown.  Dong via KO, round 1.

Mike Fagan: Kim by TKO.

Mike Patt vs. Tim Boetsch

Luke Thomas: Patt is a better submission wrestler, but I don’t see the opportunity presenting itself unless Boestch gets careless. And if Matyushenko can’t submit a Boetsch fighting on short notice, I doubt UFC newcomer Patt will fare much better. Boetsch via redneck judo, round 2.

Nate Wilcox: Boetsch by beat down in 1.

Brent Brookhouse: I absolutely love the way Boetsch fights.  He is just a bully who punishes people.  He made some mistakes in the Hamill fight which are troubling but I don't think that Patt is the kind of guy who has fought at the level where he can take advantage of those same mistakes.  Tim Boetsch by TKO round 2.

Michael Rome:  Boetsch via TKO, round 1.

Mike Fagan: Boetsch by TKO.