Clay Guida vs. Gray Maynard
KJ Gould: What a great fight. The last two Maynard vs Edgar fights have been a couple of the best fights in UFC history and it's a shame not more people have seen them. Clay Guida is never in a dull fight. I still see Maynard as being a step or two ahead of Guida, and while The Carpenter is tough, I think he's going to get beaten up by The Bully though probably not finished. Gray Maynard by Decision.
Anton Tabuena: They may both bounce around weirdly a lot, but Guida isn't Edgar, and he won't be able to stop Maynard. Gray Maynard by Dominant Decision.
T.P. Grant: Maynard is better in just about every aspect of MMA. I feel he is the better boxer, has better footwork, and most importantly, is the better wrestler in this match. Gudia has never really beaten that upper tier of Lightweight fighter and I don't think he is going to start with Mayard. The only edge Guida has is his cardio, but I don't see that being enough of a factor for him to win. Maynard clinches with him, bullies him around, takes him down and Gudia will create some fun scrambles but in the end Maynard gets his hand raised. Gray Maynard by Decision.
Fraser Coffeen: I agree with basically everything the esteemed Mr. Grant said. Guida's best MMA weapons are his cardio, and his ability to hold his opponent down. But Maynard has enough in both of those areas to not lose, while also having a significantly better stand-up game. My only question is Maynard's mental game, as I really didn't like how he came into the last Edgar fight. I think the change in camps will help clear his mind though and keep him fresh and focused. Gray Maynard by decision
David Castillo: Guida has never been a terribly great fighter: just a merely good one who has run across some good matchups. He's pretty average against fighters who can wrestle as well as he can, and they're usually better at it they he is. Like here. Gray's the better wrestler, and if he keeps it on the feet, Gray catches him before Clay gets his "mosh and pray" tactic going. Gray Maynard by TKO.
Dallas Winston: Great fight; horrible match up for Guida. His Disco-style head movement might frustrate Maynard but Clay doesn't have the power to rock him nor finesse to out-point him for all 3 rounds, plus Maynard is the better wrestler -- definitively. Gray Maynard by decision.
Tim Burke: I'm with everyone else. Maynard's move to AKA doing S&C with the Marinoviches is a big improvement for him. There's absolutely nothing I can see Guida threatening with in the bout. Gray Maynard by decision.
Staff picking Guida: Stephie
Staff picking Maynard: Grant, Fraser, Anton, KJ, David, Dallas, Tim
KJ Gould: I like Fisher in this one. Both have been hit and miss in their careers, but as far as their two previous matches go, Fisher lost to Stout by split decision, Stout lost to Fisher by unanimous decision, and I think Fisher is in a better place in his career currently than Stout to take the rubber match. Fun fight, even if it shouldn't be above Jose Aldo's no#1 contender Hatsu Hioki, the second best Featherweight in the world. Spencer Fisher by TKO.
Anton Tabuena: Why is this the co-main event? What about Hioki? I don't care if Dana doesn't like that he turned down a title shot, your top ranked fighter deserves a slot on a PPV main card, let alone an FX fight night. Anywayyyyy. Stout takes this one easily. Sam Stout by TKO.
T.P. Grant: Can you say war? This is going to be a scrap, both guys have knockout power and love to bang. Fisher could very well be fighting for his job, as he has lost four of his last five matches in the UFC. This is the rubber match between these two and I feel like Stout has a clear advantage at this point and will finish the fight. Sam Stout by TKO, Round 3.
Fraser Coffeen: I am so, so happy that this fight is happening, as I love both these fighters, and both their fights. In recent years, Fisher seems to have really slipped down a notch (which is understandable - he's got 30+ fights to his credit), while Stout remains relatively at his peak. The big question though is Shawn Tompkins. Since his death, Stout, Mark Hominick, and Chris Horodecki have all been winless. Can Stout turn that around here? I think he can, but it's a big question mark. Sam Stout by TKO, round 2
David Castillo: Stout has to be the favorite, despite Fisher looking like the better fighter in their previous matches (1st included). Spencer has looked lackluster for awhile. His heart's still in it, but I suspect his mind might not. It could still be close given Stout's lack of power (Edwards KO notwithstanding), but Stout's the safe and likely pick. Sam Stout by Decision.
Dallas Winston: Bit of a coin-toss in my opinion. The key to Fisher's victory was his explosive quickness, footwork and hand speed, but unfortunately those seem to be the traits that have declined for him lately. Stout's momentum is strong right now; I thought his last 2 losses (Stephens, Tavares) were razor thin and could've gone either way. As much as I'd like to see Spencer take this ... Sam Stout by decision.
Tim Burke: Normally I'd lean towards Stout all the way in this bout. But something tells me he's still not mentally 100% in the aftermath of the loss of Shawn Tompkins. I'm not trying to offend him or anyone by throwing that in his face, it's been terrible for me to watch The Coach's team struggle since his death. But it's the truth. I'm pulling for Sammy all the way and I totally hope I'm wrong with this, but I gotta go Spencer Fisher by decision.
Staff picking Fisher: KJ, Tim
Staff picking Stout: Stephie, Grant, Fraser, Anton, David, Dallas
KJ Gould: Ebersole is a crafty and cunning journeyman, Waldburger is a young upstart with a ton of potential and raw talent. Ebersole might not be as spectacular as Waldburger has been, but I do think he has more tools in his belt to get the job done, and his unorthodox style is trouble for anyone. I think down the road Waldburger could beat the Ebersoles of the world rather easily, but not tomorrow night. Brian Ebersole by decision.
T.P. Grant: Waldburger is experienced considering his age, 24, but Ebersole is a veteran well worth his salt. Ebersole is not going to be dazzled by Waldburger's grappling and will be able to put the fight in situations that favor him and not get sucked in to Waldburger's scrambles. Brian Ebersole by TKO, Round 2.
Fraser Coffeen: Ebersole is just a bad match-up for Waldburger at this point. With his massive experience edge, there's nothing Ebersole is going to be surprised by here. Expect Waldburger to get some nice submission attempts, but Ebersole to get through them and scramble into better position time and again. Brian Ebersole by submission, round 2
David Castillo: Ebersole is the safe pick, but I'm going with Waldburger on this one. While I agree the matchup favors Ebersole, I think TJ has more outs, oddly enough.TJ isn't the more dynamic fighter per se, but I think he's more likely to finish the fight assuming he doesn't has out. Brian's not living on borrowed time like Spencer Fisher, but I think opponents are more mindful of his antics. TJ Waldburger by Decision.
Dallas Winston: As long as he respects Waldburger's sub game, which is elite, and turns in a technical wrestle-boxing performance instead of brawling, this should be Ebersole's fight to win. Waldburger will go nuts on the feet and intentionally leave himself off-balance when throwing haymakers and kicks to bait Ebersole into clinching or takedowns -- Ebersole can still attack in these instances as long as he backs out immediately and avoids Waldburger's slick guard. Sprawl-and-brawl by Ebersole, Melendez vs. Aoki style. Brian Ebersole by TKO.
Tim Burke: Ebersole has the ability to choose where this takes place, and that's enough for me. He's crafty enough to stay out of Whataburger's wheelhouse and he can control the standup. Brian Ebersole by decision.
Staff picking Ebersole: Stephie, Grant, Fraser, Anton, KJ, Dallas, Tim
Staff picking Waldburger: David
KJ Gould: Swanson's KO of George Roop was for many, shocking. No one really expected that power and ability out of Swanson at this stage of his career, though Roop has shown to be prone to KO's in the past. Pearson has been wobbled by Cole Miller in the past which lead to his submission defeat, but it was at a weight class up from where he's competing currently. Pearson was able to hang with Edson Barboza and only lost by split decision, where up until the Jamie Varner fight Barboza had been a wrecking ball. I don't think Swanson can replicate his success against Roop with Pearson, I think Pearson might be technically better at boxing range and will rough him up in the clinch. Ross Pearson by Decision.
T.P. Grant: An interesting match up as Pearson's best offense seems to come from clinch striking and close in boxing and Swanson is in his element really any time he is on his feet. Unless your name is Jose Aldo, you're not going to be able to knock Swanson out and Pearson doesn't have the submission offense to win by that route. Pearson has shown in the past that he can be hurt on the feet, I think if he wins it will be based mostly around clinching. While I'd love to see Swanson play pinball with another mouthpiece I think Pearson is able to use his size in the clinch to wear him down. Ross Pearson by Decision.
Dallas Winston: Classic boxer versus brawler match up here. Pearson is a technical boxer and range fighter who will look to stay in the center of the cage and set up crisp combinations with head movement, feints and angles. Swanson is like Penn and the Diaz brothers in that he has an amazingly vast arsenal of technical skill -- Capoeira, good kickboxing, slick Judo, decent wrestling and a BJJ black belt -- yet he just wants to sink his teeth in and finish. Swanson's clinch and takedowns should be a factor, even if to keep Pearson guessing and hesitant to commit to his punches. Pearson is the safe bet; I like Cub for mounting the more memorable offense. Cub Swanson by decision.
Tim Burke: I think this is going to be fight of the night. Swanson can really hang on the feet and everyone knows what Pearson brings. If Swanson brings the fight to Pearson and doesn't let him sit on the outside, he can definitely win this. The problem is that I don't think he can. He's too reckless sometimes and Pearson is just more accurate and fights smarter. I expect a war, but I'm gonna go with Ross Pearson by decision.
David Castillo: Am I crazy to think Swanson is the more consistent fighter? I can never shake the image of Pearson losing to Cole Miller in a completely one-sided affair. Plus, Cub impressed the hell out of me against Roop, even though Roop himself has always been a bit of a flake. Pearson is a solid fighter though, and I don't think he'll be broken by Cub, but I expect this to be an incredibly close affair. Ross has better fundamentals, so that's why I've gotta go with Pearson, even though Cub is more dynamic. Ross Pearson by Decision.
Staff picking Pearson: Grant, Fraser, Anton, KJ, Tim, David
Staff picking Swanson: Stephie, Dallas
KJ Gould: This is a lousy way for the UFC to be building future opponents for Jose Aldo, by having virtually no one see Hioki on the Fuel prelims. Hioki is the no#2 Featherweight in the world, Aldo's next opponent is no#8. Anyway, we shouldn't count Lamas out, but if Hioki can repeat his performance from UFC Japan earlier this year, we'll hopefully get to see another grappling clinic. Hatsu Hioki by Submission.
Anton Tabuena: THIS SHOULDN'T BE BURIED ON FUEL F. TV! In the wise words of Nam Phan, Asian brother can't get no love... Hatsu Hioki by Submission.
T.P. Grant: Why is this not on FX? Hioki all day. Lamas is a quality fight but Hioki is an elite featherweight and should be challenging for a title soon. Hatsu Hioki by Submission, Round 1.
Dallas Winston: I think Lamas is being seriously overlooked here. His wrestling has been damn near elite, his kickboxing is really coming together well and he's a brute-force brawler with impressive technique. I'm taking Hioki but I'm much more nervous about the upset than most. He'll have to get really creative to work his ground game or else his striking will dictate his chances, which is not comforting. His chin might save him here. Hatsu Hioki by submission.
Tim Burke: I'm with everyone else, I think Hioki should be on TV and that he should win this fight. One thing I'm not with everyone else on is a finish. Lamas is a brown belt with good wrestling and it's not going to be easy for Hioki to get it to the ground And when he does, it's going to be a struggle. This isn't a cakewalk by any means. Hatsu Hioki by decision.
David Castillo: The reason why no fight that is a cakewalk can be a cakewalk for Hioki, is that his fight IQ betrays his fight ability. He still sabotages himself, and Lamas is exactly the kind of fighter that can exploit this: he's tough, gritty, and won't be easy to take down. If I always sound down on Hioki, it's because I know how great he can be, like everyone else I imagine. Still, he's consistently brilliant on the ground in every fight, and that's enough. Hatsu Hioki by Submission.
Staff picking Hioki: Stephie, Grant, Anton, Fraser, KJ, Dallas, Tim, David
Staff picking Lamas:
KJ Gould: Nijem isn't bad as recent TUF finalists go, and he seems to be fighting in his more natural weight class now. His lack of activity though could come back to harm him, as I'm a great believer in fight rhythm and ring rust being a factor, unless it's a phenomenal talent in a favourable match up like we saw from Cain Velasquez recently. Keith is 8-0 against nobodies on the local circuit but also hasn't fought since October. Interestingly Keith was supposed to debut at UFC on Fuel 1, but due to his father's house burning down, didn't. It's a winnable match up for either fighter, though I think Nijem wrestle-fudges Keith to a decision. Ramsey Nijem by Decision.
T.P. Grant: Keith is a wild fighter who relies on his strength to bully other fighters and his pace to demoralize them. I think he will blitz Nijem and the fight will really hinge on if Nijem survives and if Keith tires. Even if Nijem is still around after a round and half, I'm not sure he has the weapons needed to finish the undefeated Keith. C.J. Keith by TKO, Round 1.
Dallas Winston: Keith is one of many interesting prospects debuting on this card. They have comparable styles but past level of competition is a landslide for Nijem, who also seems to be mixing his offense together more effectively. Ramsey Nijem by TKO.
Tim Burke: I considered taking Keith, but I just can't get there. Nijem might have the better creds but I think the wrestling might be a wash. Keith is taller but Nijem has the better boxing. It's much closer than the betting line has it, but I think Nijem can squeak it out. Ramsey Nijem by decision.
David Castillo: I don't know if it's the low expectations of a TUF fighter, but I think Nijem has potential. His striking isn't polished, but he's "athletic and explosive", and those silly overused descriptions are enough for me to consider them factors in a fight where Nijem has the advantage against a fighter who hasn't fought anyone worth mentioning. Ramsey Nijem by Decision.
Staff picking Keith: Stephie, Grant
Staff picking Nijem: Anton, Fraser, KJ, Dallas, Tim, David
KJ Gould: Hmm, combining the chin of Keith Jardine and the bubble guts of Brock Lesnar, gives you Brock Jardine? OK, I have no idea who Brock Jardine is. He doesn't even have a wikipedia page. Rick Story still has the potential to be one of the best Welterweights in the world and it's hard not to think of this as a bounce back fight from the Kampmann and Brenneman losses. Rick Story by TKO
T.P. Grant: Who knows where Story's would be if not for the Marquardt drug test drama a year ago. Coming off two straight losses in 2011, it seems like the UFC wants to get Story back on track. Both are short welterweights, but Story has some real mass while I feel Jardine is a bit on the smaller side. I feel like Story gets a emphatic win here. Rick Story by TKO, Round 1.
Dallas Winston: Jardine is legit: he was a D1 wrestler at Lock Haven and Utah Valley and doesn't f**k around on the feet. He has heavy hands, he's a head hunter and he loves to go downstairs with a straight right. He conjoins his boxing and wrestling well just like Story. Again, it's the past experience that influences my decision, but I see one of these newcomers pulling off the upset and think it will probably be Jardine or Gambino. Rick Story by decision.
Tim Burke: Winston's right, Jardine is legit. He probably should have been in the UFC a while ago, but he was out for a year. The problem is that Rick Story is a damn tank and isn't afraid to get into a firefight on the feet. That isn't the smartest tactic against precision strikers like Martin Kampmann, but it would be against a guy like Jardine. It will be close and Jardine will get an easier fight next time out, but Story's going to grind away and take a tough decision. Rick Story by decision.
David Castillo: My grade schooler enthusiasm for Brock's full name has me tempted to pick him, along with all the good things I hear about him, but I think Story is smart enough at this point to avoid sleeping on a prospect like Jardine. After all, Story is not incapable of a bad loss, but the performances themselves are never tepid. Story is still a tough as nails kid that continues to improve. That's a tall order for Jardine, making his debut. Story by Decision.
Staff picking Jardine:
Staff picking Story: Stephie, Grant, Anton, Fraser, KJ, Dallas, Tim, David
KJ Gould: I underestimated Siler in his last fight, so I won't be making that mistake again. His opponent sounds ridiculously Italian American having fought mostly on the east coast of America and Canada. Despite a 9-0 record, Siler's win over Cole Miller is easily the bigger accomplishment and means a lot more. Siler by Submission
T.P. Grant: Gambino has been a name thrown around as a UFC prospect for some time, but I think Siler is a real under-the-radar prospect. Gambino has taken this fight on short notice and Siler, despite his youth, has already faced a good number of elite fighters. Siler was preparing for a fight against a slick grappler in Jimy Hettes. I think if Siler respects Gambino's power on the feet and can get him down, he will get the win. Steven Siler by Submission, Round 2.
Tim Burke: I know Siler beat Cole Miller and all that, but I still think he's all that great. Siler got lucky with the change in opponent for sure, but I still think the prospect Gambino can beat him. Tri-Star + wrestling = doom for Siler. Joey Gambino by decision.
Dallas Winston: Gambino not only scored the #2 spot on the Scouting Report, but listed it under "ranks and accomplishments" on his UFC.com profile. Had I not under-rated Siler in his last few, I'd take Gambino for the upset. He's a solid wrestler but Siler is pretty huge for a 145er and he moves well and has good boxing and timing. Siler ... I owe ya' one. Steven Siler by decision.
David Castillo: Siler's a good fighter, but beating Cole Miller is becoming an increasingly unreliable statistic. I'm going with the upset. Joey Gambino by Decision.
Staff picking Gambino: Stephie, Tim, David
Staff picking Siler: Grant, Anton, Fraser, KJ, Dallas
KJ Gould: Never count out Matt B.A.M.F. Brown. He beat up the much heralded Wonder Kid in his last fight, and now faces Nova Uniao fighter Luis Ramos whose sole UFC fight was a loss to the prodigal Erick Silva. Brown beats him up all 3 rounds, but I think Ramo is tough enough to not get finished. Matt Brown by Decision.
Anton Tabuena: Luke! by Decision.
T.P. Grant: Fresh off derailing the Wonderboy hype train, Brown is a solid veteran and should be able to handle Ramos. Matt Brown by Decision.
Tim Burke: Brown's just a bad matchup for Ramos. That grinding style is going to tear him up and spit him out. It's Matt Brown, so there's always the chance he gets submitted, but I don't think it'll happen this time. Matt Brown by TKO.
Dallas Winston: Weird ... Brown is one of my favorite fighters but I see Ramos as a bad match up for him. Ramos isn't a powerhouse wrestler but he's a big boy for 170 and a Nova Uniao trained sub-fighter -- and subs are Brown's Achilles Heel. Regardless: beards, chewin' tobackey and American Kazushi Sakurabas. Matt Brown by TKO.
Staff picking Brown: Stephie, Grant, Anton, Fraser, KJ, Tim, Dallas
Staff picking Ramos:
Dallas Winston: Catone is a lurking beast with excellent wrestling, which should be too specialized for Camozzi's well-rounded toughness to overcome. Nick Catone by decision.
Tim Burke: What Dallas said. I always thought Catone was going to be a guy that would break through to the upper tier at middleweight, and this will help him along the way. Nick Catone by decision.
Staff picking Camozzi: Stephie, Grant
Staff picking Catone: Anton, Fraser, Dallas, Tim
Fraser Coffeen: Smart money says Miller here, but he has two significant knocks against him in my book. 1) A near year long layoff. 2) A cut down to 170 for the first time. I think both of those things are going to drain him considerably, and, while I don't question his heart, I think this is a tougher fight than expected. I'm going with the upset. Ricardo Funch by decision
Tim Burke: What does Funch really bring to the table to threaten Dan Miller with? If Miller wanted to, he could just outwrestle Funch for three rounds to get the win. I think he's got something to prove at 170 though, and he's going to cinch up one of those nasty MillerBrother guillotines early. Dan Miller by submission, round 1
Dallas Winston: Well, Johny Hendricks, one of the most decorated wrestlers in MMA, had a lot of trouble taking Funch down, and ate a stream of short elbows and knees in the process. Additionally, Funch is a BJJ black belt just like Miller. Miller is really good at everything but elite at nothing and his lack of KO power makes Funch a fairly live dog, or at least a decent chance-bet at +325. Funch is really scrappy everywhere and I expect this to be somewhat close, and Miller's in trouble if he suffers from the cut. Dan Miller by decision.
Staff picking Miller: Stephie, Grant, Anton, Tim, Dallas
Staff picking Funch: Fraser
Fraser Coffeen: Stone really impressed me last time out, which is good because I didn't think he was going to amount to anything in the UFC after back to back big KO loses. Pague is a solid opponent, but if Stone shows the same skill he did last time, he's got this. Ken Stone by submission, round 1
Tim Burke: Stone has faced some tough competition early in his UFC career and was written off because of a couple of losses. He came back with a good performance, and I think he'll turn in another one here against the late replacement. Ken Stone by submission, round 2.
Dallas Winston: Stone was quite handily out-striking both Wineland and Jorgensen on the feet, even putting Jorgensen on the defensive from his guard with nonstop hip-angles and sub attempts. He also wrestled in college, which gives him a legit 3-dimensional game. His striking is ultra-smooth but his standing defense is rather lacking, so as long as that doesn't come back to bite him, he should be too technical and diverse for Pague. Ken Stone by submission.
Staff picking Pague: Stephie
Staff picking Stone: Grant, Anton, Fraser, Tim, Dallas