Tim Burke: Is Bigfoot more well-rounded? Yup. Is he going to get clubbered in the face and knocked out? I hope so. Mark Hunt by KO, round 1
Fraser Coffeen: Look, I don't like making this pick. The K-1 fan in me demands that I love Mark Hunt, and even without that, Hunt is one of my personal favorites. I picked him to beat Rothwell, and Kongo, and Struve. But he's now 39 and he was just absolutely wrecked last time out. That run to near title contention was great and inspiring, but that run is over, and I'm afraid we're not going to see that out of Hunt again. I would love to be wrong though. War Super Samoan! Bigfoot Silva by TKO round 2
Mookie Alexander: Bigfoot can totally win this fight. On paper he's definitely the better fighter and is capable of taking Hunt down and playing the bongos on his face and forcing the TKO like he did vs. Fedor. Buuuuuut his chin cannot hold up against Hunt's power, so PRIDE NEVER DIE and all that jazz ... I'm picking Hunt because of the sinking feeling that Silva is going to stand with Hunt way too long. Mark Hunt by KO, round 1.
Zane Simon: Bigfoot has to be one of the least trustworthy picks in the heavyweight division. He has the ability to get demolished by any striker with really good power (read almost every heavyweight) but he has this nasty mix of martial arts skills, due to his heavy background in BJJ, Judo, and Karate, that can surprise even the very best fighters. Hunt, on the other hand, is very known, stand with him and your standup had better be amazing, grapple with him and he's just barely able to stay alive. I honestly think that Bigfoot is going to mess around just little too much in this fight, but I wouldn't be even a little surprised to see him take Hunt the way he did Fedor. Mark Hunt by KO, Round 1.
Connor Ruebusch: Poor takedowns and a suspect chin are a bad mix against the Super Samoan. Easy pick for me. Hunt by KO, round 1.
Staff picking Hunt: Stephie, Mookie, Zane, Tim, Connor, Dallas
Staff picking Bigfoot:Grant, Fraser
Tim Burke: Shogun is NOT finished. Not by a longshot. Getting subbed by Sonnen definitely hurt his rep, but this is a perfect fight for him. JTH has decent wrestling but he won't be able to keep Shogun down. And on the feet, Shogun's still way faster. Te Huna hits like a truck, but Shogun hasn't shown any signs of a deteriorating chin. I love this fight and it's going to be a war. But Shogun is going to knock him out. Y'all are crazy. Shogua Rua by KO, round 2
Mookie Alexander: Shogun is finished. Finito. His last great performance was when he ended Joe Rogan's famed "Machida Era" ... in 2010. He's taken an enormous amount of punishment recently, and Chael Sonnen's total domination of him (and submission!) is telling of how far he's dropped off. His gas tank isn't getting any better, his granite chin is still great but has clearly eroded some, and unless he can work Te Huna on the ground -- where it's clear that James has a deficiency -- I think Te Huna's wickedly powerful combinations and brutal uppercuts will be too much for this version of Shogun to handle.by TKO, round 2.
Fraser Coffeen: Wait, I have to pick against Hunt AND Shogun? Screw this card. James Te Huna by decision
Zane Simon: Alright, I took the heart pick with Hunt, but I gotta go with my head here and pick against Shogun. Much like the arrival of the rifle in Japan, time has been hard on the Shogunate. He's actually younger than Te Huna here, which is just ridiculous, because he might as well be 1000 in fight years. His chin probably isn't gone, I don't know that he'll ever get chinny, but everything else seems to have flown out the window. Despite the prodigious power, James Te Huna by Unanimous Decision.
Connor Ruebusch: I came in here fully expecting to pick against Shogun, but I'm suddenly wary. Te Huna has decent boxing, but Shogun has shown a recent willingness to take tough opponents down, and he has a much better ground game than his opponent this time out. Also, he didn't get the chance against Sonnen, but I think it's likely that the training under Freddie Roach has made some improvements to Shogun's boxing game. Roach tends to make guys into intelligently offensive machines, and with Shogun's power that's a scary thought. I'm not sure why, but I'm going with the old guard here. Shogun by TKO, round 2.
Staff picking Shogun: Tim, Connor, Dallas
Staff picking JTH: Stephie, Mookie, Grant, Fraser, Zane
Tim Burke: The fact that they made this fight at all is so weird. Ryan Bader by TKO, round 1.
Mookie Alexander: Well this isn't going to be competitive unless Bader wants to make it two losses to guys aged 68 years old and not known for their striking. Ryan Bader by KO, round 1.
Zane Simon: If Anthony Perosh KO's Ryan Bader I'll be laughing like a maniacal fool. That would make two straight KO's for the 41 year old Hippo, and another KO loss for Bader's record. Honestly though, I don't see it happening. Bader has everything he needs to launch huge bombs from the outside, and outside the range of Perosh's mechanical one-twos. He also has the wrestling to stay upright. Ryan Bader by TKO, Round 1.
Connor Ruebusch: I'm tempted to pick Perosh here, but Bader's not a bad fighter against this level of competition. He was able to hurt Glover Teixeira before getting caught pursuing the finish, and Perosh isn't exactly hard to hit. Bader by TKO, round 1.
Staff picking Bader: Stephie, Mookie, Grant, Fraser, Zane, Tim, Connor, Dallas
Staff picking Perosh:
Tim Burke: Palelei doesn't have the hand speed to stand and trade with Barry. He could take him down and go for the sub, but I doubt it. I think he's going to get kicked in the legs a whole bunch, then punched in the face and he'll wake up a couple of minutes later in confusion. Pat Barry by KO, round 1
Mookie Alexander: I think I've got Pat Barry figured out. He's never won two UFC fights in a row but normally he rebounds from losses by punching people in the head in ridiculously violent fashion. Palelei gets to play the role of the guy who Pat Barry knocks out. Pat Barry by KO, round 1.
Zane Simon: Ugh, this is either going to be awesome for one round or terrible for two, I'm not sure which. And I'm doubly unsure of who wins. Honestly Palelei has everything he needs to sleep Barry, and likewise Barry has everything he needs. Barry has a few more technical tools, but not so many that I ever feel comfortable picking him, especially after that Shawn Jordan disaster. For the sake of interest I'm taking Palelei here, but that's more to gin up the fight than anything else. Soa Palelei by KO, Round 1.
Connor Ruebusch: Pat Barry is just the coolest dude, but he's so unbelievably inconsistent. This one is essentially a toss-up to me, because Pat has a knack for getting hit in the face and/or outworked on the ground, whereas Palelei has only shown us so far that he's capable of gassing tremendously on the big stage. Ugh... I dunno. Palelei by Submission, round 2.
Staff picking Barry: Stephie, Grant, Fraser, Mookie, Tim, Dallas
Staff picking Palelei: Zane, Connor
Tim Burke: This should be a decent fight. Dylan Andrews by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: Two decent if not exactly spectacular TUF prospects here, but both have shown something in the UFC. This is actually the rare good fight from non-TUF finalists. Go figure! Andrews is more well rounded, but Hester has the striking edge, and that should be enough. Clint Hester by decision
Mookie Alexander: Andrews was likely on his way to a loss vs. Papy Abedi before pulling off the late 3rd round KO. That seems to be his game in a nutshell. He's tough, has good power in his hands, but he's in his 30s and is past the stage of "prospect". I think Hester projects to be a better fighter in the long term and probably already is better than Andrews right now. Clint Hester by decision.
Zane Simon: If Andrews were 7 years younger he'd have a ton of potential. As it is, he's a decent, power punching brawler, basically diet Te Huna. Hester definitely feels like he has more upside to really develop and show a lot of skill progression in his UFC career. All things being static I might take Andrews here, but I'm hoping/expecting that Hester brings some more polish to this fight. Clint Hester by TKO, Round 2.
Connor Ruebusch: Hester is somewhat one-dimensional, but Andrews didn't show any dimensions at all until the third round against Papy Abedi. I've gotta go with the boxer with the sharp elbows. Hester by KO, round 3.
Staff picking Andrews: Tim, Dallas
Staff picking Hester: Stephie, Grant, Fraser, Mookie, Zane, Conor
Tim Burke: Meh. This is one of the problems with shallow divisions. Neither are really "UFC caliber" but the lack of depth apparently says they are. Bethe Correia by decision
Zane Simon: Right now, Julie Kedzie needs this fight. Correia is exceptionally untested and unpolished as a prospect. She's strong and patient, but she's not a terribly technical striker and while she's controlling on the ground, no part of her game feels like a finished product. Kedzie has everything she needs to clinch, grind, and box her way to a decision, and if she can't then it may be time to take a long hard look at broadcasting. Julie Kedzie by Decision.
Staff picking Correia: Fraser, Tim
Staff picking Kedzie: Stephie, Grant, Zane, Mookie, Connor, Dallas
Tim Burke: Phan just hasn't really looked good at all in the UFC. The new weight class might help, but Mizugaki is a beast and he's going to get soundly outgrappled. Takeya Mizugaki by decision.
Mookie Alexander: Nam Phan's last two losses were some of the most savage beatings I've ever seen. He's been on the wrong end of 3 combined 30-25s and the 30-24 against Dennis Siver. Mizugaki is finally on a good run and he's going to stomp him. Takeya Mizugaki by lopsided decision.
Fraser Coffeen: Mizugaki is an excellent gatekeeper who does his job well. You have to be a level above to get a win over him, and Nam Phan is not that level. Takeya Mizugaki by decision
Zane Simon: Mizugaki is such an even keeled, consistent, top level fighter, and Nam Phan just isn't. It's a shame, because Phan's a lot of fun when he's "on," but he'd need a career performance to beat Mizugaki who just does everything better and does it all the time. Takeya Mizugaki by Decision.
Connor Ruebusch: Seems like either the people making his fights or Takeya Mizugaki himself has finally figured out that the way to stop alternating wins and losses is to stop only fighting top-flight competition. Mizugaki is a very solid gatekeeper, and he positively outclassed a dangerous if limited fighter in Erik Perez in his last showing. Phan, on the other hand, is a cool guy with an exciting style that just doesn't seem to be working for him anymore. Mizugaki by Unanimous Decision.
Staff picking Mizugaki: Stephie, Grant, Fraser, Zane, Mookie, Tim, Connor, Dallas
Staff picking Phan:
Tim Burke: Canada I guess. Ring's the better fighter anyway. Nick Ring by TKO, round 1
Zane Simon: Magalhaes is definitely strong and has some grappling/wrestling ability. But he's hardly a complete fighter. I think this will be close, because Nick Ring fights are always close, and I wouldn't be shocked if Magalhaes can pull him down and totally outclass him. But I think Ring boxes him from the outside and grinds away against the fence for three boring rounds of bad standup action. Nick Ring by Decision.
Connor Ruebusch: Is it even possible for Nick Ring to lose a decision? Ring by Unanimous Decision.
Staff picking Magalhaes: Grant,
Staff picking Ring: Stephie, Fraser, Mookie, Zane, Tim, Connor, Dallas
Tim Burke: Scoggins seems like a pretty good prospect and I think he's going to tear right through Vaculik here. Justin Scoggins by TKO, round 1
Zane Simon: This is a great fight for Scoggins, whose striking is lightyears ahead of Vaculik. That's not to say that he's going to conquer flyweight, but much like Stephen Thompson, he should be able to put a hurting on the low end of the division. Vaculik is not bad, but he does absolutely nothing particularly well. Justin Scoggins via KO, Round 2.
Staff picking Scoggins: Fraser, Mookie, Zane, Tim, Connor
Staff picking Vaculik: Stephie, Grant, Dallas
Tim Burke: All Bruno, all day. He's fought a gaggle of five rounders and has beaten some pretty decent guys. Bruno Santos by decision
Zane Simon: This should be a pretty one sided fight too. Jotko may be undefeated on the European regional scene, but he's an incredibly raw prospect who wins fights with toughness and a mix of developing skills. His striking is awkward and his ground game is nothing to write home about. On the other hand, Santos is a hulking grind blanket of fun sucking power. He takes this easily. Bruno Santos via Unanimous Decision.
Staff picking Jotko: Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking Santos: Grant, Fraser, Zane, Tim, Connor, Dallas
Tim Burke: Alex Garcia is a name you're going to be hearing a lot about. I don't think you'll have to worry about the "conservative Tri-Star gameplan" that some fans like to bitch about. He's a well-rounded savage and in my eyes, it's just a matter of how he wins. I'll go with a knockout. Alex Garcia by TKO, round 2.
Fraser Coffeen: When in doubt, pick the guy from Tristar. Alex Garcia by decision
Zane Simon: The bottom end of this card isn't even close in terms of matchups. Ben Wall was a mediocre prospect on TUF Smashes, and has displayed little in the way of finishing ability over his career. Across from him is a beast in Alex Garcia who has been tearing through opponents north of the border. Garcia is going to maul the Manimal. Alex Garcia via Submission, Round 2.
Staff picking Garcia: Fraser, Mookie, Zane, Tim, Connor, Dallas
Staff picking Wall: Stephie, Grant