Wednesday, July 2, 2008

UFC 86 Pick and Predictions

While I figure no one is actually out there reading this, I will apologize to the vastness for my lack of posts - visitors and beach time really kills your posting time....

Ben Saunders vs Jared Rollins

Kind of your classic striker versus BJJ expert here, but both guys have shown that they're not all that bad out of their natural element too. Rollins showed his toughness in his loss to Jon Koppenhaver...but it was a loss to Jon Koppenhaver. Saunders hasn't been tested like that yet, but that's mostly because he's a pretty good fighter. He trains with the better team, has better power, a better record....he's just plain better at this point. He'll keep it on his feet long enough to do damage to Rollins, and should have enough ground game to avoid any submission Rollins throws at him.

Winner: Ben Saunders, TKO, Round 2

Corey Hill vs Justin Buchholz
Corey Hill has a chance - a chance - to be something really special in the lightweight division. His freakish size for the division creates interesting visuals and interesting match ups. He's greener than Eddie Bravo's stash though, so you never know exactly what you're going to get out of him. Training with MFS helps a lot though, and he should be able to handle the step up in competition that Bucholz represents here. Bucholz will want to take the fight down where he can utilize his submissions, but look for Hill to make him pay for trying to close the distance, and to have a good sprawl for when he does.

Winner: Corey Hill, TKO, Round 2

Melvin Guillard vs Dennis Siver

Guillard has all the physical advantages in this fight, but he better have worked on his submission defense. Siver may not have had the most impressive showings in his UFC career, but he does have strong submission game, which is apparently Guillard's krypotonite. If - and this is a big if - Guillard has grown up since getting schooled by Rich Clementi, he should know this is probably his last chance in the UFC, and that he needs to make the most of it. He'll put Siver on his back early, but will he be able to defend submissions inside the guard?

Winner: Melvin Guillard, TKO, Round 1

Jorge Gurgel vs Cole Miller

This could be a fun fight. Neither guy is anywhere title contention in the division, but they're both tough with good ground games, so I'll enjoy this one. So will my wife, since Jorge is in it. That being said, his ground game should be enough to outclass Miller, but he'll have to get the fight to the ground and be on top to really work it. Miller will keep the fight up as long as possible, and try to get top control if it does goes down. Gurgel's stand up is less than stellar, but I think he'll get the fight down early.
Winner: Jorge Gurgel, Submission, Round 2

Gabe Gonzaga vs Justin McCully

Hard to believe it's been a year since McCully stepped in on short notice and dismantled Antoni Hardonk, but here we are. This will not be a good fight for him. He will be destroyed. Gonzaga needs a win after a very lackluster showing against Fabricio Werdum, and even though he won handedly, McCully was nearly submitted by Hardonk several times. Gonzaga will hurt him on their feet, take him down, and submit him when McCully gives up his back.

Winner: Gabriel Gonzaga, Submission, Round 1

Tyson Griffin vs Marcus Aurelio

Aurelio has some of the best jiu jitsu in the sport, let alone the division, but if he had a hard time dealing with Clay Guida's wrestling and pace, what is he going to do with Tyson Griffin? Griffin is in line for a title shot with a win here, and for the life of me I can't see him letting himself get caught in a submission. This won't be the usual excitement fight out of Griffin, but I think he'll but Aurelion on his back early and often and ride out a win.

Winner: Tyson Griffin, Unanimous Decision

Josh Koscheck vs Chris Lytle

Lately, it's been left to the lightweights to put on the high action fights on undercards, but this time around the welterweights get that task. This will be fun for as long as it lasts as both guys can throw good leather (how weird does it feel to say that about Koscheck?), but the difference will come down to Koscheck's wrestling. He's a smart enough fighter to know when he's in trouble on his feet - which will happen at some point with Lytle - and take the fight down. He should pound out a victory from there.

Winner: Josh Koschec, TKO, Round 2

Joe Stevenson vs Gleison Tibau

I think my wife will have a heart attack....Jorge AND Joe Daddy on one card. She'll be in heaven. This should contend with Kos/Lytle for fight of the night, as both guys can go where ever the fight takes them. Tibau should have an advantage on their feet over the short limbed Stevenson, but will be at a strength disadvantage in the clinch and on the ground. I think their submission games will cancel each other out early, and that strength will be the deciding factor as Stevenson wears him down and starts hunting for another title shot.

Winner: Stevenson, Submission, Round 3

Patrick Cote vs Ricardo Almeida

While I'm interested in this fight, how the hell is it the semi-main? Either way, this should be interesting. Cote is a banger with some decided weaknesses in his submission defense, while Almeida is less than dangerous on his feet but has some of the best jiu jitsu in he division. I think Cote has been operating at peak ability the last few fights, but he's been in there against guys willing to play to his strengths. Almedia is smart and ego-less enough that he will not play into that game, and should get the fight down. I'd love to pick my fellow Canuck here, but I can't.

Winner: Ricardo Almeida, Subission, Round 1

LHW Title: Rampage Jackson vs Forrest Griffin

On paper, Jackson has the advantage everywhere except in the submission game and should win this fight 99 times out of a hundred. But Griffin is he type of fighter that is more than he sum of his parts and usually fights to the level of his opponents. We'll see if he can get himself to the rarified air that Jackson currently occupies, but even if he doesn't, this isn't going to be a blowout. Griffin won't stand in front of Jackson like Liddell did, and won't try to get into a wrestling match with him like Henderson did, so it will be a different kind of fight. My brain is telling me to pick Jackson, but I'm going to be stupid and listen to that little voice in the back of my head that keeps saying "Yeah...but....."

Winner: Forrest Griffin, Decision