Yessir! I’m back and so is the UFC. I know you missed us both dearly. After all, you can’t have one without the other. The gods forbid it. After that long break I’m ready to give you guys the goods. Only ten fights this time around. Why only ten fights? Because the Thiago Tavares/Willamy Freire bout had to be scrapped because of injury. A shame too, as I was looking forward to seeing Tavares fight. So that means 10-0. Yeah, it’s gonna happen. Just wait for it. I SAID WAIT! Now where were we before you made me raise my voice? Oh, right…after UFC 116′s performance my overall record 74-51. Not bad, but that’s in the past. This weekend I’m looking for win number 84.
In addition to my tremendous picks, I have great news. Big John McCarthy is finally making his way back inside The Octagon. Yes, that’s right, the greatest MMA referee of all time is finally going to call some UFC fights again. Rejoice.
Now, on to my picks. As always, if you use these picks for betting, I expect half. Cash, check, or money order, it makes no difference. It all spends.
Middleweight bout: Rob Kimmons vs. Steve Steinbeiss
Steinbeiss “lost” the first time they fought, but it wasn’t really a loss. The ref stopped the fight prematurely when, for some reason, he thought Steinbeiss was out when Kimmons slapped on a guillotine choke. Impressive in all the wrong ways. Anyone could see Steinbeiss wasn’t out. And a trained ref right up next to the action should’ve known better. He didn’t, and now we get Part 2. Kimmons is a beast on the ground, and expect the same outcome, though this time actually making Steinbeiss tap.
My Pick: Kimmons, Round 2, Submission
Lightweight bout: Darren Elkins vs. Charles Oliveira
This ought to be entertaining. Elkins has fast hands with knockout power and can also submit you. But wait, his opponent has all of the same qualities. Evenly matched? I’d say so. Hard to pick a winner in this one, but I think it’s going to be over quickly. Most of these fighter’s fights have ended in the first round. And seeing how Oliveira is the larger of the two fighters, I’m leaning towards him.
My Pick: Oliveira, Round 1, KO
Middleweight bout: Brian Stann vs. Mike Massenzio
I got Stann in this one. In this grappler vs. striker match-up I’m siding with the striker. Stann is dropping down to Middleweight to try and kick start his career and has drawn a very winnable fight. Massenzio is great on the ground, but his stand-up game leaves much to be desired. I think Stann is going to pick Massenzio apart and get the judges nod.
My Pick: Stann, Round 3, Decision
Light Heavyweight bout: James Irvin vs. Igor Pokrajac
Thank Zeus that James Irvin has gone back to 205lbs. He looked like a skeleton fighting at middleweight. Disgusting looking actually. I have no idea why he decided to do that. He got smashed by Anderson Silva. Who doesn’t? Then he drops down? Nonsense. Now he’s back to normal and gets to fight a fighter who is prone to a knockout loss. That should be good for Irvin, putting him back on the winning track.
My Pick: Irvin, Round 2, TKO
Welterweight bout: DaMarques Johnson vs. Matthew Riddle
When this fight was announced I immediately thought DaMarques would win going away. Now, I’m not so sure. Johnson didn’t make weight after a few attempts, so he’s probably drained. I hope that’s not the case because he’s a good fighter and I’d rather watch him at 100%. I’ll still go with my initial decision, but this call could have an asterisk placed on it.
My Pick: Johnson, Round 2, Submission
Lightweight bout: Paul Kelly vs. Jacob Volkmann
This should be a close fight. If Volkmann can keep Kelly away with his reach, he should get the judges nod. That’s what I believe will happen, but Kelly is a springy one. One second you think you have him where you want him, and the next he’s shooting on you and taking you down. It will come down to takedowns versus strikes landed. Siding with strikes landed.
My Pick: Volkmann, Round 3, Decision
Lightweight bout: Tyson Griffin vs. Takanori Gomi
This is a tough fight to call, and my pick for Fight of the Night. I’m leaning towards Griffin because that little guy has a gas tank like no other and he’s much quicker than Gomi. Gomi can deliver some punches, but Griffin can take some punches. Eventually this will come down to takedowns and cardio, and I believe Tyson Griffin wins in both of those categories.
My Pick: Griffin, Round 3, Decision
Welterweight bout: John Howard vs. Jake Ellenberger
I got Howard on this one. I actually think is sort of an upset if he doesn’t win. The guy is 4-0 in the UFC and can finish the fight from anywhere. Ellenberger might be a little better standing, technically speaking, but Howard can end it on a moments notice. And that’s probably going to happen. One of those dynamite fists will find it’s way home.
My Pick: Howard, Round 2, KO
Middleweight bout: Mark Muñoz vs. Yushin Okami
Well, I heard Munoz say that he’s going to try to outlast Okami, so that’s what I’m leaning towards. What he meant was, “I’m going to try to use my superior wrestling and strength to keep Okami down and win a decision.” Okami will definitely have his work cut out for him. While he’s also a pretty good wrestler, he gives up strength in this fight…which is where I think this fight is won.
My Pick: Munoz, Round 3, Decision
Light Heavyweight bout: Jon Jones vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
I don’t know of this is a step up in competition from Matt Hamill, but it’s not a step down as I’ve heard some say. At the very least it’s a step sideways, which is pretty much where Dana wants Jones. Matyushenko has much more experience than Jones and he’s been in there with the best. Matyushenko COULD beat Jones. Will he? Probably not. He’d have to catch Jones in the middle of one of those crazy moves Jones always does and drop the young superstar. I don’t see it happening though.
My Pick: Jones, Round 1, TKO