Saturday, September 24, 2011

UFC 135 Predictions

Preliminary bouts (Facebook):

Ricardo Romero over James Te-Huna

Wager: $10 on Ricardo Romero at 2.35 odds to win $27

Takeya Mizugaki over Cole Escovedo
Junior Assuncao over Eddie Yagin

Wager: $10 on Junior Assuncao at 2.20 odds to win $22

Preliminary bouts (Spike):

Tim Boetch over Nick Ring

Aaron Riley over Tony Ferguson

Call this a hunch pick - Ferguson probably should win, but Riley is a difficult and unique opponent.

Main card:

Nate Diaz over Takanori Gomi
Travis Browne over Rob Broughton

Mark Hunt over Ben Rothwell

This is officially the dumbest prediction I have ever made. But Ryan Fredrick explains the logic behind the pick well. Basically, if you take Hunt down, you will win. However, Rothwell is essentially the heavyweight version of Yoshihiro Akiyama. Rothwell refuses to use his greatest strength - his wresting - to win. So Hunt will probably end up with another knockout victory.

As I said, the dumbest prediction I have ever made.

Wager: $10 on Mark Hunt to win at 3.75 odds to return $37.50

Josh Koscheck over Matt Hughes

Diego Sanchez has to be angry that he had to pull out of this fight. For whatever reason, the Hughes name still holds a lot of value as a name on a resume, even though he is no longer an elite fighter, or even at the level just lower than that. And with the Diaz/GSP fiasco giving Carlos Condit the next title shot, there was an outside chance that Sanchez could have gotten the next title shot.

Instead, Koscheck returns from the hellacious beating GSP laid on him to instead get to face Hughes and prove that he is at that level behind GSP. Koscheck is very low on the list of title contenders thanks to his poor performance against GSP, but should GSP lose the title or the other contenders fail, he is in a spot where he can get the title shot.

I expect Koscheck to win, and to stop the fight by knockout.

Lightheavyweight Title: Jon Jones over Quentin "Rampage" Jackson

Ryan Pike has a great piece on how the Lightheavyweight division is truly the division of death. The title has changed hands in every title fight since Rampage Jackson unified the UFC and Pride LHW titles, save the first Machida/Rua fight where most people felt that the champion lost the fight.

But this time is supposed to be different; Jon Jones legitimately feels like a phenom. How somebody is going to beat him is really unknown, mostly because Jones has looked like a dominant fighter in every fight we have seen him in. What gets lost in this is that Jones has only fought one top 10 fighter in Shogun Rua, and really hasn't been tested in any way. We don't know how he will react to being hit by a hard strike, nor do we know how he will react to being put in a position to defend against a submission.

Rampage Jackson is not going to test Jones' submission defenses, but he can test Jones' ability to take a shot. I think he will throw some bombs early on, but Jones will weather it and wait for Jackson to tire before taking over the fight. I don't know if Jones will finish the fight, but he will win the fight.

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