Yet again UFC has an event, and yet again I’m making predictions on it.  I did really well for the UFC Fight Night from last week, getting 80% of the matches right.  I’m not saying you can take my picks to Vegas, because I don’t want to be responsible for anyone else losing money, but if you do win money using input from my picks, give a look at the Official GuysNation Merchandise and order something.

Main card

* Heavyweight bout:
United States – Frank Mir vs. Croatia – Mirko Filipović

I have to say that despite the high profile stature both competitors have earned, I’m not a believer in either of them at this point.  Mirko Cro-Cop may have earned a submission victory over Pat Barry back in June, but that doesn’t impress me any more than Lesnar’s submission victory over Shane Carwin.  Barry and Cro-Cop are both kickboxers by trade, and that victory doesn’t mean anything in the way of what he’s going to be able to do against Frank Mir, one of the better submission guys in the Heavyweight division.  Prior to that win, Cro-Cop beat a guy named Anthony Perosh (who I’ve never heard of) by doctor’s stoppage following a loss to Junior dos Santos a year ago.  Prior to that, Cro-Cop had some high profile opponents, but he didn’t necessarily fare well against them, including a loss to Cheick Kongo (who Frank Mir defeated last December).  Where Mir is concerned, I’ll certainly give him credit for a victory over Minotauro Nogueira in December 2008, but he nearly lost to Brock Lesnar in February of that year (had Lesnar not fallen pray to a careless situation where he got himself trapped by a heel hook), and since the win over Nogueira, Frank Mir has proven that he doesn’t fare well against guys with heavy hands – losing to Lesnar and Carwin by knockout.

Could Frank Mir get a submission over Cro-Cop?  The only time Mirko has tapped out to anything other than injury was 7 years ago to Minotauro Nogueira.  That won’t intimidate Mir, who did the seemingly impossible by knocking out Minotauro for the first time in his career.  To Mir’s credit, he has never been knocked out by a kick, and I think that’s really the only way that Cro-Cop is going to get a victory over Mir.

Prediction: Frank Mir

* Light Heavyweight bout:
Brazil – Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. United States – Ryan Bader

Although I really like what I’ve seen of Ryan Bader on The Ultimate Fighter and in his fights following that televised tournament, it’s really tough for me to pick against Rogerio Nogueira.  I’m a big fan of Minotauro Nogueira despite his recent lack of success, and his twin brother is certainly becoming one of my favorites as well.  This fight comes down to the fact that I think Keith Jardine is way past his prime, devaluing Ryan Bader’s recent victory over him, as well as the fact that I think Nogueira is primed to make a significant impact here in UFC, having already amassed two victories – one of which earned Knockout Of The Night honors.  This one was really tough for me to choose and I’m sure it could go either way, but I have to side slightly with Nogueira.

Prediction: Rogerio Nogueira

* Welterweight bout:
United States – Matt Serra vs. United States – Chris Lytle

I keep waiting to find out that Matt Serra is retiring for good.  There were rumors of it floating around more than once, but I guess he’s still competing.  Though Serra does have a good record against non-elite guys (with losses to Matt Hughes, BJ Penn and Georges St Pierre), I just have a tough time being a believer.  I will say that I like the guy based on what I saw when he was a coach on The Ultimate Fighter, so I do wish him well in his career.  Chris Lytle will be looking to avenge a split decision loss to Matt Serra in the fight just before Serra won the Welterweight Championship.  Since that time, Lytle has won Submission Of The Night Honors (twice), Knockout Of The Night honors (once), and Fight Of The Night honors (four times) to go along with a record of 7 and 4 over that span (losses:  Matt Hughes, Josh Koscheck, Thiago Alves and Marcus Davis).  This one should be a great fight, but I have to go with the revenge factor here.

Prediction: Chris Lytle

* Lightweight bout:
United States – Sean Sherk vs. United States – Evan Dunham

I can appreciate the fact that Sean Sherk typically only loses to elite talent like BJ Penn, Georges St Pierre, Matt Hughes and current Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, but I still find it tough to predict he’ll win.  I just think that Evan Dunham is a great young fighter who is undefeated and has four UFC victories to his credit, and he’ll add another one on Saturday night and put himself into the elite ranks.  Dunham does have two split decisions on his resume, so really I should lean more in the direction of Sean Sherk, but the fact that Sherk hasn’t fought in 16 months worries me to the point where I can’t force myself to pick him.  My mind is split 60 / 40 on this one, but I have to go Dunham.

Prediction: Evan Dunham

* Lightweight bout:
United States – Melvin Guillard vs. United States – Jeremy Stephens

Guillard has won four of five since returning to UFC in late 2008, including a Fight Of The Night superlative for that debut.  His one loss over that span was an excusable one to Nate Diaz.  Jeremy Stephens is looking to keep up his winning streak, having not lost in nearly a year and a half.  Over that span, Stephens put together a Fight Of The Night to go along with a Knockout Of The Night (an award he also won back in late November 2008).

Prediction: Jeremy Stephens

Preliminary card (Spike TV)

* Middleweight bout:
United States – C.B. Dollaway vs. Canada – Joe Doerksen

After losing The Ultimate Fighter 7, Dollaway has gone 4 – 1 in UFC, and although his last two were by decision, I like his win over one of my favorites – Goran Reljic.  Doerksen has tons of experience, with nearly 60 fights to his credit, but he seems to have trouble putting UFC Fight victories on his resume.  I have to go with youth here, as this one seems elementary.

Prediction: C.B. Dollaway

* Heavyweight bout:
United States – Matt Mitrione vs. United States – Joey Beltran

I didn’t like Matt Mitrione during his time on The Ultimate Fighter and I probably picked against him for both of his two professional fights in UFC (I don’t care enough to go back and look).  He got knockouts in both of those fights, so I’ll have to give him credit there.  Joey Beltran hasn’t done enough to warrant me picking him here.  He beat Houston Alexander (no longer with UFC), Rolles Gracie (who looks to be a bit over-rated as he was released after this fight which Renzo Gracie called “embarrassing”) and Tim Hague (a fight he took to decision against a fighter who has lost three of his last four, one of which ended in 7 seconds).

Prediction: Matt Mitrione

Preliminary card

Keep in mind that there’s not always so much information about the fighters on the preliminary part of the card, but there’s still potential to pick winners from it if you look at their experience and see how they’ve won and lost (and to whom).

* Lightweight bout:
Brazil – Thiago Tavares vs. United States – Pat Audinwood

Thiago Tavares has plenty of UFC experience, but what does it amount to?  After winning his first two UFC fights back in the first half of 2007, he went on to lose three of his next four through the end of 2008.  Since then he has one win and a draw, both by decision.  Audinwood might be undefeated, but during that same span of time he only had one fight which didn’t go to a decision.  This one’s tough.

Prediction: Pat Audinwood

* Lightweight bout:
United States – Steve Lopez vs. United States – Waylon Lowe

Lopez was injured a year ago against Jim Miller in his UFC debut.  Waylon Lowe just flat out lost in his UFC debut by first round knockout by a knee to the body.  The UFC must see something in Steve Lopez to have had him fight Jim Miller, so we’ll assume he’s got plenty left to show us.

Prediction: Steve Lopez

* Welterweight bout:
Canada – TJ Grant vs. United States – Julio Paulino

Grant lost 2 of the last three but one was by majority decision (meaning it was closer than a unanimous decision), and his victory was a Knockout Of The Night.  Paulino only has one UFC fight on his resume – a loss by unanimous decision.  Tough choice, going with experience here.

Prediction: TJ Grant

* Heavyweight bout:
New Zealand – Mark Hunt vs. United States – Sean McCorkle

What do I know about these guys?  I can’t say I’ve heard anything about McCorkle, but I do like what Mark Hunt has done in MMA.  Sure, he’s got a below average win-loss ratio, but he has challenged himself with some of the top names in the business (Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Josh Barnett, Gegard Mousasi, Cro-Cop, and Wanderlei Silva).  Unless McCorkle has a bright future in UFC, I don’t think he stands a chance.

Prediction: Mark Hunt

– – –

GuysNation will be running a prediction contest starting with UFC 119 whereby people are encouraged to make predictions on whatever fights they want to on UFC events covered here on, and at the end of the calendar year, GuysNation will do a drawing involving anyone who has picked more than 50% of their selected fights correctly, the winner getting a GuysNation shirt.  In order for picks to count, they must be made prior to an event in a comment/response to the appropriate article containing predictions for that night’s UFC fight card.

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