UFC 104

I’ve tried to make predictions of the past couple UFC events based on as much analysis as I could do.  I tried to research who the past opponents were; I looked at how a fighter won previous fights.

It took forever and it didn’t seem to help in all cases, so I’m abandoning that – to an extent – for UFC 104.

We’ll see how it stacks up.

Preliminary card

Heavyweight bout:
(Netherlands) Stefan Struve vs. (United States) Chase Gormley
Interesting fact:  Stefan Struve is appropriately nicknamed “Skyscraper” because he’s 6’11”, which makes him 8 inches taller than Chase Gormley, which could make for a very interesting fight, especially since Struve is highly skilled in Ju-Jitsu.
Chase Gormley is undefeated in 6 fights, though none of them have been in UFC, so you have to question his opponents’ credibility.
Prediction:  Stefan Struve

Light Heavyweight bout:
(United States) Kyle Kingsbury vs. (United States) Razak Al-Hassan
Since this is a preliminary match that I probably won’t get to watch anyway, I’ll just make this quick.  I’d like to pick Kingsbury because he was on a season of The Ultimate Fighter that I watched, but he has lost his only two UFC fights he’s been in, and I’m not impressed with the rest of his record.  Razak’s record isn’t perfect either, but I do like the fact that most of his matches didn’t need to go to decision.
Prediction:  Razak Al-Hassan

Middleweight bout:
(United States) Jorge Rivera vs. (United States) Rob Kimmons
Another Preliminary match, another quick analysis.  They both have cool nicknames, but “The Rosedale Reaper” has a better record than “El Conquistador” Jorge Rivera, and I also like to pick guys who are skilled at submission when they fight guys who like to go for the knockout.
Prediction:  Rob Kimmons

Middleweight bout:
(Japan) Yushin Okami vs. (United States) Chael Sonnen
Yushin Okami is younger, has fewer fights and the same number of victories.  More than half of Chael’s victories have been by decision, which is a huge negative on my scorecard.  Yushin Okami defeated Evan Tanner, and that’s all I really need to know.
Prediction:  Yushin Okami

Spike TV card

Heavyweight bout:
(Netherlands) Antoni Hardonk vs. (United States) Patrick Barry
Barry is an accomplished kickboxer, and thus far it has served him well in MMA (5-1).  If Hardonk could put Barry into a submission, he might be able to submit him.  Otherwise it’s going to be two kickboxers slugging (and kicking) it out.  They’re of similar age, so for me, it comes down to Hardonk being 5 inches taller.
Prediction:  Antoni Hardonk

Light Heavyweight bout:
(United States) Ryan Bader vs. (United States) Eric Schafer
I watched Bader on a season of The Ultimate Fighter, so I want him to win this fight. Bader is 9-0, though he hasn’t had too many UFC fights.  Schafer is 11-3-2 with a lot more UFC experience than Bader, but since I’m looking for a reason to pick Bader, I’ll just say that you should never pick against a guy skilled in wrestling from Arizona.
Prediction:  Ryan Bader

Main card

Welterweight bout:
(United States) Anthony Johnson vs. (Japan) Yoshiyuki Yoshida
I saw Anthony Johnson’s victory over Tommy Speer, and because I can’t find any other criteria to make me change my mind, that’s the way I’m going.
Prediction:  Anthony Johnson

Lightweight bout:
(United States) Joe Stevenson vs. (United States) Spencer Fisher
Joe Stevenson only seems to lose to really good competition (BJ Penn, Kenny Florian, Diego Sanchez), and Spencer Fisher hasn’t even fought anyone like that lately.  Experience wins.
Prediction: Joe Stevenson

Lightweight bout:
(Brazil) Gleison Tibau vs. (United States) Josh Neer
Anyone who beats Mac Danzig is okay with me, so I lean towards Josh Neer.  Then as I see that Neer’s nickname is “The Dentist”, that does it for me, chips to him as I hope he doesn’t get submitted by a black belt in BJJ (though he hasn’t lost by submission in the past 3 years).
Prediction: Josh Neer

Heavyweight bout:
(United States) Cain Velasquez vs. (United States) Ben Rothwell
I’m very excited for this fight because I’m looking to see who will be the next group of guys to rise up to fight the likes of Lesnar, Mir, and Nogueira in the Heavyweight division.  Ben Rothwell’s reputation preceeds him, coming from the IFL.  A loss to Andrei Arlovski doesn’t bother me, and a victory over Roy Nelson (a smart fighter) by decision speaks well of him.  UFC originally had this match as Cain vs Shane Carwin – with the winner getting a shot at Lesnar, which means they think more highly of the undefeated Velasquez.  He’s a former collegiate wrestler who started in Iowa and then moved to Arizona, so you have to respect that.
Prediction: Cain Velasquez

Light Heavyweight Championship bout:
(Brazil) Lyoto Machida (c) vs. (Brazil) Mauricio Rua
I’ll say this everytime Lyoto fights – I’ve been a fan of his since I first saw him fight, not only because having Brazilian and Japanese heritage makes him a killer hybrid of two of the best places in the world for martial arts, but also because I really enjoyed watching him dismantle Tito Ortiz.  Shogun Rua has some very notable victories on his resume, but I can’t help but think that beating Liddell and Coleman in 2009 doesn’t carry as much weight as if they would’ve come earlier, and seeing those fights follow a loss to Forrest Griffin makes me think that Rua was given confidence building fights.  His UFC 104 match won’t do so well for his confidence.
Prediction:  Lyoto Machida