Nate Diaz -260 vs. Melvin Guillard +200
The main event of the show is between two fighters who became known from the Ultimate Fighter show. Nate Diaz the winner of Ultimate fighter season 5 is coming off back to back losses. Diaz main strength is on the ground and has won four fights in the UFC by submission. Guillard never impressed me that much; he always came off as the cocky young fighter with a lot of ability but was not skilled enough to back it all up. Guillard is on a two fight win streak and win in this fight would be huge for his career.
Prediction: Diaz will use his long reach advantage while standing and when the fight goes to the ground Guillard will not last too long before Diaz finishes the fight by submission.
Roger Huerta +250 vs. Gray Maynard -350
The line should be a little closer in this fight because it is going to be a war. Huerta hasn’t fought since August 2008 so it makes me wonder if he has a lot of ring rust. Huerta has also been pursuing a career in acting lately and this is his last fight on his UFC contract. Maynard has won his last five fights in the octagon with big wins over Frank Edgar and Jim Miller. Maynard is a three time All-American wrestler from Michigan State with incredible conditioning. What impressed me about Maynard in his last fight was his improved striking, he seemed very quick on his feet.
Prediction: Huerta has a big heart and you can never count him out of a fight but I think Maynard will control the fight with his improved stand up and great wrestling to win the fight by decision.
Carlos Condit -400 vs. Jake Ellenberger +300
Jake Ellenberger is taking this fight on short notice and even though he is a very skilled wrestler he is going to have his hands full in this fight. Condit the former WEC champ, is coming off a split decision loss to Martin Kampmann and is looking to show that he is one of the top welterweights in the UFC. Condit has great muay thai, solid BJJ and now trains at Arizona Combat Sports
Prediction: Ellenberger’s only shot in this fight is to use his wrestling to grind out a decision win but that won’t be easily considering Condit trains with All-American caliber every day. Condit will finish this fight no matter where it goes. Condit will get the win but it may be harder than expected.
Tim Credeur +220 vs. Nate Quarry -300
This fight was very hard for me to pick, both fighters have looked impressive lately but that doesn’t make me forget some of their rocky performances from the past. Credeur is from season seven of the Ultimate Fighter, on the show he proved that he is a very high level black belt in BJJ but has just average wrestling and stand up. Quarry is from season one of the Ultimate Fighter and years ago before his back surgery he had his shot at the middleweight title. Quarry has good takedown defense with very heavy hands. Quarry in his last fight looked very impressive by beating Jason Mcdonald and showed that he has very good submission defense.
Prediction: If this fight ends by TKO I give it to Quarry and if the fight ends by submission I give the edge to Credeur. On that note I feel that Quarry will be able to control the fight and gain top position to win a very close decision.
Parlay of the night: Gray Maynard -350, Nate Diaz -260 and Carlos Condit -400.
Event name: UFC 101: Declaration
Date: August 8, 2009
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Venue: Wachovia Center
All Betting Lines are from Betus.com
B.J. Penn (c) -230 vs. Kenny Florian +180
UFC Lightweight Championship
This fight is going to be a high paced back and forth battle. BJ Penn is coming off a loss to GSP at 170lbs but at 155lbs he has been merely untouchable. His last two fights at lightweight he has won in devastating fashion submitting Joe Stevenson and knocking out former champ Sean Sherk. Penn is a quick boxer with great takedown defense and is highly skilled Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu grappler. Penn has always been known as a great fighter; Florian on the other hand had to work his way up to get to this point. Florian started to get recognized when he made the finals of the Ultimate Fighter Season 1, he was undersized for the weight class and just used his BJJ and nasty elbows to make it to the finals. After the show he dropped to lightweight and won 3 straight fights to earn a shot at the vacant title. In losing the title fight to Sherk he proved that he is one tough guy but has a lot to work on. Since that fight he has not lost and has improved his strength and conditioning as well as his overall MMA skills.
Prediction: BJ Penn is one of the best fighters in the world but I think that in the later rounds Florian will get the better of him and win a 5 round decision. This fight will be very close so I would be placing a small wager on Florian +180.
Anderson Silva -350 vs. Forrest Griffin +250(non-title bout)
Anderson Silva the best pound for pound fighter in the world and UFC middleweight champion is going up a weight class to Light Heavyweight to take on Ultimate Fighter season 1 winner and former Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin. Griffin is big for the weight class and is very well rounded, I think no matter where the fight goes Griffin will test Silva and make him show if he has heart and can be pushed to the limit. Silva is probably the best striker in all of Mixed Martial Arts and is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Prediction- Griffin could pull off the upset if he can take Silva down and control the fight for 3 rounds, but I think Silva will be too much standing and will eventually knock out Griffin with his accurate striking. Silva wins by TKO
Johny Hendricks -105 vs. Amir Sadollah -125
Looking at the odds for this fight you can tell right away that this is a very close and evenly matched fight. Hendricks is undefeated and coming over from the WEC and was also a two time national champion wrestler for Oklahoma State. Sadollah only has a record of 2-0 in MMA but somehow shocked everyone to win the Ultimate Fighter Season 7. What I like about Sadollah is that he can finish you anywhere, either on your feet by TKO or submit you off of his back. Sadollah reminds me a lot of Forrest Griffin that he can take a beating and will never give up.
Prediction: I don’t like going against a dominate wrestler because they can dictate where the fight goes but in this case I feel that Sadollah will become too much for Hendricks in the later rounds and will win by TKO. This fight is going to be tough and in the first round you might think my pick of Sadollah looks bad but don’t worry because in the third round once his ring rust wears off you will be smiling.
Ricardo Almeida -165 vs. Kendall Grove +135
This is a fight I would stay away from because you never know what you are going to get from both of these fighters. Grove is a big middleweight that is 6’6 and has a very long reach advantage but after everybody thought he was going to be a star he showed that he has suspect chin after being knocked out in back to back fights. Almeida on the other hand is known for his excellent ground game but showed against Patrick Cote that he needs to work on his striking and takedowns. Almeida will be fighting only 45minutes from his hometown which can’t hurt and will give him a slight advantage. I see this fight ending in two ways either Almeida by Submission or Grove by decision.
Prediction: I think Almeida is in another league as a fighter then Grove so if he fights like I have him seen him fight before he will win. Too bad he will not fight that way in this fight and Grove will win by decision which will make Almeida drop down to 170lbs. I wouldn’t touch this fight but a small wager on Grove at +135 is not a terrible idea.
Josh Neer -220 vs. Kurt Pellgrino +175
If you like excitement then this is the fight to bet on. Josh Neer is called the dentist for a reason, all of his fights become wars and he has knock out power. Neer doesn’t have the best record but he is coming off a big win in his last fight against Mac Danzig. Pellegrino is on a two fight win streak and this fight is very important to him working his way back up the lightweight division. Pellegrino is a solid wrestler and a black belt in BJJ. I give the edge in the stand up to Neer, the problem for Pellegrino is that he isn’t afraid to stand up and trade which could lead to him seeing stars. When this fight goes to the ground I am confident that Pellegrino will have up the upper hand as long as he has control on top.
Prediction: When betting on a Neer fight you have to understand that at any moment he could knock the other fighter out and you will be sitting on the edge of your seat. I predict Pellegrino will win by decision and is a good bet at +175. If Pellegrino fights a smart fight instead of a street fight he will use his wrestling to take Neer down and use his top game to control the fight and win the decision.
Shane Nelson vs. Aaron Riley
Prediction: This is a re-match from UFC 96, Nelson knocked out Riley in just 44 seconds. The reasoning for the re-match is because most people watching this fight thought that it was stopped premature. In the first fight I predicted Riley to win so I am going to stick with my original pick and go with Riley.
John Howard vs. Tamdan McCrory
Prediction: Both of these fighters started out in the Ring of Combat and I have seen them fight several times. McCory doesn’t look like much but he is very tall for the 170lbs division and has good submissions. Howard is solid in all aspects of MMA but most of all he impresses me with his toughness, he doesn’t get finished often and that is why I take him winning this fight by unanimous decision.
Thales Leites vs. Alessio Sakara
Prediction: This one is easy to predict, if and when Leites take this fight to the ground the referee will be waking up Sakara after he is put to sleep. Leites world class grappling will be too much for Sakara.
Dan Cramer vs. Matthew Riddle
Prediction: I will be at this event live so I am lucky to be able to see this fight. Both of these fighters are very young and hungry. Cramer shocked everyone with a split decision win over Matt Arroyo and Riddle is 2-0 in the UFC. I like Riddle in this one because he is very strong for 170lbs and since he has the superior wrestling he will be able to dictate where the fight ends up. Riddle wins by decision.
George Roop vs. George Sotiropoulos
Prediction: Roop is taking this fight on short notice after Rob Emerson had to back out with an injury. George Sotriopoulos whom is known from Ultimate Fighter 6 is making his 2nd appearance in the octagon. I feel that Sotriopoulos is a better all around fighter and will either win this fight by submission or decision.
Jesse Lennox vs. Danillo Villefort
Prediction: I have never seen Lennox fighter but I know he is 14-1 and is a solid wrestler. Villefort on the other hand I have seen fight a few times and have always been impressed. He always seems to be in great shape and has a great ground game. Villefort is a big 170lbs and trains with one of the best MMA gym, American Top Team. Villefort will get the victory by submission.
Lock of the night: Thales Leites -350
Upset of the night:
Fight of the night: Josh Neer vs. Kurt Pellegrino and BJ Penn vs. Kenny Florian
Event name: UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira
Date: August 29, 2009
Location: Portland, Oregon
Venue: Rose Garden
Randy Couture -180 vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira +150
This is a fight I have been waiting to see for a long time, yes I know both men are probably out of their prime but that doesn’t mean that they still aren’t two of the top heavyweights in the world. Nogueira is coming off a knockout lost to Frank Mir and while watching this fight I just thought to myself that Nogueira’s better days are behind him. Nogueira has decent stand up and his main attribute is his submission game. Couture lost his last fight to Brock Lesnar but in that lose he impressed me. He gave Lesnar a hard time wherever the fight went, the older Couture gets the more he shocks the fighting world with impressive game plans and athleticism.
Prediction: The only way Nogueria can win this fight is if he catches Couture in a submission during the later rounds. I see Randy controlling the entire fight and using his wrestling to decide where he wants the fight to go. Randy will win this fight and work his way back up to getting one more shot at the heavyweight title. I don’t see Randy losing this fight so I advise placing a wager on him.
Keith Jardine -145 vs. Thiago Silva +115
I have gone back and forth on who I think is capable of winning this fight. Thiago Silva is a very aggressive fighter who likes to take his opponents down and use his dominant ground and pound. Jardine is a very different fighter; he uses his unorthodox style by using leg kicks to set up his other strikes. Jardine has fought some of the best light heavy weights in the UFC and has looked impressive in some of those fights or showed a weak chin in the others.
Prediction: Jardine has some of the best training partners in the world and I find that to be a big advantage. Jardine has never lost back to back fights in the UFC and I see him using his leg kicks and solid takedown defense to gain the advantage and pull out the victory.
Chris Leben -155vs. Jake Rosholt +125
This fight is my pick to be upset of the night. Leben who is mainly known from his crazy antics on season 1 of the Ultimate Fighter, is stepping back into the Octagon after being suspended for 9months after testing positive for steroids after his fight against Michael Bisping. I will give Leben credit he is one tough guy, he will get hit and keep on coming but the one question I have about his game is if his skills can back up his toughness. Jake Rosholt is one of the best collegiate wrestlers to step into the octagon; he was a 3time National Champion at Oklahoma State University. Rosholt looked good in his first televised fight for the WEC by showing that he has a good chin and great top game on the ground. In his second fight he lost by submission to Dan Miller after getting caught early in a guillotine.
Prediction: At any time in his fights Leben can come out of nowhere to win by devastating knockout but in this fight I feel that Rosholt who is in need of a big win will come out and take the fight to the ground right away and control his way to victory.
Demian Maia +130 vs. Nate Marquardt -160
I am so excited for this fight; if you love MMA then you have to put some action on this fight. Nate Marquardt is on a two fight win streak and looked amazing in his win over Wilson Gouevia. Marquardt had his shot once at the middleweight title but now is only one fight away from getting another shot. Maia has been dominant since he has entered the UFC winning all of his five fights by impressive submissions. This fight comes down to Maia’s amazing ground skills vs. Greg Jacksons fight game plan. Greg Jackson is Marquardt coach and main trainer who is known to have the best MMA gym and for coming up with great game plans.
Prediction: Both of these fighters are great but I think Maia is going to display his top level ground game and be able to finish off Marquardt by submission. If Marquardt can stay away from his submissions for 15minutes then maybe he can pull out the victory but I don’t see that happening. Maia is a good play at +130 but remember when placing your wager that Greg Jackson will have Marquardt ready for Maia but we will find out if that will be enough.
Krzysztof Soszynski +140 vs. Brandon Vera -170
This fight is hard to pick for several reasons, Krysztof Sosynski was always a good fighter but most thought that he wouldn’t last too long in the stacked UFC light heavyweight division. Kyrstof is 3-0 in the UFC and has looked real impressive in his last few fights. Krystof is mainly known for his striking ability but lately he has shown his improved ground skills by winning submission of the night at UFC 97. Vera is the complete opposite, when he first entered the UFC there was a lot of hype around him. Vera lived up to the hype in the beginning going 6-0 in the UFC heavyweight division but since then he has been nothing but a disappointment. He has looked very lethargic in his fights; it has made me wonder if the weight cut to 205lbs is too much or if he is just not all there mentally.
Prediction: I like Kyrstof a lot because he trains with Dan Henderson and you know he will be fully prepared for this fight but on the other hand Vera is a very technical fighter with a brown belt in BJJ under Lloyd Irvin and he is also a very skilled muay thai fighter. People also forget that Vera did wrestle in college so he is skilled there as well; I think Vera has the upper hand in where ever the fight goes. I predict Vera to take this but remember when betting Vera there is always a chance that his A game might not show up.
Gabriel Gonzaga -350 vs. Chris Tuchscherer +250
Prediction: I wish this fight was being televised; Chris Tuchscherer is a big heavy weight who is a former collegiate wrestler that trains with heavy weight champ Brock Lesnar. Gonzaga is a BJJ black belt that had his shot at the UFC title before and is trying to work his way back up. Gonzaga was beating Shane Carwin during his last fight before being knocked out. Gonzaga is tough no matter where the fight ends up; I don’t see Gonzaga being finished in this one. Gonzaga will win by impressive fashion to keep him alive in the title picture.
Ed Herman -150 vs. Aaron Simpson +120
Prediction: This is going to be a very interesting fight, Herman has more experience in the cage and is coming off a big win over David Loiseau but before that fight he was on a two fight losing streak. This will be Simpson’s second fight in the UFC but there has been a lot of hype around him. Simpson was an All-American wrestler at Arizona State and trains a lot of solid fighters at Arizona Combat Sports such as Ryan Bader and Carlos Condit. Simpson has impressed me so far and if he feels in trouble during this fight he will use his superior wrestling to come out with the win. I have a good feeling about this one so I recommend putting a wager on Simpson.
Mike Russow -260 vs. Justin McCully +200
Prediction: This fight I would stay away from, McCully is a UFC veteran who trains with Tito Ortiz. In his last few fights he has looked pretty boring but has a win over Antoni Hardonk. Russow is making his UFC debut and is known to have good grappling skills. I think Russow is too heavy of a favor to put a wager on him but I do see him taking this fight by a boring decision.
Todd Duffee -155 vs. Tim Hague +125
Prediction: This could actually be a very exciting heavy weight fight. Hague in his UFC debut went to battle with Pat Barry and pulled out the big upset by showing his submission game and finishing Barry. Duffee is a big heavyweight who trains with American Top Team, when you just look at Duffee you can tell he is a big athletic fighter. Duffee is going to want to keep this fight standing to stay away from Hague’s submission game. Hague usually has the advantage of size in most of his fights but not in this one and I see Duffee winning his UFC debut.
Nick Catone +155 vs. Mark Munoz -185
Prediction: I would like Catone to win this fight and stay in the UFC but I feel this is a bad matchup for him. Catone’s main strength is the ground, he is a BJJ purple belt and was a solid wrestler for Rider University but in this fight he is going against Munoz who was a former NCAA Champion for Oklahoma State University. This is Munoz first cut to the middleweight division but if he acclimates well he should have no problem pulling out the win.
Evan Dunham vs. Marcus Aurelio
Prediction: In this fight you have the up and coming young talented fighter Dunham against the season veteran Marcus Aurelio. Dunham trains out of Xtreme Couture and is supposedly a real tough young kid with good wrestling. Aurelio has been around for a long time, his last stint in the UFC wasn’t too impressive but you can’t forget who Aurelio once was and his amazing grappling game. I think Aurelio is too experienced for Dunham and should finish this fight by submission.
Lock of the night: Randy Couture -180, Mark Munoz -185, Gonzaga -350
Upset of the night: Jake Rosholt +125, Maia +130, Simpson +120
Fight of the night: Maia vs. Marquardt