The UFC returns to Las Vegas, Nevada Saturday to unify their heavyweight and interim heavyweight titles, as the respective belt holders Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin face off in the main event. That means it’s time for some more MMAFrenzy.com staff predictions.
MAIN CARD (PPV)
Champ Brock Lesnar vs. Interim Champ Shane Carwin — UFC Heavyweight Championship Unification:
chrisl – If the fight stays on their feet, I say flip a coin here. I think wrestling plays a major role as I see Lesnar being able to force Carwin into clinch and getting takedowns early. The X-factors here are Lesnar’s cage rust and both fighters gas tanks. It takes a lot of blood to feed those big bodies.I think the reach and wrestling advantages both favor Lesnar. I really am having a hard time picking a winner here but I’m going to go with my gut and say Lesnar via GnP in the 2nd.
justin – This bout is a hard one to predict, because both fighters have such enormous punching power that they can end the bout with just one swing of their fists. However, I expect that Lesnar will show Carwin the difference between division I and division II NCAA wrestling by putting him on his back early and keeping him there until the referee pulls him off at the end of the first round. Then he’ll do the same thing for the second only Carwin won’t make it to the end of the second. Lesnar TKO round 2.
bsbiz – This is where the money is made. Bigger than this fight itself (the largest in UFC history… literally) will be the PPV numbers. My personal guess is 1.5-1.6 million. And while an upset would be fun to watch, it would be more fun to see just how high those numbers could get. In another year, if Lesnar is still champ, I would not be surprised in the least if the 2 million barrier were broken. And I’m sorry, Carwin won’t bring in the numbers that Brock will, for better or worse. What will be most interesting is how the year off, the health issues, and Lesnar’s first cut in a while will affect him and how he’ll look at the weigh ins. As far as strategy, well Carwin’s going to come out swinging for the fences and Lesnar will try to use his Mir strategy.
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Chris Leben:
chrisl – Akiyama is having to completely adjust to both a southpaw and taller fighter on short notice and while that can completely ruin some people I think Akiyama can survive. I think if he keeps Leben from separating and uses superior judo he rolls in this fight. Akiyama by UD.
justin – Akiyama is having to adjust to a taller fighter on short notice, but Leben’s gameplan isn’t much different from Wanderlei’s. I think Leben is a worse opponent for Akiyama because he has a longer reach and a better chin. I like Sexyama a lot, and want him to be successful in the UFC, but I just having a feeling that the crippler will drop him in the second for a TKO victory.
bsbiz – It’s this simple: Leben will only win if the fight stays vertical. On his feet, he’ll have a chance to land the shot to put Akiyama out. He can’t let him get too close or else Akiyama will use his judo to trip, sweep, or throw Leben onto his back, somewhere Leben is less than successful. I predict Leben will have another stupid hair dye job.
Chris Lytle vs. Matt Brown:
chrisl – While Lytle will hopefully use his better submission skills to cruise to a win this fight has a chance to become Garcia-Jung 2: bigger and better. Like I said though… I hope in some ways that it won’t and Lytle finishes Brown via sub in the 2nd.
justin – Lytle won the first time these two fought, and I think he’ll win this time. He recently has taken a more aggressive, submission oriented approach to his fights to try to improve in the rankings, and I think he’ll submit Brown in the first round.
bsbiz – I make a point of not rooting for or against fighters. Just a personal policy. I don’t get especially invested in specific fighters because that takes away from my ability to appreciate the forest instead of specific trees (although I always have a soft spot for fellow Cincinnati guys). However these are two guys that I would pay to see any fight they’re involved in. Oh wait, I did pay to see these guys. Given the number of times Chris Lytle has won Fight of the Night (four), and Matt Brown’s high energy, this is the leading candidate for Fight of the Night. While it would be easy to say this will be a slugfest, Lytle’s submission game and Brown’s weakness to submissions could be the difference. Although if they just decide to slug it out, all bets are off. I am required by law to predict Matt Brown to win. By murder.
Stephan Bonnar vs. Krzysztof Soszynski:
chrisl – I think Soszynski should win this fight but I just have this feeling that Bonnar will be fighting like his back’s against the wall. I see this being an entertaining fight and I just have a feeling Bonnar wins by decision.
justin – Soszynski was on his way to a decision victory when these two met last before an accidental headbutt ended it, I think this time Soszynski will TKO Bonnar in the second round.
bsbiz -In this rematch, in theory, it should be a match to see who gets sent packing, but Bonnar has a perpetual “Get out of jail free” card, and Krzeggushtzztof probably won’t be, even though it is possible. I predict no one will be able to spell his name properly.
Kurt Pellegrino vs. George Sotiropoulos:
chrisl – Sotiropoulos continues his ascent to the top by out classing Pellegrino in all facets of the game. Pellegrino has a big heart but I think he will be defeated soundly. Sotiropoulos by UD.
justin – I like both of these fighters, and they’re both good on the ground, but I think Sotiropoulos is better and will earn a decision victory over Pellegrino
bsbiz – Will Kurt show up as Batman or Robin? Usually, Pellegrino’s personality is Dick Grayson, but he needs to be badder than Bruce Wayne to have success against a ground game more complicated and tricky than one of the Riddler’s puzzles. Sotiropoulos needs to come out and do what he do. With a title shot at stake (maybe being second in line after KenFlo/Maynard), he should have plenty of motivation. I predict a decision that will re-ignite all the bad judging wounds. Of course, this time, it will be justified as there are few judges (or viewers) who understand the intricacies of a sophisticated ground fight. Of course, if the Mazz is reffing, it will be a stand up affair.
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike TV)
Brendan Schaub vs. Chris Tuchscherer:
chrisl – If Tuchscherer can avoid the hands of Schaub this may not even be an interesting fight. I think Schaub catches him though and he wins by tKO in the 2nd.
justin – Tuchscherer is a big guy and a decent wrestler, but I don’t think he’ll make it past the hands of Schaub. I predict Schaub will win by first round TKO.
bsbiz – A former professional throwball player vs one of Lesnar’s training partners? Has the potential to be a throwdown or something really boring. Both guys have power, and both have wrestling. Schaub has demonstrated he knows what a submission is, and Tuchscherer trains with Lesnar. In a rare serious prediction, I think Tuchscherer will use the Lesnar model of controlled positional takedowns to pound out a (T)KO win.
Seth Petruzelli vs. Ricardo Romero:
chrisl – I think Petruzelli has been on a roll since losing to Gouveia and I don’t think he wants to leave the UFC. I see Petruzelli fighting his butt off to stay here and winning by a hard fought decision against a very game Romero.
justin – By virtue of Kendall Grove catching a case of “foot in mouth” disease, we get to watch the man most well known for his 14 second TKO of Kimbo Slice make his reentry to the UFC. Romero is a dangerous opponent, but I think Petruzelli will make the best of his second chance with the promotion and come out on top in a close fought bout, earning a split decision.
bsbiz – I wonder if Seth Petruzelli can knock out a guy smaller than his last high-profile fight. Or at least, the last high profile fight he participated in. The last time you probably saw him, he was being led out on a leash by Tom Lawlor. I think it’s time for the favor to be returned. This will be Romero’s first professional fight outside of Atlantic City. At least the casinos won’t be throwing him off. I predict something will happen.
PRELIMINARY CARD (Unaired) QUICK PICKS
Kendall Grove vs. Goran Reljic: Grove via split decision.
Gerald Harris vs. Dave Branch: Harris by TKO
Daniel Roberts vs. Forrest Petz: Petz by UD
Karlos Vemola vs. Jon Madsen: Madsen by UD
Kendall Grove vs. Goran Reljic: Reljic via TKO round 1.
Gerald Harris vs. Dave Branch: Harris via TKO round 2.
Daniel Roberts vs. Forrest Petz: Petz via unanimous decision.
Karlos Vemola vs. Jon Madsen: Vemola via TKO round 2.
Kendall Grove vs. Goran Reljic: Anyone but Grove
Gerald Harris vs. Dave Branch: Harris
Daniel Roberts vs. Forrest Petz: Petz
Karlos Vemola vs. Jon Madsen: Madsen