Back to the grill again (the grill again) with predictions for UFC 110 this Saturday in Sydney, Australia.
(Click the linked names for video)
Velasquez (7-0) is the rising star in the heavyweight division. If he gets you on the ground, watch out. He's susceptible to punches, though, as we learned in the Cheick Kongo fight. Of course, he withstood them all, too. Nogueira (32-5-1) is a beast. Let's just hope he's not suffering from any lingering effects of the staph infection that postponed this fight the first time around. The pick: Nogueira via decision.
I think Silva (32-10-1) is punch drunk at this point in his career, and the move down to middleweight won't make much difference. I think Bisping (19-2) is ticked off that people keep talking about his knockout loss to Dan Henderson at UFC 100. Still, this fight should be entertaining. The pick: Bisping via second-round TKO.
Joe Stevenson vs. George Sotiropoulos
Get ready for a submission festival here, which probably means this will end up being a punching party instead. Stevenson (36-10) is looking to return to the top contender level at lightweight. Sotiropoulos (11-2), who used to train with Matt Serra, has been on a nice little four-bout win streak in the UFC. It ends here. The pick: Stevenson by first-round submission.
Keith Jardine vs. Ryan Bader
Everyone likes to mention how Jardine (14-7-1) has an awkward fighting style that's hard for opponents to train for, but they fail to mention that he's lost three of his last four fights, and four of his last six. Bader (11-0) is among a group of young prospects at light heavyweight and gets his toughest test here. He'll pass. The pick: Bader by third-round TKO.
Mirko Cro Cop vs. Ben Rothwell
We're supposed to be excited about Cro Cop (25-7-2), so why aren't I? Maybe because Rothwell (30-7) is even less exciting. The pick: Cro Cop via first-round KO.
Elvis Sinosic vs. Chris Haseman
Sinosic (8-11-2) last fought in the UFC three years back when his nickname "The King of Rock & Rumble" might have been considered cool. He's 39, and by most accounts, can't win a fight. But, he's Australian! As is his opponent, the 40-year-old Haseman (20-16). Shouldn't this fight be outside of a bar over a can of Foster's? The pick: Sinosic by decision, Australian for boring.
Stephan Bonnar vs. Krzysztof Soszynski
Given the fact that his epic battle against Forrest Griffin in the original Ultimate Finale essentially launched UFC into the mainstream, Bonnar (14-6) will likely have a contract for life, even if he never beats top talent. Soszynski (19-10-1) was on the rise at light heavyweight before a decision loss to Brandon Vera at UFC 102. The pick: Soszynski via first-round submission.
Chris Lytle vs. Brian Foster
The last eight fights for Lytle (37-17-4) have alternated between "Win" and "Loss." His last fight was a win. Foster (15-4) lacks the experience in the UFC that Lytle has. The pick: Foster by decision.
CB Dollaway vs. Goran Reljic
Dollaway (10-3) has the edge in experience here at middleweight. But Reljic (8-0) has the knockout power to counter Dollaway's wrestling skills. The pick: Reljic by first-round TKO.
James Te Huna vs. Igor Pokrajac
Te Huna (13-4) is from New Zealand and is fighting out of Australia in his UFC debut. That's about all I can tell you about this light heavyweight. Pokrajac (21-6) is good at striking. But that's not enough to overcome a hometown crowd. The pick: Te Huna by decision.