We're coming out way earlier than normal with these UFC 111 predictions, but such is life. At least it still comes with the caveat that you consult additional sources before arriving at the betting window at Las Vegas sports books. We don't want to catch any wreck from bets gone awry in this rough economy.
Here we go with the fight predictions for UFC 111 on March 27, 2010, at The Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.:
Georges St-PIerre vs. Dan Hardy (welterweight championship)
GSP is The Man, but the man hasn't fought since last July, thanks to a groin injury. Of course, with that groin injury, he threw Thiago Alves around the Octagon like meat in a wild boar's den. Hardy is a very good striker with British trash-talking skills. The pick: GSP via third-round submission.
Frank Mir vs. Shane Carwin (interim heavyweight championship)
Don't waste your time worrying about the "title" here. It means nothing. Worry more about Mir being able to withstand Carwin's punching power, and more about Carwin being able to handle Mir's newfound power to match his jiu-jitsu skills. The pick: Mir by second-round TKO.
Ben Saunders vs. Jake Ellenberger
Expect Saunders to launch a crazy striking attack here as he smells a future title shot. The pick: Saunders via third-round submission.
Jon Fitch vs. Thiago Alves
When the opening bell rings, plan on 17 minutes of time going by before you know who won. Fitch's last six fights have all gone the distance, they've been mostly boring. He's close to another title shot and has already beat Alves back in 2006, but expect Alves to look for the pride he lost at UFC 100. The pick: Alves via decision.
Jim Miller vs. Mark Bocek
The jiu-jitsu specialist is on a three-fight win streak at lightweight AND he's from Jersey. Can you really pick against him? The pick: What did I just say? Miller by second-round submission.
Nate Diaz vs. Rory Markham
Diaz moves up to welterweight for this bout and presents all the same challenges he did at 155. He fights awkward. He's lanky. He talks well. But with three losses in his last four fights at 155, can he recover mentally for 170? The pick: Diaz by decision.
Ricardo Almeida vs. Matt Brown
Almeida is another Jersey boy on the Newark card, and he drops down to 170 now where he doesn't have to worry about being too small to compete. This will be his fourth fight since returning in 2008 after a six-year layoff. Matt Brown is on a three-fight win streak. The pick: Almeida by second-round submission.
Kurt Pellegrino vs. Fabricio Camoes
A three-fight win streak for the Jersey-based Pellegrino should be enough to stop Camoes, whose one UFC fight against Caol Uno ended in a draw. The pick: Pellegrino by decision.
Rodney Wallace vs. Jared Hamman
Both light heavyweights lost by decision in their UFC debuts, but Wallace's nickname is "Sho Nuff the Master." Frankly, that's good enough for me. The pick: Who's the master? Sho Nuff! Wallace by first-round TKO.
Rousimar Palhares vs. Tomasz Drwal
This early undercard middleweight bout could be rather interesting. Palhares is a submission specialist and Drwal can bang or submit people. The pick: Drwal by decision.
Matthew Riddle vs. Greg Soto
Soto makes his UFC debut, which is usually an instant pick-against. But he's from Point Pleasant, N.J., and the crowd inside The Rock will carry him. Riddle had won three straight before losing to Nick Osipczak. The pick: Soto by third-round submission.