Here we go with our UFC 114 predictions for this Saturday night (May 29) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. As usual, my disclaimer: Don't just rely on me when you're at the betting window. Consult multiple sources. Not that I don't trust myself, but money is money and I want you to have a lot of it.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Rashad Evans
Evans has shown to be the more well-rounded fighter, even if he is in love with his striking. He needs to take Rampage to the ground and outwrestle him. That's the smart play here. Some of Jackson's actions and quotes over the past few months could indicate that his mind is elsewhere. Of course, with all the animosity and trash talk between these two, there's no promising that gameplans will last beyond the walk out to the Octagon. The pick: Evans by third-round stoppage.
Michael Bisping vs. Dan Miller
Miller has lost his last two fights decisively (against Demian Maia and Chael Sonnen), while Bisping is coming off a close loss to Wanderlei Silva. Bisping is the better all-around middleweight with more experience. If Miller gets this to the ground, he's got a chance. The pick: Bisping by second-round TKO.
Todd Duffee vs. Mike Russow
A 7-second knockout earns you a spot on the pay-per-view card. That explains how the heavyweight Duffee got here. Russow, we're still not sure. He had one bout in the UFC and decisioned Justin McCully. The pick: Duffee by first-round TKO.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Jason Brilz
Brilz replaces Forrest Griffin who was injured during training. That's somewhat upsetting for fans because that would have been an interesting match. Any time a Nogueira gets into the Octagon, it's dangerous on many levels. The pick: Nogueira by second-round submission.
Diego Sanchez vs. John Hathaway
Our first look at Sanchez since BJ Penn opened up a canyon on his face (see photo) in the fifth round at UFC 107. Sanchez returns to welterweight and gets the undefeated Hathaway (13-0). The pick: Sanchez by decision.
Amir Sadollah vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Each time I see Sadollah fight, I walk away unsure of what I'll see the next time. I don't know if that's good or bad, but at least it's something, right? But are well-rounded fighters, with the experience edge going to Kim. But the Brooklyn-born Sadollah is a fan favorite wherever he goes. The pick: Sadollah by decision.
Efrain Escudero vs. Dan Lauzon
Escudero has a solid wrestling base and Lauzon a solid jiu-jitsu game. Which means a stand-up war, right? I don't think so this time. I think Escudero, who was submitted in his last bout, uses his stand-up to get inside for takedowns and ground-and-pound. The pick: Escudero by second-round TKO.
Melvin Guillard vs. Waylon Lowe
Guillard's time in the UFC has been up and down. We want to see a knockout of the UFC newbie lightweight Lowe. The pick: Guillard by first-round KO.
Luiz Cane vs. Cyrille Diabate
Cane had a nice little three-fight run until he came up against Little Nog. He'll start a new run against the incoming Frenchman. The pick: Cane by second-round TKO.
Aaron Riley vs. Joe Brammer
Three of Riley's four losses in the UFC have come by TKO. But he's gritty and has far more experience than Brammer. Will it be enough? The pick: Riley by decision.
Jesse Forbes vs. Ryan Jensen
Forbes (13-5) has lost all three of his UFC fights. Jensen (15-5) has lost four of his five UFC fights. Yeesh. Somehow has to win, right? Neither one of them have anything to lose here, so hope for a crazy slugfest. The pick: After a best-of-three coin flip, it's Forbes by decision.