UFC 118 Picks & Predictions

PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 08:   Lightweight champion BJ Penn (R) battles Kenny Florian during their lightweight championship title bout at UFC 101: Declaration at the Wachovia Center on August 8, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

UFC 118: Edgar vs. Penn 2 takes place tonight from the TD Garden in Boston and the card is stacked with intriguing fights from the main event UFC Lightweight title bout to the MMA vs. Boxing match featuring James “Lights Out” Toney and UFC Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture. Here are my picks for tonight’s event.

UFC Lightweight Championship Bout: Frankie Edgar (12-1) vs. B.J. Penn (15-6-1) – Edgar won a close decision in the first match where Penn was heavily favored. This time around, we should expect to see the Penn we thought we would see the first time around. While Edgar has a good skill set to beat Penn, as he is quick with sharp strikes and good wrestling, he doesn’t have the natural talent that Penn has. Look for Penn to work his jab and put together combinations on Edgar, slowly breaking him apart before choking him out in round four.

UFC Heavyweight Bout: Randy Couture (18-10) vs. James Toney (0-0) – This fight has gotten more hype than any other on the card as it marks the first time a legitimate boxing champion is stepping into the octagon. While Toney has one-punch knockout power, Couture is too smart to be beaten that easily. Couture will push Toney up against the cage early and work his dirty boxing before eventually scoring a takedown and finishing with a submission. Toney is too big and slow to be able to keep Couture from getting him to the ground.

UFC Lightweight Bout: Kenny Florian (15-4) vs. Gray Maynard (10-0) – This is a No. 1 contender’s match in the lightweight division. Maynard is unbeaten but in the biggest fight of his career tonight in terms of opponent and setting. He owns a win over the champion Edgar, but both are different fighters now. Florian has been better than everyone but the champion in his career and tonight look for him to find a way to win. Maynard is big and strong, but Florian will have the striking edge and is a better submission fighter. I expect Florian to win by choke in the third round.

UFC Welterweight Bout: Marcus Davis (22-7) vs. Nate Diaz (12-5) – Diaz is long and thin and he likes to use his jab to keep his opponents at bay before eventually getting the fight to the ground and winning by submission. Davis is a former boxer with good power, but he struggles with his grappling. In this fight, Davis will have a problem getting inside Diaz’ reach and eventually Diaz will get control and take the fight to the ground where he will lock in a choke or arm lock for the win.

UFC Middleweight Bout: Demian Maia (12-2) vs. Mario Miranda (12-1) – Miranda is a promising fighter with good striking and grappling skills, but he is new to the octagon and stepping in against the most dangerous submission fighter in MMA. Maia is coming off a poor showing against Anderson Silva and will be eager to put on an impressive performance. Look for him to win by submission in the first round.

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