UFC 128 Picks and Predictions

UFC 128 takes place Saturday night from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey and the main event is a battle for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua taking on Jon Jones. The card is filled with exciting fights and interesting storylines, so here is a look at who I like to prevail in the five main-card bouts.

UFC Light Heavyweight Championship: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (19-4) vs. Jon Jones (12-1) – This fight is tough to call. Jones seems like he is an unstoppable force coming in, and is actually favored by oddsmakers. However, this is the biggest fight of his life on the biggest stage and that could affect him mentally. Shogun has looked good in his wins over Lyoto Machida, but he has been off for 10 months because of a knee injury and his last time fighting off an injury, he looked less than impressive. Shogun will show Jones something he hasn’t seen yet, but I think Jones will return the favor. I think the key to this bout is Jones’ wrestling and I see him controlling Shogun in the early rounds before finishing with ground and pound in the third round.

UFC Bantamweight Bout: Urijah Faber (24-4) vs. Eddie Wineland (18-6-1) – Both fighters were former WEC champions and are now making their UFC debuts. Faber likely earns a title fight with a win and coming in he is clearly the better fighter in terms of all-around skills. I see Faber using his quickness and hand speed to set the tone early and then moving to his grappling and submission fighting late in round two to seal the deal. I like Faber by choke in the second.

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UFC 119: Mir vs. Cro Cop – 10 things learned

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 21: A pensive Mirko Cro Cop of Croatia walks to the octagon before fighting Gabriel Gonzaga of USA in a Heavyweight bout of the Ultimate Fighting Championship at the Manchester Evening News Arena on April 21, 2007 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Gary M. Prior/Getty Images)

E. Spencer Kyte of HeavyMMA.com highlights the 10 things he learned from Frank Mir vs. Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 119 on Saturday night.

Where’s the Anti-Wrestling Crowd Now?
The main card of UFC 119 featured next to no wrestling with all five fights going into the final frame, coming within seconds of completing a full slate of fights decided by the judges. This was essentially everything that the anti-wrestling crowd was calling for and while there were some entertaining moments, this was a night of boxing and it was kind of tough to watch.

While the Dunham vs. Sherk and Lytle vs. Serra bouts were solid, fifteen rounds of guys measuring their shots and feeling each other out don’t make for the most exciting night of fights around. Bouts that had people salivating because of their potential action fell flat. Guillard and Stephens stayed fairly cautious for three rounds, while Mir and Cro Cop clinched and pawed until Mir’s big knee ended Cro Cop’s evening. Even the Mitrione vs. Beltran bout that featured two big men coming forward and throwing bombs for 15 minutes was nothing more than a sloppy brawl with very little technique and timing.

What makes this sport so incredible is the combination of styles and the diverse action that usually makes for a complete night of fights. Where is the anti-wrestling crowd now to defend a night full of boxing that will undoubtedly be panned by fans and critics alike?

Read the full article here.

UFC 119 Picks & Predictions

UFC 119 takes place tonight from the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. The card doesn’t have a major fight that will have an impact on the landscape of the organization but each of the five main card bouts should be competitive and entertaining contests. Here are my picks for the show.

UFC Heavyweight Bout – Frank Mir (13-5) vs. Mirko Cro Cop (27-7-2) – Cro Cop took this fight on somewhat short notice as this was originally supposed to be a rematch of Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. On top of that, Cro Cop is not 100 percent coming into the fight as he is dealing with an eye injury. Cro Cop is a step slower than he was in his prime while Mir has improved his striking while still being one of the best submission fighters in all of MMA. I see Mir landing a big punch in the second round before jumping on Cro Cop and finishing with a choke.

UFC Light Heavyweight Bout – Antonio Rogerio Nogueria (19-3) vs. Ryan Bader (12-0) – This fight is a big contest for both as each needs the win to really get into the title picture in this division. The key to the bout will be Bader’s wrestling, as his explosiveness should win out against Nogueira. If Bader can avoid the big hit and close the distance in the fight, he should be able to win a decision by grinding out the fight on top with ground and pound.

UFC Welterweight Bout – Matt Serra (17-6) vs. Chris Lytle (29-17-4) – I see this fight going similarly to the first. Lytle is an entertaining and experienced fighter, but he never has been able to get that marquee win in his career. Serra really just has the win over Georges St. Pierre to go bye, but he has always been a tough guy to beat as well. In this fight I see Serra controlling the fight with his grappling. The only way I don’t see him winning by decision is if he gets too confident in his striking.

UFC Lightweight Bout – Sean Sherk (37-4-1) vs. Evan Dunham (11-0) – Sherk used to dominate the division with his strength and wrestling, but recently his opponents have been able to avoid his takedowns with their strength and they have been faster with their striking, which has caused Sherk to lose two of his last three bouts. Dunham has that same style to beat Sherk. Sherk will struggle to get the fight to the ground and Dunham will be a little quicker to the punch. I like Dunham to win this fight by decision.

UFC Lightweight Bout – Melvin Guillard (43-9-3) vs. Jeremy Stephens (18-5) – This fight should be explosive as both have big power and like to swing with everything they have in each punch. The key in this bout will be Guillard’s inability to fight off his back as Stephens trains with Hermes Franca and has some grappling skills that many haven’t seen yet. I see Stephens getting takedowns late to set up for some ground and pound and a TKO finish in the third.

HeavyMMA: UFC 119 Media Call Recap

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 27: UFC fighter Shane Carwin (R) battles against Frank Mir (L) during their 'Interim' Heavyweight title bout at UFC 111 at the Prudential Center on March 27, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. Carwin won by Technical Knock Out (Strikes) at 3:48 in the 1st round. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

HeavyMMA.com recaps media day for UFC 119:

UFC 119 is just around the corner, and today main event fighters Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Frank Mir will sat down with the media to discuss their upcoming heavyweight clash. Check out the recap of today’s call.

1:05: Mir says his opinion of Cro Cop is the same now as it always has been. He believes that his striking is very dangerous, but is not very concerned with his submission game. Also includes that Mirko would prefer to keep the fight standing.

1:07: Mir is then asked about where he would be most comfortable. Mir says he is comfortable anywhere the fight may go.

1:09: Filipovic says that he doesn’t want short preparation to be an excuse. He also claims that he is completely prepared.

1:10: Mir is asked about his increase in size. The former champion says that he is continuing to do the same things he has been doing and is anywhere between 250 and 255 pounds.

1:11: The UFC is traveling to Indiana and will be experiencing a new market, to which Mir says he is honored to be a part of. Cro Cop addresses how this is the first main event he has been in for the UFC, saying that he is excited for the opportunity.

Read the full article here.

Cro Cop Filipovic will replace Antonio Nogueira at UFC 119

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 21: A pensive Mirko Cro Cop of Croatia walks to the octagon before fighting Gabriel Gonzaga of USA in a Heavyweight bout of the Ultimate Fighting Championship at the Manchester Evening News Arena on April 21, 2007 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Gary M. Prior/Getty Images)

Nate Lawson of HeavyMMA.com has the scoop on Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic replacing Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 119:

UFC 119’s main event is undergoing a big change.

According to “Fighters Only”, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has been forced out of his UFC 119 bout with Frank Mir. The replacement is allegedly already in place, as Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic will step in to face the former UFC heavyweight champion.

Filipovic is coming off an impressive submission victory over striking sensation Pat Barry at UFC 115, while Mir is several months removed from his UFC 111 knockout loss to Shane Carwin. However, the bout has yet to be finalized by the promotion.

UFC 119 is set for Indianapolis, Indiana’s Conseco Fieldhouse on September 25. The card features the new main event, along with a co-main event between Ryan Bader and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. The card also includes a welterweight contest between Matt Serra and Chris Lytle, along with a lightweight contest between Evan Dunham and Sean Sherk.

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