UFC 125 Picks & Predictions

UFC 125 takes place on Saturday from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. The event features five very intriguing and exciting fights, headlined by a battle for the UFC Lightweight Championship. Here are my thoughts on who will win on the main card bouts.

UFC Lightweight Championship – Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard: I look for the champion to retain his belt and avenge a prior loss to Maynard in 2008. Since that time I feel like Edgar has improved greatly as a fighter while Maynard is simply a slightly better version of himself. Maynard will get some takedowns on the champ, but I expect Edgar to bounce back up and use his boxing to tire the challenger before scoring some takedowns in the later rounds to earn a decision victory.

UFC Middleweight Bout – Chris Leben vs. Brian Stann: While this fight doesn’t deserve co-main event status, it still should be exciting. Leben is riding a wave of momentum that will not be stopped on Saturday as his punching power should carry him to a third round TKO of Stann, who will put up a game effort.

UFC Light Heavyweight Bout – Brandon Vera vs. Thiago Silva: This may be Vera’s final UFC fight as I expect Silva to pressure him and not let him set up his kicks. Silva will do a good job of closing the distance and overwhelming Vera with his power and grappling ability. I like Silva to win by unanimous decision.

UFC Welterweight Bout – Nate Diaz vs. Dong Hyun Kim: Kim is a very under-rated fighter as he is kind of like the Yushin Okami of this weight class as is very strong and bigger than anyone else in the weight class. I like Kim to use that size to get Diaz to the ground and keep him from using his boxing. It probably won’t be the most exciting fight, but it will be another decision win for Kim.

UFC Lightweight Bout – Takanori Gomi vs. Clay Guida: I like Guida and the energy he brings to a fight, but his short arms tend to put him in bad spots against strikers. I think Guida will get careless early in the fight and get caught with a big punch by Guida while will lead to a TKO finish in the opening round.

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Saturday MMA Review: 9/5

Here’s a weekly rundown of MMA content from Ben Goldstein of CagePotato.com:

– Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira conquered fellow MMA legend Randy Couture at UFC 102 last Saturday, while Nate Marquardt, Thiago Silva, and Todd Duffee scored some memorable knockouts. Despite his loss, Couture signed a new contract with the UFC that will keep him fighting in the Octagon until he’s damn near 50 years old.

– MTV “Bully Beatdown” host Jason Miller vowed to “beat the piss out of Jake Shields” when the two fighters meet, and explained his obsession with Twitter.

– We came across an MMA sponsor that’s even more embarrassing than Condom Depot.

– Former NFL player Marcus Jones will be battling for a UFC contract on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter. He credits his start in MMA to one fateful “man-cation.”

– Mike Swick dropped out of UFC 103 due to injury, Sean Sherk dropped out of UFC 104 due to “injury,” and Quinton Jackson dropped out of UFC 107 due to the demands of his movie career. Luckily, BJ Penn will fill in for Rampage as a headliner.

– Strikeforce heavyweight Brett Rogers has come up with the worst strategy possible for beating Fedor Emelianenko.

– Former UFC ring girl Edith Labelle said she was fired over a bout of food poisoning that just happened to *look* like a bad hangover.

– We watched a life-affirming MMA highlight reel, Anderson Silva’s dead-on Randy Couture impression, and a behind-the-scenes look at King Mo’s demolition of Mark Kerr.

UFC 102 Picks and Predictions

UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira takes place tonight from the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Ore. The fight card is filled with interesting matchups, headlined by the main event of heavyweight legends Randy Couture and Antonio Minotauro Nogeuira. Here are my thoughts on the fights.

Heavyweights (265 lbs. max) – Randy Couture (16-9) vs. Antonio Nogueira (31-5-1): This fight is crucial for both fighters to win to keep their career meaningful and to stay in the heavyweight title picture. Both are coming off second round TKO losses, and both look to be on the downsides of their career. Couture is in his mid-40’s and though he is in great shape, his body has to be wearing down. Nogueira is only 33, but looks like he is in his 50’s because of all the wars he has been in through his life. Essentially I see Couture having the edge in this fight because his striking seems to be more advanced than Nogueira. Nogueira can only win by submission, and Couture is very good at avoiding submissions. I see Couture out-striking Nogueira on the feet and in the clinch and scoring some occasional takedowns to earn the decision victory.

Light Heavyweights (205 lbs. max) – Keith Jardine (14-6-1) vs. Thiago Silva (13-1): This co-headline fight is also a crucial fight for both athletes. Each is coming off a loss and both are trying to stay relevant in the light heavyweight contender picture. I think Jardine has the edge in this fight because of his experience against other top fighters. Silva has just one marquee fight, and that was a first round KO loss to Lyoto Machida. That was Silva’s first loss and many times you see fighters come out more tentative after getting knocked out for the first time. Silva can’t do that in this fight or else he will certainly lose. Jardine does have a suspect chin that Silva could connect on, but ultimately I see Jardine using his kicks and unorthodox striking to pick up the decision win.

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