Georges St. Pierre vs. Dan Hardy
I have said before that there a few guys that it is never smart to bet against and one of those guys is Georges St. Pierre. I believe that Dan Hardy is a formidable foe for St. Pierre, but come on…it’s Georges St. Pierre. Every time I pick against St. Pierre I lose. Don’t get me wrong Hardy has a chance, I’d even say he has a better chance than the odds makers are giving him. If St. Pierre has shown a chink in his armor it is that he can be knocked out. Matt Serra showed that. However, KO’ing St. Pierre is no easy task. His striking is very good, his wrestling will keep a striker on his heels and his ground game is great. While Hardy has a puncher’s chance I think that in all likelihood St. Pierre will pull this out. Every opponent has threatened to knock him out a la Serra, but they haven’t. Everyone though Thiago Alves would give him fits, but he didn’t. I expect St. Pierre to use combos to set up takedowns and end up with a TKO in round 3. However, Georges has to watch the powerful hands of Hardy because all it takes is one punch.
Frank Mir vs. Shane Carwin
This is a tough match to call. One one hand you have Mir, the former champion who has a far superior submission game. On the other hand you have the powerful Carwin who has a wrestling advantage. Mir has the experience edge, Carwin has the power edge. The size advantage of Carwin appears to have been nearly nullified as both guys are big heavyweights. Mir seems to have more technical striking. However, Carwin has one punch KO power. Frank Mir has said that Carwin will have the ability to dictate where the fight takes place and I think he is right. I see Carwin willing to stand with Mir, but he may get picked apart. If that is the case Carwin can go for a takedown, but then he has to worry about Mir’s submissions. However, I think Carwin has the ground and pound ability, strength and top control to handle Mir in a similar way to Lesnar. I think Carwin wins this fight in round 2.
Jon Fitch vs. Ben Saunders
Fitch was scheduled to face Alves, but now he gets Saunders. Saunders may be more dangerous for Fitch. He is very big and tall for 170. He has incredible knees…just ask Marcus Davis. However, Fitch can nullify that with his wrestling. I would not be shocked to see Saunders end the fight with a TKO, but I expect Fitch to grind out a decision here. However, don’t sleep on Saunders’ ground game.
Kurt Pellegrino vs. Fabricio Camoes
I like Camoes, however I don’t see him getting past Pellegrino. I think Pellegrino earns a unanimous decision victory here.
Jim Miller vs. Mark Bocek
Bocek has great submissions and Miller needs to watch for it, but Miller has more ways to win. He is a better boxer and a better wrestler. Which means that Miller will in all likelihood use his boxing to pick Bocek apart. If that fight hits the mat Miller is no slouch either. I predict Miller by decision.
Nick Diaz vs. Rory Markham
Tough fight to call. Diaz make his welterweight debut. How will he handle bigger and stronger fighters. I think its a bad move for Diaz who struggled to handle the strength of some lightweights. Markham is strong and powerful. He weighed in heavy 1t 177 lbs. Will the weight be an issue for Diaz? I think Diaz needs to get inside and take the fight down to the ground. If he can I think he makes short work of Markham and submits him in round 2. However, Markham has knockout power.
Ricardo Almeida vs. Matt Brown
How will Almeida handle his first fight at welterweight and the weight cut? I think Almeida has the tools to beat Brown, but Brown has been very impressive in the UFC. I think Almeida is going to want to get inside in the clinch and work for a take down. It is there he has the advantage. I think Almeida will grind out a decision over Brown, but Brown can always shock me.
Rodney Wallace vs. Jared Hamman
I think Hamman wins this by TKO in round 1. Just a gut feeling.
Rousimar Palhares vs. Tomasz Drwal
Very even matchup. Palhares’ strength advantage will be nullified, but he has the submission advantage. Palhares will want to take this fight to the ground quickly. If he does I think he ends up with a submission over Drwal in round 2.
Matt Riddle vs. Greg Soto
The safe pick is Riddle. He has good wrestling and strength, but I think Soto picks up a submission victory here in round 1. Soto is a highly touted prospect and if he cannot beat Riddle he won’t go far in the UFC.