Friday, May 25, 2012

UFC 146: Super Sized Edition

After a MMA-filled week that only encouraged my fear of zombies, the UFC is back this weekend with a heavy dose of the big guys.  The pay per view card features five heavyweight bouts, capped off by the championship fight between Junior Dos Santos and Frank Mir.

Fight fans should also check out the under card on FX as it features some big names of their own. Former WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner makes his return to the Zuffa brand against highlight machine, Edson Barboza. Also, two fan favorites in Jason “Mayhem” Miller and British import, Dan Hardy look to extend their UFC careers, while Diego Brandao will make his first appearance since winning The Ultimate Fighter.

Previews and Predictions
Last Week: 5-1
Year: 27-18

Skyscraper is an intriguing heavyweight fighter.  Not only is he 6’11 but hes only 24 years old.  He holds a 7-3 record in the Octagon but still has not earned a signature win. His ground game is his strong suit, especially when you take in account his division. The one issue in all his losses has been his chin, suffering three first round knockouts.

That’s great news for Lavar Johnson.  A man, who was nothing but average in his Strikeforce career but has been on a tear since joining the UFC.  Two first-round knock outs against Joey Beltran and Pat Barry earned “Big” the opportunity to replace the injured Mark Hunt on the card.

Struve takes more shots than he should in his fights which is why many people are taking Johnson to end this early. But after seeing Barry almost finish Johnson on the ground I expect Struve to get him down and finish the job.

Struve Submission Round Two

The next bout pits two undefeated heavyweight prospects against each other. This bout is overshadowed the most in my opinion but the winner of this fight will receive a big push in a division that is short on contenders.  Del Rosario is 11-0 and is coming off a first round submission of the previously mentioned Lavar Johnson in February 2011. 

He was on a roll and was scheduled to face Daniel Cormier before a car accident sidelined him for over a year.  If he does not get in the accident there’s a chance Del Rosario was the one winning the Grand Prix last weekend. 

Miočić is a former D-1 wrestler who has finished 7 of his 8 opponents with 6 of them by knockout.  Most recently he defeated Phil De Fries by knockout in only 43 seconds. 

This is going to be an exciting fight. Del Rosario has the edge on the ground but I think  Miočić with his wrestling advantage will be able to keep the fight standing.  Ultimately, the ring rust of del Rosario is the biggest thing in this fight.

Miočić TKO Round 3

Nelson is an enigma in the sport. His “unique” body type has earned him both fans and critics, including Dana White. “Big Country” is a gamer though; he will never quit in a fight and can thank his iron chin for that. He has lost three of four, however and will need a win to convince the big guy to keep him around.

Nelson has lucked out in drawing Herman this weekend.  Herman is a much safer opponent than Antonio Silva, his original opponent. This will be his third UFC fight; he is 1-1 in his Octagon career, most recently getting TKOd by Stefan Struve.

Herman doesn’t have the striking that Werdum, Mir or Dos Santos so I don’t expect him being able to finish Nelson. Also, Nelson has a huge edge on the ground with his black belt in BJJ.

Nelson Submission (Arm Bar) Round 3

Velasquez is a huge favorite in this fight and it is well deserved. He was on a roll, starting his career 9-0 and defeating Brock Lesnar to win the title.  Unfortunately, in that fight he suffered a torn rotator cuff and was sidelines for nearly 8 months.  That rust showed in his first defense where he was defeated by Junior Dos Santos.

Silva, another Strikeforce import, was coming off the win of his career against MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko. All that momentum was ended in September in the first round by Daniel Cormier, which seems to be the trend nowadays.

Velasquez is on a mission to get his belt back and holds the edge everywhere but submissions.  Expect heavy ground and pound while he looks to make an example of Bigfoot.

Velasquez TKO Round Two

I am very excited for this title fight and believe it is closer than the other title fights that have taken place in other divisions recently. Many people are not giving Mir a fair chance which is crazy considering the heavyweight title has changed hands the most in the past three years than any other belt.

Dos Santos has been a beast in his Octagon career.  He is 8-0, 14-1 overall and has defeated three of the heavyweights on this card. His boxing is the best in the division and when he hits someone, he hits them hard.

Frank Mir, a two-time heavyweight champion, is on a three fight win-streak.  He was originally scheduled to face Velasquez, a bout I would still love to see, but to some shenanigans he finds himself fighting for the title. He has been in the UFC for over 12 years and holds the record for most wins, 14, in the division.

Dos Santos has the striking edge but Mir has some deadly knees in the clinch game. If it goes to the ground I have no idea what to expect. Mir has taken his share of opponents’ limbs in the past (Exhibit A, Exhibit B)but experts say dos Santos isn't too worried about it.

As a fan, I really want to pick Mir. I have been a fan for a while but I just don’t see it happening.

Dos Santos TKO Round 3

New School vs Old School in the heavyweight title fight.
As an extra bonus I have included the picks of my co-host of Split Decision, RyanPenney.  Back in college, we met and I’d like to take credit for turning him into a MMA fan. 

We host a show on  that covers all the MMA news and plenty of nonsense too.  Hope you can like our facebook page, follow us on twitter and leave plenty of comments.  Make sure to vote on the poll to the right and enjoy the fights.

Stefan Struve vs. Lavar Johnson:  Johnson Rd 1 KO-KO of night-- Struve will win if this thing goes to the ground, but I think Struve gets caught and his chin get s destroyed. 

Stipe Miočić vs. Shane del Rosario
Miočić  RD 2 TKO--Stipe has tremendous power and is going to move up in this weight class thanks to this fight

Roy Nelson vs. Dave Herman: Nelson Unanimous Decision- Roy can lean on you and I am not impressed with the man formerly known as "pee-wee". Nelson is taking training more seriously and I think he doesn’t impress but gets a much needed win 30-27.

Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva
: Velasquez RD 3 TKO-FOTN- I am very excited to see what Big foot can do but I think Cain wins and gets a title shot rematch against Dos Santos.

Junior dos Santos vs. Frank Mir: dos Santos TKO RD 2- Mir was impressive and I am much less excited than I was for Allistair but this will do. I think Dos Santos can win if he keeps this standing. This goes to the ground=broken arm for Junior.

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