Friday, May 4, 2012

UFC on Fox: Take 3

This weekend marks the UFC’s third card on the FOX network.  When the deal was first signed in August of last year fight fans everywhere were overjoyed with thoughts of all-time classic fights on free television.

Instead of instant classics the two cards have produced a 59 minute-long talk show with a 60 second heavyweight title thrown in and a three fight decision-fest on the following card. While the ratings have been strong you can bet Dana White is hoping for some fireworks Saturday night, especially going up against these guys.
UFC 145 was not very kind to the prediction machine.  I continued to pick against Jon Jones for some reason and put trust in veterans Miguel Torres and Mark Hominick… Thanks for nothing guys.

Previews and Predictions
Last Week: 2-4
Year: 20-15

How do you cure the disease knows as Decisionitis? Simple answer, have these two slugging heavyweights kick off the main card. The always entertaining Pat Barry is coming off a devastating KO of Christian Morecraft where he showed an improved ground game as well. HD is right there with Junior Dos Santos as the most technical striker in the division and owns the most vicious leg kicks in the company.

Johnson announced his Octagon arrival with authority by doing something no man had ever done in knocking out Joey Beltran, with uppercuts straight out of a video game.  Before his UFC debut Johnson was on a two fight skid against average heavyweight competition in Strikeforce.

Do not blink during this fight because it can end at any second.  Both guys have heavy hands and likely won’t look to take it to the ground.

Barry KO 1st Round followed by  a celebration almost as cool as this.

Belcher put an exclamation mark on his comeback fro ma career threatening eye injury with a submission win over Jason MacDonald at UFC Fight Night 25 last September. After taking another break due to fatherhood “the Talent” looks to propel himself to title contention with his toughest fight to date. Belcher is well rounded and if not for a controversial decision loss to Yoshihiro Akiyama he would be on a 6 fight win streak.

Palhares is one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC.  Some people consider him dirty but I think he is just aggressive and fights to win at all costs. He is a heel hooking machine and despite the fact everyone knows he is going for it, they can not stop it. He has won 6 of his last 7 fights and is a guy no one wants to face in the division right now.

The winner of this fight will certainly “be in the mix”” as Dana White puts it. This was the hardest fight for me to predict on this card.  If Belcher fights smart I think he can certainly grind out a decision but if he gets too aggressive Belcher could be in the market for a new leg.

Belcher Unanimous Decision 29-28

Josh Koscheck has been in the UFC since his days on the first season of the Ultimate Fighter. On the show he was strictly a four-time All American wrestler with a very limited striking skill set. Over the years it has been fun to see him develop into one of the best welterweights in the sport.  His last fight against Mike Pierce was a disappointing decision win.  I believe Kos knows this is last chance to make a title run so he did not want to take any chances and risk falling to the middle of the division.

Johny Hendricks is also a four-time All American wrestler, however he posses more raw power than Koscheck. Hendricks who was often seen as another guy in the division is currently on a three fight winning streak, highlighted by a 12 second knockout over Jon Fitch. Now, he finds himself on the brink of a title shot with only one man standing in his way.

Koscheck is the more experienced fighter of the two and is in a good place mentally after switching camps. I have been a Hendricks doubter for awhile now and think this may be too much of a push after just one punch but he definitely can prove me wrong this weekend. Don’t expect a barn burner in this one, look for Koscheck to pick his spots and grind out a victory.

Koscheck Unanimous Decision 30-27

Now I know I can not hide my love of the Diaz brothers but I love the fact I get to watch one of them fight on free television.  My one concern is does the FCC feel the same way? The brash-Stockton native put on a clinic against Donald Cerrone in ways no one thought possible.  Diaz has looked great since his return to the lightweight division and can win a fight wherever it goes. His boxing, like his brother’s is dangerous and also has earned his black belt in jiu-jitsu from Cesar Gracie.

Jim Miller is one of the most underrated fighters on the planet. He saw his seven fight win streak snapped by champion Benson Henderson but bounced back with a submission victory over Melvin Guillard in January. Miller is a put bull who will look to take Diaz down and use ground and pound along with his own black belt skills to contain the dangerous 209er.

The five round-format favors Nate Diaz but Miller is not one to gas either. Diaz gets in the most trouble against strong wrestlers so this is a great test for him in order to earn a title shot. This is one that is likely to go in the late rounds because they both are smart fighters with great chins. I expect Diaz to out strike Miller in the same way he did Cowboy and take home the #1 contender spot in an entertaining fight of the night. 
Diaz Unanimous Decision 49-46
Future Lightweight Champion! 209 for life.
Credit: MMAlinker
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