Lightweight bout: Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller
Welterweight bout: Josh Koscheck vs. Johny Hendricks
Heavyweight bout: Pat Barry vs. Lavar Johnson
Middleweight bout: Rousimar Palhares vs. Alan Belcher
Preliminary card (Fuel TV)
Featherweight bout: Dennis Bermudez vs. Pablo Garza
Lightweight bout: Danny Castillo vs. John Cholish
Flyweight bout: Louis Gaudinot vs. John Lineker
Welterweight bout: John Hathaway vs. Pascal Krauss
Flyweight bout: John Dodson vs. Tim Elliott
Lightweight bout: Tony Ferguson vs. Michael Johnson
Preliminary card (Facebook)
Middleweight bout: Mike Massenzio vs. Karlos Vemola
Bantamweight bout: Roland Delorme vs. Nick Denis
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VINCE’S PICKS: Just to spice up this discussion thread, I’m going to include my own predictions for the fights this time. If you plan on betting, make sure to do the exact opposite of these, because I, Vince Mancini, am the ultimate jinx.
Miller vs. Diaz
Jim Miller is a tough son of a bitch, and seems way too well-rounded for me to imagine him getting knocked out or submitted. Diaz, meanwhile, for all his skills, seems like someone you or I could potentially beat at arm wrestling. Then again, that’s exactly what I said going into the Diaz-Cerrone fight and look how that turned out. Diaz reps the 209 hard enough that it changes the physical properties of things. I’m calling Diaz via Split Decision/Mean Mugging.
Koscheck vs. Hendricks.
Every analyst seems to be seeing the same thing going into this fight, which is that while they both seem to have similar skill sets (good wrestlers who throw bombs), Hendricks is surging while Koscheck has been looking increasingly unimpressive. The question is whether that’s due to Koscheck getting old or if it’s more due to the trouble he’s been having with his training camp. His solution seems to have been to stay home and pay guys to come train with him in Fresno (559 represent!) instead of going up to San Jose to work out with the AKA guys. And making your training partners come to you… well, ask Fedor or Cro Cop how well that works out. That said, I’m picking Koscheck because Hendricks spells his first name “Johny” and that’s bullshit. You can’t argue with science. Kos via surprise KO in the second.
Pat Barry vs. Lavar Johnson
This should be a fun fight, especially if you hate grappling. Lavar Johnson is another guy who used to train in Fresno, at Buhawe camp, though I believe (don’t quote me) that he moved up to San Jose before his last fight. Lavar Johnson is an enormous man with ridiculous power, HOWEVER, if you watch any of his fights, you’ll notice that he has a tendency to hold his hands down at his waist while throwing monster hooks a la classic George Foreman. Pat Barry, being a top-level kickboxer, SHOULD be able to pick him apart and tag him while he drops those hands. That said, Barry has been underachieving (as a fighter, as an entertainer he’s top three easily) something fierce in the UFC, he’s giving up a lot of size, and after getting put out cold with his eyes still open (THE HORROR) against Kongo, his chin may not be what it once was. I’m picking Barry to stay just out of trouble and win by UD, but feeling not at all confident about it.
Rousimar Palhares vs. Alan Belcher
A classic match-up between rural, Hulk-like Brazilian simpleton and Mississippian with horrendous Johnny Cash tattoo. I for one miss the days when Goldberg would refer to Palhares as “Paul Harris.” Goldberg has to be one of the most middling minds Arizona State has ever produced. Tippy top of the bell curve, that guy. The big question here, obviously, is whether Belcher can stay away from Paul Harris long enough to not get his leg ripped off. Belcher is coming off three impressive wins, but none over a fighter of Paul Harris’s caliber. Meanwhile, a submission loss to Kendall Grove on Belcher’s record doesn’t give me confidence that he’ll be able to avoid a submission from a tank like Paul Harris. And Paul Harris hasn’t shown too many weaknesses, other than a hearing deficiency when the ref is yelling at him to let go of someone’s leg. My prediction? Paul Harris rips off Belcher’s leg and tries to eat it in the first, then acts confused and apologetic when he gets arrested. He’ll manage to fight off a phalanx of policemen and will kneebar a jet out of the sky when they call in the national guard, but will eventually be overwhelmed by artillery when a pretty blonde lady distracts him with beautiful music from a cello.