John Halverson vs. Jorge Gurgel
Jorge Gurgel is tough. I think Gurgel is an excellent fighter and is good ont he ground. I think Gurgel will win by submission in round two.
Luke Cummo vs. Luigi Fiorvanti
Luigi Fiorvanti is a hard hitting crowd favorite. I don’t think he is a top tier guy, but I think he is going to KO Luke Cummo in the second round.
Diego Sanchez vs. David Bielkheden
Diego has lost two in a row. He chose not to drop to lightweight, which I think is a good decision for him, however if he looses here he better drop. I doubt he will loose. He should win this fight and I think he will win it easily. He will win via ref stoppage in round one. Again, sometimes fighters overlook guys, but this seems to be a fight the UFC set up to get Diego back on track.
Josh Koscheck vs. Dustin Hazelett
Josh Koscheck has looked good in every fight he has been in except the St. Pierre fight. This is a tough fight for him coming off a loss. Hazelett is no push over. He has a lot riding on this fight. If he wins he climbs the ladder. Hazelett is coming off a win vs. Goulet. While Dustin is a good fighter I would be hard pressed to pick against Koscheck. I pick Josh Koscheck by a rear naked choke late in the second round.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Jake O’Brien
This fight is main card worthy. Arlovski has not looked great lately. Jake O’Brien hasn’t fought for a while. I think O’Brien is better than people give him credit for an he is a legit top ten heavyweight. He has a great record. However, Arlovski is a former champ. The question for him is whether or not he cares about winning. Has he trained hard or is he just fighting here to fulfill his contract? Is he wanting to leave with a bang? Is he wanting to convince the UFC that he is worth big bucks in a new contract? Is he trying to market himself to another organization? Does he want a quick KO so the fight may get on the televised card? If I knew those answers I could pick this fight better. Because Arlovski cannot just coast through this fight. I am tempted to pick O’Brien, however it is tough to pick against Arlovski. O’Brien beat Heath Herring in his last fight. I don’t know how he will look with over a year off. I am still going to pick Arlovski although a O’Brien win would not shock me and would be great for him. If Arlovski plans on staying in the UFC I hope he wins. He will get the next title shot. If he plans on leaving I hope he gets KO’d.
Chris Leben vs. Alessio Sakara
This is going to be a war. I doubt it wil last past one round. Both guys love to strike. Leben showed a lot in his win against Terry Martin. He was rocked when he KO’s Martin. Leben is tough. This fight is tough to pick because it will come down to who gets rocked first and while there is some skill involved I think there is a lot of luck. I do not think leben is as good as he or many others think, however he is heavy handed. Sakara has fought bigger and stronger guys than Leben. I know that Leben will be the favorite, but there has to be an upset somewhere, so I am going to pick Alessio Sakara via second round KO.
Jon Fitch vs. Chris Wilson
Don’t overlook Chris Wilson in this fight. I hear rumblings about how good he is. A win here and Jon Fitch will get a title shot. Karo Parisyan has to be rooting for Chris Wilson because the only way he gets the nest title shot is a Fitch loss. It could happen. I am close to picking Wilson in the upset. The UFC could use another good welterweight fighter. However, I cannot pick an unproven fighter over a proven fighter. I like Jon Fitch and think he will win this fight by split decison. In loosing I also think Wilson will solidfy himself as a top ten fighter in the UFC’s welterweight divison.
Yushin Okami vs. Evan Tanner
The bottom line with this fight is that there are too many unknowns. How will Evan Tanner do after such a long lay off? I do not know why he is being thrown in against a top 5 middleweight fighter. Okami is big and strong. I think you can bet on a slow paced fight that Okami will control. He could even capitalize on a mistake Tanner makes. If Evan Tanner comes out liekt he Evan of old he could win, but he better win early. The longer this match goes the more it favors Okami. I predict Tanner will look rusty at best and Okami will get on him and control him for three rounds. I will pick Okami by unanimous decison.
Cheick Kongo vs. Heath Herring
Heath Herring looks refocused. Cheick Kongo beat Cro Cop. The question I want answered here is whether or not Kongo can consistently beat top tier fighters. There is much talk that the next title fight will not be Werdum, but Kongo if he wins here. Regardless I do not think Kongo is ready for a title shot, but because of the way things have happened he is in the mix with a win. Heath Herring hit Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira hard and nearly beat him. The ref could have stopped that fight. Heath Herring may be a top ten UFC Heavyweight, but I do not think he can beat Kongo. Checik is so huge and strong that will pose a problem. I look for Checik Kongo to win via strikes in the first round.
Dan Henderson vs. Anderson Silva
On paper this match is one of the best fights you could imagine. Of course how it plays out in the octagon is a different story. I believe this fight will live up to hype. Dan Henderson will be the toughest match up for Anderson Silva in the UFC. Rich Franklin is a great fighter, but his style seemed perfect for Anderson to walk through. Dan Henderson is a different story. Dan Henderson is tough, I mean never been knocked out tough. He has fought the best fighters in the world, so he has the experience. Dan Henderson is great in the clinch. He is a good wrestler and a good ground and pound guy. However, Anderson Silva can kick hard and he can submit a guy. This is a tough fight to predict. I really like Anderson Silva. He is a class act. He is tough to beat. This fight is pivotal for the UFC. If Anderson Silva wins this fight the UFC will be forced to go out and sign someone else like Fliho, Lindland, Lawler or Jason “Mayhem” Miller. If Dan Henderson wins this fight I look for Wanderlai Silva to drop down and seek revenge for Dan beating him and taking his belt. Of course the is a tough fight to pick because you never know how the fight will go. I will pick Dan Henderson by third round stoppage. I do not see Anderson knocking Dan out. His one chance I see is to submit him a la Travis Lutter. I will pick Dan because I need to pick someone, but I do not know how anyone can really bet against Anderson Silva. If he wins he is unstoppable.
Filed under: Alessio Sakara, Anderson Silva, Andrei Arlovski, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Cheick Kongo, Chris Leben, Chris Wilson, Dan Henderson, Dana White, David Bielkheden, Diego Sanchez, Dustin Hazelett, Evan Tanner, Fabricio Werdum, Heath Herring, Jake O'Brien, John Halverson, Jon Fitch, Jorge Gurgel, Luigi Fiorvanti, Luke Cummo, UFC 82: Pride of A Champion, Yushin Okami | Leave a comment »