TUF 8 Finale Predictions

Phillipe Nover vs. Efrain Escudero

These two fighters have a huge ceiling as far as talent goes.  In fact, I think either of these guys could be contenders eventually.  I would put both of them up against many UFC lightweights right now.  Escudero really impressed on the show.  I saw many people picking him to go far in forums, but I was a doubter.  In fact when he was matched against Shane Nelson I thought he was done.  When he was matched against Junie I thought he was done.  Efrain has greta wrestling and great submissions.  That tirangle choke on Nelson was sick.  We may not really know how good Efrain is because he had the tougher road to the finals.  It is really possible that he beat two of the best guys in the house.  Phillipe has to beware of Efrain’s submissions.  Dana White has been in this business a while and like him or not he knows MMA and recognizes talent.  Dana raved over Phillipe.  In fact, he says that Nover may be the most talented kids ever on The Ultimate Fighter.  That is saying something considering TUF has produced names like Forrest Griffin, Diego Sanchez, Rashad Evans, Joe Stevenson, Kenny Florian, Michael Bisping, Mike Swick, Josh Koscheck, Matt Hamill, Stephan Bonnar, Nate Diaz, Gray Maynard, etc.  Nover looks to have a complete skill set.  His striking and muay thai seems to be unrivaled at 155 lbs.  He showed slick submission skills.  I would not keel over with a heart attack if Efrain won, but Nover has to be the favorite and that is why I am picking Phillipe to win by submission in round 1.  However, both of these guys have bright futures in the UFC. 

Phillipe Nover

vs.

Efrain Escudero

 

Nickname

NR

MMA Blog Rank

NR

155 Lbs.

Weight Class

155 Lbs.

5-0-1 (0-0 UFC)

Record

10-0 (0-0 UFC)

For The Ultimate Fighter 8 Lightweight Championship

Ryan Bader vs. Vinny Magalhes

If someone would have told me this would have beent he fight for the finals I would not have doubted it, but I would have picked Bader to dominate.  However, after the semi-finals my opinion has changed slightly.  Bader won, won easily, but did not look great in his lay n’ pray victory.  Vinny looked very good against fellow Team Quester Krzystof Sosynski.  Vinny has fantastic ground skills.  Some have said he is one of the best in the world.  I agree.  Bader could be in trouble.  Bader has a solid wrestling pedigree.  He will look to use his wrestling to keep the fight standing.  Vinny insists that he has improved his striking and will win by knockout.  I don’t see that happening.  Vinny seems timid and reluctant with striking and does not like getting hit.  Bader has KO power.  I would be shocked if Vinny’s chin is not tested.  That will be the test.  If the fight goes to the ground it gets interesting.  Can Vinny work a submission while being punched?  Can Bader avoid submissions?  I worry that this finale will end just like the finale with his teamate C.B. Dolloway.  Anyways, I pick Bader by decision, but watch out for submissions.

Ryan Bader

vs.

Vinny Magalhes

Darth

Nickname

Pezao

NR

MMA Blog Rank

NR

205 Lbs.

Weight Class

205 Lbs.

7-0 (0-0 UFC)

Record

For The Ultimate Fighter 8 Light Heavyweight Championship

Jason MacDonald vs. Wilson Gouveia

This is a hard fight to pick.  MacDonald is a very good and so is Gouveia.  Wilson did well at light heavyweight, but dropped to 185 lbs following his loss to Goran Reljic.  Gouveia is a good jiu jitsu player, but MacDonal showed against Demian Maia that he has decent submission defense.  I think MacDonald is better all around.  I think MacDonald will beware of Gouviea’s submissions and will win by decision.  By the way, I am wavering on this fight prediction.

Wilson Gouveia

vs.

Jason MacDonald

 

Nickname

 The Athlete

17

MMA Blog Rank

15

185 Lbs.

Weight Class

185 Lbs.

11-5 (5-2 UFC)

Record

21-10 (5-3 UFC)

Anthony Johnson vs. Kevin Burns

This is a re-match of an earlier fight that ended in controversy.  Burns poked Johnson numerous times in the eye and it led to Johnson falling down due to an eye poke and Burns being declared the winner by TKO.  Horrible decision.  However, the re-match should be good.  Burns is a godo fighter and he did not want the fight to end that way.  he says that he was forced to strike with an open hand because of a broken hand.  Howeverm he says it is fixed.  Johnson is looking for revenge.  We saw in the Johnson vs. Tommy Speer fight what Johnson is capable of.  Don’t look for him to walk through Burns.  Burns has solid all around.  He submitted Roan Carneiro in his UFC debut.  I still think Johnson wins this fight by TKO in round 2. 

Anthony Johnson

vs.

Kevin Burns

Rumble

Nickname

The Fire

NR

MMA Blog Rank

NR

170 Lbs.

Weight Class

170 Lbs.

5-2 (2-2 UFC)

Record

7-1 (2-0 UFC)

 Junie Allen Browning vs. Dave Kaplan

Dave Kaplan and Junie Browning are both jokes.  Frank Mir was all on the Kaplan bandwagon.  He looked terrible against Phillipe.  Was Phillipe that good or is Kaplan that bad?  We just don’t know with Junie.  Has he gotten his act together?  Is he going to be mentally prepared for this?  Physically, Junie is the better fighter.  Mentally, I don’t know.  Anyways, from what I hear Junie is sober.  Junie is training at Xtreme Couture and is living with Shwan Thompkins.  I think that has to help.  I predict that Junie comes out and impresses.  I predict that Junie wins by TKO in round 1. 

Junie Allen Browning

vs.

Dave Kaplan

 

Nickname

NR

MMA Blog Rank

NR

155 Lbs.

Weight Class

155 Lbs.

2-0 (0-0 UFC)

Record

 Quick Picks:

Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Shane Primm

Eliot Marshall vs. Jules Bruchez

Kyle Kingsbury vs. Tom Lawlor

George Roop vs. Shane Nelson

Rolando Delgado vs. John Polakowski

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This Week In MMA

 ·         UFC Fight Night 16: Fight For the Troops – Wednesday, December 10th

This event is a special bonus for fight fans.  Also, it is a stand up gesture by the UFC.  Say what you want about Dana White and the UFC, but no other fight organizations show the benevolence that the UFC does.  The goal of these fights is to raise money for the Intrepid Fallen heroes Fund.  Click here to find out more or to make donations.  Not only is it a good cause, but there are several good fights.  We will see stars such as Josh Ksocheck, Mike Swick, Matt Wiman, Jim Miller, WEC champ Steve Cantwell, and Luigi Fiorvanti.  Tune in to SPIKE on Wednesday Night to watch this event. 

o   Josh Koscheck vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida

o   Mike Swick vs. Jonathan Goulet

o   Matt Wiman vs. Jim Miller

o   Steve Cantwell vs. Razak Al-Hussan

o   Liugi Fioravanti vs. Brodie Farber

o   Nate Loughran vs. Tim Credeur

o   Steve Bruno vs. Johnny Rees

o   Eddie Sanchez vs. Justin McCully

o   Ben Saunders vs. Brandon Wolff

o   Corey Hill vs. Dale Hartt

·         Adrenaline MMA 2 – Thursday, December 11

Some good fights on tap here.  The biggest enw may be the return of legend, Pat Miletich against Thomas Denny.  Also in action will be former IFL Heavyweight champ Ben Rothwell, rising Heavyweight star Mike Russow and several other notable fighters. 

o   Pat Miletich vs. Thomas Denny

o   Ben Rothwell vs. Chris Guillen

o   Mike Russow vs. Branden Bice

o   LC Davis vs. Billy Kidd

o   Mike Ciesnolevicz vs. Derrick Mehmen

o   Gabe Lemley vs. Dan Loman

o   Ryan McGivern vs. Geno Roderick

o   Pat Curran vs. Ramiro “Junior” Hernandez

o   Jesse Lennox vs. Ryan Williams

·         Mixed Fighting Alliance – Saturday, December 13

This boasts a solid main event between two heavyweight legends in Monson and Rodriquez.  The big news will be the debut of WWE star Bobby Lashley.  The question will be can he do what Lesnar has done? 

o   Jeff Monson vs. Ricco Rodriquez

o   Bobby Lashley vs. Joshua Franklin

o   Ariel Grandulla vs. David Baggett

·         The Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale – Saturday, December 13th                   

I do not know of another TUF finale that I have been so excited about.  This season has all the 16 cast members fighting on this card.  Two exciting finals and two exciting bouts of non TUF cast members in Jason MacDonald vs. Wilson Gouveia and a re-match between Kevin Burns and Anthony Johnson.

o   Ryan Bader vs. Vinny Magalhes

o   Phillipe Nover vs. Efrain Escudero

o   Jason MacDonald vs. Wilson Gouveia

o   Anthony Johnson vs. Kevin Burns

o   Junie Allen Browning vs. Dave Kaplan

o   Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Shane Primm

o   Eliot Marshall vs. Jules Bruchez

o   Kyle Kingsbury vs. Tom Lawlor

o   Shane Nelson vs. George Roop

o   Rolando Delgado vs. John Polakowski

 

 

The TUF 8 Finale Match-Ups Are Set

 The match ups are all set for the TUF 8  Finale which airs live on Spike on December 13th.  The surprise is that all the cast members are fighting.                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Main Card:                                                                                                                                                     Ryan Bader vs. Vinny Magalhes                                                                                                                     Phillipe Nover vs. Efrain Escudero                                                                                                               Jason MacDonald vs. Wilson Gouveia                                                                                                     Anthony Johnson vs. Kevin Burns                                                                                                                 Junie Browning vs. Dave Kaplan

Undercard:                                                                                                                                              Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Shane Primm                                                                                                           Eliot Marshall vs. Jules Bruchez
Kyle Kingsbury vs. Tom Lawlor
Shane Nelson vs. George Roop
Rolando Delgado vs. John Polakowski

Breaking Down the UFC Middleweight Division

The Champion: Anderson Silva

The Top Contender: ?

The Next Tier:

·         Yushin Okami

·         Nate Marquardt

·         Michael Bisping

·         Dan Henderson

·         Demian Maia

·         Thales Leites

·         Patrick Cote

·         Chael Sonnen

 

On the Rise: 

·         Demian Maia

·         Michael Bisping

 

Other Notables:

·         Denis Kang

·         Rousimar Palhares

·         Martin Kampmann

·         Chris Leben

·         Ricardo Almeida

·         Nate Quarry

·         Jason MacDonald

·         Wilson Gouveia

·         Goran Reljic

·         Dan Miller

·         Dean Lister

·         Kendall Grove

·         Alan Belcher

·         Ed Herman

·         Jorge Rivera

·         Alessio Sakara

·         C.B. Dolloway

·         Mike Massenzio

·         Matt Horwich

·         Jake Rosholt

·         Amir Sadollah

 

Scheduled Fights:

·         Nate Loughran vs. Tim Credeur at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Jason MacDonald vs. Wilson Gouveia at TUF 8 Finale on December 13

·         Yushin Okami vs. Dean Lister at UFC 92 on December 27

·         C.B. Dolloway vs. Mike Massenzio at UFC 92 on December 27

·         Denis Kang vs. Alan Belcher at UFC 93 on January 17

 

Match Ups I’d Like to See:

·         Yushin Okami vs. Anderson Silva

·         Thales Leites vs. Rousimar Palhares

·         Demian Maia vs. Michael Bisping

 

Other Thoughts:

·         The UFC Middleweight division is very, very underrated!  I believe it is because of Anderson Silva’s dominance.  The middleweight division does not have a clear number 1 contender, but from top to bottom I would put this division with any.  Albeit, the UFC’s competitors have some middleweight talents in the likes of guys like Gegard Mousasi, Jacare, Vitor Belfort, Matt Lindland, Jorge Santiago,and  Kazuo Misaki.  Not to mention the few solid middleweights from EliteXC such as Robbie Lawler, Joey Villasenor, Scott Smith, Frank Shamrock and Benji Radach.  The UFC is sure to pick some of those guys up

·         Rumor has it the UFC is in negotiations with top middleweight Yoshihio Akiyama.  I do not know if they call pull him away from DREAM and Sengoku, but that would be a huge add. 

·         The middleweight division is growing with adds like signing Denis Kang, the move of WEC’s division which will add Chael Sonnen and Jake Rosholt as well as guys like Aaron Simpson and Danillo Vilefort likely to come over.

·         Paulo Filho will not be in the UFC…yet.

·         TUF 9 will feature middleweight coaches with Michael Bisping being a lock.  The other names being thrown around are Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt and even Demian Maia

MMABlog’s Middleweight MMA Rankings

The middleweights were hard to rank down towards the last 10.  Sorry if I left some good guys out.

Rank

Name

Organization

Next Fight

1

Anderson Silva

UFC

 Cote (#12), 9/25

2

Paulo Filho

UFC

Sonnen (#16) 11/3

3

Rich Franklin

UFC

Next Fight at LHW

4

Dan Henderson

UFC

Next Fight at LHW

5

Robbie Lawler

EliteXC?

 

6

Kazuo Misaki

Strikeforce

1/4

7

Nate Marquardt

UFC

 

8

Matt Lindland

Affliction

Sobral (LHW) ) 1/24

9

Yushin Okami

UFC

Lister (NR), 12/27

10

Gegard Mousasi

DREAM

Belfort (#25,) 1/24

11

Thales Leites

UFC

McFedries (NR), 9/25

12

Patrick Cote

UFC

A. Silva (#1), 9/25

13

Michael Bisping

UFC

 

14

Yoshihiro Akiyama

 

 

15

Ronaldo “Jacare” de Sousa

DREAM

 

16

Chael Sonnen

UFC

Filho (#2) 11/3

17

Demian Maia

UFC

Quarry (#18), 11/15

18

Nate Quarry

UFC

Maia (#17), 11/15

19

Joey Villasenor

EliteXC?

 

20

Cung Le

Strikeforce

 

21

Jorge Santiago

 

 

22

Chris Leben

UFC

 

23

Jason Macdonald

UFC

 

24

Martin Kampman

UFC

 

25

Vitor Belfort

Affliction

Mousasi (#10) 1/24

 

Others Considered: Ricardo Almeida, Rousimar Palhares, Dean Lister, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Frank Trigg

UFC 88 Fighter Salaries

Chuck Liddell – $500,000

Dan Henderson – $250,000

Rashad Evans – $180,000 (Includes $60,000 KO of the Night Bonus and $60,000 win bonus)

Jason MacDonald – $104,000 (Includes $60,000 Submission of the Night Bonus)

Rich Franklin – $100,000

Kurt Pellegrino – $84,000 (Includes $60,000 Fight of the Night Bonus)

Thiago Tavares – $73,000 (Includes $60,000 Fight of the Night Bonus)

Nate Marquardt -$56,000

Dong Hyun Kim – $46,000

Ryo Chonan – $30,000

Jason Lambert – $17,000

Tim Boetsch – $16,000

Martin Kampmann – $15,000

Matt Hamill – $10,000

Roan Carneiro – $9,000

Matt Brown – $8,000

Rousimar Palhares – $7,000

Mike Patt – $5,000

UFC 88 Thoughts and Recap

Quick Results:

Rashad Evans def. Chuck Liddell by KO in round 2

Rich Franklin def. Matt Hamill by TKO in round 3

Dan Henderson def. Rousimar Palhares by unanimous decision

Nate Marquardt def. Martin Kampmann by TKO in round 1

Dong Hyun Kim def. Matt Brown by split decision

Jason MacDonald def. Jason Lambert by submission in round 2

Tim Boetsh def. Mike Patt by TKO in round 1

Kurt Pellegrino def. Thiago Tavares by unanimous decision

Ryo Chonan def. Roan Carneiro by split decision

Fight of the Night: Kurt Pellegrino vs. Thiago Tavares

Submission of the Night: Jason MacDonald

Knockout of the Night: Rashad Evans

My Predictions: I went 6 of 9 (I missed the Rashad Evans vs. Chuck Liddell, Martin Kampmann vs. Nate Marquardt and Kurt Pellegrino vs. Thiago Tavares fights)

My Thoughts on UFC 88:

  • Rashad Evans was impressive as heck.  I was utterly shocked.  I thought after round 1 Chuck would finish it.  Rashad looked good all round 2.  He was winning that fight even before the KO.  By the way, that was one of the most vicious KO’s I have ever seen in one punch.  That will be a highlight reel KO for years to come.  That will be knockout of the year candidate.  Rashad Evans showed he was no joke.  I don’t know if he deserves the title shot he was granted in December, but I won’t complain about it too badly.  I still think Machida deserves it.
  • Rich Franklin is back.  I love Rich Franklin.  He is a class act fighter.  He is super talented and always improving.  His striking is world class.  He is a threat in the light heavyweight divison.  There are some guys he would lose to, but I think he would beat Forrest or Rashad right now.  I am glad to see him back on track.
  • Matt Hamill looked good in the loss.  He showed he is improving his striking.  I think he still needs to rely on his bread and butter more of take downs and ground and pound, but he wants to show his striking.  Rich was just too experienced for him and found a weakness in his game and exploited it.  Hamill will be back and in my opinion he is still a top 15 light heavyweight.
  • Dan Henderson looked alright, but nothing special.  I think that is because Palhares is that good.  Palhares has a solid chin and superior submissions.  Keep his name in mind because he will be back too.
  • The most impressive performance to me was Nate Marquardt.  Nate has always had excellent grappling and submissions, but he showed versatile and skilled striking against a dangerous Kampmann.  He looked crisp and solid.  He is in the top heap at 185.  I’d love to see him fight Dan Henderson or Michael Bisping with the winner getting a title shot.  However, it may be that after Cote, Silva will get Okami.  Then Bisping is likely the next guy in line.  Then perhaps a re-match with Marquardt or Henderson. 
  • Some people think Matt Brown should have gotten the decision over Dong Hyun Kim, but I don’t think so.  I think Kim won round 1 due to submission attempts and a near finish and I think he won round 3 due to the take downs and big elbows out the end.  I think Kim looked really good against a tough as nails Matt Brown who showed some improvement.  Kim is a contender at 170 and though many people think he shouldn’t have won, and though I am sure he would have rather finished the fight, a win is a win and he will climb the ladder.
  • Tim Boetsh looked impressive against UFC newcomer Mike Patt, and I think if he can gain some cardio he can be a contender at 205.