My UFC 81 Predictions

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Tim Sylvia

UFC 81 presents some of the toughest predictions which I worry about being wrong about a lot of fights.  This is a tough fight.  Overall Nogueira is the better fighter, but Tim Sylvia is a former UFC champ. I am reluctant to pick Big Nog becuase he didn’t look impressive at all against Heath Herring and because Randy Couture picked Tim Sylvia and he has an uncanny ability to pick fights.  However, I have to pick the guy who I feel is better.  My question for Syliva is are his better days behind him?  He lost bad to Randy Couture.  He didn’t look great against Vera, but he did look better than Vera.  Tim will still have about a 5 inch reach advantage, but he won’t have the reach advantage he did against Vera and Couture, and he won’t have the strength advantage either.  If the fight stays in the clinch or on the ground I look for Nogueira to win.  I hope he learned from Randy. 

Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir

This is another hard fight to pick because of relative unknowns.  I do know this…Brock Lesnar is a great athelete and world class wrestler. Frank Mir doesn’t seem to have the same passion he once did, but he is great with submissions.  I am so torn with this fight.  Experience goes to Frank Mir.  Strength goes to Brock Lesnar.  I am going to go out on a limb and pick Brock by knockout.  I think if he gets on the ground he can ground and pound Mir and hold his own with submission defense.  If Mir gets Brock in an arm bar Brock can just curl it.  Lesnar is the strongest and bukiest fighter the UFC has seen.  I still do not know if he can cut it in the big time.  The UFC is gambling with him, and seems to want to market him.   I hear he is for real.   My bigger question though would be will Brock Lesnar pass a steroids test?

Nate Marquardt vs. Jeremy Horn

This may be one of the best fights.  Jeremy Horn is maybe the most experienced MMA fighter in the world.  What a good replacement for Leites.  We seem to have forgotten that before Nate’s loss to Anderson Silva many thought he was the best and had a good chance at beating Anderson.  He is still and world class grappler.  I think Jeremy Horn is a tough match up though, especially with striking and experience.  However, I look for Nate to rebound and win by submission.

Tyson Griffin vs. Gleison Tibau

My pick for fight of the night.  Many of us know about Tyson Griffin, but Tibau is a great fighter.  This fight is huge.  The winner moves into the top 10 talk of the lightweight divison, the other takes a step back.  Tibau has only one big win and that was over Terry Etim.  Griffin has wins over Clay Guida and Thiago Tavares, while they were good fights, he didn’t dominate or win by much.  Griffin is tough as nails and he has never been submitted or knocked out.  I will pick Tyson Griffin, just because Tibau is unproven and because Tyson trains with Randy (enough said). 

Alan Belcher vs. Ricardo Almeida

Almeida is for real.  He hasn’t fought since 2004 so that is the real question for him, however he holds wins over Nate Marquardt and Ryo Chonan.  Alan Belcher is a good fights.  He last beat Kalib Starnes by ref stoppage due to a huge cut that went to Starnes’ skull.  The outcome depends on the pace of the fight.  A slow fight favors Almeida, but a stand up battle favors Belcher.  I want Almeida to win and comeback because he is good for the middleweight divison, however it has been four years.  What the heck, I pick Almeida by either submission or unanimous decision.

Terry Martin vs. Marvin Eastman

The question this fight will answer is before Chris Leben was Terry Martin uverrated.  I will grant that he got caught against Leben and almost won that fight.  Eastman is big and can hit hard.  Size won’t be much of a difference.  Terry Martin is younger if that matters.  Marvin Eastman has the experience and has fought a lot of good fighters throughout his career.  I would like to see a rejuvenated Marvin Eastman.  However, I think Terry Martin will pull out a win here.

David Heath vs. Tim Boetsch

On paper this is the fight that I could least care about.  David Heath is okay, but hasn’t done great in the UFC.  I wonder how the late notice with affect Boetsch?  I think this is a gimmer for David Heath who has little chance of making any noise in the light heayweight divison. 

Chris Lytle vs. Kyle Bradley

Chris Lytle has fought well against some good guys.  He lost a split decision to Matt Serra.  He went the distance with Matt Hughes.  I have to pick Chris Lytle over the unknown Kyle Bradley.

Rob Emerson vs. Keita Nakamura

Japanese fighters just haven’t done well in the UFC.  I do not like Rob Emerson.  I believe he got lucky that Gray Maynard knocked himself out because Emerson was done!  Emerson lost more TUF fights than you can shake a stick at.  He is a punk.  He should be locked up in jail for his gang and him beating up on some random guy.  Anyways, I am picking Keita out of pure spite for Emerson.  I hope this seals his exit from the UFC for good.