* Forrest Griffin over Rashad Evans, decision
Dana White would give anything to have this be Griffin-Liddell, but Rashad knocked Chuck into 2009 last September in Atlanta. I have never seen a knockout that left a bar more stunned than Evans' massive KO of Liddell --- there was a shocked silence due to the fact that, quite rightly, some people thought Liddell was dead. It was that vicious a punch. So while we miss out on an intriguing and higher-grossing fight in Liddell vs. Griffin, we get an equally intriguing match in Griffin vs. Evans. I honestly don't know how this one will end up, and I'm picking Griffin solely due to the size factor. Griffin has the ability to control Evans and ride out a decision. Griffin also has the discipline to not let up for the few seconds that Evans would need to unleash his speed and land some heavy shots to Forrest's face. It should be an interesting chess match, if not the most fireworks-filled title match in UFC history.
* Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira over Frank Mir, chokeout, R2
Nogueira losing this fight would be a bigger upset than Serra over GSP, frankly. I really don't see how one of the legends of MMA can lose to a guy who Nog outclasses in virtually every aspect of the game. When you add to it that a win by Nogueira would set up a huge main event unification bout against Lesnar, and that Nog was presented as the nicest guy in the world during the past Ultimate Fighter season while Mir came off as a jerk....I mean, the MMA gods have to let Nogueira win, right?
* Wanderlei Silva over Rampage Jackson, knockout, R2
Some fighters just have the number of other fighters. Rampage has been on the other end of this phenomenon, since he owns Chuck Liddell. But Silva has already beaten Jackson twice, both times by vicious knockouts. Given that Rampage is coming off a title loss, a mental breakdown and a change in training camps, there just seems to be too much going on his life to fully concentrate on beating his greatest rival. This is odd matchmaking by the UFC, frankly; rather than have a third fight between these two, I would've preferred to see Rampage face Lyoto Machida and Wandy to take on Thiago Silva. I guess the logic was that, since the UFC wants to keep Machida as far away from the title as possible, that a Wandy/Rampage winner would have a clearer claim to a LHW title fight. The winner of this one will definitely face the Griffin/Evans winner.
* Mike Massenzio over C.B. Dollaway, submission, R2
Every Ultimate Fighter season seems to have one fighter who looks unimpressive as hell, yet is overrated by coaches and UFC matchmakers. The overrated dog of TUF season seven was C.B. Dollaway, who had everyone hanging off of his nutsack yet didn't look good to me at all. I think Massenzio whips him and submits his overhyped carcass in seven minutes or less.
* Cheick Kongo over Mostapha Al-Turk, knockout, R1
I suspect that the UFC will keep feeding Kongo cans until he nets enough wins to merit a match (maybe even a title shot) against Brock Lesnar in a man-beast vs. man-beast match. That is a fight that just markets itself. Who wouldn't want to see two enormous monsters go at it? Of course, Kongo would lose because he's a pretty mediocre fighter, but hey, at least it would be a great staredown. Then again, if the UFC books a best-two-of-three competition that also includes an arm-wrestling bout, a French-speaking contest and THEN a fight, Kongo has a terrific chance.
* Matt Hamill over Reese Andy, decision
You might remember Reese Andy as the guy who hung in there with Brandon Vera last summer in one of the duller fights the UFC has presented this year. Actually, wait, you might not remember that, since it's quite possible you passed out midway through the second round. I can see a similar situation happening in this bout, though since Hamill (unlike Vera) isn't a big useless turd at LHW, it's possible he'll finish Andy off before it gets to the judges. Frankly, I'd rather see a fight between Hamill and Andy from the ninth grade French videos. "Ma valise...ma valise. Un voleur.....un voleur!"
* Antoni Hardonk over Mike Wessel, TKO, R2
Two average heavyweights are duking it out in a bout that will only be interesting if Wessel's nickname is "Nuclear" and is cornered by Walter Koenig.
* Brad Blackburn over Ryo Chonan, decision
I'll give Blackburn the nod here just because Blackburn Rovers have been shitting the bed in the Premier League this season, so something is bound to go right for the name.
* Dan Evensen over Pat Barry, TKO, R1
I literally flipped a coin to make my pick in this fight. Who gives a crap?
* Yushin Okami over Dean Lister, decision
You have to love UFC marketing. This could well be a #1 contender's bout for the middleweight title if Okami wins, but since everyone knows this will be a boring-ass match between two dull fighters, it gets relegated to the undercard. Given that Okami has a (controversial) win over Anderson Silva, I'd expect that Okami will indeed get a title shot with a victory here, since Anderson is itching for a chance to avenge that earlier loss. Okami would've gotten a shot at the October PPV if he hadn't gotten injured, so this is just a tune-up fight to knock off the ring rust. Not that Lister is an easy mark; his only UFC loss was to Nate Marquardt. If Lister wins, I'd expect to see a Lister/Demian Maia fight in April with the winner getting a MW shot at Anderson.
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