Thursday, June 11, 2009

UFC 99 picks

Just the main card fights for this one, since the UFC 99 preliminary matches completely bore me.

* Mike Swick over Ben Saunders, decision
A Swick win will likely get him a welterweight title shot since, well, there's really nobody else left in the division that GSP hasn't already run through. Unfortunately, since going down to WW, Swick has morphed into a dull lay-and-pray wrestler, as opposed to the dynamic finisher he was at middleweight. True, he did knock out Jonathan Goulet in his last fight, but Goulet is basically the UFC's answer to Barry Horowitz. A stiff breeze would take that guy down. Saunders is on a nice win streak of his own, but the more experienced Swick will likely wrestle him down for another decision win.

* Mirko Filipovic over Mostapha Al-Turk, knockout, round two
Cro Cop returns to the UFC after almost a two-year absence that was caused by his bed-shittingly poor performances against Gabe Gonzaga and Cheick Kongo. Apparently Cro Cop is just on a one-fight deal, so it remains to be seen if this is the start of a new UFC run for the bad-ass Croatian, or if it's just a case of Dana White wanting to book a big name to add some marketing zing to the UFC's first-ever event in Germany. It remains to be seen if Cro Cop has any of his old PRIDE form back, but honestly, even if he doesn't, Al-Turk is a tomato can. Cro Cop gets one more highlight reel KO to his name, and then I can see him going on to fight the Couture/Nogueira loser in the winter.

* Spencer Fisher over Caol Uno, decision
Fisher is one of those guys that the UFC would love to push, but I don't think he's nearly as good as the company wants him to be or thinks he is. I'm still holding onto my dream of seeing a third Fisher-Sam Stout match, so let's say that Fisher beats Uno here and finally sets up that big rubber match in the autumn. Not really sure why UFC bothered to bring Uno back, to be honest.

* Marcus Davis over Dan Hardy, knockout, round one
Davis and Hardy have been promoting this fight by acting like third-graders. They've been calling each other names, and Hardy recently asked his fans to create embarrassing Photoshopped images of Davis to post on an MMA website. Honestly, Hardy is one of these guys who is hyped just because he's a U.K. fighter with a bit of personality. Davis is a solid mid-range WW, and thus I think he knocks Hardy's block off since Hardy will be dumb enough to stand and trade punches with him.

* Cain Velasquez over Cheick Kongo, decision
Kongo steps in for the injured Heath Herring, so we have a rare case of a last-minute substitution actually leading to a better and much more meaningful fight. If Kongo wins, he gets a HW title shot against the winner of the Lesnar/Mir fight in July. If Velasquez the uber-prospect wins, he probably gets a #1 contender's fight against maybe Shane Carwin. The stakes are high, and while Velasquez hasn't faced anyone near Kongo's caliber yet, Velasquez's wrestling ability should be enough to keep Kongo down. Kongo still hasn't proven he is anything more than passable on the ground, so I can see Cain holding him down and using the ground-and-pound to eke out a win.

* Wanderlei Silva over Rich Franklin, knockout, round two
Ooh, controversial! At this point in their careers, Franklin is certainly a better fighter than Silva, who should be no more than two or three fights away from retirement if he values his health. But Wanderlei is a bad style matchup for Franklin; Wandy's aggressiveness will overwhelm Rich, just like Wandy did against Keith Jardine and just like Franklin got buffaloed twice by Anderson Silva. Wanderlei is no match for strong strikers like Rampage Jackson at this point his career, but Franklin isn't a big knockout guy. Sure, Rich laid a whipping on Nate Quarry and Matt Hamill, but neither of those guys are exactly big strikers themselves. It's worth noting that this is a catchweight fight at 195 pounds, so a loss doesn't really hurt Franklin in the LHW division, but a loss would maybe have Wanderlei thinking about retirement. A Wandy win, however, maybe seals his move down to middleweight, and all sorts of intriguing fights against Nate Marquardt, Demian Maia, Dan Henderson, etc. You'll notice I left Anderson Silva off of that list, since I have no doubt that a Silva-Silva bout would end with Wanderlei being carried from the ring on a stretcher.

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