The UFC is back in Montreal! Sacre bleu! What will cause more bloodshed, UFC 113 or another Canadiens riot? This will be a post-loss riot, of course, since they're definitely not beating Pittsburgh.
"Hey Mark, didn't you pick Montreal to lose to Washington in the first round? And didn't you pick the Capitals to win the Stanley Cup?"
Be quiet, you!
* Alan Belcher over Patrick Cote, submission, round 3
This is an interesting fight for Belcher, who has proven to be a cut above lower-tier middleweights but seems to lose whenever he fights one of the better guys in the 185-pound division. Cote is ostensibly one of those top guys, though he also doesn't really have any truly great wins on his resume and he hasn't fought since blowing out his knee in a fight with Anderson Silva in October 2008. When in doubt, pick against the guy who's coming back after a huge layoff. Belcher is best known as 'the guy with the ugly-ass Johnny Cash tattoo on his arm.' I have no other comment than to say that he should be fighting the tattoo artist. That looks less like Cash than it does a slowly melting k.d. lang.
* Josh Koscheck over Paul Daley, TKO, round 2
Koscheck should win this easily if he just wrestles the ground game-less Daley to the mat and pounds him out. It should look like a poor man's version of the St. Pierre/Hardy fight. The problem is that Koscheck has gotten it in his head that he's now a good striker and has been eager to trade hands with Daley. If he does this, Kos will be eating the canvas. Hopefully Koscheck realizes that a win here possibly earns him a title fight with GSP and fights with his head instead of his ego. Actually wait, wouldn't his ego be technically considered part of his head? No, I guess it's just a psychological construct. I'm rambling.
* Matt Mitrione over Kimbo Slice, decision
I keep thinking this Kimbo experiment won't deliver much for the UFC, and him losing to a fourth-rate meathead like Mitrione qualifies as not delivering much. One thing Mitrione can do is take punishment, so Slice's questionable punching power won't even be enough. By the way, in terms of both mens' sheer MMA ability, this fight should be on the undercard of a free Fight Night card, not on the main card of a PPV. Or possibly as the semi-main event of a toughman contest down at your local armory.
* Sam Stout over Jeremy Stephens, decision
Once again I pick the good ol' London boy, Sam Stout. According to my brother (not a reliable witness), Stout once got into a fight during a dance at my old high school. Apparently some guy in my brother's grade hit Stout in the back of the head and then took off before the massive beatdown ensued. That guy has no doubt twisted this incident into a 'I once beat up Sam Stout, that guy is a wuss' story that he has told no less than 50,000 times. It would be awesome if the punchline to that anecdote was that the guy was Jeremy Stephens, but nope. It was actually Tito Ortiz. Tito apparently has a habit of hitting people smaller than him.
* Shogun Rua over Lyoto Machida, decision
Perhaps the best proof that Shogun 'really' won the initial fight between these two last October (on my birthday!) is that this immediate rematch wouldn't be taking place had Shogun won the decision. It was pretty clear in my mind that Rua won four of the five rounds in the first match, and had he indeed been rewarded that way by the judges, my guess is that Machida would've had to win at least one fight to earn a rematch, as is the custom for UFC champs who lose their title. It's odd to think how recent UFC history would be different had Rua won. Would Anderson Silva have stepped up to 205 to avenge his buddy Machida's defeat? Who would've gotten the first shot at Shogun? Antonio Rogerio Nogueira? Could maybe Dan Henderson have been re-signed and given a LHW title shot instead of the MW title shot he was asking for? It's weird to think about how one decision (that seemed obvious at the time) would've totally shaken up the MMA landscape.
So now it's the rematch. And this time I'm picking Rua, who I thought would be totally smoked by Machida the last time around. I thought Shogun still had to prove himself after beating only the washed-up Mark Coleman and the mostly washed-up Chuck Liddell, but boy, Shogun shut me up by taking it to Machida like literally nobody else ever has. I'm still not sure how Machida 'won' that fight in the judges' eyes.
But though I'm picking Rua, it's not a definite prediction. I have no clue what's going to happen in this one. Could Rua do it again against the still-technically-unbeaten Machida? Or has the Dragon adjusted his strategy and will come into the match better prepared this time around? This is a real toss-up to call. I feel like Rua can only win via decision, whereas Machida has a better chance of actually finishing things. But still, if it does go the full five rounds, maybe the judges will subconsciously favour Rua if it's close as a make-up for the first fight. Or maybe I'm just picking Shogun since if he wins, that increases the chance of Anderson Silva moving up and actually delivering a good performance in the cage instead of dicking around. So since I'm tired of watching Silva's dancing exhibitions, I'll pick Shogun just cuz.
* Tim Hague over Joey Beltran, KO, round 1
* Marcus Davis over Jonathan Goulet, KO, round 2
* Johny Hendricks over TJ Grant, decision
* Tom Lawlor over Joe Doerksen, KO, round 2
* Jason MacDonald over John Salter, submission, round 2
* Yoshiyuki Yoshida over Mike Guymon, decision