Yeah, not exactly the biggest barn-burner of a pay-per-view the UFC is bringing us here. This is definitely a 'see it at the bar' card rather than one you order with a group of friends. Unless you have a passionate Evan Dunham fan in your circle of pals, you might want to make alternate plans with your gang. Fair warning, though --- often the most underwhelming cards on paper turn out to the most exciting in practice.
* Evan Dunham over Sean Sherk, decision
Big fight for Dunham here. A win would put him right in the mix for a title shot in the newly wide-opened LW division. A No.1 contender's match could be on the horizon for Dunham, and I think he'll get that necessary win. Sean Sherk hasn't fought in over a year due to injury and will be rusty, as well as boring and possibly steroid-filled. Dunham takes it down.
* Jeremy Stephens over Melvin Guillard, submission, round one
You've heard about gatekeepers. Well, Guillard is basically a gatekeeper towards being a gatekeeper. Basically, if you beat Melvin, you're good enough to not necessary be in the top tier of lightweights, but just in the second tier. Is this my roundabout way of calling Guillard a third-rate fighter? You bet it is! Stephens is, in my opinion, a second-tier guy (though certainly not a title contender) and thus should get the duke.
* Chris Lytle over Matt Serra, submission, round three
Since Serra narrowly beat Lytle in the finals of the fourth Ultimate Fighter season, Serra has gone 2-2, including his massive WW title upset win over Georges St. Pierre. Lytle has gone 7-4 since then, since Lytle is actually a full-time fighter, something that I can't say about Serra. The (ahem) ex-welterweight champ seems to just take fights that settle grudges or can provide a nice payday for him, since Serra is otherwise occupied as a gym owner and trainer. Just based on sheer readiness alone, I have to take Lytle. He's done nothing but sharpen his game since that tight loss to Serra almost four years ago.
* Ryan Bader over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, decision
Geez, here's a result I wouldn't have picked a few months ago. In the wake of Nogueira's controversial, sketchy 'victory' over Jason Brilz in May, I'm not sure what to believe. If Little Nog can't beat Brilz, he surely can't beat the up-and-coming Bader. Then again, it's not impossible that Nog just had an off-night and will return to form in this much more important bout. A win here could put Nogueira in the running for a LHW title shot and a chance for his Black House team to take the title back from Shogun Rua (or Rashad Evans, as the case may be). Either Nog or Bader would probably get one more fight before receiving a title match....possibly against Jon Jones? No wrong answer with either of those fights, man. This fight will come down to whether or not Bader can control Nogueira with wrestling and avoid the submission attempts. What the hell, I'll toss a vote Bader's way.
* Frank Mir over Mirko Cro Cop, TKO, round two
Imagine facing your idol in a competition. Imagine playing guitar against Jimmy Page in a battle of the bands. Imagine staring at Garry Kasparov across a chessboard. Imagine playing Tiger Woods in either a round of golf or a Barney Stinson-esque battle to see who can pull the most women in any given bar. These are all fun and good, but it's different when you face your hero in a bloodsport. Pat Barry, simply, didn't have the heart to really beat up on his idol Cro Cop last June in Vancouver. As a result, Cro Cop was able to pick up the win over his starstruck opponent in a fight that convinced many people (mostly PRIDE diehards) that Mirko was back. He's not. I'd be pretty stunned if Filipovic actually stepped up and knocked off Frank Mir in this fight. In spite of getting dummied by Shane Carwin in his last fight, Mir is still one of the top heavyweights in the world. I see him catching Cro Cop with a hard punch, using it to get him on the mat, and then pounding him out for a TKO (or possibly submitting him). Either way, Mir just brings too much to the table for the modern-day Mirko. I suspect that if Mir wins, he'll take on the Lesnar/Velasquez loser, but if Cro Cop takes it, he'll be booked into a legends match against Randy Couture on the Super Bowl weekend pay-per-view.
* Joey Beltran over Matt Mitrione, decision
* CB Dollaway over Joe Doerksen, decision
* Mark Hunt over Sean McCorkle, TKO, in a fight so lame that it doesn't even deserve to be on the card of an event at your local armoury, let alone on a UFC card
* Waylon Lowe over Steve Lopez, TKO, round two
* Julio Paulino over TJ Grant, decision
* Thiago Tavares over Pat Audinwood, submission, round one
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