Saturday, November 20, 2010
UFC 123 Predictions
* Maiquel Falcao over Gerald Harris, decision
I know literally nothing about Falcao aside from his awesome name, but since I always pick at least one upset on these cards, I might as well go with the unknown quantity. Some might argue that this is a stupid tactic given that I'm not just picking an upset, I'm picking against Harris, a guy who hasn't lost a fight in over three years (discounting his loss to Amir Sadollah on TUF, which technically was an exhibition defeat) and has quietly been one of the UFC's more aggressive finishers. But since there's at least a small chance that Falcao comes to the ring to "Rock Me Amadeus," I cannot pick against the man.
* George Sotiropoulos over Joe Lauzon, decision
Big fight for George. A win puts his record at 7-0 in the UFC and probably puts him in line for a lightweight title shot. When this shot happens is anyone's guess --- Edgar defends against Maynard in January and then the winner there faces the WEC lightweight champ in a unification bout --- so Sotiropoulos may choose to take another fight in the interim just to keep from going on the sidelines for 9-10 months. The UFC might also want to save a Sotiropoulos title challenge for a future PPV in Australia. Lauzon is a good fighter but he's not a top-tier guy.
* Phil Davis over Tim Boetsch, submission, round one
My pal Morgan recently commented on the incongruity of Phil Davis' "Mr. Wonderful" nickname. If Davis is going down that road, he should go all the way with it and start wearing sequined robes to the cage. Too bad the piledriver is banned in MMA. Davis might want to consider a "Mr. Perfect" nickname should he continue his unbeaten record here. Boetsch is no small challenge and could definitely score a knockout given Davis' less-than-wonderful striking ability, but Davis should be able to wrestle Boetsch down and pound him out.
* Matt Hughes over BJ Penn, decision
If you had told me seven months ago that I'd be picking Hughes over Penn in a fight, I would've laughed in your face. That was before Penn laid two straight stinkbombs in fights against Frankie Edgar and went from undisputed lightweight champion to guy at a career crossroads. Hughes, meanwhile, was written off two years ago following consecutive losses to Thiago Alves and GSP, but has quietly put together a three-fight winning streak. (Well, two of those were over Renzo Gracie and Matt Serra, but submitting Ricardo Almeida was a solid victory.) Leaving Marv Marinovich's training camp was the worst mistake of Penn's career; he's too old to get by on natural talent anymore. At least with Hughes, you know he'll come in prepared and in good shape. Hughes can outwork BJ for two out of three rounds and 'win' their rivalry by the same score. After this bout, I'd like to see Hughes take on someone like Jon Fitch or Josh Koscheck just to see where Hughes really stands in the welterweight division these days.
* Lyoto Machida over Rampage Jackson, decision
Sort of like how I'm picking against Penn, I'm going with Machida since the jury is still out on if Rampage is still a fighter or if he's in the twilight of his career. A long layoff, shooting 'A-Team' and then showing up out of shape in the Rashad Evans bout didn't exactly do much to convince me that Jackson is still a contender. There's also the fact that Machida needs a big win here to get back on track after (virtual) back-to-back losses to Shogun Rua, and the fact that Machida is pretty much the worst possible style matchup for Rampage's straight-forward style. This has all the makings of a classic three-round unanimous decision for Machida, followed by a whiny Rampage interview complaining about how he came to fight and Machida came to dance.
* Edson Barboza over Mike Luilo, KO, round two
* Dennis Hallman over Karo Parisyan, forfeit, since Karo will probably duck out at the very last minute again
* Mark Munoz over Aaron Simpson, KO, round three
* Brian Foster over Matt Brown, submission, round two
* Nik Lentz over Tyson Griffin, decision
* Paul Kelly over T.J. O'Brien, decision