* Stefan Struve over Sean McCorkle, KO, second round
A word to UFC bookers: please put a bit more effort into your cards. I'm worried that the UFC's increased number of events is watering down the quality as a whole. Case in point, Struve vs. McCorkle is somehow the co-main event of the evening. My information has to be wrong here, there's no way this bout between not-even-top 20 heavyweights is second from the top. Can it? I mean, if this match had been on the untelevised undercard I wouldn't have batted an eye. A real co-main event shouldn't get that reaction. Anyway, McCorkle is unbeaten and this fight will probably devolve into a slugfest, but I'll take Struve just because I know he can take a punch and hold his own in brawls (that is, against everyone but Roy Nelson and Junior Dos Santos).
* Jim Miller over Charles Oliveira, decision
This is a sneaky-important bout in the lightweight division. Oliveira is being built into the next prospect to watch, while Miller has won seven of eight UFC fights and only lost to Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar in his career. Miller's never been finished, while Oliveira (who's 14-0 lifetime) has gotten finishes in 13 of his career bouts. Something has to give in this fight. I can see the winner next fighting Evan Dunham, another knocking-on-the-door prospect in the LW division, for a potential future title shot. Oliveira's record of finishes is superb, but I can see Miller grinding him out on the ground to eke out a decision. Wouldn't surprise me at all if Oliviera wins, though. This is the hardest fight on the card to predict.
* Joe Stevenson over Mac Danzig, submission, second round
Hell, I'll even specify the sub in this case; Joe Daddy wins it with his ol' guillotine. Mac Danzig has dropped four of his last five fights and wouldn't be in the UFC anymore if he wasn't a former Ultimate Fighter winner. Stevenson gives him his pink slip for good here. Joe (himself a former TUF winner) can't match up to the top guys in the LW division but is as solid a gatekeeper as they come, and he'll thoroughly shut the door in Danzig's face. It's pretty stunning in hindsight that Danzig was able to win a TUF season that featured the likes of George Sotiropoulos and Ben Saunders, but both those guys were beaten by Tommy Speer, who has pretty much dropped off the face of the MMA map. Weird. It's almost like TUF is a specialized environment that doesn't really determine the best fighters, but rather the guys who can stay healthy for 4-5 fights in six weeks. But that's just preposterous!
* Thiago Alves over John Howard, KO, round one
I have a feeling this one won't be pretty. Alves, once the consensus #3 welterweight in the world, lost a title bout against Georges St. Pierre in July 2009. Following a long injury rehab and a career-threatening brain injury, he lost to Jon Fitch last August. Losing to Howard probably gets Alves cut, but c'mon, surely the guy can be cut some slack over losing to GSP/Fitch and almost having his brain explode. (Note: medical diagnosis may not be accurate.) Alves should be healthy, free of ring rust and ready to go knock Doomsday Howard's head into next week. I guess you could say Doomsday won't be "evolving" past this defeat. Chortle, chortle. N.B. I recently tried to explain the origin and powers of Doomsday the Superman villain to my non-comic book reading buddy Trev. It was complicated as hell. I finally just broke it down by saying, "it's comic books, just deal with it, Trev." When last we heard, he was dealing with it.
* Georges St. Pierre over Josh Koscheck, TKO, round two
The recently-completed season of the Ultimate Fighter had a deserving winner in Jon Brookins, and was a 'win' overall since it featured quite a few entertaining and quality fighters and fights. But the real victor of the series was coach Georges St. Pierre and the real loser was Josh Koscheck. First of all, Team GSP was much more successful in the competition itself, going 8-3 in intra-team fights and placing two fighters in the finals. Secondly, Josh Koscheck's worst enemy could not have done a more effective job of editing this show to make St. Pierre look like a great, classy guy and Kos look like a complete moron. In 11 episodes, Koscheck a) got into a fight with the medical guy on St. Pierre's team after repeatedly taunting this guy for being 'a male nurse,' b) said he would be so excited if one of his guys won a fight that he would "just go up to Georges and motorboat his ass." Uh, Josh, I do not think that word means what you think it means. c) was intentionally allowed to see a fake list of "GSP's top picks" and drafted his team otherwise, thus allowing St. Pierre to take Michael Johnson with the first pick as he really wanted, d) made roughly 45,000 sophomoric fratboy jokes, e) picked on opposing team fighter Cody McKenzie, f) looked like he was at least doing a decent job of coaching his guys, before we saw them in the final episode complaining about being bored in training and ripping on Koscheck for constantly texting during workout sessions. Though, I guess in Koscheck's defense, Marc Stevens (the guy who lost twice to guillotine chokes, including one in 15 seconds) is the last person who should be criticizing anyone. g) criticized GSP for being a 'boring, lay-and-pray fighter' when Koscheck did this himself for half his career, h) basically just was himself. Nuff said.
In short, the series did its promotional job, since there will no doubt be a lot of people buying this PPV to see Koscheck have his face caved in by St. Pierre. And a cave-in they'll be getting. I would be shocked beyond words if Kos somehow upset arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. GSP has beaten him before, and in the three years since, has improved his wrestling tenfold and is still a better striker than Koscheck. I'm not sure there's a thing Kos can do to win, and to boot, the fight is in GSP's hometown of Montreal. If Koscheck somehow wins, there might actually be a sports riot not seen in Montreal since the days of Rocket Richard. But the Richard Riot was an isolated incident --- the rest of the time in the Rocket's era, the Canadiens pretty much won every championship in sight. Expect GSP to continue that tradition on Saturday.
* John Makdessi over Pat Audinwood, decision
* Rafael Natal over Jesse Bongfeldt, submission, round three
* Dustin Hazelett over Mark Bocek, submission, round two
* Dan Miller over Joe Doerksen, submission, round two
* Matt Riddle over Sean Pierson, TKO, round one
* Ricardo Almeida over TJ Grant, decision
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