Thursday, February 03, 2011

UFC 126 Picks

* Antonio Banuelos over Miguel Torres, decision
I'm starting to think that these lower weight divisions are already going through a big changing of the guard. This doesn't bode well for Torres, who was getting some 'best in the world' buzz in 2009 when he was dominating the FW division. Then he lost two in a row, got some dap back by beating Charlie Valencia and now he's finally in the UFC. I'm still not sure if Torres is really back on track or if he's past it already. If Mike Brown can go from champ to washout and Josh Grispi can lose his #1 contendership just like that, what the hell, I'll vote against Torres too. Prove me wrong, Miguel!

* Jon Jones over Ryan Bader, R2, knockout
Big-time fight here, and the winner may well be in line for the next LHW title shot. I'm kind of surprised it's taking place, to be honest --- Jones and Bader (and, a bit further down the ladder, Phil Davis) are the big up-and-comers at 205 and I sort of expected the UFC to keep them apart from each other. Jones/Bader may well be a title bout down the road, after all. But, I suppose pitting them against each other does sort out who the real alpha dog of the division is, and I think that'll end up being the wrecking machine known as Bones Jones. The guy is just a wrestling and striking machine, and if Bader is able to take him down, I can see Jones countering and laying in those nasty-ass elbows for which he's so famous. Bader is a good fighter himself, but his rise is going to take a big dip on Saturday.

* Rich Franklin over Forrest Griffin, decision
It's unusual to see these two UFC superstars actually in the cage against each other, but it's also equally unusual that they've never fought before, if that makes sense. It's theoretically a close matchup, but if you really look at it, Franklin does everything just a bit better than Griffin. Griffin's only edge is in size, since he's a "big" 205, whereas Franklin is still able to drop down to middleweight if he wanted. This fight has decision written all over it, and Rich should just be able to do more in 15 minutes and earn the victory. Coin toss of a fight, though, Forrest could easily win this. What I suspect the UFC will do with the 205-pound division is wait and see what happens with Randy Couture and Lyoto Machida in Toronto in April. If Couture wins that fight, then he gets the next title bout, since the storyline of the old legend having one last championship match is too profitable to pass up. Should that happen, the winner of Franklin/Griffin probably meets the winner of Jones/Bader in a #1 contender's bout.

* Carlos Eduardo Rocha over Jake Ellenberger, R3, submission
The Berg is a wrestler who has good striking, Rocha is an unbeaten submission specialist. Unless Ellenberger can catch him with a good shot, Rocha is going to eventually find a hole on the ground and nab get another sub, which would be the ninth in 10 career fights. Kind of a tough break for Ellenberger, since he was supposed to fight Jon Fitch on this card. Sure, he would've lost, but a loss to Fitch is fine since Fitch beats virtually everyone. A loss to Rocha is a much bigger setback.

* Anderson Silva over Vitor Belfort, R1, knockout
So, surely one can't pick Anderson to lose a striking contest, right? One can never sleep on Vitor's striking ability, but....really, come on. I can't pick a guy who has technically never won a UFC middleweight and has been sidelined for almost 18 months to step in and beat arguably the best fighter in the world, or even the GOAT. Silva gets another victim on his resume and we get a step closer to the Silva/GSP superfight.

* Ricardo Romero over Kyle Kingsbury, R1, submission
* Paul Taylor over Gabe Ruediger, R2, knockout
* Donald Cerrone over Paul Kelly, decision
* Chad Mendes over Michihiro Omigawa, decision
* Demetrious Johnson over Kid Yamamoto, R3, submission
* Mike Pierce over Kenny Robertson, decision

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