Wednesday, May 25, 2011

UFC 130 Predictions

* Stefan Struve over Travis Browne, KO, first round
When last we saw Travis Browne, he and Cheick Kongo fought to a draw in one of those sloppy, toughman contest-esque fights that you just wish could end with Dana White cutting both guys on the spot. Browne is unbeaten in his career, but his record is a murderers' row of nobodies. His only UFC win came over James McSweeney, who was too small for heavyweight anyway, and oh yeah has lost four in a row and isn't in the UFC. Struve isn't at the point yet where he can hang with the top dogs at heavyweight, but Struve can certainly knock this clown's lights out.

* Roy Nelson over Frank Mir, TKO, second round
Screw it, I'm taking Big Country. This is a close matchup between two guys who are really good on the ground and can hold their own standing, with the difference being that Mir 'holds his own' on the feet while Nelson is a legit good striker. I see Nelson sneaking in a shot that staggers Mir and then Roy just swarms for the victory. We might even see his belly crucifix employed for yet another victory.

* Jorge Santiago over Brian Stann, submission, second round
The UFC would love, love, love to push Stann, who's a former Marine and a hard-hitting puncher. So naturally, since real sports don't work that way, karma will intervene and Santiago will probably take this fight. This one's a tossup, though. Santiago hasn't fought in the UFC in almost four years, and since then he's been on a roll fighting in Japan and in Strikeforce --- he's 11-1 since leaving the UFC. Now, his record has almost as many cans as that of Travis Browne, but Santiago does hold two huge wins over Kaz Misaki for the Sengoku middleweight title. On paper Santiago should win this and I think he will, but if Stann has truly turned a corner by moving to MW, then Santiago is in trouble. Really good matchmaking here, a tough fight to predict.

* Thiago Alves over Rick Story, decision
"Horror" Story has won five in a row, and while three of those were over guys who aren't in the UFC anymore, the other two were solid victories over Brian Foster and Johny Hendricks. So it's safe to say that he's for real, while Alves is a known quantity and one of the toughest welters around when he's healthy. I'll add my usual caveat that Alves could miss making weight again or some nonsense and get him tossed from the card or fined, but overall, I just think Alves is a better fighter and should (get ready for a pun!) end the Story. The winner here probably faces the winner of the upcoming Carlos Condit/Dong Hyun Kim bout in a #1 contender's match for the welterweight title. (The WW belt will be on hold for a while since the rumour is that Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz will coach the next Ultimate Fighter season and then fight in December in Montreal.)

* Rampage Jackson over Matt Hamill, decision
This is the main event due to the postponement of the Frankie Edgar/Gray Maynard rematch. So, don't worry, the UFC didn't actually intend to headline a show with this pretty lackluster fight. An upset wouldn't totally shock me since Hamill is nothing if not a hard worker and he could eke out a decision...but in all likelihood, this should be a pretty straight-forward victory for Jackson. A win here puts Rampage in the on-deck circle for a title shot; either he would face the winner of the Jon Jones/Rashad Evans fight (whenever the hell it happens) or, if Evans is upset by Phil Davis in August, then Rampage moves to the front of the line and is Jones' first title challenger in the fall. Either way, it'll lead to some heated battles over the LHW championship.

* Rafaello Oliveira over Gleison Tibau, KO, first round
* Demetrious Johnson over Miguel Torres, decision
* Tim Boetsch over Kendall Grove, decision
* Renan Barao over Cole Escovedo, submission, first round
* Michael McDonald over Chris Cariaso, decision

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