First off, I want to thank all the jackals and everyone else who has supported me thus far. I’d be lying if I said that everything is going according to plan but I’d also be lying if I didn’t tell you that everything that has happened is good for my career. It takes years to become a well-rounded MMA fighter and I certainly intend to fight my way back into the UFC. The Fightlinker boys were kind enough to care about my picks for UFC 98 so here we go:
• Light Heavyweight Championship bout: Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida
There is a reason why Las Vegas is full of successful odds makers. I’ve read that Countdown is trying to make Machida look like a star and Evans like a superstar. By that definition, Evans should be favored by but a quick look at the odds shows that it isn’t the case. Every time you step into the Octagon the goal is to impose your will on your opponent. The best defense is a good offense is a tired but accurate cliché. I just don’t see Evans imposing his will on Machida. I don’t think that Machida will fall for any gamesmanship or silly antics. Even though he wants to increase his fan base, I don’t think he will get sucked into a counterpunchers brawl either. Machida will clinically break down Evans, especially after Evans gives away round one as usual, and win by TKO in the fourth. Evans is a great fighter but Greg Jackson isn’t in the cage to diagram a response to Machida as the fight develops.
• Welterweight bout: Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra
It’s a shame this fight didn’t happen a year ago to really capture the audience with their hatred for one another. It’s dangerous to fight with emotion and I think Serra is more emotional than Hughes. This should make it a bit easier for Hughes to ground and pound his way to victory in the second round. Hughes is durable, well rounded, and will dominate the fight with his ability to control his opponent. I have no doubt Serra will land a few great shots on Hughes but I don’t expect them change the outcome of the fight. In any event, I’m looking forward to watching these two beat the hell out of each other.
• Middleweight bout: Drew McFedries vs. Xavier Foupa-Pokam
I’ll go with McFedries’ punching power. Xavier didn’t set the world on fire against Kang and I don’t expect him to do much better against McFedries which will result in an untimely nap. McFedries, knockout of the night.
• Middleweight bout: Dan Miller vs. Chael Sonnen
I love the fact that Sonnen jumped in to take this fight – I would do and have done the same for Joe Silva. I know his recent fights have been up and down but I do expect him to bounce back nicely in this one a beat Miller by slick submission.
• Lightweight bout: Sean Sherk vs. Frank Edgar
Sherk may not dazzle us with a highlight reel knockout but he will outwork Edgar in every aspect of the game. Expect a workmanlike performance from Sherk that might not get the fans out of their seats but impressively controls the cage and grinds out a win.
After the jump: the prelims
• Heavyweight bout: Patrick Barry vs. Tim Hague
I’m going to be a homer on this one a go with Hague. I’ve seen a few of Hague’s fights and as long as he comes in shape I think this stand-up war will go in his favor. Two guys fighting to make a name for themselves always makes it entertaining.
• Lightweight bout: Phillipe Nover vs. Kyle Bradley
Nover should make easy work of Bradley. It’s time for him to start living up to some of the hype.
• Light Heavyweight bout: Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Andre Gusmao
Got to go with my boy Krzysztof. He should be riding high and in great shape after the last six months of actions in the UFC. I wouldn’t dare pick kimura because Gusmao will be looking for it. However, he might be looking for it a little too much and K-Sos will capitalize on his mistakes and punish him with another submission stoppage.
There you have it. As usual, I expect to get crucified by all you jackals in the comments. I have no idea if I have a winning percentage or not on my picks so I don’t suggest taking any of them as gospel. I’d rather be punching than picking fights anyway. Thanks again to the boys at Fightlinker! I will be in a cage again sooner rather than later and look forward fighting my way back into the Octagon.