Machida vs Shogun
Subo: I just don’t see how Shogun wins this fight. Actually, I do – and it’s the same way you can see any severe underdog winning: one clean shot with 4 oz gloves can quickly end anyone’s night. This, of course, is predicated upon making contact with said glove. Combine a clean, hard punch as your best chance to win with the least hit fighter in MMA history and you get Machida by TKO in the 2nd.
Rodriguez: Let’s not jinx this good thing we have going and keep this short and sweet. I want to keep this fight out of mind until it’s in my sight. The less you think about it the lower your expectations will be. Machida by TKO in round two.
Fightlinker: Man, if Machida scores anything other than a 5 round decision win, I’ll be tickled pink. As many times as Dana has tried to sell this fight as ‘two guys who like to bang’, it’s really Machida who’s taken his first tender baby deer steps into the world of ass kickery versus Shogun who needed some serious smoke and mirrors to trick people into forgetting that two of his three UFC fights were dog shit. So yeah … anything other than a boring 5 round decision win for Machida will be great but will he live up to the hype as this new exciting champion everyone seems to claim he is? I’ll join my other Fightlinker writers and pray for a round 2 Machida knockout, but you know what I’m really prepping for: Machida via Decision.
Rothwell vs Velasquez
Subo: Intriguing, and not the squash match some seem to think it is. Can Cain really eat strikes from Big Ben the same way he did from Cheick? Will size play a major role? The winner will be thrust into contention, but how quickly? Velasquez showed me against Kongo that his wrestling is part of his DNA and the ability to revert to that kind of quality wrestling after getting your bell rung is damned hard to deal with. Especially if you’re gigantic and not very good at wrestling. Cain by brutal decision.
Rodriguez: We know what kind of game Velasquez brings to the table – a dangerous one. Dennis Stonjic and Cheick Kongo made him find out that he doesn’t have it in him to be a striker, so he his plan of attack from now on is obvious. All other Heavyweights are on notice: Velasquez is going to take you down, get a dominant position and beat your face into the back of your head. Kongo looked like he was headbutting a hammer by the time three rounds were over, and I see a similar fate for Ben Rothwell.
Fightlinker: Ben Rothwell walks into this fight a bit of an X factor. I know he’s good but have no idea where to rank him in relation to Cain, so I’m actually pretty interested in finding out how he does. My bet though is that he’ll end up under Cain Velasquez taking a hefty dose of ground and pound. He might not stay there the entire fight, but for long enough that he might as well. Cain Velasquez via decision.
Stevenson vs Fisher
Subo: My Colorado roots won’t allow me to pick against Spencer here. Sure, Joe Daddy looked great against Diaz, and the only reason Fisher is getting this fight is a gift decision he received over Uno in Germany at UFC 99 – but Spencer still has some of the best striking in MMA and is riding a three fight winning streak. Again, Colorado MMA for life. Fisher by first round KO.
Rodriguez: Stevenson is coming off his extremely impressive win over Nate Diaz while Fisher just defeated Caol Uno, both in June. Each fight was a sigh of relief because we were able to see parts of their game we forgot they had. There was a point in time where Joe Stevenson refused to grapple for jack; he once even apologized for winning by submission. After hooking up with Jackson’s earlier this year, he hit Diaz with a grappling train, completely dominating him for ten minutes. Speaking of trains, Spencer Fisher just got railed by Frankie Edgar almost two years ago. He turned that into a learning experience if some of his more recent fights are to be judged. We’ve seen both defensive and offensive wrestling from him against Uno and Jeremy Stephens respectively. Now this is where the variables come in: will Stevenson shoot in or strike? Will Fisher defend or be held down? I say Stevenson is able to get this to the floor quickly. He’ll proceed to pull off banana splits and spladles and all kinds of crazy crap in a very entertaining decision victory.
Fightlinker: Ever get the feeling that some guys in the UFC are conspiring to put on Fight of the Night quality bouts? Like literally getting in touch and saying “Let’s go balls out” to eachother? That’s the vibe I get off this match. Stevenson has vowed to stand and bang with Fisher. Fisher says Stevenson is gonna dive for his laces. I expect both, with Fisher winning on the standup and Stevenson on the ground. So long as Stevenson makes sure his time on the ground is spent on top, he’s got this one in the bag. Yep, another decision … this one’s Joe Daddy’s.
Johnson vs Yoshida
Subo: Originally, my prediction was for a quick Rumble KO. You may now add six pounds of whup-ass to that prediction. Rumble by rumble.
Rodriguez: Once again I feel like this is an intended mis-match. Yoshida is about 35 years old and he can’t strike. Johnson is pushing 24 with a record littered with first round KOs. Can it BE any more obvious? I’ve got nothing to say about this fight because the result is so clear – not even entertaining the thought of Yoshida winning. An early KO for Rumble is a foregone conclusion as long as he doesn’t get cute and try clinching.
Fightlinker: I love both of these guys, but you can’t argue with Rumble having a better chance of taking out Yoshida. Koscheck managed to knock Yoshida out, and while I disagree with Roddy’s assessment that ‘Zenko’ can’t strike, I’ll ceded striking ability and KO power to Anthony Johnson happily. Still, it doesn’t take in the X factor of Johnson just being very mediocre from time to time. Add in Yoshida’s time spent with magical training savior Greg Jackson and I think we could see another less skilled figher prove that it’s hard work and determination that comes out on top over natural talent. Or at least that’s how the theory works out in my imagination. Yoshida via decision.
Tibau vs Neer
Subo: Poor Neer. How many guys with great top control will he have to face in a row? Neer is great fun to watch and a scrapper in every sense of the word, but Tibau is fucking GIGANTIC at 155 (157, in this case) and will do to Neer what Pellegrino did to … Neer. Tibau by decision.
Rodriguez: This fight is too close to call. Neer and Tibau are hot or cold depending on the lunar phase, or whatever. Neer could be in a bad mood that makes him complain to referees that he can’t get his opponent off of him (that might work in the mid-west but not here). Tibau is an all-or-nothing grappler who looks lost if he can’t get a takedown – even when he does the judges could still screw him over like against Guillard. But then again, if you can say anything about that fight, it’s that Guillard won by pressuring on the feet. Same thing happened with Tyson Griffin and Nick Diaz when they fought Tibau. The only striker who couldn’t use the same game plan was Jeremy Stephens, probably because his sub-defense is trash. Neer’s is very good, and their submission games are comparable enough to keep out of any dangerous situations, but Tibau has a massive wrestling advantage. The old saying goes that a round begins on the feet, which bodes well for Neer. I say he does massive damage on the feet and eventually gets a ground and pound TKO over Tibau sometime in the third.
Fightlinker: I have a brain tumor that keeps me from knowing anything about Gleison Tibau. That’s the only explanation I have because I’ve seen all his fights and don’t have a single memory about the dude whatsoever. Typically that’s a sign that a fighter hasn’t done anything to be worth remembering, but I’ll side with the brain tumor idea for now. As for Neer, he knows the score. He has to win this fight so unless he acts like a retard and spends another fight on the bottom doing nothing, I expect some seriou aggression. Neer via strikes in R2.