More across the table as it's just myself and Kaleb this time out. Who have you got?
Mauricio Rua vs Jon Jones
Kaleb Kelchner: Jones via TKO, round three.
Part of me think Jones doesn't have an ice cube's chance in hell. Another part of me remembers doubting him in nearly all of his fights and being proven wrong time and time again. It won't be an easy fight for Jones. Worst case scenario, Shogun is 100% healthy, timing is on point, and he figures out his range quickly. Even when this happens, Jones will need to close the distance, work his clinch, and get it to the ground. Now, why do I not think Shogun will be able to take advantage of Jones on the ground? Simple. Jones isn't going to play in Shogun's guard. Side control and half guard will be Jones' go to positions, allowing him to focus more on control, and less on defense. From there, he'll only need to pick his shots and land well, rinse, wash, and repeat. If the fight plays out this way, there's maybe three rounds before Rua is done. If not, Jones will have to rely on his unorthodox style of striking to fluster the champion, a task easier said than done. Regardless, I'm going with Jon Jones to take the title impressively, and reach new heights in his popularity.
KJ Gould: Jones by TKO, Round 2
Bad fight for Shogun to come back to after another lengthy lay off. Shogun has looked good in his padwork videos and he's legit dangerous off his back but I really don't like fighters coming back from long breaks against more active fighters, especially fighters on a meteoric rise building momentum like a juggernaut. I'd kind of like Shogun to win, something about Jones irks me a little bit, but I think Jones can just about get by with youth and raw ability if not fully refined skill and experience.
Urijah Faber vs Eddie Wineland
Kaleb: Faber by submission, round one.
I suspect Faber is going to be highly motivated coming into this fight. An impressive showing as the co-main event on a UFC PPV would do huge things for his career, and he knows it. Expect Urijah to throw caution to the wind early, looking for that finish from bell to bell. My money is on him getting that finish, and getting it early.
KJ: Faber by decision
As I like to say, not all decisions are indicative of a bad fight. Wineland likes to throw leather with the best of them but is one dimensional otherwise. Will Faber play it safe by exposing Wineland's weakness on the ground like nearly everyone is predicting? I'm not sure. I think Faber wants to showcase himself on the big stage and play Wineland at his own game. If h can get the better of the exchanges I can see it staying on the feet and ending in a brawling decision.
Miller by submission, round two.
Shalorus impressed early in his WEC career, but fizzled out as he struggled with Jamie Varner
, going to a decision. Shalorus, while impressive with his wrestling, just won't have any answer for Miller's game. Miller wins this fight anywhere he wants, and my bet is that that means on Shalorus' back, choking him.
KJ: Miller by Decision
This is a hard pick for me as I like both guys since I like wrestling based fighters generally. Kamal's wrestling is worlds above Miller's, but Miller's submission game as it pertains to MMA is significantly above Kamal's. One thing Kamal does well is make fights difficult for opponents. Even in submission grappling competitions he winds up BJJ guys that want to go to the ground by refusing to engage. This may end up a sub-par kickboxing fight and I'd guess Miller is a bit more refined then Kamal's wild swinging bombs.
Marquardt by TKO, round 1
I love the Miller brothers. Now that that's out of the way, there's absolutely no reason why Marquardt shouldn't just walk in, and unleash hell on Dan Miller
. Miller's striking is just good enough to push Marquardt, and when that happens, we'll be seeing Marquardt go to work with some great combos, as he did against Wilson Gouveia.
KJ: Nate The Great by Raging Demon Combo Flaming Horse Stance Pose
Yeah, Miller is late replacement for Akiyama, who Marquardt was going to crush. Akiyama is understandably dealing with the tragedy in his homeland, so Marquardt will be crushing Dan Miller instead. Let the crushing commence.
Brendan Schaub vs Mirko Filipovic
Kaleb: (Lenne Hart) Mirkooooooooo CRO COP! By KO, round 2.
Maybe I'm nuts. Scratch that, I know I'm nuts. Cro Cop looked the best he has in a very long time at the weigh ins, and typically, that means he's healthy, game, and hungry. If he is all those things, it might be a very short, and painful night for Brendan Schaub.
KJ: Schaub by KO Round 1
Don't like Cro Cop. Don't like Schaub. In the unlikely event of a double KO that would make my weekend, I'll pick Schaub for being the younger fighter that trains with a modern, peak performance MMA gym while Mirko is still trying to do it old school at home in Croatia.
UFC 128 Coverage
Images shamelessly yoinked from Bloody Elbow.