Finally, it's here. The biggest card of the year and yet another amazing fight card from the UFC. That means predictions. From here on out, I'll be doing my predictions, as usual, but I'll also be bringing in a guest to give their predictions as well. Each event it will be someone new and hopefully I can find plenty of interesting people. For this first one, my younger brother Josh, who is also an MMA fan, will give his predictions with me. In we go.
Brock Lesnar vs Cain Velasquez
Geno - Twitter is ablaze after the weigh-ins about how much bigger Lesnar looks when he stands next to Cain. Everyone is falling back into the old traps about Brock. He's that big and can move with that much speed? Wow, he is a freak. How can he be beaten... yadda, yadda, yadda. I'm trying to not get sucked into that but Brock is really an enigma to me. In each one of his fights he's shown some new form of weakness but he's also shown improvement as well. The problem with both guys is the sample size of fights isn't big enough. I keep going back and forth on this and the pick is certainly not something I'm confident in but here goes. Velasquez via TKO in round 4.
Josh - Brock Lesnar is the better wrestler and has been in big fights his entire career in the UFC. Cain Velsquez, on the other hand, has had one major fight on his record. Fortunately for Velasquez fans, its was a KO on Big Nog, which is definitely saying something. I know Velasquez has been in more fights than Lesnar, but being in bigger fights, I think, means more. Lesnar knows what that crowd is going to be like. He knows what it feels like and what it takes to win in that situation. Brock Lesnar has freak athleticism and I dont question his cardio one bit. Cain Velasquez can match almost all that, except he will be a lot smaller. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in cardio. I see this fight going deep and testing both men more than they have ever been tested. Lesnar will do what Kongo could not, and thats finish Velasquez. Brock Lesnar via TKO, round 5.
Jake Shields vs. Martin Kampmann
Geno - I'm very happy to see Shields in the UFC. It's long overdue for him to make his debut in the world's premier organization. It's amazing that he has to come in and earn the respect of the fans by beating a "UFC caliber opponent". All the beasts that reside outside of the UFC, he's soundly beaten. I'm inclined to think he can do the same thing to Kampmann that he's done to so many guys before him. He'll get in there, stand with him long enough to set up his takedowns and then go to work on the floor. Even if his training camp was affected by an injury, as has been reported, I don't think Kampmann can control where the fight takes place. That means Shields dominates with positioning and earns himself a shot at GSP. That may actually be the X-factor in this fight. The big stage. If he controls his nerves he controls the fight. Shields via unanimous decision.
Josh - Jake Shields makes his UFC debut and has a very tough test in Martin Kampmann. Shields is coming off the domination of Dan Henderson, while Kampmann just took a decision to a tough contender in Paulo Thiago. This should be a very interesting fight. Shields is known for taking people down and wearing them out. Kampmann is very good on his feet and has good takedown defense. Will Shields be able to get him down and if he does, will he be able to keep him there? Or will Kampmann come out swinging and knock out the UFC newcomer? Give me the upset. Martin Kampmann via decision.
Geno - Ortiz looked as lean and cut up as I have ever seen him at the weigh-ins. Despite his issues at home, he seems to have a great attitude going into this fight. But he's back to giving us the same old line about being completely healthy, finally ready to go and take his world title back. I think he has a very real shot at winning this fight but I don't trust his neck. Hamill isn't exactly a wizard on his back, so if Ortiz can work the double leg for the first two rounds and then survive the third, he might actually take a decision. I just don't think he's got it anymore. He's admitted that Hamill is the better wrestler and if he can keep the fight standing we might even see Tito get knocked out. This could be the end for Ortiz. Hamill via unanimous decision.
Josh - I've become really annoyed with Tito Ortiz and his "I am finally healthy" talk. He will only be healthy if he walks away the victor. Otherwise, we're bound to hear some excuses. I really hope Tito can pull this one out, work harder than ever in training, and actually become relevant again in the light-heavyweight division. If he loses, I doubt Dana fires him, but what's next? Let's hope we don't ever have to find out. Tito Ortiz via decision.
Brendan Schaub vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
Geno - Big test for the up and coming Schaub. Fortunately for him, it's a very winnable fight. Gonzaga has buckled under pressure far too many times in his fighting career. If things aren't going his way, he folds and loses sight of the end game. That means Schaub needs to put the pressure on early and never let up. The longer the fight goes, the less Gonzaga wants to be there. But what about Schaub? We've never seen him in deep waters before and the last fight he had of this caliber ended in his getting concussed. It comes down to a coin flip for me and that favors the guy with the best gameplan and coaching. Schaub via TKO in round 2.
Josh - Knockout of the night. Neither of these fighters have gone to decision in their careers. Schaub hasn't even seen the second round, with all of his wins coming by KO or TKO. Gonzaga has solid power, along with great jiu-jitsu. If Schaub hurts Gonzaga, he might try to take him down and work from there. But I'm expecting, and hoping, for a war on the feet. I think Schaub is good, but Gonzaga only loses to the top contenders in the heavyweight division. Schaub isn't there just yet. Gabriel Gonzaga via KO, round 1.
Diego Sanchez vs. Paulo Thiago
Geno - With the recent news that Diego plans on moving right back down to 155 after this fight, I feel a lot less excited about it. Now it has very little bearing on the welterweight division. Thiago is in a lose-lose situation. He's got superior technique but can he win a brawl if Sanchez makes it a war? That's most likely the plan. His pacing is tough for anyone to match, at least if he's motivated. I'm not entirely sure his head will be in the right place come fight time. I'd like to think Sanchez can grind out a decision but I see him tapping before this one is over. Thiago via submission in round 3.
Josh - This is my prediction for fight of the night. Diego has a motor that never stops. He will be pushing forward trying to outwork Paulo. Thiago was on his way to a title shot but a loss to Kampmann derailed that. Because of that he should be more motivated than ever. If he wins this fight convincingly, we could be seeing him in a fight with a top tier guy. Expect fireworks, both standing and on the mat. Paulo Thiago via decision.
Geno - I understand why they put this fight on Spike but I don't think they are going to be happy by the time it's over. It's got the makings for a grind it out type of affair. McGee has the good story going for him and I don't think they would match him up in his first fight against a guy that's going to be able to beat him. He's good enough to get by here but I don't see much upside going forward. McGee via unanimous decision.
Josh - Court McGee impressed me with his submission win over Kris McCray at The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale. In a few years, this guy will be legit. Ryan Jensen, on the other hand, has been nothing short of disappointing in his UFC career. He has six fights, four losses and two wins over bottom feeders. Court McGee will be a good test for Jensen, but a loss might be his last bout with the UFC. Give us a show Jensen 'cuz McGee will be taking this one. Court McGee via decision.
Geno - This is a great matchup for Cote. Lawlor is exactly the type of fighter to get sucked into a brawl, even when it's to his own detriment. Cote's heavy hands should feast on that. Yeah, he might have trouble if Lawlor comes in and tries to work his wrestling game but like I said, this fight has brawl written all over it. Cote via KO in round 1.
Josh - Cote looked a little rusty in his return to the Octagon against Alan Belcher. With another training camp under his belt, I see him returning to form against Tom Lawlor. Lawlor doesn't have the skills to compete with a healthy and prepared Cote. Patrick Cote via TKO, round 2.
Quick prelim picks after the jump.
Mike Guymon vs Daniel Roberts
Geno - When in doubt, superior wrestling. Roberts via decision.
Josh - Roberts via KO.
Sam Stout vs Paul Taylor
Geno - Really fun fight. Stout via KO.
Josh - Stout via TKO.
Chris Camozzi vs Dongi Yang
Geno - Lot of hype but he will live up to it. Yang via TKO.
Josh - Yang via TKO.
Gilbert Yvel vs Jon Madsen
Geno - Once again, wrestling rules the day. Madsen via decision.
Josh - Madsen via decision.