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UFC 118: Edgar vs Penn 2 - Predictions

An intriguing card with a few solid matchups, a wildcard and a squash match that really shouldn't even be taking place. When all is said and done we'll know definitively who the best Lightweight in the world is and who will be the next challenger for that title. We'll see if a former title challenger can get back on the winning track and if an old man can beat up a slightly less old man who is way out of his element. In we go.

BJ Penn vs Frank Edgar - The rematch that no one really cared to see is the main event. Heading into UFC 112 you would have thought that Edgar was just a filler opponent who stood absolutely zero chance at beating the champion. He put in a solid performance however and conviced the necessary amount of judges that he had done more than Penn over 5 rounds and was awarded the title with a split decision victory. It did not come without controversy though. A lot of experts and fans, including myself, believed that Penn had actually won the fight. Edgar's whole strategy, which was brilliant by the way, was to stick and move. Get in and out with a few punches and always stay busy. Activity was key and he really pulled it off. Penn was content to stand in the pocket and search for the power counter shots. He landed quite a few but he didn't ever really look comfortable and he wasn't the one deciding the pace or where the fight took place. Judges look favorable on aggression, perhaps more than we know, and Edgar got the big nod there. BJ looked sluggish and his camp revealed later that he was sick going into the fight. He's not sick this time and he even said that after watching the first fight he feels very much like he won and he'll be coming out strong in this one looking for the finish. I can't see any reason why he won't get it. Penn via TKO in Round 3.

Randy Couture vs James Toney - Now that it's finally here I'm just happy that before long we won't have to listen to James Toney's mouth anymore. Just as I got quickly grew tired of Chael Sonnen's act, I grew tired of Toney's act even more quickly. At least Chael has a relatively high IQ. Toney on the other hand; yeah, not so much. We all know the deal going into this one. MMA vs Boxing. Which one is better? The problem with a fight like this is that it does not definitively answer that question. No fight can. If this was a boxing match then Toney would murder Couture but because it's an MMA match you can expect the opposite to hold true. There is no way that Toney could have drilled enough, in the small amount of time that he's been training in the many facets of MMA, to know how to avoid a Couture double leg. He might know what you are supposed to do to check a leg kick but application in a fight is much different then practice time ego sessions. Couture has stated his desire to destroy Toney's lead leg. In order to do that he would have to spend some time standing with Toney and I don't expect Couture to fight stupid. Most of his career has been built on having the right gameplan. In some ways I hope for a Toney win because of what it could do for the sport but I don't much believe in miracles. Couture via submission in Round 1.

Kenny Florian vs Gray Maynard - I'm intrigued by this fight if only because Ken Flo will finally be facing a wrestler who is much bigger than he is. Sure Guida tried to tie him up and had no success but Maynard is a much different monster. Florian is no slouch off his back but I have a feeling that Maynard can hold him down if he wants to. We'll really see the full plethora of Florian's skills in a fight like this. Gray, in his last few fights, has tried to contest them on his feet with little success. We can expect him to go back to his bread and butter in what should be considered a number one contenders match. Well, if Florian wins and so does Edgar then I expect Florian to get another crack at the belt but if Penn wins then I'm not sure where that leaves Ken Flo. A win by Maynard would most assuredly give him a title shot no matter who wins the main event. I'm really drawing a blank as far as how I see this fight ending. I can picture Florian pulling off a submission but I can also see Maynard riding a lay-n-pray strategy to a unanimous decision victory. Give me the latter. Maynard via unanimous decision.

Mario Miranda vs Demian Maia - This fight is coming on short notice for both fighters. After Alan Belcher detached his retina and had to pull out of his scheduled bout with Maia the UFC was forced to do some reshuffling and we ended up with this fight. Miranda has just one loss in his career, to Gerald Harris in his UFC debut. He's got a black belt in jiu-jitsu but is it anywhere near the level of Demian Maia? Converting sport jiu-jitsu to MMA is difficult for some but Maia has damn near perfected it. I can't see being shocked by a flash knockout or submission for Miranda and the safe pick is Demian Maia. That's the way I'll go. Maia via submission in Round 2.

Nate Diaz vs Marcus Davis - This is an intriguing fight on many levels. Both guys are very exciting in the cage, they love to stand and trade but they have a tight game if it hits the floor. James Toney isn't the only former boxer on this card. Davis has had 18 pro fights in the boxing ring and won 17 of them. He's giving up a ton of reach to Diaz though and there is a question as to whether or not he'll be able to get inside. He will be made to pay if he attempts to do so. Advantage Diaz on the ground with his long limbs and slick submission skills but I'm thinking I'll take an upset here. Davis has a ton of power and although Diaz has a hell of a chin, I'll go with Davis to score a TKO and a big win. Davis via TKO in Round 2.

Quick undercard picks in the extended entry.

Joe Lauzon vs Gabe Reudiger - Mr. Reudiger thought he would be cute and bring a cake to the weigh-ins that read, "Sorry for your loss." Lauzon laughed, more because he knows that he's going to chump Gabe than that it was funny. I was thinking about this the other day. The epic slide that has been Jens Pulver's career started at UFC 63 with a KO loss at the hands of a debuting Lauzon. He wins here. Lauzon via TKO.

Andre Winner vs Nik Lentz - Is Lentz a better wrestler than Winner? You bet he is. Will it matter? No it will not. Expect another big time knockout from the rising Brit. Winner via KO.

John Salter vs Dan Miller - Having lost 3 fights in a row this is a must win for Miller. He's coming in as a late replacement and still has the issues at home so I'm not sure what to think. He's immensely talented and I hope he puts it together. Not sure of it but I'll take him here. Miller via unanimous decision.

Nick Osipczak vs Greg Soto - Really tough fight to call. Both guys have very cool last names. I'll take the guy with the slightly cooler name. Well, he's also the superior fighter. That usually helps. Osipczak via TKO.

Mike Pierce vs Amilcar Alves - This is the beauty of Zuffa matchmaking at it's finest. They grab a hot prospect like Alves and bring him in on the preliminary card to face a wrestler that has all the tools to beat him. If he can win here then he'll be just short of a star on the rise. The problem is that he likely won't win here. Pierce via unanimous decision.

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