UFC 119 - Predictions

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Melvin Giullard (24-8-2, 1 NC) also called the “The Young Assassin” will take on Jeremy Stephens (18-5) whose nick name is “Lil Heathen.”  Guillard is currently part of Jackson’s SUbmission Fighting Team out of New Mexico.  Guillard is oneof the more memorable contestants on TUF (season 2).  He was not the winner of season 2, but he beat Marcus Davis at the finale by TKO.  Since gaining the exposure that TUF provides, he has had 4 losses of his 11 fights.  Unfortunately his losses have been to better fighters than his wins – Josh Neer, Joe Stevenson, Rich Clementi and Nate Diaz.  All four losses have been by submission (triangle, rear naked, guilliotine).  
Stephens’ fight career resembles that of Giullard, with 4 losses of his last 11 fights, 2 by way of armbar submission and 2 by decision.  His most recent win has been to Sam Stout a very talented fighter, but his losses are all to solid MMA players: Gleison Tabau, Joe Lauzon, Spencer Fisher and Din Thomas.
I think it is either fighter’s win.  I am going for Giullard by decision.
Sean Sherk (33-4-1), “The Muscle Shark,” will always carry a tad of a stigma regarding possible steroid use.  A strong fighter with recent injuries places him at disadvantage against the lankier Evan Dunham (11-0).  This 155 lb division always possesses the ability to end up as the fight of the night.  It’s players are always dynamic and busy, Sherk vs Dunham should actually ensure this.  Sherk needs to tap into the fighter he was when he beat Kenny Florian and Hermes Franca.  Dunham has the skill set to answer what have been known as Sherk’s strengths, wrestling skills, power and a few good power punches.  However, he does not have the experience and know how under tremendous pressure that I believe gives Sherk the advantage tonight, even with his recent break from the cage.

Sherk should be able to pull off a win by decision.
Chris Lytle (29-17-5) will be taking on Matt Serra (11-6) for the second time.  Lytle does not possess a fraction of Serra’s ground game, despite his two most recent wins by submission (armbar and kneebar).  He is more experienced in the cage than Serra and probably a tougher guy than Serra.  However, his losses were to the best fighters he ever faced, Marcus Davis, Josh Koscheck, Thiago ALves, Matt Hughes,, Matt Serra, Joe Riggs and Karo Parisyan. Serra has already been down this path with Lytle, which ended with a win for him.   I am not counting on it being a particularly eventful fight and do not care for how their two styles match up. 
As a long time fan of Serra, I am hoping he wins by submission.

Antonio Rogerio (19-3) is former PRIDE favorite will be meeting Ryan Bader (11-0), a TUF winner.  I am not a huge Badder fan, I have not been too impressed by what I have seen so far from him.  He comes out of the Lion’s Den, one of my least favorite camps – only because their style of fighting uses a lot of muscle and grounded in a wrestler’s approach.  Setting that aside, Bader did recently beat Keith Jardine which is noteworthy.  Nogueira on the other hand, has given many great performances.  His years in Japan served him well and he is so well rounded that I believe his skills make Bader’s look immature at this point in his career.
Nogueira is a Brazlian native with many affliatiosn over the years and has been exposed to the top MMA players during training and in the competative arena.  he has loss to some great fighters like Sokodjou and Mauricio Rua.  But he has won to against even better guys like Dan Henderson, my all time fav Kazushi Sakuraba, Alistar Overeem and Luis Cane.  Bader on the other hand has fought alot of guys I not familiar with so it is hard to gauge his wins.  He is tough, but no more than Nogueira.
I am feeling Nogueira, if he answers the takedown attempts and keep his hands busy after unpredictable kicks.
Well,UFC 119 is certainly got a great headliner tonight.  Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic vs Frank Mir.  The odds on this bout reflect that it is really anyone’s game tonight.  Mir enters this bout with a 13-5 record and Cro Cop with twice as many fights as a pro, 27-7-2, 1NC.  Although they both have different pedigrees, they are unbelievably talented fighters.  MIr a Former Heavyweight Champion and Cro Cop a decorated kicker and former K-1 kick-ass.  
 Mir has been a favorite of mine on and off over the years.  I did not take his loss to Brock Lesnar too seriously.  However, the stand up game between these two men has a huge standard deviation, as does the ground component.  If you look at this fight strictly from the point of view of their style – it is not a great match-up.  Both guys have had impeding losses, Mir most recently to Shane Carwin and Cro Cop to Junior dos Santos.  If Cro Cop’s game is on, I do not see MIr being able to eat much since he bleeds easily and does not have the chin to withstand this K-1’s high kicks. 
Although I would enjoy a brilliant submission from Mir, to shine some light on the importance of BJJ skills for the heavyweight division right now, I think Cro Cop will knock out Mir in the second round if the first is all striking.  Or, KO in the third if Mir plays an unsuccessful ground game in the first.  Sorry, I keep going back and forth in how I see it this evening in Indianapolis, IN.
To check out the odds ont hese fights click on the link below.

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