Another night of fights is back and this time we are live on FuelTV. Give us your picks for the main card fights with the winner/round/method. Make sure you leave your twitter handle and picks in the comments section below.
Bantamweight Bout: T.J. Dillashaw vs. Walel Watson
Brian: I see Dillashaw as a solid, but green wrestler, and I think he won’t disappoint in his UFC non-TUF debut. I think he controls this fight on the ground and we find ourselves with a unanimous decision.
Brendan: Dillashaw is a solid wrestler but as we saw on TUF he still needs to elevate his striking game if he wants to compete at the highest levels. Watson has looked good in his previous UFC outings and I see him using his height & reach advantage to keep distance and work his striking game on Dillashaw. If he can keep it standing, I see Watson taking the fight by TKO in the 2nd round due to strikes.
Jordan: Despite coming up short against John Dodson, I was impressed by Dillashaw last season on the Ultimate Fighter. I have Dillashaw leveraging his wrestling and taking this fight to the ground where he will get the TKO victory via ground and pound in the 2nd.
Mark: T.J. Dillashaw looked very impressive during his time on TUF, but ran into trouble against a quicker John Dodson during the Ultimate Finale. Walel Watson looked great in his last 2 fights and I think both of these guys will be contenders in the near future. In this bout, I see Dillashaw’s wrestling being the difference and will allow him to control the fight. I’ll take Dillashaw by Unanimous Decision
Heavyweight Bout: Stipe Miocic vs. Phillip De Fries
Brian: I like Miocic in this fight, plain and simple. Both guys are ready to take a step and be a mainstay on the main card, and I think Miocic makes it happen with TKO in the 2nd.
Brendan: Both men are undefeated as professionals, both have been to a decision once, in other words – this is not the fight to go get another beer. Miocic is a beast, a former Golden Gloves champ and NCAA Division 1 wrestler (Nationally ranked with the likes of Ryan Bader & King Mo at 197lbs). De Fries is a bit of an enigma, a BJJ/Wrestling specialist fighting out of Sunderland, England with seven submissions to his credit. It will be interesting to see how the Brit’s BJJ/Wrestling will stack up against Miocic’s NCAA pedigree. This fight has tons of potential for excitement, but as we’ve seen with the HW’s in the past – it will depend on who can implement their game first. Miocic takes this via T/KO in the 3rd.
Jordan: Both of these fighters have only one fight inside the Octagon and both are undefeated. They are both skilled wrestlers, but I have Miocic with the advantage in the stand up. I have Miocic winning this fight via TKO in the 2nd
Mark: Everyone I’ve talked to about Miocic is extremely high on the young prospect. He’s shown a well-round game and can always fall back on his wrestling if he finds himself in a jam. De Fries would probably like to take this fight to the ground and work his BJJ, but I believe Miocic’s athleticism will be superior and will give him a distinct advantage. Miocic via Unanimous Decision
Middleweight Bout: Aaron Simpson vs. Ronny Markes
Brian: Simple outcome here, too. SImpson via TKO in the third. I think Markes has a lot of potential, but Simpson is not a guy to mess with.
Brendan: A-Train has put together a nice 3-fight win-streak and he’s looking to push himself into the MW top 10 picture, but he’ll have his hands full with Ronny Markes who’s no gimme fight. Markes made his UFC debut on short notice as a LHW against Karlos Vemola and took the UD. I see Simpson landing the heavier leather, but Markes will have the more crisp technique and as we’ve seen lately with other Nova Uniao fighters, Markes will look to utilize his TDD. I see Simpson taking the split decision in this one for pushing the pace and landing heavier shots in higher volume.
Jordan: Ronny Markes is moving down to middleweight in his second fight in the UFC and Aaron Simpson is looking to improve his win streak to 4. I have this fight going the distance with Simpson coming out victorious via Unanimous Decision.
Mark: Aaron Simpson has been chomping at the bit to get back into the cage since his W over Eric Schafer last October, but Markes will be coming in making his middleweight debut in the UFC and looking to leave an impression as well. Simpson has outstanding wrestling and huge power in his strikes, though I give Markes an edge when it comes to technique. I see power overcoming technique in this fight and expect Simpson to walk away with another impressive win. Simpson via 2nd round TKO.
Heavyweight Bout: Stefan Struve vs. Dave Herman
Brian: Herman is going to bust into every top 10 ranking out there with a definitive win here, and another win in his next bout against one of the UFC’s heavyweight gatekeepers. His striking is very solid and he has good speed and takedown defense (against his competition so far) to warrant a stoppage win. I like in keeping with the KO continuum, and say that Herman ends this one in the first.
Brendan: Herman has yet to really convince me that he’s taking the fight game seriously – the guy is incredibly talented but he seems to just rely on his athleticism to get through. Struve has shown his commitment by constantly improving each fight, and now that he’s filling out his frame he’s adding more strength to that ever improving flow striking and grappling. Struve will take this in the 2nd round, via smarter gameplan that ultimately leads to his long legs wrapping up Herman’s head & arm in a triangle/armbar of sorts.
Jordan: Herman is coming back from a recent suspension (cough, cough) and has a tough test ahead of him in Stefan Struve. Struve is coming off an impressive submission victory over Pat Barry and will look to extend his win streak. Look for Struve to win this fight via 2nd round submission.
Mark: This is a tough match to call. Both of these guys seem like they can take a ton of punishment, but still rebound and finish a fight in the blink of an eye. I like Struve’s versatility in his attacks and think his ability to blend striking with grappling will make the difference. Struve via 1st round triangle choke.
Welterweight Bout: Diego Sanchez vs. Jake Ellenberger
Brian: GREAT POTENTIAL here. I like this one a lot as I don’t think either of these guys will leave anything in the cage. Both guys are tough guys, and will want to stand and bang to put on a show for the fans. If I had to guess, this is Ellenburger’s primer for a title shot. I expect him to deliver and I expect him to do it in impressive fashion. Sanchez might get beat up, but he’s a really tough guy that I am not sure Ellenburger can finish, but I do think he’ll win 30-27 on all cards.
Brendan: The only way to slow down Diego Sanchez is to land some heavy shots early in the fight (see BJP vs. Sanchez) and make him think twice before coming in to shoot. Ellenberger has just the style to defeat Diego, as we saw in his 53sec destruction of Jake Shields, the Juggernaut will meet in the center of the Octagon and throw caution to the wind. Both are outstanding wrestlers so I don’t see this going to the ground much, if at all. Ellenberger will look to claim his shot at the WW title and rematch with Condit by being the first man to stop Sanchez with punches (Penn did it via TKO due to a cut). Ellenberger wins via TKO stoppage late in the 3rd round.
Jordan: With a win, (and a delay in GSP’s recovery) Ellenberger can establish himself as the number one contender for Carlos Condit’s Interim Title. Fighting in his hometown, Ellenberger will be the clear crowd favorite and I have him picking up a 1st round KO victory over Sanchez. Sanchez is tough to stop, but I think Ellenberger has the power to do it
Mark: Jake Ellenberger comes into this fight with a ton of momentum and is the easy favorite, but can Diego Sanchez really be stopped? He just goes and goes and goes and when he turns a fight into a brawl, things go his way. That said, I expect Ellenberger to fight a disciplined fight in front of the home town crowd long enough to win enough of the rounds to seal the victory, but won’t be surprised if at some point, both of these guys starting winging bombs with reckless abandon. I’ll go with the Juggernaut via Unanimous Decision
Submission of the Night
Brian: Jonathan Brookins
Brendan: Stefan Struve Struve (armbar/triangle)
Jordan: Stefan Struve
Mark: Vagner Rocha
Knockout of the Night
Brian: Dave Herman
Brendan: Stipe Miocic
Jordan: Jake Ellenberger
Mark: Aaron Simpson
Fight of the Night
Brian: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger
Brendan: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger (dark horse: Miocic vs. De Fries)
Jordan: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger
Mark: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger
Brian (60-48) -Co-host of the MMANonstop Podcast and author of the series “The Book On…” exclusively at MMANonstop.com, follow him at twitter.com/bchurchin
Brendan (60-48) -Examines the Top 5 fighters in each weight class and is featured exclusively on MMANonstop.com. Follow him at twitter.com/bchurchin48