The time to talk is over and this Saturday night Jon “Bones” Jones and “Suga” Rashad Evans get in the cage to settle their differences. We have our picks for the main card below, make sure you leave your picks with the winner/round/method for the six fights on the main card. We are giving away a Jon “Bones” Jones signed pic to someone who gets them all right. Make sure you leave your twitter or facebook handle so we can reach you.
Lightweight Bout: Mark Bocek vs. John Alessio
Brian: Mark Bocek has some excellent ground skills that John Alessio hasn’t found a solution to in his career…yet. When Alessio has fought the upper echelon of fighters in the world, he hasn’t been successful. Bocek’s only losses are to the a who’s who of the lightweight division (Henderson, Edgar, etc). Give me Bocek in the 2nd via RNC.
Brendan: Alessio is fighting on just over 2 weeks’ notice, never an easy task, add to that he just fought to a UD victory over Ryan Healy a little over a month ago at a Score Fighting Series event not to mention his opponent is a world class grappler who’s tangled with some of the sport’s elite…things don’t look good for John here. I’ll take Bocek to score the RNC somewhere late in the 1st round.
Jordan: Bocek has some serious submission skills, finishing 7 of his 10 opponents via sub. John Alessio stepped in for the injured Matt Wiman a few weeks ago and I have the lack of a full training camp and the short notice being the difference. Although Bocek is a master submission artist I have him winning UD.
Mark: While John Alessio certainly has an experience edge over Mark Bocek, I think that’s about all the advantage he’ll have going into this fight. Bocek should have a definitive edge on the mat which is where I see this matched being decided. I’ll take Bocek via 1st rd. armbar.
Featherweight Bout: Mark Hominick vs. Eddie Yagin
Brian: My guess is that Hominick enters this fight with a cool head and a solid game plan. I think Hominick will pick Yagin apart and most likely win a unanimous decision 30-27 as he makes his way back up the Featherweight ranks.
Brendan: Don’t expect Hominick to come out guns a’blazin’ quite like he did against the Korean Zombie, rather this one will go the distance as both men are looking to maintain their jobs – Hominick because of a surprising 2-fight losing streak and Yagin is making his second appearance after dropping his Octagon debut back at UFC 135. This one goes the distance and I see Hominick staying just busy enough to earn the nod by SD (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Jordan: Don’t expect Hominick to charge Yagin like he did with Chan Sung Jung. We are going to see the Mark Hominick that earned his way to a Featherweight title shot. Yagin has some good ground skills, but I don’t expect him to be able to showcase them. Give me Hominick via TKO in the 2nd.
Mark: Eddie Yagin finally made it up to the big show, but his second foray into the octagon won’t be any easier than the first. Mark Hominick is coming off of an embarrassing KO loss in his last fight in which he made an early mistake and it cost him dearly. I expect him to be more patient and measured in his attack, and when he fights smart, there aren’t too many featherweights that can hang with him. Since Yagin is a tough fighter, I’ll say he survives all three, but give me Hominick to put on clinic and win an easy Unanimous Decision victory.
Bantamweight Bout: Miguel Torres vs. Michael McDonald
Brian: I felt like Torres beat Demetrius Johnson in May of last year. His fighting style has changed to be more cerebral after his loss to Joseph Benavidez, and I think that will ultimately give him the edge in this fight. Because he’s got the reach and the experience, I am going to call this one as a UD win for Torres.
Brendan: Tough fight to call, it’s all going to depend on which Miguel Torres shows up on fight night, because we’ve seen only one Michael McDonald and he’s a bad mammajamma. Torres has been a different fighter since losing his WEC title to Brian Bowles back at WEC 42, if we see the pre-Bowles era Torres then this will be a great fight. However I have a feeling the power of McDonald is going to surprise Torres and lead to a TKO stoppage somewhere middle of the 2nd round.
Jordan: Besides the main event, I am looking forward to this fight the most. Michael McDonald is an emerging star in the bantamweight division and he faces a veteran in Torres. Torres’ last three fights have gone to decision and I don’t see this fight going any different. Mayday McDonald will put some pressure on early and continue to score points throughout the fight. I have Torres coming on strong in the end, but ultimately losing a Unanimous Decision.
Mark: The Miguel Torres 2.0 is a tough fighter to predict. Since losing his title a few years back, he’s started to lose some of his aggression, but his fight strategy has seemed to improve. McDonald on the other hand is a young prospect with huge upside. I think he’ll pressure Torres early on and score points with strikes, but expect the former champ to find his range and take rounds 2 and 3. I like Torres by Unanimous Decision.
Heavyweight Bout: Brendan Schaub vs. Ben Rothwell
Brian: Brendan Schaub is on the brink. His losses are understandable and to the top 10 in the in division. Look for him to focus less on trying to finish a fight early with his brute strength and technique, and focus more on finding the right weakness in Rothwell’s game. I say Schaub finds them in the 2nd round and wins via TKO.
Brendan: I’m taking Schaub in this one, Rothwell’s a beast but I see this being another long night of fights slamming into his face. Schaub has the better boxing technique and footwork, plus I see that he’s made some adjustments in his training since his loss to Big Nog. This will be a bit of a snoozer since both men are coming off losses and will likely fight conservatively, that said I think Schaub takes the UD (30-27 across the board).
Jordan: Schaub was on the fast track until he met Big Nog last year in August at UFC 134 in Brazil. Rothwell is coming off a decision loss to Mark Hunt at UFC 135. Schaub has better stand up and I see Rothwell trying to takethis fight to the ground. I have Schaub getting back to his winning ways, stuffing the takedowns and earning the KO early in Round 2.
Mark: Heavyweight fights are tough to predict because more than in any other division, one mistake and the fight is over. Overall, I think Schaub is the more athletic of the two and will use his quickness to his advantage, but Rothwell has a tough chin and can certainly fire back with power. I’ll say Schaub avoids trouble long enough to wear down Rothwell en route to a 3rd RD TKO.
Welterweight Bout: Rory MacDonald vs. Che Mills
Brian: Mills has been in the octagon for less than a minute. MacDonald has gone toe to toe with Nate Diaz for 15 (and he came out on the good end of that fight). I don’t bet on the fights and I don’t know the lines here, but if I did, this is where I would put my money. I think MacDonald ends this one early in the second via TKO.
Brendan: Great fight for both of these guys. Mills had an impressive debut with his vicious KO knee of Chris Cope at UFC 136, and MacDonald is a promising young WW fighter who’s only career defeat came at the hands of current interim Champ Carlos Condit in the final 8 seconds of their UFC 115 match. I like this for FOTN as these guys are very technical fighters who like to mix it up. If MacDonald is going to have the advantage here, I see it coming on the ground. Look for MacDonald to eventually try and get this one down and look for a submission, but ultimately I see him winning a majority decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Jordan: In only his second fight in the UFC, Che Mills gets a huge step up in competition in fighting Rory MacDonald. MacDonald is another emerging prospect that is ready to make an impact on the division. Mills has some great striking, but I have MacDonald taking this fight to the ground and finishing off Mills in the later end of the 1st. Give me MacDonald via 1st Round TKO.
Mark: Rory MacDonald has certainly proved that he belongs near the top of the Welterweight division, but I’m not sure about Che Mills yet. A quick defeat over Chris Cope isn’t quite on the same level and brutalizing Nate Diaz for 3 rounds. I like MacDonald’s versatility and think he can confuse Mills by mixing in wrestling with strikes to keep the Brit off balance. MacDonald cruises here easily with a Unanimous Decision victory.
Light Heavyweight Bout: Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans
Brian: I don’t think that Rashad has the answer to beating Jon Jones. I think he might have…3 years ago. I think he might have been able to wrestle his way into a win. We haven’t seen Jon Jones fight on his back, so he could be amazingly capable but untested, but I think that’s how you beat him. Look for a TKO stoppage in the 3rd round similar to the Shogun fight…”And STILL LHW Champion of the world!”
Brendan: Let’s do this already, no more talk, no more hype…just put these two in the cage and lock the door. At my BJJ school, this is what we call “workin’ out family business,” and these two know that game well. I see the young champion imposing his will on the older lion for all of this fight…not some, all. See the stare down pics for proof, Jones usually looks away from his opponents and I’ve always thought of it as a sign of self-doubt in a way, but there’s no doubt in his mind for this one – he’s going to mix things up and put a beating on Rashad. I can’t see this fight going the distance, hell I can’t see it going to the 4th round unless somebody plays the dump-n-hump game. I think Jones takes this in the 3rd by way of T/KO ending combination against the cage similar to what Rashad did to Tito.
Jordan: After more than a year of build up and he said/he said, we are finally going to get these two Light Heavyweights in the cage. From the moment Jones won the title last March, Jones looked unbeatable by anyone in the LHW division. Based on their history together, Evans has the best opportunity to beat Jones. Jones is still improving and has gained a ton of ground since Rashad left Jackson’s. Evans will get his takedowns early, but Jones will adjust. Look for Jones to weather the takedown and use his stand up to set up his finish. I have Bones finishing this fight in the third picking up his third submission victory in a row. After the fight look for Jones and Evans to shake hands and even hug, the beef will be squashed and all will be right in the world.
Mark: Rashad Evans may be the only hope the Light Heavyweight division has of dethroning Jon Jones. The Champ has run roughshod over all comers and hasn’t even come close to reaching his potential. Evans is quick enough to negate Jones’ range and get inside, but can he do it enough to dominate the fight? We saw the trouble Evans had with elusive fighters when he squared off against Lyoto Machida and I think Saturday night we’ll see more of the same. Jones may get taken down, but he’ll dish out more than enough of his own takedowns and strikes to finish Rashad off and start looking toward the Heavyweights. Give me Bones via 3rd RD TKO from vicious elbows.
Submission of the Night
Brian: Mark Bocek
Brendan: Mark Bocek (RNC)
Jordan: Jon Jones
Mark: Mark Bocek (armbar)
Knockout of the Night
Brian: Brendan Schaub
Brendan: Travis Browne
Jordan: Brendan Schaub
Mark: Stephen Thompson
Fight of the Night
Brian: Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans
Brendan: Che Mills vs. Rory MacDonald (dark horse: Matt Brown vs. Stephen Thompson)
Jordan: Matt Brown vs. Steven Thompson
Mark: Mark Hominick vs. Eddie Yagin
Brian (68-55) - 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 (66-57) -Examines the Top 5 fighters in each weight class and is featured exclusively on MMANonstop.com. Follow him at twitter.com/bchurchin48