As the long overdue UFC 114-headlining matchup between former light heavyweight champs Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Rashad Evans approaches, it is time once again for the MMAFrenzy.com writers and moderators to weigh in with their predictions for how tomorrow’s UFC 114 bouts will end.
Rashad Evans vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
Justin – This fight is a hard one to predict, as both fighters have demonstrated the ability to knock out their opponents with just one punch. When you have two fighters with that ability meeting in the cage all the examination of skill and game plan can be relegated to naught with a single blow. That said, and I know I’m going against the grain here, I think Evans is the faster striker, the more skilled wrestler, and the most likely to use his wrestling ability. I expect to see Evans use his wrestling to frustrate Jackson in the first round, only to drop Jackson with a right in the second round then finishing him off with strikes earning a TKO.
bsbiz -Rampage’s ground game is better than it appears. He’s got the power bombs, but those aren’t a big part of the modern North American MMA game because there are too many skilled wrestlers who don’t allow themselves to get into the positions necessary for them to be pulled off. Evans will win if he follows the Forrest Griffin game plan. Rampage will win if it turns into a slug fest. Rampage by TKO in 2nd. Don’t know why. Just sayin’.
chrisl – Rashad’s plan may be to work for the takedown but there is a massive hole in Evans game that will work against him the longer the fight goes. He takes his shots from too far out and expends way too much energy trying to get fights back down to the mat. That very nearly cost him the Thiago fight. In addition, he has a tendency to forget he is a wrestler in some fights. Getting into a striking exchange with Rampage can prove fatal, as many have found out. In addition, since when did Rampage magically lose his wrestling skills? Oh wait he has not… he is still an incredibly skilled wrestler. Rampage is very technically underrated due to his attitude and due to how he has been portrayed by TUF as an inept coach (something he said he knew he was but was told this was the only way to Rashad). Watch his training videos and watch his fights, he is also a former college wrestler and a boxer, he dropped one of the most memorable power bombs in Japanese MMA history (no pun intended) and he has only been knocked out by two men… one of whom holds the title at 205 and the other at one point had an entire nation fearing he would actually murder someone in the ring and feast on their flesh and create actual zombies of the Korean and Japanese nature… In addition, Rampage’s only loss since the 2005 massacre was a somewhat controversial decision to Forrest Griffin. Rashad talks a lot of trash but if he tries to wrestle as he has in his previous fights, he will tire and expose himself late. If Rashad is smart, he will stick to leg kicks and keep this a boring fight. That said, I do not think Evans would let himself get into that type of fight and as result, I believe he will lose by TKO in the 3rd. Jackson via TKO 3rd.
fr702 – Rashad is a good wrestler, I also agree with Quinton that he has faced better wrestlers than Rashad. I tend to think that if Quinton gets a clean shot on Rashad, its Rashad that will be using the snuggie. Rashad is an excellent fighter no doubt, but Quinton in my opinion is a better fighter with more power in his hands, this might be a drag out brawl and that favors Quinton Jackson. Rampage by (t)ko.
Kris Karkoski – Quinton Jackson’s year-long layoff that saw him balloon to 251-pounds just 2 months ago will likely be too much to overcome against the athletic wrestler Evans, and while I believe “Rampage” will eventually return to top form, I don’t think it’ll happen against Rashad, who should be able to wrestle his way to a victory and earn another shot at the title. Rashad Evans via decision.
Michael Bisping vs. Dan Miller
Justin – Bisping should be the better striker in this fight, while Miller should be the better grappler. However, Bisping’s ground skills have looked impressive of late, and Miller is likely fighting for his UFC career. My initial thought had been to pick Miller by submission in the second, but I’ve since changed my mind and think that Bisping will keep the fight standing and outstrike Miller on his way to a unanimous decision. Bisping says he’s knocking people out now, but Miller is tough enough to last to the end, and make a fight of it, but he won’t get the decision.
bsbiz -Miller has the submission game to beat Bisping, but the Count won’t give him the chance. The man with the ultra annoying accent wins. Unfortunately.
chrisl - This fight comes down to one thing and one thing only… Bisping’s takedown defense. If Bisping keeps this standing then Miller’s wide and looping strikes will be picked apart by Bisping’s more technical kickboxing game. I know most people on this site believe Bisping is horrible but a record whose only blemishes are Wandi, Hendo, and Rashad speaks for itself. I think Miller looks to get this fight to the ground but will ultimately fail and is out pointed by Bisping. Bisping by decision.
fr702 – Miller is going to “grind” out a unanimous decision, the guy has been through a lot recently in his personal life, he will get the W.
Kris Karkoski – If Bisping can keep the fight standing, it’s his fight to lose. I expect Miller to put Bisping in a few dangerous spots, but the Brit should be able to win the striking battles and do enough to earn a decision win. Michael Bisping via decision.
Todd Duffee vs. Mike Russow
Justin – This is a meeting between two rising heavyweights, Duffee holds the official UFC fastest knockout record at 7 seconds from his debut victory over Tim Hague. Russow, on the other hand, is a skilled grappler and can probably put and hold Duffee on his back. I think Russow will get Duffee to the ground early in the first round, and probably hold him there for the duration, but I think Duffee will land one of those massive punches he’s capable of in the second and win via TKO. (Once again disagreeing with my fellow staff members.)
bsbiz -Todd, KOs like that don’t happen too often for a reason. Enjoy it. Savor it. DVR it next time there is one of those “Greatest MMA Knockouts” shows and re-watch it until the DVR says “Seriously? Again?” But don’t bet the house on it happening again. Russow by tko in the 3rd.
chrisl - Time to find out if that 7 second KO was just a fluke or not. Russow has fought more game competition (his only loss was to Kharitonov) and I really believe he will be focusing on not being another quick KO. I have a hunch that Russow will find away to keep Duffee tied up for most of the fight. That said I think Duffee has let the quick KO go to his head. His interviews all focus on that and to me it seems he may try to repeat this strategy again and end up being taken down because he over-exposes his legs when he punches. I would not be surprised at all if Duffee wins again by KO. However, I just have a feeling Russow will grind out a decision much to the chagrin of many fans. Russow via decision.
fr702 – Duffee is a huge guy, Russow is not small either both of these young HW’s are up and comers, I believe that Russow will win via sub and both will gain from the experience.
Kris Karkoski – As Duffee has said himself in recent interviews, he’s been overhyped for his UFC-record knockout while Russow has been under-appreciated. While I agree with his assessment, I still expect Duffee to be the better fighter on Saturday and earn a second-round knockout. Todd Duffee via (T)KO in R2.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Jason Brilz
Justin – Brilz is a late replacement for Forrest Griffin, who was expected to take on Nogueira. Brilz will utilize a much different game plan against Nogueira from what Griffin would have employed, but I don’t think that will keep Nogueira, who is the favorite, from an expected victory. Brilz will look to take the fight down and will try to out-wrestle Nogueira, but Nogueira will use his BJJ skills to get the fight back upright where he will TKO Brilz in the first round.
bsbiz -Mini Mr. Peepers is a class (or two) too good for Brilz. However, the brownie points earned by Brilz for taking the fight on short notice will be enough to negate the inevitable loss and then some.
chrisl - Rogerio by whatever he wants to do. Props to Brilz stepping up but seriously Lil’ Nog will destroy him. Lil’ Nog via his choice in the 1st.
fr702 – LIL NOG is a hell of a fighter no doubt, but remember when he last took someone lightly? He got ko’d. I don’t believe that LIL NOG will take Brilz lightly and will win via (t)ko in round 1.
Kris Karkoski - Like Russow, Brilz is also underrated and nearly unbeaten in four UFC fights. That said, stepping up on short notice is rarely a recipe for success, and I expect Nogueira (who had been training to face former champ Forrest Griffin) to earn a first-round TKO. Nogueira via (T)KO in R1.
John Hathaway vs. Diego Sanchez
Justin – Sanchez is moving back up to welterweight following a failed title bid at lightweight which saw him get embarrassingly outstruck by then champion BJ Penn. Hathaway is not a pushover, but probably won’t pose much of a threat to Sanchez. I expect to see Sanchez return to his roots a bit with an early takedown followed by a quick first round ground and pound TKO victory.
bsbiz -YES!!!!! YES!!!!! YES!!!!!! YES!!!!!! YES!!!!!
chrisl - It was not that long ago that we were talking about Sanchez as one of the best WW’s in the world. I think he proves too much for a very tough former Rugby player and simply overwhelms Hathaway in the first. Diego via TKO in the 1st.
fr702 – Diego Sanchez by YUSSS, and again proving he doesn’t have KO power in his hands and taking it to a decision.
Kris Karkoski – I don’t think Sanchez’s decision to return to welterweight following a lone loss at lightweight was the best long-term decision, but I expect him to hand Hathaway his first career loss. Sanchez via (T)KO in R2.
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike TV)
Efrain Escudero vs. Dan Lauzon
Justin – Escudero is coming off the first loss of his career, and Lauzon is trying to avoid losing three times in as many UFC fights (non-consecutive). Escudero has been training hard at the MMA Lab in Arizona with WEC lightweight champion Ben Henderson, while Lauzon left his brother Joe’s gym mid camp amid controversy over the time and intensity he has put into training. Taking all that into consideration, as much as I’d like to see Lauzon take the win and keep his job in the UFC, I don’t think that’s going to happen. I expect to see Escudero get a TKO victory in the second round, that will hopefully push Lauzon to take his training more seriously (if the rumors that he is not currently doing so are true).
bsbiz -It sounds like Lauzon has taken his training about as seriously as I take sobriety while watching these fights. Escudero by submission in 2nd.
chrisl - Guess we will see how committed Dan has truly been in this one. I think Escudeo smothers him en route to a decision. Escudero via dec.
fr702 – With all the problems going on between the brothers Lauzon, it is difficult for me to think that Dan is going to come out of this fight with a victory, actually I believe that Efrain is going to sub Dan and essentially prove Joe Lauzon right.
Kris Karkoski - With Dan Lauzon’s questionable commitment to training and Efrain Escudero looking to bounce back from the first loss of his career, I expect a motivated Escudero to earn a quick submission. Esudero via submission in R1.
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Amir Sadollah
Justin – This is a very good match up, both fighters are well rounded and posses good striking, as well as grappling. I think this will be a very good fight that will go the distance and involve all aspects of MMA. Though Sadollah is more well known to fans, I think Kim will edge him out with a split decision victory.
bsbiz - I like Amir, but not enough to pick him in this fight. However, if the technical striking we’ve seen in his last two fights shows up, he could win. The domination without seriously hurting either Baroni or Blackburn is a red flag. Kim by decision or tko.
chrisl - Amir seems to find ways to win but I think Kim bests him in this one. Kim via decision.
fr702 – Stun Gun by unanimous decision, I know that Amir is working hard on his Thai work, but I personally think that Stun Gun is a bit too much for Amir right now, I don’t think that Amir will get tapped that’s why I went Stun Gun via unanimous decision.
Kris Karkoski – Though Sadollah has bounced back well from his first career loss with back-to-back wins, I think Kim will prove to be too much and will earn a decision to remain undefeated. Kim via decision.
PRELIMINARY CARD QUICK PICKS
* Melvin Guillard vs. Waylon Lowe – Guillard via second round TKO.
* Luiz Cane vs. Cyrille Diabate – Cane via second round TKO.
* Joe Brammer vs. Aaron Riley – Riley via second round TKO.
* Jesse Forbes vs. Ryan Jensen – Forbes via unanimous decision.
* Melvin Guillard vs. Waylon Lowe – How far has Melvin Guillard’s star fallen? Not quite as low as my bank account, but within shouting distance.
* Luiz Cane vs. Cyrille Diabate – This will be proof that being a K1 champion don’t mean jack in the Octagon.
* Joe Brammer vs. Aaron Riley – Riley by decision
* Jesse Forbes vs. Ryan Jensen – Jensen by who cares in the 2nd.
* Melvin Guillard vs. Waylon Lowe – Guillard via TKO in the 1st
* Luiz Cane vs. Cyrille Diabate – Cane gets back to his winning ways in something resembling a K-1 fight. Cane by dec.
* Joe Brammer vs. Aaron Riley – Brammer via TKO 2nd round
* Jesse Forbes vs. Ryan Jensen – Forbes by TKO 1st round
* Melvin Guillard vs. Waylon Lowe – Guillard by (t)ko first round.
* Luiz Cane vs. Cyrille Diabate – Diabate by UD, I think that the loss by Cane (v LIL NOG) might still be in his head and “The Snake” will capatialize on this
* Joe Brammer vs. Aaron Riley – Riley by unanimous decision.
* Jesse Forbes vs. Ryan Jensen – Jensen by (t)ko late in the first.
Kris Karkoski –
- Melvin Guillard def. Waylon Lowe via (T)KO – Round 2
- Luiz Cane def. Cyrille Diabate via (T)KO – Round 3
- Aaron Riley def. Joe Brammer via unanimous decision
- Jesse Forbes def. Ryan Jensen via unanimous decision