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UFC 117: Silva vs. Sonnen Staff Predictions

UFC 117 Silva vs SonnenWith the UFC putting on it’s second event in as many weekends, this time broadcasting live on pay-per-view from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, it is time once again for your staff to make some fight predictions.

Champ Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen
UFC Middleweight Championship:

Justin – This is a tough fight to predict, all signs point to a dominant performance by Silva, but I thought Sonnen would get dominated in his last fight as well, and I was wrong. Sonnen has a set of skills that pose a great threat to Silva, but the problem for Sonnen is that he will most likely have to win by decision, which means five, five minute rounds in the cage with perhaps the most dangerous striker in all of MMA. Silva only has to knockout Sonnen, or catch him in one submission, while Sonnen has to avoid both of those things and grind out a decision. I will be pulling for Sonnen to win, and certainly think he has a better chance than the oddmakers do, but Silva simply has the greater likelihood of winning, so for the sake of this article I’m picking Silva with a third round submission victory.

Kris Karkoski – Anderson Silva def. Chael Sonnen via submission – Round 2

chrisl – In case you have been living under a rock or with some of the bearded ones living in caves, Chael Sonnen does not like Anderson Silva. The real question is this, if Sonnen has spent this much time talking about Silva, Soares, the Nogueira twins, Lyoto, etc… (Not to mention dealing with his political campaign’s collapse due to legal issues) when has he had the time to train? Sonnen has great wrestling but does have one flaw in his takedown attempts; they are set up by strikes. Unless Sonnen dives for five rounds without throwing strikes, he will be forced to engage Silva. If Sonnen does get it to the ground he will be dealing with a guy that tapped Hendo(only tapped to two people in his career, both Blackhouse guys) and Lutter a BJJ black-belt. I give the first round to Sonnen, I think he comes out tough and tries to keep Silva from finding range. Silva will stay active on the ground keeping Sonnen from getting comfortable in any position. I think Silva almost hooks Sonnen a few times early on, which will cause Sonnen to be a little hesitant to keep going to the ground. Once this happens, I think Silva takes him apart and catches Sonnen going for a takedown. Silva connects and Sonnen takes Silva down in desperation only to be finished by submission, most likely a guillotine. Silva via Sub 3rd Round.

bsbiz –  I can’t think of anything to say about this fight that Chael Sonnen hasn’t said himself already.  How creepy is that?  Well, minus the sensationalistic, jingoistic bile that he says then changes his mind and says he didn’t say.  Seriously, this will go one of two ways:  either the way of Hendo or a smothering win for Sonnen.  I don’t doubt that Sonnen will try to take A.Silva down because standing with him would be professional suicide.  Not to mention mind-bogglingly stupid.  I think we all can reasonably assume that the only place Sonnen can win this fight is on the ground (Matt Serra Principle notwithstanding) due to the parsec-sized gap in standup ability.  Sonnen has got to get the fight to the ground by any means necessary and then proceed with the smothering.  However, here he is running into the side of A.Silva that is underestimated:  his ground game.  A.Silva has a ground game that gets overlooked because of how good his stand up skills are.  It’s kind of how Randy Johnson’s killer slider is marginalized because of the awe-inspiring speed of his fastball.

fr702 – Even tho this seems to be the year of the Upset, I think that Chael has literally made Anderson Silva so mad that he is going to quite frankly beat that man down in a very violent fashion. Silva will make Sonnen tap due to strikes in the 3rd round.

Jon Fitch vs. Thiago Alves:
Justin – This is a rematch of a fight that happened four years ago that saw Fitch win via upkick TKO, both fighters have improved since that time, but I think Alves has shown the greater improvement. A lot of people are still going with Fitch to win this fight, but I personally think that Alves has improved enough to keep the fight standing and win the fight, I even think he’ll be the first 170 pounder to finish Fitch with a second round TKO.

Kris Karkoski – Jon Fitch def. Thiago Alves via split decision

chrisl – According to reports Alves is apparently struggling with the cut for this fight. Due to this, as well as Fitch’s grinding style, I see Fitch surviving an early storm from Alves and grinding out another decision victory against Alves. Fitch via 30-27 decision.

bsbiz –  This fight had the most non-title excitement before the announcement yesterday that the winner of this fight gets the next title shot, which sets up even more intrigue.  The Pitbull has some of the nastiest standup in the welterweight division, but isn’t exactly a whiz off his back.  Counter that with the relentless takedowns by Jon Fitch, and you have your classic striker vs wrestler matchup.  Alves is coming back from brain surgery and Fitch is the best fighter in the UFC you just don’t hear anything about.  Seriously, how often does a top 3 fighter in a division have ended up on the undercard?  Of course, critics would point out that’s where he deserves to be given he’s gone to decisions in his last seven fights and eight of his last ten.  But it’s hard to argue with results and the only loss Fitch has had in 13 UFC fights has been to the man himself, GSP.  He who controls where the fight takes place controls the outcome and controls the round.  Oh, and the intrigue?  What if Fitch and Koscheck win?  Who wouldn’t be rooting to hear the talk after that one?

fr702 – FINALLY this fight is going down, Alves with the brain surgery and what not, its hard not to pull for this kid, I don’t think that Alves will be able to finish Fitch, I see this being a very good back and forth fight and when the dust settles Fitch will be victorious via unanimous decision (next up will be Shields if Shields beats Kampmann, imo).

Matt Hughes vs. Ricardo Almeida:
Justin – In the past Hughes made a living on being bigger and stronger than his opponents, but Almeida is a huge welterweight, and Hughes has gotten smaller as he’s aged, so that won’t be the case in this fight. I will be pulling for Hughes to win, but I honestly believe that Almeida is a much better fighter than Hughes is at this point in their careers, so I’m picking Almeida to win via unanimous decision.

Kris Karkoski – Ricardo Almeida def. Matt Hughes via submission – Round 3

chrisl – Almeida is trying to avenge his trainers as well prove he is ready for prime time at WW. Hughes is trying not to let that happen and while he appears to be on his way out, he is still a dangerous fighter. That said, Almeida is trouble for anyone and more so for Hughes. Hughes has shown a little vulnerability in his stand-up against people not over 35. I think age overtakes Hughes just as much as Almeida’s well roundedness does. Almeida via 29-28 decision.

bsbiz –  First Hughes beats the master, Renzo Gracie, and now  he gets the pupil, Ricardo Almeida.  Of course, Hughes has beaten Royce as well, so this would be the third Gracie or Gracie protege he’s fought.  I’m going out on a limb and saying that this will be a striking war that will only underline how bad both are.  On the ground, their skills basically nullify each other, despite Almeida being a Gracie trained jiu jitsu fighter.  An X factor in this fight could be Almeida’s size.  This is his second fight at welterweight after dropping from middleweight.  It could work for him, but it could also work against him.

fr702 – I don’t know if Almeida can finish Hughes and I believe that Hughes will win a tough decision.

Clay Guida vs. Rafael dos Anjos:
Justin – The only guaranteed winner in this fight will be the fans. I think Guida will bounce back from his recent string of losses, earning a unanimous decision victory in a “Fight of the Night” candidate.

Kris Karkoski – Clay Guida def. Rafael dos Anjos via unanimous decision

chrisl –  I predict this fight will be fight of the night. Both Dos Anjos and Guida do not mind going to decision and neither believe in putting on boring decisions. I think Guida takes Dos Anjos down and grinds out Dos Anjos. Dos Anjos could pull off the sub but the move of Guida to Jackson’s is making Guida an all-around better fighter. I think Guida avoids the subs and wins in a hard fought decision. Guida via 29-28 decision.

bsbiz –  You might want to watch this fight in slow motion if you can get it.  Everyone’s favorite Carpenter will want to fly around, get takedowns and then proceed to do what he do.  Dos Anjos will be looking for submissions wherever he can get them.  I don’t expect this to be one for the ages, but when was the last time you saw a boring Clay Guida fight?

fr702 – Clay Guida via decision.

Junior dos Santos vs. Roy Nelson:
Justin – This fight will determine who gets a crack at the UFC heavyweight belt after Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez battle over it. Many people are predicting that dos Santos will run through Nelson here, but I just don’t think that will happen. Nelson made shorter work of their one common opponent (Struve), and has a skill set that can beat dos Santos. By that same line, dos Santos has looked like a wrecking machine at times, but at others not so much. I’m picking the upset in this one as I think Nelson will get a second round TKO victory.

Kris Karkoski – Junior dos Santos def. Roy Nelson via (T)KO – Round 2

chrisl – Only questions about JDS are about his ground game, Nelson will test it. The question is whether JDS will do enough damage to Nelson before Nelson gets a takedown. I think Nelson smothers JDS IF he gets the fight to the ground. If not the X-factor is Nelson’s power. Many people underestimate Nelson’s hands and power because he is well… fat… I think JDS is fast enough to avoid Nelson’s striking for the most part but if Nelson does connect it can be lights out. I think Nelson wins round one but is caught in transition by JDS in the second. JDS via tKO 2nd Round

bsbiz –  This fight could be considered “The Buddha vs the Badass.”  Roy Nelson is perpetually overlooked and under-appreciated but somehow keeps climbing on top of the cage and stroking the belly.  JDS, though, brings the thunder in his fists and is a brown belt on the ground, but so far, no one has made it there with him and kept it there.  At least, no one has made it there conscious.  Will this be the fight where JDS shows off his ground skills?  Nah.  This fight ain’t going to the ground with two conscious fighters.

fr702 – My gut says JDS by (t)ko but I honestly believe that Nelson will turn this into a grappling match and win via decision. Should be a good fight none the less.


Justin –
Dustin Hazelett vs. Rick Story: Hazelett via submission – Round 1
Stefan Struve vs. Christian Morecraft: Struve via submission – Round 1
Rodney Wallace vs. Phil Davis: Davis via submission – Round 3
Johny Hendricks vs. Charlie Brenneman: Hendricks via TKO – Round 1
Dennis Hallman vs. Ben Saunders: Hallman via unanimous decision
Tim Boetsch vs. Todd Brown: Boetsch via TKO – Round 2

Kris Karkoski –
Dustin Hazelett vs. Rick Story: Rick Story via unanimous decision
Stefan Struve vs. Christian Morecraft: Stefan Struve via (T)KO – Round 2
Rodney Wallace vs. Phil Davis: Phil Davis via (T)KO – Round 1
Johny Hendricks vs. Charlie Brenneman: Charlie Brenneman via split decision
Dennis Hallman vs. Ben Saunders: Ben Saunders via (T)KO – Round 2
Tim Boetsch vs. Todd Brown: Tim Boetsch via unanimous decision

chrisl –
Dustin Hazelett vs. Rick Story: Hazelett via sub in the 2nd
Stefan Struve vs. Christian Morecraft: Struve via strikes in the 1st
Rodney Wallace vs. Phil Davis: Phil Davis overruns Wallace with brutal takedowns and finishes him by tKO in the 2nd.
Johny Hendricks vs. Charlie Brenneman: Hendricks is on my list of people to fear and watch at WW. I think Hendricks makes the former Joe look like a Joe as he spends most of the fight on his back counting lights.
Dennis Hallman vs. Ben Saunders: Hey remember when Hallman beat Hughes 2x? Most people forget that about Hallman. That said that was years ago and Saunders’ Muay Thai, reach, youth, and advancing ground game are too much for Hallman. Saunders tKO in the 1st.
Tim Boetsch vs. Todd Brown: Boetsch via strikes

bsbiz –
Dustin Hazelett vs. Rick Story: Welcome back, everyone’s favorite (or second favorite) bendy submission specialist.  McLovin’ is not only a submission whiz, but he’s fighting someone who enjoys being on the ground almost as much as he does.  And since Story is a wrestler, there could be some trouble for him.  I don’t see things going very well for Story, especially considering the karma he picked up from the split decision over Osipczak.  And how am I supposed to go against someone fighting out of Cincinnati?  Seriously.
Stefan Struve vs. Christian Morecraft: If Lesnar/Carwin was the biggest fight in MMA history, this is probably the tallest.  Struve is 3-2 in the UFC, but hasn’t gained a whole lot of traction.  He needs a good win to jumpstart his career.  A loss could possibly see him cut.  Christian Morecraft is almost assuredly a one and done if he loses.
Rodney Wallace vs. Phil Davis: How wonderful is this match up (pun intended)?  Davis is a former Penn State wrestler making his third UFC appearance while Wallace is possibly (probably?) fighting for his UFC roster spot after losing his first two fights.  Granted, one of those was on the losing end of a fun decision (and Fight of the Night) to Jared Hamman, but you never know.  Don’t see how he avoids the drop.
Johny Hendricks vs. Charlie Brenneman: Will this fight be a real-life version of Pros vs Joes for Charlie Brenneman?  If so, he will have to really bring his A-game for this fight.  You all might remember Hendricks for his TKO of Amir Sadollah, and I don’t see this going much differently.  Brenneman will have to pull one out of an uncomfortable place (and I’m not talking the back of a Volkswagen) to win this one.
Dennis Hallman vs. Ben Saunders: The Knees of Death that knocked Brandon Wolff into next decade are coming to collect Dennis Hallman.  Of course, Robin Phoenix would not be afraid of this, due to the fact that Hallman has two wins over former UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes.  This will not be Saunders’ toughest test, but it’s not an insignificant one.  Someone with the experience of Hallman has likely faced a striker or three as tough as Saunders, but he will likely not be in the UFC after this one.  Serra Principle notwithstanding.
Tim Boetsch vs. Todd Brown: Oh, how life comes full circle.  Just two and a half years ago, Boetsch entered the Octagon on short notice against David Heath and shocked everyone watching with the flurry punches and knees that ended the fight.  Now he’s the one facing an unknown fighter on short notice.  Cave ignote.

fr702 –
Dustin Hazelett vs. Rick Story: Story by 3rd round (t)ko and yes typing that kinda hurt.
Stefan Struve vs. Christian Morecraft: Com’on Struve lets get the win, Round 3 submission.
Rodney Wallace vs. Phil Davis: Phil Davis by excellent WWF nickname awww Paul Orndorff, Sho Nuff tho is his opponent hmmm this is going to be a technical Draw due to excellent nick names, seriously Sho Nuff might grind out a decision here.
Johny Hendricks vs. Charlie Brenneman: I’m picking Brenneman via Cecil Peoples’ Split decision.
Dennis Hallman vs. Ben Saunders: Hey I like the Killa B his Thai work is getting better each time out, he is a game opponent for anyone, Dennis Hallman by Armbar Round 2.
Tim Boetsch vs. Todd Brown: Boestsch by David Heath Head dump/Slam Round 1

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