Fedor Emelianenko vs. Tim Sylvia
Emelianenko via submission, round 3.
To me this is a pretty simple pick. Fedor will definitely have respect for Sylviaâ€™s punching power, and will likely only stand and trade with the much taller opponent for a short while. Fedor will shoot for a takedown here and there but will probably get stuffed while Sylvia is still at full strength in the opening rounds. Ultimately, however, Fedor will be able to secure the takedown and from there, will keep Sylvia neutralized until he inevitably makes just the smallest mistake on the ground which will leave him open for who knows, maybe an armbar, choke, knee bar, heel hook- your choice. I see Fedor locking in the sub somewhere in the third round.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Ben Rothwell
Arlovski via TKO, round 2.
Ben Rothwell has size and some good power but has never faced anyone the likes of Andrei Arlovski, and I doubt it will take long for the Belarusian to take Rothwell out of his comfort zone. Rothwell does have decent stand up but itâ€™s not nearly as fine tuned as Arlovskiâ€™s, and I really can’t see Rothwell finishing this fight on the ground either, despite his wrestling pedigree. Basically, I just donâ€™t see a big advantage for Rothwell anywhere in this fight. Normally Iâ€™d say Arlovski would look for a submission but since heâ€™s so taken with striking these days, Iâ€™m going to say TKO in the second round.
Josh Barnett vs. Pedro Rizzo
Barnett via submission, round 2.
A long time rematch in the making, Josh Barnett and Pedro Rizzo met over seven years ago at UFC 30 when Rizzo knocked â€œThe Babyface Assassinâ€ out cold. Of course Barnett was only 23 years old at the time and now Rizzo, 34, is but a mere shadow of his former self. Rizzo still has some good fight in him and I donâ€™t want to count him out completely, but I think Barnett is too smart to lose this one. As much as I suspect Barnett would like to K.O. Rizzo, Iâ€™m sure he will respect Pedro’s greatest strength, which is still his striking, and take things to the ground as fast as humanly possible. Rizzo is by no means defenseless on the ground but he is facing Josh Barnett, a man famous for using his strength and expertise to keep opponents in a bad position until a sub ultimately sinks in- which is exactly how I see it happening to Rizzo some time in the second round.
Mike Whitehead vs. Renato â€œBabaluâ€ Sobral
Sobral via unanimous decision
I donâ€™t see either fighter being able to finish this fight. Whitehead might look for a knockout punch early on but Sobral will inevitably take it to the ground in hopes of a submission. Sobral has top notch jiujitsu but Whitehead, in addition to being physically strong, is wise to the submission game as well, and will likely be able to stay out of harms way for the duration of the bout. I see Sobral maintaining top position for a while and grinding out a decision victory.
Matt Lindland vs. Fabio Negao
Lindland via submission, round 2
Quite the mismatch here. Negao might be ready for a guy like Lindland some day, but not this Saturday. Lindland just has worlds more experience and weâ€™ve seen how easily he can control opponents on the ground. Negaoâ€™s wrestling and submissions are decent, but I doubt it will be enough to handle a seasoned grappling veteran like Lindland. Unless Lindland gets caught with a well timed shot to the button, I forsee him securing some kind of choke in the second round.
Terry Martin vs. Vitor Belfort
Belfort via knock out, round 3.
This is a tough pick with so many variables. Years ago I would say Belfort wins via total annihilation, but who knows if we will see the Belfort of old or the new and unimproved Vitor. We also donâ€™t really know how well Belfort will perform in his new weight class. Will the drop to 185 hurt his power? Will he go to the ground or remain confident in his stand up? Itâ€™s anyoneâ€™s guess. I speculate Martin will look to out-box Belfort and in doing so, over extends himself on a power shot that gets countered big time. I say Vitor scores the knock out in the third round.
UFC Fight Night 14
Anderson Silva vs. James Irvin
Silva via TKO, round 3.
Silva should win this one but it wonâ€™t be as easy as some are speculating. Irvin is very strong and if timed correctly, could really hurt Silva with a nice power shot. But Silva is a technician and will likely be too smart for all that. Silva moves very well and should be able to avoid any bombs Irvin tosses out, while slipping in his own pesky counter shots. I see James Irvin getting frustrated after missing with his punches, and I feel it will only be a matter of time before Silva catches him in the plum and unloads his patented brand of knees, elbows and punches that fans have come to know so well. I have Silva scoring the TKO in the third round.
Brandon Vera vs. Reese Andy
Vera via knock out, round 1.
Bit of a squash match here. I ask you, who is Reese Andy? I have found one clip of him online from an IFL fight and it didnâ€™t really help me all that much. Looking at his record, I canâ€™t say Andy is more likely to strike or grapple since most of his bouts have gone to a decision. This has to be a convincing win for Vera, he doesnâ€™t have a choice. If Vera loses or even wins a boring decision against a UFC newcomer known only to few, if any, his credibility, popularity and ranking will shoot even further down the proverbial ladder. Iâ€™m picking Vera via knock out in the first round because itâ€™s such a must win for â€œThe Truth.â€
Hermes Franca vs. Frank Edgar
Franca via submission, round 3.
This is the match I speculate will be fight of the night. Edgar is a very talented wrestler but Hermes Franca is bigger, stronger, and better versed in submissions. Edgar however is mighty quick and has the crisper stand up, so he could look to drop his opponent before Hermes decides to shoot for the takedown. Unfortunately for Edgar, I donâ€™t think he will be able to hold off the ground attack forever and will ultimately succumb to a submission some time in the third round.
Cain Velasquez vs. Jake Oâ€™Brien
Velasquez via TKO, round 2.
Another tough one to pick due to the fact that Velasquez has only had three professional fights, and Oâ€™Brien has never defeated anyone terribly notable, save for a decision win over Heath Herring back in â€™07. This match is a real wild card, but if I had to choose I would say Velasquez via TKO simply because thatâ€™s how heâ€™s managed to win all three of his other bouts thus far.
CB Dollaway vs. Jesse Taylor
Taylor via TKO, round 2.
I donâ€™t see this one staying on the feet very long, as both of these guys feel most confident in the wrestling department. Sooner than later the fight hits the ground where the stronger Jesse Taylor obtains mount and begins throwing down some ground and pound. Letâ€™s sayâ€¦round 2.