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Predictions For UFC 96 “Jackson vs. Jardine”

Okay, so tomorrow nights UFC pay-per-view is more of the vanilla variety, but there are still some interesting match ups which like it or not, you know you’re curious about. Plus vanilla just happens to be my second favorite flavor in the Neopolitan ice cream lineup, so lets do this thing!

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Keith Jardine Prediction: Rampage via TKO, round 1.

Leg kicks. Some say they could make or break this bout. Jardine has effective leg kicks, given, but they really are not on the same bone crushing level of Forrest Griffin’s. Add into the mix that Jackson alas appears to be in excellent physical and mental shape, and you’ve got a disaster waiting to happen to Keith Jardine. While Rampage is not as aggressive as Wanderlei Silva, I imagine the fight to end up in a similar fashion, with Jardine getting caught on his suspect chin before the opening frame even comes to an end. It might be risky to get behind Rampage 100% given his checkered personal past and Keith Jardine’s penchant for screwing up the LHW pecking order…but what the hell. Jackson is simply the better fighter and if he’s ready, “The Dean of Mean” doesn’t stand a chance.

Shane Carwin vs. Gabriel Gonzaga Prediction: Gonzaga via submission, round 3.

Now I should be able to pick Gabriel Gonzaga without worrying about it too much, but the truth is that’s a shaky prediction at best. On paper, Gonzaga has the skills and experience to take out Carwin wherever the fight ends up. Carwin, as talented as he is, remains rather untested in his fairly short career. He has immense physical gifts and might be able to bully Gonzaga for a while, but he could also get submitted or KTFO in the later minutes since his cardio has yet to be pushed passed the 2:11 mark of the first round (yes, I had to look that up.) Let us also keep in mind that Gonzaga got worked over pretty good by Randy Couture and Fabricio Werdum not too long ago, and other than his epic highlight reel knock out of Mirko Cro Cop, has not dispatched any of the upper echelon heavyweights.

Still, I’m picking Gonzaga to score an armbar somewhere in the third round, but with an animal like Carwin in the cage, a swift knockout is always lurking around the corner. Brazilians beware.

Gray Maynard vs. Jim Miller Prediction: Maynard via unanimous decision.

To me, this just seems like another fight that Maynard should be able to dominate via his wrestling prowess which feeds off of his significant size and strength advantage. Jim Miller has some very slick submissions in the arsenal but Maynard can likely fend those off long enough to nab the unanimous decision. I don’t see how Miller can put “The Bully” in any serious danger, I feel like its Maynard’s fight to lose.

Matt Hamill vs. Mark Munoz Prediction: Hammil via TKO, round 2.

I’m actually quite torn on this pick. Munoz is a better striker than Hamill and probably just as good a wrestler, so I imagine he will be able to sprawl and brawl for at least the duration of the first round . But Hamill has a good chunk of size on Munoz as well as the precious experience of fighting on the oft-intimidating stage that is the UFC octagon. I predict Munoz to put up a strong fight but eventually he will get tired, nervous, taken down, and unable to escape those 4.5 ounce gloves crashing down on his dome. Hamill via ground n’ pound, second round. Hey that rhymes.

Matt Brown vs. Pete Sell Prediction: Sell via submission, round 2.

The fact that this match made it onto the main card while Brandon Vera fights some nobody on the undercard is just sad. Oh well.

I think welterweight is a much better home for Pete Sell and if he can keep the gas tank in check, then Matt Brown should eventually succumb, as he is a bit more vulnerable to stronger, more aggressive fighters who take the fight to him. This is more specific than I usually get, but I’ll say that early in the second round Brown starts getting outworked and desperate and looks for a takedown only to get stuffed, then Sell will spin around to take his back and force Brown to tap from a RNC at 2:12 of round 2.

Kendall Grove vs. Jason Day Prediction: Grove via TKO, round 3.

Day is the more dangerous grappler, but I do not see him getting close enough to impose his will on Kendall Grove, who will enjoy a serious height and reach advantage. Grove needs to keep distance and pepper with crisp combinations, utilize the clinch and let the knees go when he needs them. He’ll naturally have to avoid the occasional takedown attempt here and there as well. All in all, I don’t think Jason Day is anything special that Grove hasn’t seen before. “Da Spyder” with the TKO.

Brandon Vera vs. Mike Patt Vera via KO, round 2.

Oh Brandon Vera. What a fall you’ve taken since the days of schooling Assuerio Silva’s and Frank Mir’s. Im taking Vera to win decisively simply because he needs it…bad…like running-out-of-morphine-when-you’re weaning-of-off-heroin bad. Joe Silva is clearly spoon-feeding Mike Patt to Vera in hopes of Brandon scoring the confidence boosting knock out. Will “The Truth” finally be able to pull the trigger thats been stuck for the past two years? We shall see. Vera via knock out. There is no other way.

Oh and did you know, the UFC is finally planning on holding an event in my backyard, just thought I’d mention it again.

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