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PRO MMA staff picks for UFC 96

UFC 96: JACKSON vs. JARDINE takes place tonight, March 7, in Columbus, Ohio. We have collected the predictions for each fight from the PRO MMA (promma.info) staff elders. Check them out and then share with us your thoughts on who looks like they know what they are talking about and which staff member may be way off in left field with their pick (be nice). Here are the ‘PRO MMA STAFF PICKS’ for UFC 96:

Aaron Riley (27-10-1, 1-2 UFC) vs. Shane Nelson (11-3, 1-0 UFC)
DENNY: Riley brings in a ton of experience with numerous organizations including more than one stint with the UFC. Nelson is TUF 8 veteran, but will be over matched in this fight. Riley by decision.
EDDIE: Riley. Definitely too experienced and will put Nelson away. 1rd TKO.
MATT: Aaron Riley out pointing Nelson on the feet for a Unanimous Decision Victory.
JACK: Due to Aaron Riley’s experience and having been in there with so many top fighters, I have to go with him as the winner. Nelson has only fought outside Hawaii one time in his whole career, he has never really fought anyone with a name, and this will be a huge stage and experience for him that could also affect his nerves.

Brandon Vera (9-3, 5-3 UFC) vs. Michael Patt (12-3, 0-1 UFC)
DENNY: Will the real Brandon Vera please stand up? Vera will finally deliver at 205 with a quick KO victory over Mike Patt, and start to make some impact in the deep waters that is the UFC 205 division.
EDDIE: Vera for sure. This fight is important for his career and Vera will respond accordingly with a convincing win. 1rd TKO.
MATT: Mike Patt got beat decisively by Tim Boetsch at UFC 88 and it appears as if the UFC is setting him up against Brandon Vera to be nothing but another attempt to push Vera as a potential star in the 205 pound division. Vera TKO rd 1.
JACK: No doubt about this one. I have to go with Brandon Vera all the way. The talent level both guys have faced could not be further apart. Vera is also well-versed on the ground and should be safe from Patt’s submission game. Vera should be able to pick Patt apart on the feet.

Tim Boetsch (8-2, 2-1 UFC) vs. Jason Brilz (16-1-1, 1-1 UFC)
DENNY: Boetsch delivered some devastating knees to the face of Matt Hamill that would have finished a lot of guys, but ended up losing the fight. He will return with a vengeance in this fight with Brilz earning a decision victory.
EDDIE: Boetsch by hillybilly judo drop on Brilz’s head!
MATT: Boetsch will not have an easy time with Brilz who boasts a 16-1-1 record and has fought UFC vets Jason MacDonald, Alex Schoenauer and the late Justin Eilers. That being said Boetsch will earn a TKO victory late in the 3rd.
JACK: I have to go with Boetsch. Even though Brilz has the experience, Boetsch is just a bad ass. I think he learned from his loss to Hamill and will probably take Brilz out standing.

Kendall Grove (9-5, 4-2 UFC) vs. Jason Day (17-7, 1-1 UFC)
DENNY: This is a battle to stay in the UFC. Both fighters are on the bubble, and Dana White has already verbally put the heat on Grove coming into this fight. Grove will deliver and will NOT be the first TUF winner to be exited from the Octagon for good with a decision victory over Day.
EDDIE: Day takes this fight even though Grove will start strong. Day by late stoppage in the 3rd.
MATT: Dana White has publicly stated Grove could be the first TUF winner to be let go from the UFC. Grove, on the feet, will probably will earn an unimpressive unanimous decision victory.
JACK: I have to go with Jason Day. He is a lot more well rounded. Both fighters are coming off a pretty significant layoff but Day just seems more consistent. Kendall’s whole career has been up and down. However, this fight is a really good match up and could be very close.

Tamdan McCrory (10-2, 2-2 UFC) vs. Ryan Madigan (5-0, 0-0 UFC)
DENNY: McCrory is coming off a loss to submission wizard Dustin Hazelett and with a nickname like the “Barn Cat” it’s hard to pick against him. Madigan is 5-0 and none of his fights have went to decision. I’m going with Madigan here to win his UFC debut by TKO in Round 2.
EDDIE: McCrory catches a submission after getting off to a slow start. 2nd Sub.
MATT: Look for McCrory to submit the UFC rookie early in the second round.
JACK: Both fighters have only been fighting professionally since 2006, yet McCrory has over double the number of fights as Madigan. If you were to judge the fight based just on looks you would have to go with Madigan but then you would be missing all that McCrory brings to the table. McCrory has been to the big show, he’s fought some tough cats and has some solid wins. McCrory wins.

Gray Maynard (7-0-1, 4-0-1 UFC) vs. Jim Miller (13-1, 2-0 UFC)
DENNY: One of the Miller brothers, Jim to be exact will bring the heat in this fight. Maynard always come to fight in tip top shape and this fight will be back and forth the entire fight. Miller will prove that he wants this one more taking a decision victory over Gray.
EDDIE: This has the fight of night potential if miller wins. That is what it will take for thes ubmission ace If Gray takes it will be boring. lay and pray. Miller by Sub 3rd.
MATT: Maynard needs an impressive performance to prove that he has what it takes to make a significant impact in the Lightweight division. Miller is well versed in submissions, however, Maynard’s submission defense may not be the best at 155 but look for him to handle Miller on the ground and take home another unanimous decision victory.
JACK: This is a tough lightweight match-up to call. It is hard to pick against Maynard because of his camp and his ability to control the action. However, Miller is much more of a finisher and can end fights whereas Maynard grinds it out and goes to a decision more often than not. Jim Miller wins it.

Gabriel Gonzaga (10-3, 6-2 UFC) vs. Shane Carwin (10-0, 3-0 UFC)
DENNY: Man!! Carwin is a beast! He has power, he has size, he has wrestling. What he doesn’t have is enough experience to get him past a rejuvenated Gabriel Gonzaga. Gonzaga will find away to get this on the ground and use his grappling skills to end the night for Carwin. Gonzaga by sub, round 2.
EDDIE: Gonzaga wins by submission, after defending an early Carwin blitzkrieg. Gonzaga by sub 1rd.
MATT: Both are very big and strong. Carwin ranks just behind Lesnar when it comes to strength in the UFC heavyweight division but has never been out of the first round and hasn’t fought anyone with Napao’s BJJ skill set. These two will throw hard shots on the feet and Carwin will more than likely wind up getting the take down. However, Gonzaga will not allow Carwin to remain in a dominat position for long and will submit him from the bottom late in the first round.
JACK: I have to go with my man Gonzaga. Carwin has the wrestling background but Gonzaga has the BJJ background. Also, I really think at this level you CAN NOT be working another job full time. That is just insane. Carwin told me he would “cross that bridge when he got to it” about the possibility of ever having to give up his day job. I think that time has come. Gabriel Gonzaga wins it. I have to say also I’m a big Carwin fan and supporter and don’t want to see either guy lose.

Pete Sell (8-4, 2-4 UFC) vs. Matt Brown (8-7, 2-1 UFC)
DENNY: Matt Brown was hyped to be a stud during his stint on TUF, but has had some lackluster fights since. Pete Sell has been on the wrong end of some close fights, but a drop in weight has refocused “Drago”. Sell has the power advantage on the feet and likely won’t fall into a submission attempt from Matt Brown. Sell by decision.
EDDIE: Pete Sell by dec. Crowd pleasing fighters that will put on an exciting display of sloppy boxing.
MATT: Sell recently came off a three fight losing streak with a win over Josh Burkman. Brown is a hit or miss fighter and Sell until recent has been nothing but miss. However, look for Sell to put another one in the win column by scoring on the feet, staying out of submissions and a little lay and pray, grinding out with a split decision win.
JACK: I’m going with Matt Brown on this one. Brown is a finisher and he will keep coming at you. Sell is only one fight back from losing three in a row so I’ll need to see more out of him. Brown won’t let it go to decision and I don’t see him getting submitted. Brown wins it.

Matt Hamill (5-2, 5-2 UFC) vs. Mark Munoz (5-0, 0-0 UFC)
DENNY: Both guys are wrestlers, but Munoz has been said to have the better wrestling credentials over Hamill. Munoz fought at 185 in the WEC, and is moving up for this fight, and will be giving up a huge advantage in the stand up game. Hamill has improved greatly with his striking, and Munoz has looked very uncomfortable on his feet. This will be the difference and Matt Hamill will take this one by decision.
EDDIE: Munoz puts on a valiant showing but I think he will come up just a bit short. Hamill by dec.
MATT: Look for Munoz to come out and break Hamill’s will early in the fight, which has been the key to beating Hamill. Look for Munoz to out work Hamill on the feet and stuff Hamill’s take downs (which have been absent when the spot light shines down on the TUF vet) en-route to a unanimous decision victory.
JACK: These guys are very similar. Both have a strong background in wrestling and both have developed their hands to a certain extent. However, Hamill has a little more experience as a professional and all of his fights have been in the ‘big show’ whereas this will be Munoz’s debut and because of that I have to go with Hamill. Hamill wins it.

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (29-7, 4-1 UFC) vs. Keith Jardine (14-4-1, 6-3 UFC)
DENNY: Jardine has been here before. He’s the huge underdog again, but this time there won’t be an upset in the cards for “The Dean of Mean”. His unorthodox style has given guys fits in the past, and his strong leg kicks could be a problem for Rampage, just like in Griffin vs. Jackson. However, his inconsistency will plague him again, as Rampage will come out and put this one away in quick and brutal fashion. Jackson by KO in Round 1.
EDDIE: This is a tough one. I could see it going both ways, I will go out out on a limb with Jardine. Only because it will take Machida out of title purgatory and give him his long awaited shot @ Rashad Evans – Jardine by dec.
MATT: Jackson’s superior boxing skills will play a big part in this match up. His tight punches will come right down the middle through Jardine’s unorthodox defense. Jackson’s defensive wrestling is highly underrated and has the skills to neutralize anything Jardine has to offer on the ground. Jackson TKO rd 2.
JACK: Rampage is much more consistent, much more technical, and has a better chin. You can never count Jardine out because of his unorthodox style. He has nasty leg kicks that can take out Rampage’s base much like Griffin did. Having said that, I think Rampage’s superior boxing and power and speed will catch up to Jardine and put the mean one down. Quinton Jackson wins it, round one KO.

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