“UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira” takes place this Sat., Aug. 29, 2009 in Portland, Ore. That means it is time once again for PRO MMA’s Staff Picks as we give you our oh so professional opinions on who we think will win, who we think will lose, and why.
Joining us for the second UFC in a row to lend his legitimate professional opinion is professional MMA fighter and cast member of “The Ultimate Fighter 10: Heavyweights” – JUSTIN WREN. If you have not yet heard, Justin will be writing his official TUF 10 blog this season right here at PRO MMA (promma.info) beginning Sept. 9.
Also joining us for our UFC 102 Staff Picks this time is professional fighter and good friend of the site Billy “24/7″ MacDonald. We would like to thank both fighters for lending their picks and without further ado, let’s get to it.
RANDY COUTURE vs. ANTONIO RODRIGO NOGUEIRA
JUSTIN WREN:I am a HUGE fan of both of these guys. Randy is great ambassador for MMA and is a great example of a classy sportsman. He is always humble in victory and defeat and so is Big Nog. I am going to have to go with Randy Couture on this one. I think that his base will keep him on top the entire fight and that he is definitely skilled enough to stay out of a submission. I see the fight going like Nog’s fights normally start, with him taking a lot of punishment. I just see Randy not making a mistake and to keep punishing Nog till the ref pulls him off.
BILLY MACDONALD:Randy Couture beats Nogueira on guts and determination by unanimous decision.
DUSTY ADAMS:Nogueria. I don’t really even know why because being in Couture country the deck is stacked against him but I like Nogueria by choke round two.
TIM THOMPSON:Couture vs. Nog is the fight we were dying to see five years ago, but we have it now and I personally hope it’s exciting. Should be a five-rounder but it’s only three so I will take Captain America by decision.
JACK BRATCHER:We just have not seen the Minotauro of old in so long we have to assume he no longer exists. Randy will beat Nog in every aspect of the game. The only place Nog would beat him is grappling but Randy is good enough not to get caught in a submission. I think Randy is going to be coming into this fight with some pent up aggression dealing with an ex-wife and he’s gonna whip up on Nog like he’s Kim with teticles. Randy by TKO round two.
KEITH JARDINE vs. THIAGO SILVA
JUSTIN WREN:Keith is a great guy, I want to see him win this fight. He is a very mild mannered, humble dude but brings it every time he fights. It is hard to bet against Thiago seeing his only loss is to the current champion, but then again Keith KO’d Forrest and also beat Chuck. I am going to be training partners with Keith here very soon and so I obviously want to see him win. I am pulling for Jardine.
BILLY MACDONALD:Thiago Silva will test Keith Jardine’s chin and get his hand raised after a round 2 TKO.
DUSTY ADAMS:Silva. Doubt there will be much if any at all grappling in this fight. Jardine has that unorthodox striking style that makes it tough on opponents. Silva likes to bang straight up. I like Silva’s power over Jardine’s, so Silva by TKO first round.
TIM THOMPSON:Jardine vs. Silva goes along with the rest of the card with the Striker vs Jiu Jitsu fights. No pressure on Jardine and coming off his loss to Rampage makes me believe he wont let this fight last long. Jardine by KO.
JACK BRATCHER:Gonna have to go with Silva. Jardine has faced stiffer competition but doesn’t seem to do so well when guys attack him at full force (i.e. Houston Alexander) and Silva will be all over him like ugly on Carrot Top.
CHRIS LEBEN vs. JAKE ROSHOLT
JUSTIN WREN:Chris Leben is a HARD hitter. However I think his brawling style is going to hurt him in this fight. I have trained with all the Team Takedown guys in Vegas and think they have solid guys. I think that Jake being a 3x NCAA Champion wrestler is what will win him this fight. Jake is a BIG 185 pounder… and Leben is about to face a guy that is a bigger, stronger, more accomplished wrestler than Josh Koscheck. I think that Jake will win this fight by ground and pound or a decision.
BILLY MACDONALD:Leban will beat Roshalt by decision and this fight will give the others a run for the money on fight of the night honors.
DUSTY ADAMS:Rosholt. Leben will get his shots in but I think Rosholt will take him down repeatedly and pound out a unanimous decision.
TIM THOMPSON:Leben vs. Rosholt has a chance to be the fight of the night. With Rosholt’s great wrestling and his ability to take a punch he has a great chance to win the fight. However, I think Leben is focused and ready to prove he is still a force to be reckoned with. Leben by KO.
JACK BRATCHER:I’m going with Justin on this one. A good wrestler is the type of guy that can pose real problems for Leben and I could see Rosholt being that dude. Roids or not, Leben loses by decision.
DEMIAN MAIA vs. NATE MARQUARDT
JUSTIN WREN:I am moving to Denver here in a couple of days to train with the likes of Marquardt, Carwin, Marshall, Ludwig, Schaub, and then the Jackson guys out in New Mexico. I am definitely pulling for Nate in this one. Nate is a great person, and a fierce fighter. The Nate I heard that is fighting Maia, is the best Nate Marquardt we have ever seen. I think that his experience, and skill set will be overwhelming for Maia. I see Marquardt winning on his feet, however Marquardt is a devastating fighter anywhere the fight takes place.
BILLY MACDONALD: Maia will stay undefeated in the upset of the night after sinking in a rear-naked choke following two and a half brutal rounds.
DUSTY ADAMS:Maia. Until he gets beat or faces Anderson Silva I will pick him. Even though Marquardt is very powerful and a BJJ Black belt, the modern day version of Royce Gracie will find a way to submit him. Maia by submission round two.
TIM THOMPSON:Maia vs Marquardt is a fight between two of the best middleweights in the world. Maia has the ability to win by submission at any point in the fight but I think Marquardt will be too much to handle and will by decision.
JACK BRATCHER:Marquardt should be able to stay out of Maia’s submissions… maybe. This could be fight of the night in my opinion. It’s a tough fight for both guys and almost a toss up. It’s Maia’s toughest fight to date. If he could get past Marquardt it would be huge for Maia. I’m leaning toward Marquardt because he is more well-rounded. TKO or decision for Marquardt.
KRZYSZTOF SOSZYNSKI vs. BRANDON VERA
JUSTIN WREN: My personal opinion is that Vera is more well-rounded. I think that this will come into play and that he will win this fight. I think that it could be a war because both guys love to stand and bang but I see Vera coming out on top.
BILLY MACDONALD:This one is tough to call. On one hand I don’t see Vera getting knocked out. And on the other I don’t see him finishing this fight either. So I am just going to go with my gut feeling and say that Dan Henderson and the rest of Team Quest has Soszynski ready to go to war. Krzysztof Soszynski via decision.
DUSTY ADAMS:Soszynski. All I really ever see Vera do is kickbox in his fights. Soszynski won’t play that game but will mount Vera and win by TKO in the second round.
TIM THOMPSON:Krzysztof vs. Vera should be a great fight with the amazing Muay Thai of Vera and the great ground game of Krzysztof. The fight will go to the ground at some point and when it does Krzysztof will finish it.
JACK BRATCHER:This could also be fight of the night. Vera has better stand up but I could see K-Sos tying him up, getting Vera down and getting one of his famous kimura’s. Soszynski is still undefeated in the UIFC and is on a six fight win streak. He’s on a heck of a roll and I don’t know if Vera can stop him. Soszynski is in a tough school with Hendo and Team Quest. I’m going with Soszynski by either kimura or decision.
PRO MMA would like to thank our special guests for our UFC 102 Staff Picks - Justin Wren from “The Ultimate Fighter 10: Heavyweights” and Billy “24/7″ MacDonald. Be sure to catch Justin’s official TUF 10 blog which he will be writing for us here at PRO MMA (promma.info) beginning on Sept. 9, 2009.