“UFC Live: Cruz vs. Johnson” (UFC on Versus 6) goes down Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Can UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz hang onto his title yet again? How will Pat Barry deal with the enormous height and reach of Stefan Struve? What will happen when two former collegiate wrestlers, Anthony Johnson and Charlie Brenneman, collide? Will Mac Danzig be able to avenge his controversial loss to Matt Wiman that happened last year at UFC 115? These are just a few of the questions the ProMMAnow.com (www.prommanow.com) staff pondered during our staff picks for UFC on Versus 6.
Matt Wiman (13-6) vs. Mac Danzig (21-8-1)
Odds: Wiman -220, Danzig +175
GARY THOMAS: Mac Danzig evens the score after getting a win over Joe Daddy Stevenson, Danzig repays the favor with a submission win. Danzig via Submission.
RICHARD MANN: Both fighters are basically even when is comes to grappling and wrestling. On the feet, Wiman is a more effective fighter. However, I really don’t want to pick him, because it seems like judges always rule against him in close fights. Wiman by decision.
BRIAN FURBY: Matt Wiman.
JOSH CROSS: I look for this fight to go very similarly like their last fight at UFC 115, but hopefully without the controversial ending. Danzieg has shown that he has trouble stopping the takedown and I think he’ll continue to have trouble in this fight. I think Winman will take Danzieg down and finish the fight. Pick: Winman via Submission.
DENNY HODGE: This is a re-match, and this fight will see plenty of take downs, scrambles, and back-to-the-feet exchanges, as both guys look to control the Octagon. Wiman is better on the feet, and he will use those tools to outpoint the wrestling of Danzig over three rounds. Wiman by decision.
KELVIN HUNT: Wiman is the better wrestler here and this will probably be the difference in the fight. Wiman should be able to stand with Danzig if he wishes, but will probably resort to takedowns to make sure he wins each round. Wiman via decision.
JOE GUGELMAN: Finally we’re getting the rematch of the fight that Yves Lavigne stole from us in a ridiculously early stoppage just when it was getting good. Danzig is coming off of a big Knockout of the Night win over Joe Stevenson, while Wiman recently lost a decision to Dennis Siver. Danzig has been very inconsistent lately though, dropping 4 of his last 6 (including the aforementioned technical submission that wasn’t). I see this fight being mostly controlled by Wiman, who will be looking to put an exclamation point on the first “win”. Pick: Wiman by TKO.
JACK BRATCHER: Danzig may have saved his job by knocking out Joe Stevenson last December but he’s going to find himself with his back against the fence once again I’m afraid after this one. Wiman was on his way to winning their first fight and there is little reason he shouldn’t be able to do it again. Wiman by decision.
Charlie Brenneman (14-2) vs. Anthony Johnson (9-3)
Odds: Brenneman +190, Johnson -240
GARY THOMAS: Charlie Brenneman will be tested against Johnson and momentum will carry him over to a decision win. Brenneman via unanimous decision.
RICHARD MANN: This fight comes down to wrestling. Brenneman is going to want to come out and score takedowns. Johnson will look to keep the fight on the feet and score with huge haymakers. In the past Johnson has struggled against superior wrestlers like Josh Koscheck. Is that an advantage that Brenneman will have? It is tough to say. Johnson by TKO.
BRIAN FURBY: Anthony Johnson.
JOSH CROSS: Brenneman showed in his last fight that he can thrive as an underdog when he scored a major upset over Rick Story. In that fight Brenneman used his wrestling game to take down Story and grind out a win. The difference in this fight is that I don’t think the Spaniard will be able to take down Johnson as easily. That coupled with Johnson’s reach advantage and power makes me think that Brenneman won’t be able to use the same technique to win this fight as he did in his last match. The Spaniard’s striking isn’t up to par with Johnsons and I think the only chance he has to win this fight is if Johnson gasses early. I don’t think that will be a large enough factor in this fight though. I wouldn’t count Brenneman out, but I just can’t pick him to win this fight. Pick: Johnson via Decision.
DENNY HODGE: I’m going way out on a limb in this one. Brenneman is relentless, and he is determined, but he comes in reckless at times looking to get the fight to the ground. Johnson is HUGE, and has a decided advantage on the feet. Brenneman has to survive the initial onslaught from Johnson, as he wades into the danger zone, but I think the weight cut will take it’s toll on Johnson as he fights Brenneman off through three rounds. Brenneman by decision.
KELVIN HUNT: As long as Johnson makes weight he should be able to take Brenneman out. He’ll be much bigger and should be able to defend Brenneman’s takedowns early on, but could possibly fade later in the fight if he doesn’t get Brenneman out of there by the second round. I’m going with Johnson via TKO.
JOE GUGELMAN: I like this matchup quite a bit. Brenneman is coming off of a HUGE victory over Rick Story, and has to be brimming with confidence in his skills right now. Johnson looked good in his return from a knee injury over Dan Hardy back in March, but Hardy has been making everyone look good as of late. I think there are still questions about how he will handle good wrestlers, as he looked completely lost in there against Koscheck before his injury. It’s too early to tell whether Brenneman is for real, but I think he rides his confidence boost and grappling advantage to weather the striking storm and grind out a close decision here. Pick: Brenneman via split decision.
JACK BRATCHER: Johnson has a clear advantage on the feet. If Brenneman can put Johnson down and keep him there he could pull out a decision. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion Mr. Johnson has tightened up his ground game with the Blackzilians and should be able to handle anything Brenneman throws his way. Johnson via TKO.
Pat Barry (6-3) vs. Stefan Struve (25-5)
Odds: Barry -200, Struve +160
GARY THOMAS: Both fighters looking to get back on the winning track. Should be a war with a knockout finish. Barry via KO.
RICHARD MANN: The gurus over at FootballOutsiders.com have shown that in order to be a good NFL team, you have to blow out inferior opposition. If the same is true of fighting, than the future is not bright for Struve. Even in fights that favor him, he makes them brawls and takes a lot of damage. That strategy might not be a good idea against Barry who can crack with the best of them. However, Struve’s ground game and brawling style should allow him to catch a submission in a scramble. Struve by submission.
BRIAN FURBY: Pat Barry.
JOSH CROSS: This fight should be really interesting for obvious reasons. Barry is the better striker of the two, but if Struve is able to use his reach to his advantage it could make things much more difficult for Barry. If the fight goes to the ground I think Struve has the advantage, but I don’t really see these two going to the mat much at all. I have a feeling like this could be a fight reminiscent of David and Goliath, and I think the outcome will be the same. Pick: Barry via TKO.
DENNY HODGE: I have a crazy feeling that Struve is going to oblige Barry in a stay in the pocket, let’s trade bombs, scenario early. He shouldn’t do that, but he probably will once the fists start flying — at least for a couple of exchanges. After he tastes that power for himself, he will try to get Barry to the ground. I’d love to see him try for a Pablo Garza flying triangle on the much shorter Barry. Most likely he would pull guard to get it to the mat, but I think it’s going to end on the feet. Barry by KO.
KELVIN HUNT: Something is screaming at me to go with Struve via submission..but Struve is horrible at using his length in fights. All Barry has to do is deliver leg kick after leg kick and chop him down. He could win this fight on leg kicks alone…I think Struve will fight to entertain instead of win…so Barry via TKO.
JOE GUGELMAN: Step right up! Only 50¢! See the world’s tallest man fight the world’s shortest man inside the confines of a steel cage! Come for the fight, stay to watch the loser bite the head off a chicken! Ok, so maybe it’s not THAT big of a freak show, but it’ll certainly look funny to your typical TV viewer who lands on Versus while channel surfing. I like Struve. Good striking, movement and jits for such a beanpole, and he showed his heart and fighting spirit in the Morecraft comeback. The same can be said of Barry, who prior to the Kongo fight, had never been knocked out in over 30 pro fights/kickboxing matches. It will be very interesting to see how he responds to having his lights shut off for the first time. My guess is that he is a little more cautious in scrambles, and we see him display some of that really technical, powerful striking to pick Stefan apart and get the finish. Struve could pull something off if the fight hits the ground, but I don’t expect Barry to play around inside his guard for any amount of time. Pick: Barry by KO.
JACK BRATCHER: Pat Barry just can’t seem to win two back-to-back fights inside the Octagon. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back from the brutal KO loss to Kongo. I have a feeling Barry is going to try to chop down the Dutch Skyscraper with leg kicks. If it goes to the ground Barry could be in real trouble. This one is almost a coin toss, no, let’s be honest, it is a coin toss, Barry via TKO.
Dominick Cruz (18-1) vs. Demetrious Johnson (14-1)
Odds: Cruz -450, Johnson +325
GARY THOMAS: Demetrious Johnson is a fast up and comer but will not be able to overcome the athleticism of Cruz. Cruz wins via submission.
RICHARD MANN: Since making his WEC debut, Johnson really has been a lot more impressive than I originally thought. He has a solid wrestling game, and he times his takedowns well. However, none of that is going to mean anything against Cruz. The champion is a solid wrestler in his own right, and on top of that, Cruz’s reach advantage will be the story of this fight. Johnson is even short for bantamweight. Look for Cruz to stay on the outside and score with his trademark style punches and kicks. With that being said there is always a chance that Johnson could land a huge counter and finish the fight. Cruz is often praised for his movement and foot work, but he still leaves himself open for counter shots. Cruz by decision.
BRIAN FURBY: Dominick Cruz.
JOSH CROSS: It’s hard for me to see for a way Johnson can win this fight. I just don’t think Johnson is as good as Cruz in either the striking or grappling departments. While Mighty Mouse is known for his quickness, I don’t see it playing much of a role at all in this fight. Johnson is tough so I don’t see him getting finished, but I think Cruz keeps his title decisively. Pick: Cruz via Decision.
DENNY HODGE: Demetrious Johnson truly has nothing to lose coming into his main event match up with UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. Two years ago, D.J. wasn’t even on the radar at 135, and probably should be competing at 125 pounds. Regardless, he has battled and overcame all of the obstacles placed in his path to get to this point. His cardio will be key against Cruz, who has shown that he can go five championship rounds already, and who is also known for his conditioning and frenetic pace in the cage. D.J.’s best chance is to pressure Cruz nonstop, and make the champion expend a lot of energy back peddling and defending take downs. I just don’t think he can do it long enough to stay out of trouble. Look for Cruz to get off his unorthodox punch combinations and pick Johnson apart. Cruz by TKO.
KELVIN HUNT: Cruz does everything Johnson does a little better, plus he’ll be the much larger fighter. Cruz outpoints Johnson all night and takes the unanimous decision.
JOE GUGELMAN: Speed is the name of the game here. In Johnson’s UFC debut against Kid Yamamoto, he moved so fast that the new Facebook streaming feature had a hard time keeping up. He would start a takedown, the feed would stutter for a split second, and they would be on the ground. That said, I’m sure if Cruz would have fought Faber or Benavidez on there, the same would have happened. I think this is really going to come down to wrestling. Can “Mighty Mouse” get ahold of Cruz, and more importantly, can he hold him down long enough to impose his will? As much as I think he’s deserving of this title shot, I just think Dominick is too good and unorthodox to allow that to happen. I also expect the criticism of his lack of finishes to really start mounting after this fight if he’s not able to put Johnson away. Pick: Cruz by UD.
JACK BRATCHER: Everyone is picking Cruz and for good reason. He has all the tools necessary to beat Johnson. These two little fellas are going to be bouncing all over that cage from one side to the next, up and down, round and round. Expect a fast paced dance of destruction! Cruz should be able to out-point Johnson for a five round decision.