UFC on FOX 4 from Los Angeles pits Brandon Vera against former UFC light heavyweight champ Mauricio Shogun Rua in a battle for the number one contender spot for Rua’s former belt. The ProMMAnow.com (www.prommanow.com) staff have made their picks on that fight as well as the rest of the main card that will be live on FOX. See if you agree with us!
Nam Phan vs. Cole Miller
Brian Furby: Cole Miller
Gary Thomas: Nam Phan always comes into the fight and brings it. However for all his efforts he sits at 1-3 in his last 4 fights. Cole Miller has been banging in the octagon for awhile and has shown he is worthy of a big fight. This one should be close and knowing Phan this will be a grueling 15 minutes. I like Miller in this fight by decision. Pick – Miller via decision
Richard Mann: Anyone has a shot against Miller if they move forward and throw straight punches. Phan should be schooled enough to do it. However, I am still going to hold out hope that Miller will have learned to use his reach and finally take a striking battle. Pick -Miller by decision
Denny Hodge: I expect Phan to come out quickly and use his speed to take an early lead in this fight. Miller will try to get the fight to the mat and implement his ground game, and will have his moments in this fight when on the ground chaining together submission attempts. Phan has never been submitted before, but Miller is pretty slick at capitalizing on mistakes. In the end, I expect a back-and-forth bout that goes to the cards. Pick -Miller by decision.
Jan Gaetjens: Nam Phan never really impressed on the Ultimate Fighter, and still has yet to really show us anything in the UFC. At 1-3 he’s essentially fighting to stay in the promotion at this point, and getting assaulted by Jim Hettes at UFC 141 didn’t do much to inspire confidence. I’m not completely sold on Miller, but I think he takes this one by a pretty slim margin. Not to mention Phan has more or less sealed his own fate by blaspheming the good name of Steven Seagal earlier in the week. Pick – Miller by decision
Jack Bratcher: I like both these guys but I’m feeling Cole Miller here. I think he has the edge on the ground and Phan has the edge on the feet. However, Cole’s boxing should be good enough to at least keep Phan from landing the finishing shots. Neither guy has ever been submitted. This should be a very technical war. I don’t know how he’s going to do it, Cole may give Nam his firs sub loss. Miller via decision.
Mike Swick vs. DaMarques Johnson
Brian Furby: Mike Swick
Gary Thomas: Mike Swick has been fighting, just not in the cage. With over a 2 year absence from the octagon there is much to wonder about how he will perform. Johnson comes in so unpredictable that it is hard to say which DJ we will see. I like Swick in this fight because of his striking. He should shake the ring rust off quickly and finish Johnson in the second round via KO/TKO. Pick – Swick via TKO/KO
Richard Mann: Swick is clearly the better fighter, but he has been out of action for an extended period of time. When I finally get my life together and do a study it will clear how an extended layoff effects fighters. With that being said, Swick will have a big advantage on the feet. Johnson has never be a stud wrestler, so expect Swick to take a striking based decision.Pick- Swick by decision
Denny Hodge: How will a two-plus year layoff affect Swick? Expect him to be technically sound coming out against Johnson who has struggled with consistency in his UFC career. Swick will keep this one on the feet and TKO Johnson in his return to the octagon. Pick – Swick via TKO
Jan Gaetjens: A two and a half year lay off is a lot of cage rust for Swick to shake off, but I’m inclined to believe him when he says the time away saved his body from some of the wear and tear it would’ve otherwise been put through. Swick looks like he’s in outstanding shape and is definitely motivated to become relevant in the division again. Pick –Swick by decision
Jack Bratcher: Mike Swick is back peoples. He looks healthy and confident and stronger than ever. He’s going to remind everyone just how talented he is. I don’t think rust is gonna be much of an issue. Swick via TKO first round.
Jamie Varner vs Joe Lauzon
Brian Furby: Joe Lauzon
Gary Thomas: Jamie Varner has been on a roller coaster as of late. Surging into the mix in the lightweight division with a win over Edson Barboza has resurrected Varner’s career. Lauzon was handled quickly in his last fight by Anthony Pettis but always finds ways to win. I like Varner’s pace and ground and pound to carry him to victory. Pick -Varner via TKO round 3.
Richard Mann: Varner needs to jump on an opponent early and finish the fight. When he fights for more than a round, the wheels come off pretty obviously. Lauzon has sputtered against better fighters, but he is still resilent and will be there after round one. Even if Varner comes out like a house of fire, Lauzon will take the decision. Pick -Lauzon by decision
Denny Hodge: Varner seems to have his mental game on point now, which admittedly has slowed him down in the past. After derailing the hype train of Edson Barboza at UFC 146, he is stepping in to face Lauzon, the crafty vet who will be dangerous if he can pull Varner into his world on the mat. That’s easier said than done as Varner is capable of defending Lauzon’s takedown attempts throughout the entire bout. Look for Varner to dictate where this bout goes and stays. Varner will do just that and put this one away on the feet. Pick -Varner by TKO.
Jan Gaetjens: Lauzon’s going to want to get Varner off of his feet quickly to avoid getting pulled into a boxing mach; however, risking getting stuck under Varner could be dangerous. Varner hits hard and works quickly; if he can come out guns blazing and score on his feet early this is a fight he can potentially put away quickly. Pick(s) –Varner by TKO (if it gets past the 2nd round, Lauzon by decision)
Jack Bratcher. I like Varner’s wrestling and striking advantages here as I see it. Joe can finish a fight in an instant if you let him but Varner is back in the big show, he’s hungry and he’s on a roll. Varner via decision.
Ryan Bader vs. Lyota Machida
Brian Furby: Lyota Machida
Gary Thomas: With the number one contender spot on the line Machida and Bader have to be thinking they come in to this fight with added pressure. Machida has the edge in striking and is a terror to take down. Bader is strong and if he can land a take down he will he could be dangerous. I think Machida will prevail and be the first to knock Bader out.
Richard Mann: Despite a few losses, Machida’s style is still a bit of a mystery. Bader has never been one for a gameplan. On top of that, his fight IQ appears to have gone down since he moved to Power MMA. Machida will have very little trouble staying on the outside and taking a decision. Pick -Machida by decision
Denny Hodge: This fight is a very bad style match up for Ryan Bader. Bader has power in his hands but his bread and butter obviously, is still his ability to put opponents on their backs. Against Machida, setting up those takedown attempts will be very difficult. Bader will struggle to close the distance to land anything significant enough to set up his TD attempts. As the fight wears on I expect him to get desperate and shoot from way outside, which opens him up for one of Machida’s kicks or counter-knees. Machida will dominate from start to finish. Pick -Machida by TKO.
Jan Gaetjens: I’m sure this makes me a terrible person in some people’s books, but the Karate mystique has worn off a bit, and I don’t see Machida being able to outsmart Bader with his counter striking. Strength and aggressive, technical striking win this one and move Bader closer to a meeting with Jon Jones. Pick -Bader by TKO
Jack Bratcher: I’m glad to see Jan also picking Bader. I totally agree with Jan. Bader brought in Hiroshi Allen, a Shotokan master, to help prepare for the unorthodox striking of Machida. He will be used to the style that has confounded many. Karate will get you killed. Bader has heavy hands people (and kicks). Bader via KO.
Brandon Vera vs Mauricio Shogun Rua
Brian Furby – Shogun Rua
Gary Thomas:This fight needs no commentary. I will go with my friend Brian Furby’s style and just say..Shogun Rua
Richard Mann: I was unimpressed with Vera before it was cool. However, I think Rua’s style will make this fight exciting. He seems to let even the lowest level fighters stay in the fight. This could turn into a serious main event with strikes flying both ways, but it is still Rua’s fight to lose. Pick – Rua by decision
Denny Hodge: “Shogun” is as tough as they come, which he showed in his five-round war with Dan Henderson. His violent style is a given, and that’s what he will put on full display against Vera, who tends to fade when assaulted with fast-paced, high level violence. Vera needs to get off quick which he’s struggled to do in the past. He needs to match the aggressiveness of Rua and force the pace of the match. He will try to do just that, but will fall short. Rua will dominate the fight but it will go to the cards. Pick -Rua by decision.
Jan Gaetjens: One of these men is coming off a performance that may very well be the fight of the decade. The other went the distance with Eliot Marshall. Pick-Rua by KO
Jack Bratcher: Do I really have to even pick here? Let’s get real. Vera shouldn’t even be in a main event much less a fight with title implications. Maybe he’ll prove everyone wrong and finally show up. There’s about a .00000001% chance he lands a lucky punch. Rua via KO lights out starched Vera.