Are you one of the die hard UFC fans who will be up with the sunrise Saturday morning to watch UFC Macao on Fuel TV? This is EXACTLY why DVR’s were invented, no? The ProMMAnow.com (www.prommanow.com) staff (a few of us anyway) have submitted our thoughts and predictions for each of the six main card bouts. Check them out, let us know what you think. And, if by some crazy chance in hell you can out-pick and out-predict the staff, you will win something really cool like a virtual standing ovation or even possibly a Pro MMA Now T-Shirt.
Alright, here’s what we’re working with…
Rich Franklin (29-6, 1 NC) vs. Cung Le (8-2)
ODDS: Franklin -365 vs. Le +295
JAN GAETJENS: On paper, any fight involving Cung Le generally elicits words like “slugfest” or “dynamic stand up battle”. Here’s a new set specifically for this matchup: slow, methodical, dirty boxing, distance-going, grind. Rich Franklin wants no part of anything Cung Le has to throw at him on the feet. Look for Franklin to work from the clinch, score some takedown points, and grind out a very, very, very drawn out win. Franklin by decision.
BRIAN FURBY: Rich Franklin by TKO in round 2
KELVIN HUNT: Franklin has better cardio and will enjoy a size/reach advantage. I think he pushes the pace and finishes Le late in the fight via TKO
JACK BRATCHER: Cung Le with his bloodletting and hammertoe (not to be confused with camel toe) takes on the math teacher from Ohio. Cung has only been fighting once a year for the last two years, and he hasn’t fought more than twice a year since 2006, when he fought three times. This will be his second fight of 2012, having defeated Patrick Cote via unanimous decision back in July. We know what Cung has. His UFC debut loss against Wanderlei Silva got fight of the night, but Wandy’s pressure and power got the best of him. Coincidentally, Rich has also only been fighting once a year the past couple years. He is coming off a decision win over Wanderlei Silva back in June. We know MMA math doesn’t work — HOWEVER, when you’re a math teacher it just might. I’m not sure Cung can go five rounds. This will be the first 5-rounder of his career and I think as he tires in the later rounds Rich is going to stop him. Franklin wins via TKO.
Thiago Silva (14-3, 1 NC) vs. Stanislov Nedkov (12-0)
ODDS: Silva -365 vs. Nedkov +295
JAN GAETJENS: Thiago Silva is yet another fighter in need of a win to stay alive in the UFC. Nedkov has the potential to do some serious damage in the division, but Silva needs this win too much to let Nedkov use him as a stepping stone. The Pitbull will push the pace and let his hands fly, overwhelming the Bulgarian journeyman. Silva by TKO.
BRIAN FURBY: Thiago Silva by KO in Round 1
KELVIN HUNT: Silva is the larger fighter with the better ground game. I think he’ll strike enough to take Nedkov down and grind him out for a decision win.
JACK BRATCHER: Silva has fought once so far this year, losing a decision to Alex “The Mauler”. Prior to that he won a decision over Brandon Vera last year, however, that fight was overturned to a no-contest after it came out that Silva had falsified his urine sample. Silva fought once in 2010, losing a decision to Rashad Evans. This is the same guy who at one time was 13-0, with 10 of the wins coming via knockout. He still has only won one fight via decision. Silva came out this week saying he wasted three years of his life training with ATT and is now part of the Blackzilians. I think that may be just what the doctor ordered. Nedkov is still undefeated, but has only one fight inside the UFC Octagon, a first round TKO win over Luiz Cane in Rio back in August. That was a huge debut for the Bulgarian. This could be fight of the night guys. Prior to his win over Cane, Nedkov’s biggest wins were a split decision over Kevin Randleman and a TKO over Travis Wiuff, both in 2009. I’m a bit torn on this as it depends on which Silva shows up. I‘m going to take a chance here and go with Nedkov. He’s got a lot of momentum and I want to see some proof of this “new” Silva before I jump back on the bandwagon.
Tiequan Zhang (15-3) vs. John Tuck (6-0)
ODDS: Zhang +265 vs. Tuck -325
JAN GAETJENS: Zhang’s fighting for his UFC career here, and he’s up against a fighter in Tuck who has been dominating the regional scene. Tuck enters this fight at a perfect 6-0, and has yet to take a fight past the first round. Sure, Zhang has the home field advantage here, but it’s going to be hard for him to make a case to stay in the UFC with anything less than a stellar finish… which he won’t get… Tuck by TKO.
BRIAN FURBY: Jon Tuck by Unanimous Decision
KELVIN HUNT: I don’t know much about either fighter. I’m going with Tuck via TKO.
JACK BRATCHER: Tiequan Zhang finished 14 straight fights before he ran into Danny Downes at WEC 53 in 2010. Most of his wins were in China against people you never heard of. In Zuffa competition he holds wins over Pablo Garza and Jason Reinhardt. Jon Tuck is from Guam and this is his UFC debut. He lost in the TUF 15 elimination round to Al Iaquinta via unanimous decision. All of Tuck’s wins have come via first round stoppage; 3 KO’s, 3 submissions. The oddsmakers have Tuck as a pretty significant favorite. You’d think the UFC could give Zhang a can in their China debut, but nope. Considering Zhang’s strongpoint is his submission game and Tuck is an Abu Dhabi gold medalist — and has knockout power, I’m going with Tuck via decision — and no, John Tuck(er) must not die.
Paulo Thiago (14-4) vs. Dong Hyun Kim (15-2-1, 1 NC)
ODDS: Thiago +215 vs. Kim -275
JAN GAETJENS: Both of these guys are as streaky as they come. One minute they look to be skyrocketing into contention, the next we’re shipping them off to fight in China on a card that should really be called “Survivor: UFC”. Thiago has shown he has the ability to bully people on the ground, but Kim is tough to submit and, if he shows off the kind of technical striking that allowed him to squeak past Nate Diaz, he can come away the winner. Kim by decision.
BRIAN FURBY: Dong Hyun Kim by Unanimous Decision
KELVIN HUNT: I think Kim will be able to wear Thiago down and grind out a decision win as he normally does.
JACK BRATCHER: Both guys have significant victories in their UFC careers. Thiago has been on more of a skid lately though. Sure, he pulled off a win over David Mitchell at UFC 134 last year, but I don’t even know who that is. I know he fought twice in the UFC and lost both times, but I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup if he was standing next to LaVergne and Shirley and Gary Busey. Okay, I lied, yes I could. But you get the point. The fact remains, Kim has two losses in his career. One is to the current interim welterweight champ, Carlos Condit, and the other was to Demian Maia via injury. I predict “Stun Gun” takes this one either via decision or TKO.
Takanori Gomi (33-8, 1 NC) vs. Mac Danzig (21-9-1)
ODDS: Gomi +195 vs. Danzig -245
JAN GAETJENS: Takanori Gomi has an iron chin, and don’t expect Danzig to change that. I do see Gomi’s occasionally lackadaisical pace and suspect conditioning to be issues in this contest though. Look for Danzig to take the fight to the ground and use his heavy top game to win a 15 minutes grind. Danzig by decision.
BRIAN FURBY: Takanori Gomi by TKO in Round 2
KELVIN HUNT: Gomi is a headhunter nowadays and Danzig’s too good on the feet to get caught with a haymaker. I think Danzig picks him apart and then takes a gassed Gomi down and submits him.
JACK BRATCHER: Remember when Mac Danzig got knocked out by Hayato Sakurai at Pride 33? That is his only knockout loss on record. And unfortunately for Gomi, that’s his only chance of beating Danzig. Danzig’s all-around game and more specifically his grappling/submission game will make the difference here. Danzig wins via submission.
Takeya Mizugaki (15-7-2) vs. Jeff Hougland (10-5)
ODDS: Mizugaki -415 vs. Hougland +315
JAN GAETJENS: If we’re working strictly off of history, I guess Mizugaki is due for a win? Hougland struggles to fight up to UFC caliber competition, and Mizugaki struggles to fight up to slightly better quality UFC caliber competition. I suppose when you combine those two metrics, Mizugaki wins this one and lives to fight another day in the big leagues. Mizugaki by decision.
BRIAN FURBY: Takeya Mizugaki by Submission in Round 1
KELVIN HUNT: Mizugaki is a very experienced fighter. I think he takes this one via decision.
JACK BRATCHER: Starting with his WEC debut in 2009, Mizugaki’s entire Zuffa career has literally been up and down, win one lose one, win one lose one. And guess what — he lost his last one — so by default alone, I’m picking him to defeat Jeff Hougland here in just a few hours. Hougland is a BJJ blackbelt who runs his own gym in Chicago. He’s 1-1 inside the UFC and 7 of his 10 wins have come via submission, but Mizugaki should be able to defend against the attack and take home the decision.
–All odds courtesy of BetonFighting.com