It is that time again to share with the world our knowledge or lack thereof when it comes to predicting fight winners. This time around we give you our picks for UFC 155. The last event of 2012 brings us a rematch for the UFC heavyweight title. Champion Junior dos Santos will look to defend his belt for the second time as challenger Cain Velasquez tries to regain the crown that was once his. In the co-main event Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon meets Jim Miller in a duel of lightweights looking to get in title contention.
So here is what the brilliant minds have to say about the fights!
Eddie Wineland (19-8-1) vs. Brad Pickett (22-6)
Brian Furby - Pickett
Richard Mann -Despite his nickname and his last fight, Pickett’s emergence in the WEC and now the UFC is due to his grappling game. At bantamweight he has the wrestling to get on top, and he has always been a slick grappler. On the other hand, Wineland has improved tremendously over the course of his last few fights. His takedown defense alone has improved by a factor of 10. These two are going to get into a standing fire fight, and Wineland will get the better of it. Pickett will make it exciting, but he will end up on the losing side. Pick -Wineland by TKO
Gary Thomas -Wineland is such a good guy it is hard for me not to pick him in every fight. Been screaming that since the Faber duel. Pickett is tough as well but I think Wineland getting the win in his last outing with equal some momentum moving forward and he finishes Brad. Pick – Wineland by Submission
Jack Bratcher - Pickett wins via submission.
Jan Gaetjens - Pickett’s technical striking and hand speed wins him this one. Pickett by decision
Chris Leben (22-8) vs. Derek Brunson (9-2)
Brian Furby -Chris Leben
Richard Mann -Brunson is a solid wrestler and not much more. However, that should be enough to defeat this incarnation of Leben. The TUF 1 veteran still hits with a ton of power, but there really isn’t much more to him. He can get the better of lesser wrestlers with clinch work against the fence, but that is not an option here. Look for Brunson to wrestle his way to a solid decision here. Pick – Brunson by decision.
Kelvin Hunt - Derek Brunson
Gary Thomas- The Crippler is back!!! That being said does a long layoff do anything to hinder his return? Does being clean hurt him or help him? Who’s to say. Brunson is a solid wrestler but if Leben’s game is on, Leben knocks him out. Pick – Leben by TKO.
Jack Bratcher -Leben has had a lot of personal problems but he should be able to get it done agains the less experienced Derek Brunson in what will be his UFC debut. Pick -Leben via TKO.
Jan Gaetjens - Strikeforce Challengers prospects who aren’t named Ovince St. Preux just don’t do it for me. I applaud Brunson’s willingness to push forward on his feet with reckless abandon, but, up-tempo aggression is far from the winning formula against someone like Chris Leben. If Jacare was able to counterpunch Brunson unconscious by closing his eyes and swinging his pillow-like right hand at him, I shudder to think what will happen when Leben lays fist to chin. Leben by (T)KO
Yushin Okami (27-7) vs. Alan Belcher (18-6)
Brian Furby -Alan Belcher
Richard Mann -It seems like Belcher is on the upswing, while Okami is struggling to stay relevant in the middleweight division. This is a flawed interpretation. The last time these two fought, Okami physically dominated Belcher. Both fighters have improved, but Belcher has not become a better wrestler or a more physically imposing fighter. Look for another three rounds of Okami getting the better of Belcher. There is always a chance that Belcher could let something fly and finish the fight late, but it does not seem very likely.Pick – Okami by decision.
Kelvin Hunt – Alan Belcher
Gary Thomas -Belcher is looking for that win that puts him in the middleweight title talks. He has the submission game to stay winning but does he have the whole package to compete with a Bisbing or Weidman? Okami is neither and Belcher should win this one with ease. Pick – Belcher via submission.
Jack Bratcher -This is a supremely important fight for Belcher as he looks to win his fifth straight and possibly set himself in line for a title shot for the first time in his career. Look for him to call out Anderson Silva if he wins. Pick -Belcher via decision.
Jan Gaetjens - Since the two last met in 2006, Belcher has developed into a more well rounded fighter than most people give him credit for. Much of Okami’s success at 185 lbs can be credited to his excellent use of his size in the clinch and on the ground. At this juncture in his career however, Belcher’s technical skills have truly caught up with his physical gifts. If you look back over his last eight fights, Belcher has more than proven that he can adapt to any situation on the feet, in the clinch, and on the gound. Belcher by (T)KO
Tim Boetsch (16-4) vs. Cost Philippou (11-2, 1NC)
Brian Furby -Costa Philippou
Richard Mann - Philippou has earned a pretty solid place in the UFC almost entirely due to the fact that he throws straight punches. He does not try to land huge shots. He just keeps a jab working and wins rounds. Boetsch should be able to handle that kind of striking game. On top of that, Boetsch will be the bigger and stronger fighter. If he mixes some clinch work with his striking, he should be able to score a finish here .Pick- Boetsch by TKO.
Kevin Hunt - Costa Philippou
Gary Thomas -I like the comeback fight that Boetsch had against Okami. Wasn’t impressed with his fight against Lombard and suspect he will have his hands full with Costa. Philippou is a tough cat and always finds ways to win. I am calling for the upset. Philppou via decision.
Jack Bratcher -Both guys are on four fight win streaks but Boetsch has been facing the tougher competition. Under the guidance of Matt Hume, Tim Boetsch is a wrecking machine and continues to improve. Costa is a dangerous boxer who has developed great takedown defense. Pick – Boetsch via submission.
Jan Gaetjens - Boetsch has heavy hands and a wrestling pedigree that should force Philippou to have to work from the clinch and off of his back, a place he desperately needs to avoid. Not completely sold on Boetsch finishing Philippou, but he’s should at least come away with a convincing decision. Boetsch by decision
Joe Lauzon (22-7) vs. Jim Miller (21-4)
Brian Furby -Joe Lauzon
Richard Mann - This is a tough one to pick. I asked my friend “when was the last time you were impressed with Jim Miller?” We decided that it was his submission of Melvin Guillard. Then again, most respectable fighters should be able to submit Guillard. On the other hand, when is the last time Lauzon has bested a skilled submission fighter? Miller should be able to win the wrestling exchanges and score a decision. Then again, he was almost worked over by Mark Bocek. I hate this fight. Pick – Miller by decision
Kelvin Hunt – Jim Miller
Gary Thomas -Miller vs. Lauzon is a pick’em. Both guys are good. Both guys have what it takes to be contenders when they put it all together. What is the worse part is it is hard to pick either to lose a fight. I like Millers wrestling but I am gonna give the edge to Lauzon with his submissions and predict maybe another submission of the night for Joe. Pick – Lauzon via submission.
Jack Bratcher - Lauzon is too fast, too explosive. Miller is very good on the ground too but Lauzon’s speed is deadly. Pick – Lauzon via submission.
Jan Gaetjens - This is my early frontrunner for fight of the night; Miller and Lauzon are, stylistically speaking, carbon copies of eachother. Both will come into this fight looking for the finish, and both have the skill sets to do so either standing or on the ground. I give a slight edge to Miller on the ground, and, for the sake of analysis, I’ll say that will be the difference maker. (For the record, it doesn’t really make a difference; this fight is the embodiment of the adage that anything can happen in this sport, and picking a winner in this one is a crapshoot) Miller by decision
Cain Velasquez (10-1) vs. Junior dos Santos (15-1) -
UFC Heavyweight Championship
Brian Furby -Junior dos Santos
Richard Mann - Injury excuses are to deal with when predicting fights. How injured was the fighter? If Velasquez had a significant knee injury, then how badly did it hinder him? Was his terrible strategy in the first the result of the injury? I picked Velasquez last time, because he should be able to close the distance and win the fight on the inside. However, in the first fight, it looked like he had no chance of closing the distance. If we chalk that up to injury and/or a bad gameplan, I can stick with my pick. Pick- Velasquez by TKO
Kelvin Hunt – Junior dos Santos
Gary Thomas -The main event will go very much the same way as the first fight did. If Cain can’t take the champ down he has no shot at winning. Even if he does score a take down he has not shot at winning. Hard for me to even type because I love Velasquez but you have to give credit where credit is due. Pick – JDS vis TKO.
Jack Bratcher -I expect the main event to last longer than the first time but look for JDS to stuff any takedown attempts and finish Cain with his powerful boxing. Cain is going to come out strong and fast to try and push the pace, but JDS wins it. Pick – Junor dos Santos via TKO in three rounds or less
Jan Gaetjens - Look for Velasquez to immediately shoot in for the takedown. He can’t afford to give Dos Santos an opportunity to let his hands fly. I can actually see this one going the distance with Velasquez using his world class wrestling and cardio to take back the strap. Velasquez by decision
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