The overall percentage is headed back in the right direction again. Last week I went 10-1 (1NC), which raised my overall picking rcord to 45-9 (7NC). With the great weekend my percentage jumps from 81% to 83%. Like last weekend there is no big headlining show, but there is still tons of MMA.
Shark Fights 6 – Stars and Stripes
Dave Herman (14-1) vs. Don Frye (20-7-1)
The label “natural athlete” gets thrown around a lot in sports journalism. It is correctly applied to Dave Herman. The man walked on to the University of Indiana wrestling team after not wrestling at all in high school. In 2006, he actually qualified for the NCAA tournament. Herman has criticism for not taking MMA seriously, but here that is not an issue. Pure athleticism will carry him to victory. Don Frye is still the apple of the hardcore fans’ collective eye, but he is also three years older than he was when he drew with Ruben “Warpath” Villareal.
Pick = Dave Herman
Gerald Harris (11-2) vs. Nissen Osterneck (6-2)
Nissen Osterneck had serious trouble with Jake Rosholt’s wrestling. Gerald Harris is not a lights-out takedown machine, but he will be able to control position. Look for Harris to win his sixth fight since being eliminated from TUF 7.
Pick = Gerald Harris
Ron Weathers (12-4) vs. Phil Cardella (8-4)
Despite an 0-2 record in WEC, Phil Cardella is a quality lightweight. These two could have a very entertaining ground battle. Let us hope that the Texas crowd does not bemoan the grappling. As far as a winner, at some point Cardella will catch Weathers and win by submission.
Pick = Phil Cardella
Pat Healy (20-14) vs. Anthony Waldburger (11-5)
Anthony Waldburger is a physical fighter who likes to grind on his opponents. Very few people would call Healy a physical specimen. However, in his two fights with Ryan Ford, Healy proved he can survive and pull out victories.
Pick = Pat Healy
Bitetti Combat Nordeste 4
Ricardo Arona (13-5) vs. Marvin Eastman (16-9-1)
When Pride died it did not take Ricardo Arona with it, although I could see where you would get that idea. For the first time since April 2007, Arona will fight. He is clearly going to defeat Easton, but questions remain. How will he look? Could we see him in a major promotion soon? Do people still think he beat Fedor back in 2002?
Pick = Ricardo Arona
Jeff Monson (31-8) vs. Pedro Rizzo (16-9)
I do not pick against Jeff Monson. This fight is going to end by Monson choke. Yes, I know Rizzo won their last fight, but flukes do happen in MMA. After winning this fight, Monson will win the heavyweight and absolute divisions at ADCC.
Pick = Jeff Monson
Paulo Filho (17-1) vs. Alex Shoenauer (14-9)
Here is the recipe for how to make a top-ten fighter a media joke. First, take a loss to a veteran fighter a few months after recovering from drug addiction. Then add another fighter calling him a “donkey.” Flavor it with a ridiculous tattoo, and you are done. Media joke or not, Paulo Filho is still a quality fighter. He submits Schoenauer before the two-minute mark of the first round.
Pick = Paulo Filho
Murilo Rua (16-10-1) vs. Alex Stiebling (18-10-1)
The conventional wisdom would lead to a pick for Murilo Rua. Then again, Rua just lost to Japanese journeyman Riki Fukuda. It appears as if Rua is past his prime. The good news is that Alex Stiebling is further down that road.
Pick = Murilo Rua
Glover Teixeira (6-2) vs. Leonardo Lucio Nascimento (7-5-1)
Glover Teixeira returns to MMA for the first time since March 2008. Chuck Liddell’s former teammate is a top prospect in the 205-pound division. Despite having only eight fights, he has already defeated Matt Horwich, Sokoudjou and Jorge Oliveira. After this fight, Teixeira will next compete at ADCC.
Pick = Glover Teixeira
Arena Rumble – Horn vs. Guida
Jeremy Horn (81-19-5) vs. Jason Guida (17-20)
The drive to fight may be waning in Jeremy Horn, but he is still too technical for Jason Guida. The creative veteran will be able to pull something off his back. Technique will once again trump pure unabated will. The loss will be Guida’s fifth loss in a row.
Pick = Jeremy Horn
Trevor Prangley (20-5) vs. Dennis Reed (43-44-1)
After winning the MFC title, Trevor Prangley has got momentum moving in his direction. Here he should out class Reed, but it is still an important fight. He belongs in Strikeforce. Can he be impressive enough to get the call from Scott Coker and the gang? We shall see.
Pick = Trevor Prangley
Lyle Beerbohm (12-0) vs. Josh Martin (6-3-1)
Lyle Beerbohm is a journalist’s dream. The man is a walking feature story. The recovered addict who wears crazy pants that his mother sews for him is also an interesting prospect. Look for him to steam roll Josh Martin for his 13th consecutive win.
Pick = Lyle Beerbohm
Brad Imes (12-6) vs. Josh Queen (2-1)
Despite having great physical tools, Brad Imes has rarely been able to put it all together in MMA. After losing to UFC 1 veteran Pat Smith, this really becomes a must win fight. I’m going to go with Imes, because if I don’t Brad’s brother Brian will find me.
Pick = Brad Imes
Terry Martin (18-7) vs. Julio Paulino (14-2)
It is easy to explain how bad times have been recently for Terry Martin. Since being cut from the UFC in Feb. 2008, half of his victories have come from him taking too many groin shots and winning via disqualification. Julio Paulino is an interesting challenger with a 14-2 record. However, Martin recently got back in the win column in the boxing ring. A win is in the cards for him.
Pick = Terry Martin
Ring of Combat 26
Ricardo Romero (8-1) vs. Richie Lictawa (2-0)
Ricardo Romero’s last two opponents were both TUF veterans, Karn Grigoryan and James McSweeney. They were also both dominated by Romero. Look for him to put on an impressive performance even though he is too small for heavyweight.
Pick = Ricardo Romero
Chris Liguori (9-8) vs. Dwayne Shelton (6-5)
Although only 9-8, Chris Liguori’s last three losses have come against Marcus Aurelio and Jim Miller (twice). Shelton has a similar record, but he has no recently faced the same level of competition. Look for Liguori to pull out a late round submission.
Pick = Chris Liguori
Victor O’Donnell (8-0) vs. Costa Phillippou (4-1)
Victor O’Donnell is an undefeated prospect with a win over UFC veteran Forrest Petz. Costa Phillippou has also been impressive in his short career, but O’Donnell’s experience will be enough for him to reamin undefeated.
Pick = Victor O’Donnell
Carlton Haselrig (3-2) vs. Gian Villante (3-0)
Carlton Haselrig is the answer to an odd NCAA wrestling trivia question. The former offensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers is the only six-time NCAA champion in history. Here he is headed for defeat. His body has taken too much damage over his football career, and Villante has stopped all of his opponents in less than two minutes.
Pick = Gian Villante
Cage Force 12
Kuniyoshi Hironaka (14-6) vs. Yoshihiro Koyama (12-2-1)
Most fans only remember Kuniyoshi Hironaka for his 1-3 record in the UFC. He should be remembered for his quality ground game. If you can, check out his fights with Shinya Aoki and Jon Fitch. Yoshihiro Koyama is a top position grappler, which plays right into Hironaka’s game. Expect a skillful submission from the bottom.
Pick = Kuniyoshi Hironaka
Jewels – Fifth Ring
Seo Hee Ham (3-3) vs. Misaki Takimoto (10-10-4)
A quick glance at Seo Hee Ham’s record shows that her 3-3 record is deceiving. Her three losses have come against pound-for-pound women Miku Matsumoto, Yuka Tsuji, and Megumi Fujii. That is about all the needs to be said here.
Pick = Seo Hee Ham
Megumi Yabushita (17-15) vs. Atsuko Emoto (2-2)
If you asked an MMA fans to name female fighters in the 135 and 145-pound divisions, the first names mentioned would be Gina Carano and Cristiane Santos. Anyone mentioned after that has fought against Megumi Yabushita. Emoto may impress, but Yabushita will be too physical and bring home the decision victory.
Pick = Megumi Yabushita