Rashad Evans (No. 4 LHW) vs. Thiago Silva (No. 8 LHW)
BRIAN FURBY: In spite of the fact I wish that one of the other 12 original main event match-ups were still going down, I’m looking forward to this fight. Both guys are quick strikers with good power and have solid all-around games. I think Silva packs more power, but I do think Rashad has a slight edge on speed and technicality while also being more elusive. I don’t think the fight is likely to hit the ground – both guys want an impressive victory to get another shot at Machida, and Rashad also has the added factor of still wanting a piece of Rampage. I think the first round will see a lot of range-testing and maybe some quick flurries where one or both guys look in danger, but in the end, I see Rashad finishing it about halfway through the second. Rashad by TKO in Round 2.
DUSTY ADAMS: Silva – I like Thiago’s power and he is pretty big for 205. Rashad is no doubt very motivated given all that’s happened with Rampage, and Silva beating his friend Jardine. Rashad will have the speed advantage but I see Thiago overpowering Rashad and winning by TKO in the 2nd rd. An X-factor could be if Rashad went back to his roots and used his wrestling again but Jackson’s guys all seem to want to be stand-up fighters these days.
RICHARD MANN: This fight will be a lot closer than the betting line. Rashad Evans is a notriously slow starter and that can get him into trouble in three round fights (see the Tito fight). After a weak first round, he will start to pick apart Silva with superior boxing. In the end Evans will win by decision, but it will be the type of decision that has people arguing. Evans by decision.
DENNY HODGE: Which Rashad will we see? I think a more cautious one after his brutal KO loss at the hands of Machida. He will have to be careful trading in the pocket with Thiago Silva. I think this one goes the distance with Evans taking the unanimous decision victory.
JACK BRATCHER: I am definitely leaning toward Evans. I think he is faster. Those counter-hooks he was throwing against Machida are still replaying in my head. He throws hooks faster than most people throw straight punches. He is technically the better striker in my opinion. I don’t see the fight going to the ground, and I just don’t see Thiago being able to catch Rashad due to his elusiveness and speed. Of course there’s always a chance a punch could land, and he has the power to end it if it does, but in all probability I see Evans winning with a first or second round (T)KO.
Paul Daley (No. 8 WW) vs. Dustin Hazelett
BRIAN FURBY: In this classic striker versus grappler match, there’s no doubt that either man has the ability to easily win using their particular strength – the question simply becomes – which guy will get to use his strength first. The answer to that question is Hazelett. Daley does hit harder than Hazelett, has more technical striking and is generally stronger. But Hazelett can take a punch and still tie Daley up in knots. Daley knows that Hazelett wants to take it to the ground and says he can prevent that, but I doubt it. Five of Daley’s eight losses are from submissions and Hazelett is going to add another one to that list and pick up another submission of the night bonus. Hazelett by submission in Round 1.
DUSTY ADAMS: Daley – I really like Hazelett a lot and his subs are great but I don’t think he’s fought a striker as good as Daley. I think Daley will overpower him and win by KO.
RICHARD MANN: This is by far the hardest fight to pick on the card. MMA-know-it-alls will probably say that Hazelett has the submission advantage and will therefore win this one on the ground. However, Hazelett does not really have the type of grappling game that forces an opponent into grappling with him. Daley’s training camp, the Rough House, is by far the best in Britain, and they did a great job preparing Dan Hardy for his fight with Mike Swick. Daley will defend well in the clinch and land devastating haymakers en eroute to a victory. Daley by TKO.
DENNY HODGE: This one could end quick for either guy. Daley by KO or Hazelett by sub. Hazelett is coming off an injury and might start slow, but if he can get this one to the ground it’s lights out for Daley. Hazelett by his submission of choice in Round 2.
JACK BRATCHER: Well, Richard will say we are “MMA know-it-alls” :) but I do think Hazelett will end this with a submission. You look at the guy and would never suspect he is one of the most dangerous people in the world. I love his unorthodox approach to the game and he has a way of letting his opponents defeat themselves. Daley will try his hardest to knock the Kentuckian out, but much like Davey Crockett before him, who killed a bar (that’s a “bear” in Kentucky) when he was only three, Hazelett will use Daley’s aggressiveness against him and end it with an arm bar or choke.
Joe Lauzon vs. Sam Stout
BRIAN FURBY: This could end up being one of the fights of the night. Stout clearly has the edge on striking and Lauzon the ground game, but both are well-rounded fighters. I see Lauzon as the smarter fighter, and while I don’t think he’ll be able to finish Stout, I think he will fairly easily pull off a unanimous decision win. Lauzon by unanimous decision.
DUSTY ADAMS: Lauzon – It will be interesting to see how Joe does coming back from such a long layoff but I think he will be fine. Stout has improved his ground game to go with his superb striking but I see Lauzon controlling the fight and winning a unanimous decision.
RICHARD MANN: Sam Stout has no business being in the UFC. He is 1-2 in his last three fights, and he really should be 0-3 since in the non-bizzaro world he lost to Matt Wiman. Normally I would say this would be an easy submission victory for Joe Lauzon, but he is coming off a pretty serious injury. With that being said, I am still going to say “easy submission victory for Lauzon.” Lauzon by submission.
DENNY HODGE: This one should be a good one and might turn out to be fight of the night. Stout has lost 2 of 3 and this is a big one for him, but Lauzon will overwhelm him with his pace en route to a decision victory over “Hands of Stone”.
JACK BRATCHER: When Joe Lauzon is “on” there’s hardly a fighter in the world who can beat him. Lauzon’s biggest enemy seems to be his confidence, but that won’t come in to play here. Hell, the guy has only lost one fight in the UFC (Florian). And with his brother on the under card and he on the main card, this is a special night for the Lauzon brothers and I think they will both pull it off. Joe Lauzon beats Stout by first or second round submission, probably a rear naked choke. I want to see a Lauzon vs. Guida fight some day.
Jim Miller vs. Duane Ludwig
BRIAN FURBY: Ludwig is a solid fighter, but Miller is better in nearly every aspect of the game, and is one of the most underrated guys in the lightweight division. I don’t think Miller will have much of a problem with Ludwig at all. I see Miller starting off winning the striking battle, then eventually letting Ludwig take him down and then using that to his advantage to score a submission victory. Miller by submission in Round 2.
DUSTY ADAMS: Miller-Ludwig is very one dimensional. Miller will take him down and pound him out. Miller by TKO 1st rd.
RICHARD MANN: This one is pretty clear cut. Jim Miller has yet to lose to someone who doesn’t best him in the wrestling department. There are very few people in the world that Duane Ludwig can best in the wrestling department. Expect this fight to look like a replay of the Ludwig vs. Griffin fight only with less effective ground and pound. Jim Miller by decision.
DENNY HODGE: Miller has won 4 of 5 in the UFC with his only loss coming to top contender Gray Maynard. Ludwig will try to stay on his feet but Miller will dictate where the fight goes, which will be on the ground. Miller by submission in Round 1.
JACK BRATCHER: Ludwig is going to have his hands full with Miller’s wrestling. While Ludwig is probably the better technical striker, it will make little difference. Miller will put him on his back and pound him out or submit him in the first or second round. This may be the easiest fight to call on the card, and I haven’t even checked the odds yet.
Junior dos Santos (No. 8 HW) vs. Gilbert Yvel
BRIAN FURBY: This is an intriguing fight. Yvel has a clear experience advantage and dos Santos is on a bit of a tear with his UFC career. There’s no doubt in my mind that either guy has the power to KO the other, and dos Santos is going into the fight as a decent favorite of the oddsmakers, and probably the crowd. Most of the casual UFC fans will have no idea who Yvel is, and provided he doesn’t bite/eye gouge/KO the referee (although Dana will probably make sure Mazagatti is in there just in case that were to happen), I think he’ll actually start to win over the crowd when he starts to overtake dos Santos. I see Yvel actually holding back just a little early on to make dos Santos the aggressor and then capitalizing when dos Santos gets in too close, scoring a KO/TKO late in the second round. Dos Santos has enjoyed some well-deserved success lately, but Yvel will test him more than any of his previous UFC opponents, including Cro Cop. Yvel by TKO in Round 2.
DUSTY ADAMS: Dos Santos-I like Yvel but he is just out of his league to me against Dos Santos. Yvel does have a good chance of catching Santos but I don’t see it. Dos Santos will bang with him and then get it to the ground and win by TKO in the 1st rd. Should be exciting though.
RICHARD MANN: I have never been a big drinker of the Junior dos Santos flavored drink mix. This got me into trouble when I berratted people for picking him to beat Fabricio Werdum, and we all know how that turned out. He should have a standing advantage against the shop-worm referee destroyer, but have we seen him fight a striker other than Cro Cop? I am going with dos Santos, but I’m reserving the right to say “I told you so” if he gets laid out. dos Santos by TKO.
DENNY HODGE: Wow! What can I say about Yvel?? His KO of Rizzo was insanely brutal and 31 of his 36 wins are by KO. Dos Santos has had some impressive victories as well, but I see “Cigano” losing this one via TKO in Round 2.
JACK BRATCHER: I love Gilbert Yvel. I’m not sure why… it could stem from my fascination with cannibalism or my past problems with authority figures. Maybe it’s the fact he has finished every single fight he has ever won. Yeah count ’em man, that’s 36 wins and 36 finishes. The guy has never been out of the second round in a fight he won. However, every time it has gone past the second – that is two times – he lost. With a record of 36-13-1 and 31 knockouts, he has the ability to make men lose childhood memories with one punch. If he could defeat the number eight ranked heavyweight in the world, Junior dos Santos, it would make a huge statement, and catapult him right in the mix of the UFC’s top heavyweight fighters. The problem is, Junior dos Santos hits like a Mack Truck loaded with dynamite. My heart wants to pick Yvel, but my brain wants to pick dos Santos. Dos Santos is in the right training camp with the right training partners and coaches, and although relatively inexperienced compared to Yvel, I think he will be able to do what it takes to land the big shots first, and put Yvel out. Don’t blink on this one. This is the fight I’m most looking forward to. Junior dos Santos by first round (T)KO. I also have to say, I really don’t want either fighter to lose. And I will be happy for either guy to win. I’d like to see Yvel turn things around, and have a long successful career with the UFC, and finish out his career there.
FOR ALL YOUR UFC 108 COVERAGE, KEEP IT TUNED TO WWW.PROMMA.INFO – this evening we will be streaming live the UFC 108 fighter weigh-ins, Saturday night we will have a live play-by-play commentary of UFC 108, and then we will have a live stream of the UFC 108 post-fight presser. We have all your pro MMA info!