Randy Couture (17-10) vs. Mark Coleman (16-9)
BRIAN FURBY: In this battle between two hall of famers, I’m going with Couture. It’s that simple, and I don’t think I’m alone in this prediction. Coleman definitely has some skills that could beat Couture, but he’s outclassed in this fight. Couture has the much better overall game. I think the bigger question is whether Couture can finish Coleman who has definitely proven to be a tough guy. I doubt it. Couture has good power, but I think fight will be more about wrestling than anything else given their individual pedigrees. That said, I see Couture coming out on top with a pretty one-sided unanimous decision. Couture via Unanimous Decision.
RICHARD MANN: For really the first time in his life, Mark Coleman is training for MMA correctly. However, the adage “too little too late is clearly in play. In fact, trying to change his training style this late in his career could actually weaken his cardio, which seems impossible at this point. The years have been kinder to Couture, and he has proven he can deal with accomplished wrestlers in MMA fights, see three-time all-American and Junior World Champion Mike VanArsdale. Look for Couture to dominate the positional game and lock on a late-round choke. Couture by submission.
DENNY HODGE: This is a fight that would have been epic, many, many years ago. That being said, everybody knows where both of these guys are at this point in their career. Randy will dictate much of this fight en route to a decision victory.
JACK BRATCHER: The bigger question I think is, can Couture finish Coleman? Danny Acosta of FIGHT! Magazine actually picked Coleman by KO! I just hope this doesn’t turn out to be a boring hug -fest. The most likely outcome I think is Couture by unanimous decision.
Nate Marquardt (29-8-2) vs. Chael Sonnen (23-10-1)
BRIAN FURBY: Another case of one fighter outclassing another here. Marquardt is just too good for Sonnen, way too good. Marquardt is an excellent well-rounded fighter and Sonnen has some significant weaknesses that Marquardt can capitalize on. Marquardt is on his way back up the middleweight ladder and while Sonnen may make it out of the first round, he won’t make it out of the second. Marquardt via TKO in Round 2.
RICHARD MANN: For as long as he has been around the game, you would think that Chael Sonnen would develop something other than wrestling, but it has not happened. Nate Marquardt is a more rounded fighter and an all-around better athlete. If Sonnen tries to impose his wrestling game, Marquardt will be ready. PureFight.org has some great video of him wrestling with Georges St. Pierre. Let’s just say it won’t be a fun night for Sonnen. Marquardt by TKO.
DENNY HODGE: Sonnen has been very vocal about Anderson Silva, but he better be focusing on the much improved game of Marquardt. Sonnen is a solid guy that can usually control where the fight takes place with his wrestling, but he will be overwhelmed by Marquardt in this one. Marquardt by TKO in Round 2.
JACK BRATCHER: Sonnen has developed his trash talk game almost to the level of his wrestling. At least it has people talking about him, because not many were before. And he’s running for office in Oregon – and he’s a Republican. It’s almost like he’s on a mission to become the biggest A-hole in the game. All theatrics aside, Marquardt will probably TKO him in round one. (Sonnen is tough though.. I just think Marquardt is more skilled)
Mike Swick (14-3) vs. Paulo Thiago (12-1)
BRIAN FURBY: Thiago is tough, but I think too much is made out of his win over Koscheck. Sure, it was a great hit, and I loved it as much as anybody watching Kos get knocked on his ass. But Swick is too eager to get past his loss to Dan Hardy and avenge his teammate’s loss. Thiago will put up a good fight and probably surprise some people with how his precision striking matches up against Swick’s, but Swick will ultimately use his size and power to take out Thiago. Swick via TKO in Round 2.
RICHARD MANN: Swick may have showed in his last fight that he is an extremely overrated striker. However, in this fight he should still have the advantage. Thiago needs the clinch to get takedowns, and Swick does his best work in the clinch. Look for Swick to land the better strikes on the feet and win the fight by decision. Swick by decision.
DENNY HODGE: Thiago has probably came back to earth and realized that maybe standing and banging is not the answer. We all know what Swick wants to do in this one. Swick will come out fast and furious, but Thiago will weather the storm and win a decision after 3 rounds.
JACK BRATCHER: “When the people are in trouble, they call the police. When the people are in trouble, they call B.O.P.E.” -best line ever in a UFC Countdown show. If you haven’t seen it, or don’t know what B.O.P.E. is, then go watch it. It gave me a whole new respect for who Paulo Thiago is. Thiago is a dangerous dude, and I don’t see Swick winning this. Let’s go with Thiago via second round (T)KO.
Demian Maia (11-1) vs. Dan Miller (11-2)
BRIAN FURBY: Maia is probably going to submit Miller. I know that’s not going to come as a huge revelation to anyone, but I say it with some regret because I like the Miller brothers and I’d like to see Dan get a win over a guy like Maia. However, while Miller’s BJJ is good, Maia’s is off the charts, and Miller lacks the power to catch Maia like Marquardt did. Miller won’t make it too easy for Maia, though, and should make it out of the first. Demian Maia via submission in Round 2.
RICHARD MANN: Miller will be the better wrestler in this match up. However, Maia has the type of ground game that forces an opponent to grapple. Look for Miller to be competitive on the ground, but ultimately lose by submission. Maia by submission.
DENNY HODGE: You can never count out one of the Miller boys… they bring it everytime, unfortunately for Dan, once this one goes to the ground, Maia will finish it. Maia by submission in Round 3.
JACK BRATCHER: As long as Maia can get that KO from Marquardt out of his head, he should be okay. Dan’s known for his submissions, and if he tries to test his ground game against Maia, he will lose fairly quickly in my opinion. Hmmm… interesting fight. I think a lot of it depends on how Dan approaches the fight… and I think he might just try to go to the ground with Maia. First round submission for Demian Maia.
Matt Serra (9-6) vs. Frank Trigg (19-7)
BRIAN FURBY: In what many people believe to be a fight for relevance, I think we’re going to see some good action. Both guys have done a good job of hyping the fight and there’s a lot of build up going into it. Trigg looks to rebound from his loss to Koscheck and Serra from his loss to Hughes. Serra could use some of his BJJ to tie up Trigg, but both guys are going to want to keep it standing to make it exciting for the crowd and I think Serra stands a better chance of catching Trigg with a big looping punch to take him out. Serra by TKO in Round 2.
RICHARD MANN: Despite being caught in a rear naked choke multiple times in his career, Frank Trigg normally does a good job of beating up guys while they are trying to submit him. If Serra tries to grapple he will get worn down and lose. His only chance is to land heavy strikes on the feet, and Trigg should be able to avoid the firepower by working for takedowns. Trigg by decision.
DENNY HODGE: The trash talk between these two always keeps my ribs sore from laughing, and Serra has some classic lines in his vlogs. Trigg is coming off a tough loss, and I see this one as grind out affair going back and forth with Trigg getting the win from the judges.
JACK BRATCHER: Coming from a guy who once ran a Trigg fan site, how could I ever bet against Trigg? I always think he will win, and I’ve been wanting this fight for a long time. Serra’s funny, he’s a goof ball, and I’m sure a great guy, but his only real chance of winning this fight is a lucky punch, just like he beat GSP. Lucky punches aren’t a bad thing either, cause you can create situations where you will increase your chances of good luck. Aside from another lightning strike of fortune (and I think that Karma drink is all empty), Serra has nothing to offer that will beat Trigg. (Look, the guy has won 9 fights in 11 years as a pro) Trigg’s wrestling will prevent him from getting submitted. In fact, Trigg might submit Serra – What? It’s true. He could. More likely though, he’s going to give him a lesson in ground and pound straight out of Frank Trigg’s Ground N’ Pound Volume 1 – but a submission win over Serra would be damn sweet. This fight is Trigg’s time to shine. Serra is really a perfect opponent for Trigg to show his talent.