The staff has come together once again to give our predictions. This time we are looking at “UFC 110: Nogueira vs. Velasquez”, taking place at Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia, and airing live on pay-per-view here in the U.S., Saturday night, Feb. 20. In addition, will be providing live play-by-play commentary during the event, and will broadcast the UFC 110 post-fight press conference in our UFC Room in a live web stream following the event.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Cain Velasquez

Richard Mann: Sadly for long-time fans of the sport, Nogueira has not really looked good in any of his UFC fights. This fight will look a lot like the Mir fight. Velasquez will be too quick on the feet and land at will. Nogueira’s only hope is to pull guard and Velasquez should be able to avoid. Nogueira will make the final bell, but it will not be pretty. Velasquez by decision.

Denny Hodge: Velasquez will get his take downs in this fight.  The big question is, where will he end up when the fight hits the ground? He is very good at landing in side mount and then launching his ground and pound attack.  This will be crucial, because one place he doesn’t want to be is in Big Nog’s guard.  Either way, I see Nogueira being able to get enough sweeps and reversals to keep Cain from just teeing off on his face at will.  I see this one going the distance with Nogueira edging out Velasquez for the decision.

Brian Furby: Tough fight to call. Nogueira obviously has the edge in experience, and Velasquez is the hot up and comer. Velasquez’s BJJ defense is untested, and Nogueira would be a bad first choice for anyone. Velasquez should have the edge on the feet standing, and I actually wouldn’t be surprised to see Velasquez take Nogueira down. He would quickly get back up unless he had an extremely dominant position, but I see Velasquez going back to his wrestling roots at some point. Additionally, we all know Velasquez can dish out an extreme amount of punishment, and perhaps the greatest tool in Nogueira’s arsenal besides his BJJ is his ability to take punishment, so this will certainly be a war of attrition.  I’ve been flip-flopping on who to pick, but I’m going to go with Velasquez.  Nogueira won’t make it easy on him, but Velasquez is going to get some major points from the UFC brass, and the fans, with this performance. Velasquez by split decision.

Jack Bratcher: It’s always fun when you got two top ten guys fighting, especially heavyweights. Nogueira has been in there with every top fighter in the world. The only fight he lost in the UFC was in a fight he never should have taken, when he was sick. He works with one of the top camps that ever existed. I don’t think Velasquez is quite ready for him. Big Nog seems to be getting his groove back and I think we might see the best Nogueira yet.

Wanderlei Silva vs. Michael Bisping

Richard Mann: Bisping is at his best when he is landing single strikes and circling away from his opponent. If Dan Henderson can land power shots, then surely Silva can do the same. Also even though Silva’s striking style is not always effective it looks like it is to the judges. The only wild card in this fight is the fact that Bisping might take the fight to the ground, but a stand up fight is more likely. Silva by decision.

Denny Hodge: Bisping better have learned his lesson against Dan Henderson.  If he sticks and moves in the wrong direction, Genghis Khan will be adding this fight to the “Axe Murderers” highlight reel.  Bisping needs to utilize his leg kicks to keep Silva from getting inside and staying in the pocket where he can land punches in bunches.  I don’t think Bisping can survive and mount any type of significant offense to win this fight.  I’m taking “The Axe Murderer” by TKO in Round 2.

Brian Furby: I really hope we see The Axe Murderer come out in this fight, and not the lesser version that I have affectionately dubbed “Uncle Wandy”.  Sure, Uncle Wandy is a great fighter, but couldn’t contend with Bisping. But The Axe Murderer?  He’ll pull a Dan Henderson on Bisping and leave him wondering why he became a fighter in the first place.  And that’s the Wanderlei I expect to see in this fight.  Wanderlei by KO in Round 1.

Jack Bratcher: The bad blood between these two has become epic, and that makes it the most exciting fight on the card for me. The young up and comer wants the respect of the old warrior. He says he will take his respect from Wanderlei, but will he? Nah. It’s doubtful. As long as Silva can get through his weight cut healthy and in one piece, Bisping will be fortunate to leave the Octagon in one piece. Even if I thought Bisping may have a chance in this fight, there’s no way I could pick him over Wanderlei Silva. Silva by KO round 2.

Joe Stevenson vs. George Sotiropoulos

Richard Mann: This is by far the easiest fight to pick on the main card. Stevenson only struggles when he has to deal with strikers who keep him at range. Sotiropoulus has long reach, but his striking was almost bested by Jason Dent. Look for Stevenson to get on top, land strikes and avoid submissions. Stevenson by decision.

Denny Hodge: Sotiropoulos is 4-0 in the UFC, but mostly in prelim card action thus far in his UFC career.  7 of his 11 wins are by submission, but he is fighting a superior wrestler in Joe “Daddy” Stevenson.  Not many guys in the UFC outwork “Daddy”, and after dropping 2 straight, Stevenson is back on track winning his last 2 and will continue his streak in this one with a TKO stoppage in Round 3.

Brian Furby: I think Joe Daddy is going to make it three wins in a row with this fight.  Sotiropoulos should be able to use his reach to keep Stevenson at bay for a little while, but those longer limbs also make him more susceptible to one of Stevenson’s fight-ending submissions.  Once Stevenson gets inside Sotiropoulous’s reach, it won’t be long before they hit the ground and Stevenson locks on an armbar.  Stevenson by submission in Round 2.

Jack Bratcher: The fact that Sotiropoulos is fighting at home and Joe Daddy will have about 15,000 screaming Aussies in his ear could affect one’s psyche. But probably not enough to make Stevenson lose. With Greg Jackson and the gang in his corner, Stevenson should be at the top of his game. Stevenson by decision.

Ryan Bader vs. Keith Jardine

Richard Mann: After watching Chael Sonnen dominate two top-ten middleweights it is hard to pick against good wrestlers. Bader should be able to get takedowns in the fight, but Jardine has never really had to fight off of his back in the UFC. Look for Bader to win a ho-hum decision based on top position. Ho-hum or not this will be the biggest win of his young MMA career. Bader by decision.

Denny Hodge: I’ve seen Bader work out before live, and his stand up looked mad powerful.  However, hitting pads that don’t hit back doesn’t always translate well in the Octagon.  Bader will look to use his wrestling to get top position, and the take downs will be determined by how many leg kicks Jardine chooses to employ.  I see Bader taking Jardine down off the kicks and frustrating him as he fights to get back to his feet over and over again.  Bader will grind out the decision in this one.

Brian Furby: I think this fight has effectively reduced Jardine to the roll of gatekeeper.  However, if he doesn’t win the fight, he probably won’t have a gate to keep much longer.  Bader has KO power, great wrestling, and is on his way up.  Jardine is still a tough fighter and his herky-jerky stance will probably keep Bader at arm’s length for the first couple minutes, but I see a big overhand right from Bader giving Jardine his walking papers.  Bader by KO in Round 1.

Jack Bratcher: Jardine may be the most inconsistent fighter in the UFC, at least one of them. Undefeated Ryan Bader will remain so. He’s going to control, dominate, and pound Jardine into a mean pulp. Bader wins by TKO round two.

Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic vs. Anthony Perosh

Richard Mann: Perosh is really set up to lose here. Not only has he been competing at light heavyweight recently, but also he is mostly a jiu jitsu guy who can’t wrestle. If you remember his previous stint in the UFC then you remember him getting destroyed by Jeff Monson. Even with the cut Cro Cop should have no problem in this fight. Cro Cop by TKO.

Denny Hodge: It was supposed to be Rothwell, but now it’s the aussie and Elvis Sinosic business partner, Perosh.  Perosh?  Perosh or “The Hippo” has seen 12 of his 15 fights end in the first round.  What kind of cardio does this guy have??  3 of his 5 losses are by KO, and I’m ready to see Cro Cop, “Cro Cop” somebody… so why not “The Hippo”.  Cro Cop by KO… Round 1.

Brian Furby: Rumors have been flying around the last couple of days that Cro Cop got cut in sparring and had to get stitches, but is still not going to pull out of this fight.  Perosh is the last minute replacement for an ill Ben Rothwell, and while I’m sure he’s been getting some decent training in while helping Sinosic prepare for his fight (that is no longer happening), it’s still going not going to be enough to take out Cro Cop, even if it’s the UFC version of Cro Cop and not the Pride version.  Look for Cro Cop to load up a big right hand early or maybe throw one of those head kicks that will help people remember why he was such an exciting prospect when he came over.  Cro Cop by KO in Round 1.

Jack Bratcher: Perosh got himself a four fight deal by taking this fight on two days notice. Nice negotiating! Australia has a large Croatian population and the Cro Cop fans should be out in force. Will Cro Cop stitches come into play here? Will they get opened up? Probably not. If Perosh can get Cro Cop down, he could submit him. Even if Fedor does think something in Cro Cop is broke, I think Cro Cop is going to shine here and give us an old fashioned left kick to the head KO in round one. Oh, by the way… Rothwell would have won.

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