UFC 111 - St. Pierre vs Hardy is Saturday in New Jersey ... and playing on the big screens at BW3 starting at 9 with the prelims. Two title fights, two more fights where the winner *should* get a title shot and two or three "Someone's getting KTFO'ed" fights that will be all out wars!
As always, I'll be at BW3's in Austintown to watch the fights ... the place tends to fill up so get there early if you want to sit down ... and with that, here are my predictions:
George St. Pierre vs. Dan Hardy - To be the man, you have to beat the man. I don't see Hardy having any chance against to take GSP's belt in the 170-pound welterweight division. GSP, who is pound-for-pound the best MMA fighter in the game, is faster, a better wrestler, good puncher and has some bad-ass BJJ. Hardy's got a mouth like a wrestler and hands like Marvin Hagler ... if he catches GSP it's over, so he has at least a puncher's chance, but I have to go GSP ... he might take him to the distance .... he likes doing that ... but only if Hardy can last that long. He's never gone 25 minutes before.
Frank Mir vs. Shane Carwin - Winner here gets the Interim UFC Heavyweight Title and a date with Brock Lesnar. Carwin's never gone more than 131 seconds in 11 fights. He's knocked everyone he's fought right the hell out. And fast. He made Gabriel Gonzaga look soft. But he's not a full-time fighter. He is, however, a tremendous wrestler and Mir doesn't like being on his back. Mir, though, is a BJJ Black Belt and loves the submission. Will be curious to see how long this fight goes. I see Mir winning by submission, but I also see Carwin knocking Mir's head clean off his shoulders and it landing in Lesnar's lap as he sits ringside. This one's a toss-up ... but if I were betting I'd go Mir due to experience.
Ben Saunders vs. Jon Fitch - Fitch was supposed to fight Thiago Alves, but Alves couldn't pass his medical tests and wasn't given a license. Saunders stepped up with 48-hour notice, so give him his credit. If Fitch loses he can say he was training for a different fighter; if Saunders loses he can say "Hey, I found out two days ago. I did my best." I see Fitch surviving, much like he did against GSP, but this time winning by decision.
Jim Miller vs. Mark Bocek - Bocek is a good wrestler, Miller is a great wrestler. Miller has great take-down defense and is a better striker. Bocek has neither. I see this 30-27 on all three cards for Miller.
Nate Diaz vs. Rory Markham - If the real Nate Diaz shows up, Rory Markham is done before he steps in the cage. Sadly, the real Nate Diaz is hard to find some fights. Diaz is moving up to welterweight, and doing so against a great striker who loves the KO punch and will stand and trade with Diaz, if that's the fight Diaz wants. Sad to say, but if Diaz stands and bangs he'd going down ... but if he uses his takedown skills and crazy BJJ, he'll have an arm or leg of Markham's to put in the trophy case. I think Diaz is smart enough to know to go for the submission. Diaz, triangle choke with a repeat of the double-finger smile.
Ricardo Almeida vs. Matt Brown - Matt Brown won't be taken down. And since Almeida can't punch, he's in for a world of hurt. Almeida's coming down in weight and whatever strength he had won't come with him. Almedia has amazing BJJ and great takedowns, but leaves himself open for getting hit. And Brown brings the pain. Brown, by beatdown.
Kurt Pellegrino vs. Fabricio Camoes - A long, boring fight that Pellegrino will win by getting points from takedowns and ground-and-pound. Camoes won't know what to do ... Pellegrino by decision.
Rodney Wallace vs. Jared Hamman - Wrestler (Wallace) versus Striker (Hamman). Striker wins by KO.
Rousimar Palhares vs. Tomasz Drwal - Palhares wins the ugly contest, but the Brazillian comes up on the losing end of this fight. The Polish Hammer by knockout.
Matthew Riddle vs. Greg Soto - I'm glad this is on the prelims and hope I never have to see it. Soto is making his UFC debut and from what I saw on YouTube knows how to wrestle and tries some submissions. Riddle should fight at 185 ... which is what he'll weigh when the bell rings, so he'll totally control this fight for a decision victory in a very boring, very mismatched fight. Dana White loves Riddle, so he's giving him a can to build his confidence after his TKO loss at UFC 105.
(For the record ... my UFC 110 predictions ... 4-5 in the win/loss; 5-4 in the how the fight ended ... total was 9 out of 18 possible points ... so I'm .500 winning percentage. Last year in the few fights I forcasted, I was about .600 ... so don't use me as a betting guide by any means)