UFC 126: My Predictions

UFC 126 is tonight on Facebook, Spike TV and finally the main event pay-per-view.  As with most UFC bouts, I'll be at BW3 in Austintown if you wanna stop down, but come early if you want a seat.

Here's the lineup card, starting with the prelims first and continuing through the main card.  I judge myself by with two points per bout:  One for the winner, the other for the type of victory.  I don't see a lot of these fights going the distance, which is good for fans.  

That being said, here are my picks for tonight:

Mike Pierce vs Kenny Robertson

Pierce beat Brock Larson and nearly beat John Fitch ... but he was overweight at the weigh-ins and had to cut additional weight, so that may hurt him.  I'm still thinking Pierce is the stronger fighter, I just wonder how much the additional cut will hurt him.

My pick:  Pierce, KO

Kyle Kingsbury vs Ricardo Romero

Romero's a better wrestler, Kingsbury (9-2) has a good submission game, but a weak chin. Romero by TKO in what will probably be the biggest ground fight of the night.  Romero's 11-1 with six submissions and four KO's, so he's a finisher; five of Kingsbury's 11 fights have gone to the judges.

My Pick:  Romero, TKO.

Paul Taylor vs. Gabe Ruediger

Taylor knows how to kick up the excitement and I think he's going to make Rudiger wish he was back in the TUF house eating cake. He looked thin at the weigh-in whereas Taylor looked very natural. 

My Pick: Taylor, KO.

Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto vs Demetrious Johnson

This fight will be streamed live on Facebook (if you're a fan or UFC on Facebook it's free) and features the debut of Kid Yamamoto, one of the most popular fighters in Japanese MMA with a record of 18-3 with one no contest.  He loves the knockout, and I see him getting KO victory 14 against an overmatched Johnson.

My Pick: Kid Yamamoto, KO.

Michihiro Omigawa vs Chad Mendes

This fight will be live on Spike, again for free. I see Omigawa cleaning the cage with Mendes ... Mendes has heart, is a good wrestler and undefeated, and he's been in some battles, but Omigawa's fighting for his UFC life.  He looked good at the weighins and has changed up his training routine to work his judo and striking better in the cage, which is why he's the fourth-ranked featherweight in MMA.

My Pick: Omigawa, decision

Donald Cerrone vs Paul Kelly

Also on the Spike Prelims Show, this is going to be our first real fight where the fighter who makes the first mistake will wind up asking "What happened?" after waking up, either from a Cerrone knockout or Kelly submission.

My Pick:  Cerrone, KO

Miguel Torres vs Antonio Banuelos

The first PPV fight of the card is going to get fans up and excited to kick off the main card. If you've never seen Torres fight, you have missed some of the most intense action from the WEC. Sure, he's little (135 pound bantumweight division), but he's a buzzsaw. Great strikes, good wrestling.  Torres (38-3) has ended 82% of his fights (9 knockouts, 23 submissions), while Benuelos has left it up to the judges in half of his 24 fights (he's 18-6 overall)

My Pick:  Torres, KO

Jake Ellenberger vs Carlos Eduardo Rocha

I'm not much a fan of either of these guys, but one this is for sure ... they both come to throw, so this will be fast and furious.  I think Ellenberger has the edge in striking and wrestling.

My Pick: Ellenberger, KO

Ryan Bader vs Jon Jones

Great staredowns rarely lead to great fights, but these two have been on a collision course since Jones came to the UFC and started dominating people and Bader blew up the Ultimate Fighter house before winning Season 8.  Both fighters are unbeaten, and everyone who watched the DQ loss to Mark Hamill knows how dominant Jones was in that fight, and how he's been cleaning out the division. Bader has a 10-inch reach disadvantage to overcome, but if he does that, there's still the viscious elbows of Jones to deal with.

My Pick:  Jones, KO

Forrest Griffin vs Rich Franklin

Two guys who love to fight get to fight. To see who's better. That's MMA. It's going to be fun and it's going to be exciting. Griffin needs a win to get back on the horse; Franklin can continue his impressive streak of beating everyone NOT named Anderson Silva.

My Pick:  Franklin, KO; but we all win watching this fight.

Vitor Belfort vs Anderson Silva

Silva's due to fall. Sonnen exposed some holes in his game. Belfort is a tattical striker who finds the holes in everyone's game and hits you hard and fast. If his straight left catches Silva, look for a finish.  But never bet against the spider is the rule, right?

My Pick:  Belfort, KO.

Check back next week to see how I did.

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