After seeing 3 guys come in over @ the weigh-in's, & losing the Swick/Kampmann match up, I am still excited for this card. 103 is stacked & a lot of these fights have relevance. I like it.Matchups:
Rich Franklin (No. 7 LHW) vs. Vitor Belfort (No. 8 MW)
This is a weird match up because Franklin is the favorite but everyone is taking Vitor. I won't be surprised if Belfort rips up Franklin with his quick hands, but Rich has done better & is more consistent against top competition. Vitor came in 2 1/2 pounds over the 195 catch-weight that he requested, so I don't buy into this Xtreme Couture cardio regimen has him in great shape. If Vitor doesn't win in the first round & he sees that Rich is tougher than he thought I see him losing his momentum & letting Rich get the better of him.
Franklin by Decision.
Junior dos Santos vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic
I don't think Cro Cop has 'it' anymore. After his head kick loss to Gonzaga, Mirko has not looked confident, except for the minute before he poked Mustapha Al Turk in the eye @ UFC 99. I think this is going to be one of those 'changing of the guard' fights, & Junior 'Cigano' is poised to do great things in the heavyweight division.
dos Santos by TKO, round 1. Martin Kampmann (No. 5 WW) vs. Paul Daley
I would like to see a competitive match, & while it could happen, I think Kampmann will be too much for Daley.
Kampmann by submission, round 2. Josh Koscheck (No. 7 WW) vs. Frank Trigg
I like this fight, & I hope it is more competitive than I am predicting. I think they will stand & trade because that's what Koscheck wants to do these days, & Trigg doesn't have that one-punch knockout power, so 'Kos' will be more willing to show off his stand up. Josh is a better, younger, stronger fighter than Trigg, & I think he'll control the whole fight.
Koscheck by decision. Efrain Escudero vs. Cole Miller
I really don't know how this is going to go. I think Efrain will win. Most likely, he will use his wrestling to put Cole on his back, & I'm not sure if Miller will be able to sweep, or convince judges that he's winning off his back. Cole certainly has the potential to win this but I'm not sure how good Efrain is considering all I've seen of him is beating up on Junie Browning, & Phillipe Nover on the Ultimate Fighter 8, & I don't feel that those guys are real challenges. Cole is. I'd like to be wrong but I will take Efrain Escudero by decision. Tyson Griffin vs. Hermes Franca
I was going to pick Tyson Griffin to win this even before I watched Hermes Franca weigh in over by 4lbs, & looking to be in horrible condition. This fight will now be @ a catch weight of 159lbs. Tyson should set a heavy pace & I don't see Franca keeping up. I have this feeling that Griffin will finally finish a fight.
Griffin by TKO, round 3.
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Igor Pokrajac - Matyushenko by boring decision.
Nik Lentz vs. Rafaello Oliveira - Oliveira by submission, round 2
Ricky Story vs. Brian Foster
Foster is legit. He beat up my boy Kyle Baker in 59 seconds, & I think he's gonna smash 'the Horror' Story.
Foster by TKO, round 1.
Jim Miller vs. Steve Lopez - Jim Miller by submission, round 1.
Drew McFedries vs. Tomasz Drwal
Someone is going to get knocked out in round 1, I think it'll be McFedries.
Drwal by TKO, round 1.
Elliot Marshall vs. Jason Brilz
I'm not sure how this fight goes. It's very much like the Escudero/Miller fight, in that, it's a good wrestler that can get on top & control position but doesn't do that much to finish vs a tall, lanky fighter with decent, but not great Jiu-Jitsu. I can see this going down with Brilz on top getting a boring decision because Marshall can't get his rubber guard to do what he wants it to, but I'm gonna go against my gut feeling & take Marshall by submission, round 2. Maybe a triangle-choke.
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Robert Emerson
I don't think dos Anjos' 2 losses in the Octagon reflect his talent & potential. Rafael can bang & he's got a good submission game.