On Saturday night an excellent UFC card comes to fans live from the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, which includes the finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Carwin vs. Nelson. As you know, Shane Carwin unfortunately suffered (another) injury, when he tore ligaments in his knee, so the match between the two TUF coaches has been changed for the second season in a row due to injury. Instead, Matt Mitrione will take Carwin’s place in a heavyweight battle with “Big Country” Roy Nelson as the main event of the evening. As always, I have picked the preliminaries without a breakdown, and the main card with a full fight breakdown. My overall picks record can be found at the bottom of this post. On to the picks:
(FYI – The Australian version of TUF’s Finals were last night, I did not pick the card because I was unfamiliar with the prospects, but I did pick Lombard over Palhares and Pearson over Sortiropoulois. Both outcomes were right. I am not counting these in my record, but Dana White, if you are reading this we need Lombard vs. Bisping immediately!!!)
Preliminaries (Facebook): Jared Papazian OVER Tim Elliot, John Cofer OVER Mike Rio, Hugo Viana OVER Reuben Duran
Preliminaries (Fuel TV): TJ Waldburger OVER Nick Catone, Rustam Khabilov OVER Vinc Pichel, Marcos Vinicius OVER Johnny Bedford, Mike Pyle OVER James Head
Dustin Poirier (12-2) vs Jonathan Brookins (13-5) – Featherweight Bout – Former Ultimate Fighter winner Jonathan Brookins is a talented fighter, however I think he may have bitten off a little more than he can chew, as he is matched up with the dangerous Poirier in this fight. Poirier was riding a five fight winning streak and was poised for a UFC Featherweight title shot, until he lost to Jung Chan-Sun in the fourth round on May 15th, a fight which took Fight of the Night honors. I think that Poirier will get back on the winning track this weekend, and will eventually contend for the UFC Featherweight Title, which he is good enough to win. THE PICK: Poirier by decision.
Melvin Guilard (30-11-1) vs. Jamie Varner (20-7-2) – Lightweight Bout – Two veterans of the octagon with over 70 professional fights between them square off on Saturday night as Melvin Guilard takes on Jamie Varner, in what should be an excellent contest. Guilard is great athlete who has one-punch-knockout ability, however he has lost three of his last four fights, while Varner seems rejuvenated since his return to the UFC in May. I feel confident in saying that this fight will not go to a decision, and I’m giving the edge to the hot Varner over the cold Guilard, in what should be a fun fight to watch. THE PICK: Varner by submission (choke) in the 2nd round.
Pat Barry (7-5) vs. Shane Del Rosario (11-1) – Heavyweight Bout – Pat Barry is a dangerous man who has knockout power in both his arms and his legs, he has proven he can knock a man out with a single shot, and can win any fight at any time. That being said, I think Del Rosario wins this matchup, and gets back on the winning track after a his first career loss (TKO to Stipe Miocic). This will be a thrilling fight to watch, as both men come from kickboxing backgrounds, and neither of them will want to be on the ground. Three of Barry’s five losses have come by submission, and although I think both fighters will try to stay on their feet, Del Rosario has won fights by submission and holds the advantage on the ground. The Pick: Del Rosario by submission in the 3rd round.
Ultimate Fighter Finale – Colton Smith vs. Mike Ricci – Welterweight Bout – The winner of this fight gets a UFC contract and the privilege of being announced as “Former Ultimate Fighter Winner” for the rest of his life. Colton Smith is a superior wrestler and a member of the US Armed forces, who has imposed his will on other fighters in this tournament, by dominating them with his wrestling abilities. Mike Ricci is a Canadian, who does not look the part of a UFC fighter, but he was clearly the most highly skilled fighter on the show who made his opponents look silly with his outstanding technical game. I think the more powerful Smith will do what he has done all season, use his wrestling to take the fight to the ground, and control the action. Since very few fights have been decided in the ring on this season of TUF, I think this goes the distance. The Pick: Smith by decision.
Roy Nelson (17-7) vs. Matt Mitrione (5-1) – Heavyweight Bout – I really like Matt Mitrione (he once played for the New York Giants, my football team), and root for him as a fighter, but he is not in the same league as Roy Nelson. These two were on the same season of The Ultimate Fighter, which was eventually won by Nelson, and although Mitrione has improved since then the difference between their abilities is glaring. Mitrione’s biggest strength is his punching power, in fact all of his wins have come by knockout or TKO, winning by punches. Roy Nelson is close to impossible to knockout, in fact, Roy Nelson has only been knocked out one time in his lengthy career. Mitrione has a chance to be a good fighter, but he is not knocking out Roy Nelson, take that to the bank. The Pick: Nelson by TKO (Ground & Pound) in round 2.
UFC PICKS RECORD (by event):
UFC on FOX 5: Henderson vs. Diaz
Preliminaries (2-5) Main Card (3-1) Overall (5-6)
UFC 154: St-Pierre vs. Condit
Preliminaries (5-2) Main Card (2-3) Overall (7-5)
UFC on FUEL TV: Franklin vs. Cung Le –
Preliminaries (1-2) Main Card (4-1) Overall (5-3)
UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar –
Preliminaries (5-1) Main Card (4-2) Overall (9-3)
UFC 149: Faber vs. Barao –
Preliminaries (4-2) Main Card (2-3) Overall (6-5)
UFC 148: Sliva vs. Sonnen II –
Preliminaries (3-2) Main Card (5-1) Overall (8-3)
UFC 146: Dos Santos vs Mir –
Preliminaries (4-3) Main Card (4-1) Overall (8-4)
UFC on FOX 2: Evans vs. Davis –
Main Card (3-0)
Preliminaries (24-17) Main Card (27-12) Overall (51-29)
Main Events (7-1)