The UFC is giving fight fans another treat on Saturday night when they air UFC on FX: Belfort vs Bisping live on the FX Network with the Preliminaries airing in FuelTv. The event comes to us live from Sao Paulo, Brazil, so expect a rowdy crown strongly behind their hometown Brazilian fighters, as is always the case. I am coming off a strong showing last weekend in the final Strikeforce Card: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine, going (9-2) but am kicking myself (much like Saffiedine leg kicked Marquardt) because I had Saffiedine picked by decision in the main event until the last minute and switched my pick to Marquardt. Still, another strong performance, and as always my All-Time record can be found at the bottom of this page. On to the picks:
Preliminaries (FuelTv): Francisco Trinaldo OVER C.J. Keith, Wagener Prado OVER Ildemar Alcantara, Yuri Alcantara OVER Pedro Nobre, Edson Barboza OVER Lucas Martins, Diego Nunes OVER Nik Lentz, Andrew Craig OVER Ronny Markes, Godofredo Castro OVER Milton Vieira
Main Card (FX):
Thiago Tavares (17-4-1) vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (18-0) – Lightweight Bout – Thiago Tavares is a tough competitor whose career started out hot, and although he hit a rough patch, he is back on the winning track after back to back wins over Spencer Fischer and Sam Stout. However, Khabib Nurmagomedov is undefeated, and has really impressed me since he joined the UFC, winning twice in convincing fashion. He is a well rounder fighter, and although I think Tavares will be a difficult matchup for Nurmagomedov, I like him to continue his undefeated streak on Saturday night. THE PICK: Nurmagomedov by Decision.
Gabriel Gonzaga (13-6) vs. Ben Roehwell (32-8) – Heavyweight Bout – Gabriel Gonzaga makes his return to the Octagon for the first time in over a year when he takes on Big Ben Rothwell, who is undoubtedly one of the toughest heavyweights the UFC has to offer. Gonzaga will have the advantage on the ground, and he will use his jiu-jitsu skills in an attempt to submit Rothwell, which could be a problem since Rothwell has not tapped out since 2005. Gonzaga will be rusty, having not been in a match in over a year, which will be an advantage for Rothwell. I feel that people often discount Rothwell, because he does not look like a Brock Lesnar, but he is very skilled and I think he wins this matchup. The Pick: Rothwell by TKO in the Second Round.
Daniel Sarafian (7-2) vs. C.B. Dolloway (12-4) – Middleweight Bout – Daniel Sarafian was scheduled to fight in the Finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, but had to pull out due to injury, so this will be his UFC debut. He is a very dangerous fighter who has finished all but one of his victories by submitting his opponent. If you follow the UFC you are very familiar with C.B. Dolloway, the former All-American wrestler from Arizona State University who was a finalist in Ultimate Fighter: Season 7, losing to Amir Sadollah via armbar. Dolloway has an aggressive style and is very powerful for his size, which can be a disadvantage at times against submission experts like Sarafian, and I think it will be this weekend. The Pick: Sarafian by submission in Round One.
Vitor Belfort (21-10) vs. Michael Bisping (23-4) – Middleweight Bout – Two of the most highly regarded, but aging, fighter in the UFC square off in the main event of the evening when Great Britain’s Michael Bisping takes on Brazil’s own Vitor Belfort live from Sao Paulo. Michael Bisping is a cunning fighter who knows how to get himself out of trouble, and these are great attributes to have against a striker as dangerous as Vitor Belfort. An ideal fight for Bisping would be to withstand the initial surge from the hometown fighter, take the air out of the crowd, and force this fight to go the distance. If he can do this, Bisping will win this fight, but it will be difficult. Vitor Belfort will have the momentum of the Brazilian crowd behind him, and he will come out of the gates like a bull, which is bad news for anyone standing across the cage from him. If this fight was anywhere else, I would give Bisping a better shot, and if he can control the action he can beat anybody, but in Brazil I’m taking Belfort. The Pick: Belfort by TKO in Round Two.
MMA PICKS RECORD (by event):
Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine –
Preliminaries (5-1) Main Card (4-1) Overall (9-2)
UFC 155: Velasquez vs. dos Santos –
Preliminaries (6-1) Main Card (0-5) Overall (6-6)
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 (35-19) Main Card (32-18) Overall (66-37)
Main Events (7-3)