5.19.2009

UFC 98 Predictions

Another big night of UFC action is coming up on Saturday the 23rd. This event will be UFC 98 featuring a championship battle between Light Heavyweight Champ Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida, both fighters are undefeated in mixed martial arts competition (18-0-1 for Evans and 14-0 for Machida). Their styles are contrasting but both are superb fighters and this fight should be awesome. Hard as it may to believe, I'm looking more forward to the Hughes/Serra match on the undercard. And I'm hopeful that Matt Serra gets the sound ass-kicking he so richly deserves.

Anyway, without further ado, here are my predictions/wishes for the night's fights.

UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
Rashad Evans vs. Lyoto Machida
Prediction: Machida by KO in Round 2
Reason: I have the greatest respect for Rashad Evans, he's a star, he's a champion and a superb fighter. But Lyoto Machida is very hard to train for, he's elusive, he's technically precise and can hit like a sledgehammer. Either way, this is going to be a fantastic battle.

Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra
Prediction: Hughes by annihilation (KO) in Round 3
Reason: I dislike both Matts here but my dislike for Matt Serra is about fifty times more than for Hughes (who's main fault is his preachyness).

Dan Miller vs. Chael Sonnen
Prediction: Sonnen by submission in Round 1
Reason: Chael Sonnen's jui-jitsu game is very, very solid. Miller's a good fighter but I don't think the caliber of his ground game is up to Sonnen's. If the fight stays on its feet then Miller is likely to win but if it goes to the ground then Sonnen should be able to end it pretty quickly.

Sean Sherk vs. Frankie Edgar
Prediction: Sherk by KO in Round 2
Reason: Frankie Edgar's a good fighter but I think Sean Sherk is stronger and will overwhelm Edgar.

Phillipe Nover vs. Kyle Bradley
Prediction: Nover by TKO in Round 2
Reason: Nover's first impression on the MMA fans was fainting during the first show of The Ultimate Fighter season 8. He's since redeemed himself with some great fights showing a highly aggressive style, great power and a strong desire to finish his opponents. I don't know too much about Bradley but I think Nover's going to swarm him and knock him out.

Chris Wilson vs. Brock Larson
Prediction: Wilson by Submission in Round 2
Reason: Chris Wilson and his family were just robbed at gunpoint in Brazil. He and his family survived. No offense to Brock Larson but I'm pulling for the guy.

Drew McFedries vs. Xavier Foupa-Pokam
Prediction: Foupa-Pokam by TKO in Round 1
Reason: Every fight of McFedries I've seen he either annihilates the other guy or he gets annihilated. Makes for a good fight but not a really smart career strategy.

David Kaplan vs. George Roop
Prediction: Roop by Submission in Round 3
Reason: Dave Kaplan came off as a goof on the Ultimate Fighter, a drunk goof who thought he could take anyone's punch. He was proven wrong, getting knocked out in the bathroom of the house and then getting his ass kicked by Junie "White Trash and Proud of It" Browning. George Roop comes off as much more mature, much more dedicated to the sport and I don't think he's going to get away from his game plan.

Andre Gusmao vs. Krzysztof Soszynski
Prediction: Sosznski by TKO in Round 2
Reason: I don't know Gusmao, he's relatively inexperienced with a 5-1 record. I do know Krzysztof is a tough bastard with good striking and surprisingly good jui jitsu. I'm going with what I know and taking Krzysztof.

And there we go. Quick rundown is: Machida, Hughes, Sonnen, Sherk, Nover, Wilson, Foupa-Pokam, Roop and then Sosznski. That's nine called results, more than my usual predictions. Check back in on Sunday to see how I did and post your own predictions in the comments.
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