The Roar: UFC 146 previews and predictions
Here are UFC experts Erin Tierney, Sam Brown and E. Spencer Kyte’s previews and predictions for the upcoming UFC fights.
Junior dos Santos (14-1) versus Frank Mir (16-5)
Erin Tierney: Junior dos Santos has possibly dodged a bullet with the removal of Overeem from the bout, and should quite easily take this fight. “Cigano” has hands and feet faster than a speeding bullet, and will be a big issue for Mir.
Pick: Junior dos Santos by KO in round two… and I’m already looking forward to JDS versus Overeem!
Sam Brown: I like Frank Mir, I really do, but honestly I don’t think he has much of a chance here. As I wrote earlier this week, I think pretty highly of dos Santos, and feel he could reign over this division for a long time. The only question mark is his ground game, but I think he will use his silky smooth footwork to stay out of trouble and take this one out early.
Pick: Junior dos Santos by TKO, Round 3
Spencer Kyte: Mir was the right choice to move up and challenge dos Santos, but it’s a bad match-up for the former two-time champion. “Cigano” hits like a Mack truck, and if – when? – dos Santos connects the way “Minotauro” Nogueira did back in December, Mir won’t get a chance to recover.
Pick: Junior dos Santos by TKO, round one
Cain Velasquez (9-1) versus Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (16-3)
Sam Brown: I am actually a bit torn on this one, as I feel like Silva is a bit of an unknown and could pull out an upset here. However, I can’t go against someone with the all around skills and cardio of Velasquez. As I mentioned in my column – I swear its my last plug – a rematch between he and dos Santos will go a long way to deciding the heavyweight division’s future.
Pick: Cain Velasquez by Decision
Spencer Kyte: This is a great match-up for Velasquez, as his teammate Daniel Cormier laid out the blueprint for beating “Bigfoot” back in September. If the Olympic wrestler can out-quick and out-strike Silva, the former UFC heavyweight champion will be able to do the same.
Pick: Cain Velasquez by TKO, Round two
Erin Tierney: It’s too hard to look passed Cain in this one. It’s possible that “Bigfoot” has learned from his recent loss, however we have seen other fighters get caught in similar fashion to their previous fight.
Pick: Cain Velasquez by TKO, round two.
Shane del Rosario (11-0) versus Stipe Miočić (8-0)
Spencer Kyte: These two sluggers are part of the future of the division. I’m concerned about the amount of time del Rosario has missed after being in a car accident last May, but he’s the more complete, more polished of the two in my books, and I see him remaining unbeaten.
Pick: Shane del Rosario by TKO, round one.
Erin Tierney: For one of these fighters, it will be their first loss, so expect these two to come out of the gate racing. I think that Miočić has the upper hand by having fought more recently than del Rosario.
Pick: Stipe Miočić by TKO, round one.
Sam Brown: I think the winner of this match should get a shot at a number one contenders position. Both these guys are exciting, unbeaten talents, in their combined 19 fights only one has gone to decision. I’m going to go for Del Rosario in a quick finish simply because he ha a tad more experience under his belt.
Pick: Shane del Rosario by KO, round one.
Roy Nelson (16-7) versus Dave Herman (21-3)
Erin Tierney: Nelson has too much experience against bigger fighters to lose this one. Given also he has worked on his cardio and all round fitness in the last couple of fights, I can see a new improved Roy Nelson fighting his way to the top.
Pick: Roy Nelson by TKO, Round three.
Sam Brown: What is there not to love about Roy Nelson? Not only does he rock a mullet and beer belly that would have made Boonie proud, he can actually fight – he can roll on the ground with the best of them, can throw a right hand that would stun a rhino, and has a chin like a block of concrete. As for Herman, he is a dangerous fighter with a long line of knockouts behind him, but I think Nelson will be a bit too much of a step up for at this stage.
Pick: Roy Nelson by TKO, Round 2
Spencer Kyte: I’m probably going to pay for this one, but I’m taking the upset. Herman has all the physical tools needed to be a quality heavyweight, and while he’s been kind of aloof thus far in his career, he’ll have a height, reach, and speed advantage, and I like him to come away with the win.
Pick: Dave Herman by TKO, round two.
Stefan Struve (23-5) versus Lavar Johnson (17-5)
Sam Brown: It is hard to remember Stefan Struve is only 24; it feels like he’s been around forever. This will be another exciting fight too because win or lose, Lavar Johnson doesn’t go to the scorecards. My pick for this one is “The Skyscraper” – he is on a hot little run of form, and I think he may be finally making that run up the heavyweight ladder he has always promised.
Pick: Stefan Struve by Submission, round two.
Spencer Kyte: This all comes down to what kind of fight Struve wants. If he wants to stand-and-bang, he’s getting knocked out. If, however, he decides to use his solid submission skills, Struve should be able to earn his third consecutive victory.
Pick: Stefan Struve by Submission, round one.
Erin Tierney: Given the limited time that Johnson has had to prepare for this fight, I would have to pick Stefan ‘The Skyscraper’ Struve. He will continue his excellent run up the heavyweight ladder in exciting fashion.
Pick: Stefan Struve by TKO, round three.
Diego Brandao (14-7) versus Darren Elkins (13-2)
All three picking Diego Brandao
Jamie Varner (19-6-1) versus Edson Barboza (10-0)
All three picking Edson Barboza
C.B. Dollaway (11-4) versus Jason “Mayhem” Miller (23-8)
Sam Brown siding with C.B. Dollaway, while Erin and Spencer choose “Mayhem”
Duane Ludwig (21-12) versus Dan Hardy (23-10)
Mr. Brown stands alone again, picking Duane Ludwig.
Paul Sass (12-0) versus Jacob Volkmann (14-2)
Three straight solo votes from @Sir_Samuel as he picks Paul Sass to remain undefeated.
Glover Teixeira (17-2) versus Kyle Kingsbury (11-3)
Erin and Spencer expect Teixeira to win his UFC debut; Sam does not.
Mike Thomas Brown (25-8) versus Daniel Pineda (17-7)
Sam sees MTB earning the nod; Erin and Spencer see Pineda moving to 3-0 in the UFC this year.
Saturday, May 26 – Weigh-ins 9am on Fuel TV
Sunday, May 27 – Prelims: 9am on UFC Facebook, then 10am on Fuel TV. Main Card: 12pm on Main Event – all AEST
Follow E. Spencer Kyte on Twitter (@spencerkyte)