UFC 149 Faber vs. Barao: The Roaring Predictions
We’re a man down, as Sam Brown couldn’t join us for this round of fight picks. Nonetheless, the lovely and talented Ms. Erin Tierney and I will do our best to give you good insights, good picks, and a good read with our latest instalment of The Roaring Predictions.
Urijah Faber vs. Renan Barao
Erin: This could be Faber’s time in the spotlight, as discussed in my article from earlier this week, however Barao isn’t to be overlooked easily. The Brazilian is on a 28-fight win streak and can ruin “The California Kid’s” night.
Given that Barao trains with featherweight champ Jose Aldo, who has fought Faber previously in the WEC, it can be certain that winning tips were shared around the gym, especially in regards to the stand-up.
It’s hard to say where this fight will end up. On the ground, Barao shouldn’t overlook Faber’s wresting and submission defence, but it could be in the stand up where we see Faber struggle with quick feet and an aggressive game plan. Pick: Renan Barao via TKO
Spencer: I tend to agree with Erin here. Faber is definitely not to be taken lightly, and he has all the tools necessary to leave Calgary with the interim bantamweight title, but Barao looks just a bit better to me in the areas that will decide this fight.
Speed has been the crucial element in most of Faber’s fights lately; when he’s the faster man, he’s the victor, and when he’s not, he’s not. Barao is quick on his feet, and does a very good job of doing damage without taking much damage, and I think that will be his approach here: get in, land, and get out. Pick: Renan Barao by Unanimous Decision
Hector Lombard vs. Tim Boetsch
Spencer: I’m excited to see Lombard finally make his UFC debut, and believe he has the kind of crazy power that can change any fight on a dime. That said, everyone knows by this point that you don’t stand with the former Bellator champion, and I like the grappling skills Boetsch brings to the cage in his one.
That’s not to say that Lombard doesn’t have a solid grappling pedigree either. Obviously, you don’t make the Olympics in judo without being highly skilled, but we haven’t seen much grappling from Lombard in the last few years, and he’s also been taken down by some guys with lesser credentials than Boetsch.
I believe it’s going to be a grind for “The Barbarian” and he’ll have to be careful not to get caught, but I have a feeling Lombard’s UFC debut is going to end up being a bad memory for the Cuban transplant. Pick: Tim Boetsch by Unanimous Decision
Erin: It’s Hector Lombard finally in the UFC! A highly-decorated and seasoned fighter, Lombard was originally meant to face Brian Stann in this bout until an injury forced Stann off the card. Now fighting Tim Boetsch, it really comes down to how long the fight will last.
Aussies, get ready to join the Lombard train! Boetsch is coming into this fight with wins over Kendall Grove, Nick Ring and Yushin Okami, but will struggle against the Cuban-Australian Lombard. Pick: Lombard by TKO
Cheick Kongo vs. Shawn Jordan
Erin: Shawn Jordan is coming off a highly entertaining fight against England’s Oli Thompson at Sydney’s UFC on FX card, while Kongo suffered a loss at the hands of the “Super Samoan” Mark Hunt at UFC 144 in February. With one fighter looking for redemption and the other to progress in the division, this will come down to who can punch the hardest and outlast the other. Pick: Shawn Jordan via Decision
Spencer: I’m so intrigued by this fight, as Jordan has a ton of natural athleticism and potential, but it taking a big step up in competition going from Thompson to Kongo in just his 17th fight.
Kongo made the mistake of not keeping Mark Hunt out of his face, and he’ll surely have learned from that fight heading into this one. While he’s been around for a long time and has tons of experience, there is something about Jordan and the upside he offers that I can’t get away from. Training at Jackson’s in Albuquerque speeds up his learning curve, and though this is a tough test, I expect him to pass with flying colours. Pick: Shawn Jordan by TKO, Round 2
Chris Clements vs. Matt Riddle
Spencer: This one has Fight of the Night written all over it! Both Clements and Riddle like to stand and trade, which should cause this one to come down to who connects with more power and more frequency, and I think that will be Clements.
Riddle might land the greater number of strikes, but he doesn’t have the same kind of power as the Canadian. Additionally, he tends to stay in the pocket more than he should, and that is a bad idea with Clements, who has serious knockout power. Pick: Chris Clements by TKO, Round 2
Erin: Matt Riddle has a good record in the UFC given that he has had no pro-MMA experience before entering the Ultimate Fighter house in TUF 7, and has taken this fight on just over two weeks’ notice, replacing the injured Siyar Bahadurzada.
Clements, on the other hand, has had a good run of 10-4 before debuting in the UFC with a split decision win against Keith Wisniewski.
Given Clements’ win record of 10 knockouts from 11 wins, he will dominate in the stand up and should take this fight provided it doesn’t end up on the ground. Pick: Chris Clements via KO
Brian Ebersole vs. James Head
Erin: Ebersole is doing the quick back-to-back thing, stepping in for Claude Patrick after beating T.J Waldburger in late June. He is on a four-fight win streak since debuting in the UFC. James Head is also coming off a win, beating Papy Abedi in Sweden at the UFC on Fuel event in April.
I have to give this one to Ebersole due to experience. The only concern would be if “The Hairrow” had too much ‘downtime’ before being called up on short notice but overall I think we will see him control the Octagon for the duration of the bout. Pick: Brian Ebersole via decision
Spencer: This will be a tougher task than people think for Ebersole, who returns just a month after earning his fourth UFC win. Head is a tough kid who debuted at welterweight with a solid performance, and has the benefit of a full training camp.
That being said, the crafty veteran Ebersole should get his hand raised here. Much like his fight with TJ Waldburger, there won’t be much Head can offer than Ebersole hasn’t already seen in his lengthy and prolific career, and he has the overall skill set to handle his business wherever this fight takes place. My one concern is that his gas tank may not be full to start the fight; it’s hard to re-fuel and peak again on this short of a turnaround, so don’t be surprised if Ebersole comes out more aggressive than normal avoid having to brave deep waters. Pick: Brian Ebersole by Unanimous Decision
We’ll be back again in a couple weeks with our picks for UFC 150, and be sure to keep checking out The Roar for all your UFC opinion needs!
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Follow E. Spencer Kyte on Twitter (@spencerkyte).