Stephan Bonnar vs. Igor Pokrajac
This feels like a match-up that’s designed to swing in Bonnar’s favor. Pokrajac is a decent all-rounder, but is struggling to stay afloat in the UFC’s 205lb division. To be fair so has Bonnar recently, but for the most part against a better standard of competition. The former TUF season 1 star has the better overall skill-set here and should be able to outslug the Croatian to a decision victory.
Prediction: Stephan Bonnar to win by decision.
Michael Johnson vs. Jonathan Brookins
This is a pretty solid, competitive match-up to decide the next Ultimate Fighter with both men certainly in with a chance. I like Brookins though. His wrestling is good enough to stop Johnson from having his way in the area he excels in, and meanwhile Johnson’s vulnerability to submissions plays right into his hands. Johnson may have a slight advantage in the stand-up, but he’s still not the finished article in that regard and Brookins will be hard to break down.
Prediction: Jonathon Brookins to win by submission in Rd2.
Kendall Grove vs. Demian Maia
Apparently Grove actually asked for this fight which is a bold move, and one I think he’ll end up regretting. To be fair, I could see him using his height and reach to give Maia problem’s standing, but I suspect the Brazilian will be looking to avoid that confrontation on this occasion and instead will take him to the mat, grab ahold of one of those long limbs and yank it in a direction it’s not supposed to go. Even if Grove can fend of the sub attempts he’ll still find himself being controlled by a superior BJJ technician.
Prediction: Demian Maia to win by submission in Rd2.
Rick Story vs. Johny Hendricks
These are two of the most entertaining wrestling based fighters in the UFC and this should be a fun match-up. Both are currently on four fight winning streaks in the promotion so somebody’s run is going to come to an end, and I’m going to say that it’ll be Story’s. I think the two fighters wrestling will cancel each other out to a large extent and leave Hendricks heavier hands to do the talking. Should be a very close fight though.
Prediction: Johny Hendricks to win by decision.
Nam Phan vs. Leonard Garcia
Another potential ‘Fight Of The Night’ candidate here. Both men like to keep it standing and I’d have to give Phan the technical edge in the striking. Garcia is much more reckless and tends to just wing his punches and swing for the fences, often hitting thin air as a result. His relentless, aggressive style often catches the eye of the judges though, and that’s why I think he may scrape through to yet another close decision win on Saturday night.
Prediction: Leonard Garcia to win by decision.
Prelims: (Predicted winners in bold)
Aaron Wilkinson vs. Cody McKenzie
Ian Loveland vs. Tyler Toner
Kyle Watson vs. Sako Chivitchian
Nick Pace vs. Will Campuzano
Pablo Garza vs. Fredson Paixao
David Branch vs. Rich Attonito