A slightly truncated edition of our preview and predictions this time round. See below for my predictions on how tonight’s action from Las Vegas is going to pan out.
Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva
Given the injury woes that have plagued UFC 108, I’m content with this main event which pits a former light heavyweight champion against a possible No.1 contender in 2010. The two also share only one loss a piece, to the current champion, Lyoto Machida, in a combined record of 30 pro fights. It may not be a glamorous bout, but it’s certainly an intriguing one.
Prediction: Really either fighter winning would not be a surprise. Evans has talked a lot about rediscovering his wrestling base ahead of this fight and I think that could be the key factor here. His speed and sense of distance will be enough to keep him in the fight on his feet, while his ground work will give him the edge that sets up the victory, and the much anticipated showdown with Rampage Jackson.
I’m going for Rashad Evans to win by decision.
Paul Daley vs. Dustin Hazelett
A late call up after Paul Daley’s original opponent, Carlos Condit, pulled out injured, Dustin Hazelett finally returns to the octagon after over a year on the sidelines for a classic striker versus grappler match-up. It doesn’t immediately stand out as a co-main event fight, but both men will undoubtedly be looking to take full advantage of the increased exposure to make a name for themselves.
Prediction: This fight seems destined to end either as a highlight reel knockout for Daley, or yet another Submission Of The Night award for Hazelett. I have to go for the latter option on this occasion since Daley’s ground game is still a major weak point, and Hazelett’s penchant for slick submissions seem tailor made for this fight.
Dustin Hazelett to win by submission in the second round.
Joe Lauzon vs. Sam Stout
Joe Lauzon has been fighting for the UFC since 2006, putting together a solid winning record of 5-1. In roughly the same time frame Sam Stout has went 3-4. What Stout has delivered however is Fight Of The Night caliber performances – he has three such awards to his name – thanks to his knack of delivering stand-up wars. He will struggle to do that against Lauzon however who will be eager to get this fight to the floor at all costs.
Prediction: Lauzon is a talented and intelligent ground fighter and that’s not good news for Sam Stout. I expect Lauzon to disregard any thoughts of standing with Stout, and pull guard to get this fight into his comfort zone where he should eventually lock in a successful submission.
Joe Lauzon to win by submission in round two.
Duane Ludwig vs. Jim Miller
Thanks to an injury to Sean Sherk, Duane Ludwig get’s an unexpected invite back to the UFC after a three year absence, and will be looking to improve upon his 2-0 win-streak in the octagon. Meanwhile Jim Miller has lost only one of his past eleven fights (to Gray Maynard), and is 4-1 in the UFC.
Prediction: Ludwig is always a fun fighter to watch thanks to his adept muay thai striking, but the holes in his ground game are well documented. The fact that he looked drained at the weigh ins doesn’t help either, and I can’t see anything other than Jim Miller bulldozing his way through Ludwig early in this fight.
Jim Miller to win in the first round by submission.
Junior Dos Santos vs. Gilbert Yvel
In my opinion this should have been the co-main event of the evening. Dos Santos is a fast rising prospect in the heavyweight division with wins over Werdum, Struve and Cro Cop in the octagon. Yvel is a late replacement for Gabe Gonzaga who is making his octagon debut, but with over 50 fights to his name, and 31 knockout victories, this deadly striker won’t be overwhelmed by the occasion.
Prediction: Yvel’s striking prowess means he’s always going to be a danger if this fight remains standing. Dos Santos is no slouch on his feet either however. More importantly, though his ground game hasn’t come into play often in his career to date, he is reported to be very comfortable in that department, particularly with his submissions. Yvel often struggles when placed on his back and I expect that to be proven once again in this fight.
Junior Dos Santos to win by TKO (ground and pound) in round three.
Prelims (Spike TV): (Predicted winners in bold)
Martin Kampmann vs. Jacob Volkmann
Dan Lauzon vs. Cole Miller
Ryan Jensen vs. Mark Munoz
Jake Ellenberger vs. Mike Pyle
Rafaello Oliveira vs. John Gunderson