Randy Couture Vs Mark Coleman
It’s the battle of the veterans in the main event as the UFC’s two oldest competitors – 46 year old Randy Couture (who first fought at UFC 13) and 45 year old Mark Coleman (who entered the sport at UFC 10), finally get the opportunity to get locked in a cage together.
Both fighters have done as much as anyone to help wrestling to become an integral part of the sport, but in this fight it may come down to what other skills they’ve picked up along the way that may make the difference.
If that is the case then Couture will surely have the advantage. He has developed into a well rounded fighter through years of diligent training, always enters the octagon in excellent physical condition and is one of the sports more cerebral fighters in terms of gameplanning.
Coleman on the other hand suffers from poor cardio, a reliance on the same skills he entered the sport with, and counts heavily on guts, strength and determination to see him through. As we saw against Stephan Bonnar though, sometimes that has been enough.
Both fighters have seen better days, but the passage of time has been much kinder to Couture and I think his superior cardio will be a key factor in the later rounds. Coleman’s a tough S.O.B though and I think he’ll hang in their until the final bell.
I’m opting for Randy Couture to win by decision.
Nate Marquardt Vs Chael Sonnen
Dana White confirmed this week that the winner of this bout would earn the next shot at the middleweight belt. For Nate Marquardt, who has impressed in his current three fight unbeaten run, it would be a well earned opportunity, though for Chael Sonnen, who went 2-1 in the promotion in 2009 it’s perhaps a little premature.
Marquardt has developed into one of the most dangerous competitors in the middleweight division with much improved striking now backing up his black belt jiu-jitsu skills. Sonnen has the better wrestling of the two though, and to be fair his stand-up has also improved, particularly in his last fight where he picked up a dominating win over Yushin Okami.
The major difference between the two men right now is that Marquardt appears to be growing to his full potential, becoming a more aggressive fighter as he realizes he has the ability to overwhelm his opponents and finish fights emphatically. Sonnen on the other hand is still more of a grinder who earns the majority of his victories over the course of the full three rounds.
Overall I believe that Marquardt is the better fighter both in the stand-up and on the floor, and will prove it on the night. Despite finishing his last few opponents with strikes, I see Marquardt taking advantage of Sonnen’s susceptibility to submissions on this occasion.
I’m going for Nate Marquardt to win by submission in the second round.
Mike Swick Vs Paulo Thiago
After the disappointment of missing out on a title shot due to his loss to Dan Hardy, Mike Swick looks to get back into the mix against Paulo Thiago who is currently 2-1 in the UFC.
Both fighters aren’t used to being beaten. They have some 30 fights between them, yet only four losses. Swick has undoubtedly fought the tougher competition though, having spent the majority of his career in the WEC and UFC, while Thiago hadn’t competed outside of Brazil until his shock TKO win over Josh Koscheck at UFC 95.
Thiago’s most notable moments have come thanks to his striking so far in the UFC, but it’s his BJJ skills that might be his greatest asset in this fight. The catch is that Swick has good takedown defense, and will be looking to keep this fight on the feet.
Swick also holds an advantage in that two of his AKA team-mates Koscheck and Jon Fitch have already fought Thiago in recent times so he will be well versed in what the Brazilian brings to the table.
This is as close a fight as any on the card. I’m leaning towards Swick though as I still have some lingering doubts about how good Thiago really is. I also think Swick’s superior speed and higher work-rate will stand him in good stead here.
I’ll go for Mike Swick by decision.
Damien Maia Vs Dan Miller
Both fighters in this welterweight bout are looking to get back to winning form, with Damien Maia suffering a devastating KO loss to Nate Marquardt at UFC 102, and Dan Miller was beaten by Chael Sonnen at UFC 98.
Despite the losses these are two quality fighters and this should be an intriguing fight. Miller is a talented black belt level BJJ player, but unfortunately for him Maia is one of the very best the game and the difference between the two should be evident if this fight hits the floor.
The good news for Miller is that he has a broader range of skills than Maia, and that could help to swing the bout in his favor if can keep this fight standing. Maia has been working on his striking – but then again he said that before the Marquardt fight as well and look how that ended up.
I like Dan Miller as a fighter so it’s hard to pick against him, but I’m also an admirer of Maia’s ability of the mat, and this fight will surely go there sooner rather than later. When it does I expect Maia to seize a limb, and the victory.
I’m predicting Damien Maia to win by submission in the second round.
Matt Serra Vs Frank Trigg
Another veteran duo kicks off the main card as Matt Serra looks to prove he’s still a threat in the welterweight division, while Frank Trigg fights to prove that he’s still worthy of a place on the roster.
Serra is a highly regarded BJJ fighter and teacher, but often his visits to the octagon end up with him showing his stand-up skills instead. Trigg on the other hand has the better wrestling of the two, and would be more than happy to use his wrestling to get Serra down and utilize his ground n pound.
Though Serra has lost his last two fights he does appear to have something left to offer in the twilight of his career, and in my opinion was unfortunate to lose the judges decision against Matt Hughes. The jury is still out on Trigg though who appears somewhat jaded after a spell fighting in the smaller promotions and then a quick loss to Josh Koscheck in his return to the octagon.
My overall feeling though is that Serra is the fighter who has improved more with age and has more to offer at this point in his career. While I think his striking is a little over-rated since his first fight with GSP, I believe it will be enough against Trigg. It’s still a close fight though and I see this one ending in the hands of the judges.
Put me down for Matt Serra to win a closely fought decision.
Undercard: (Predicted Winners Marked In Bold)
Mac Danzig Vs Justin Buchholz
Melvin Guillard Vs Ronys Torres
Tim Hague Vs Chris Tuchscherer
Brian Stann Vs Phil Davis
Phillipe Nover Vs Rob Emerson
Joey Beltran Vs Rolles Gracie