Frank Mir vs. Mirko Cro Cop
As I wrote the other day Mirko Cro Cop hasn’t exactly been exuding confidence ahead of his fight with Frank Mir and the way I see it he’s probably got good reason to feel that way.
It’s been great to see Cro Cop get a couple of wins under his belt recently, but Anthony Perosh and Pat Barry are not major contenders in the heavyweight division, and worryingly Barry knocked Cro Cop down twice during their fight and only faded after breaking his hand and foot.
Mir may have lost two of his last three fights, but he’s operating at a different level of competition and there’s no shame in losing to 265lb+ behemoths like Lesnar and Carwin.
Stylistically Mir is vastly superior on the ground and together with his size advantage and improved striking that means that Cro Cop will have to do something special in the striking department to beat him – and the sad truth is that we haven’t seen anything special from the Croatian in quite some time.
Prediction: Frank Mir to win by submission in Rd2
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Ryan Bader
This should be a very interesting fight as we found out who has what it takes to push once step closer to a title shot.
Nogueira certainly looked the part against Luiz Cane in his UFC debut, but a less than stellar performance against Jason Brilz raised some new questions about how far he can go at light-heavyweight at this stage in his career.
Technically Lil Nog is a much better boxer than Bader and also makes good use of his knees. Meanwhile his jiu-jitsu is on a completely different planet to his opponent and could give him serious problems, or help to get him out of some sticky spots due to his slick transitions and sweeps.
Bader brings some useful tools to the cage as well however. He’s not the most skillful of strikers but he certainly packs a punch and backs it up with a solid chin. He’s also stronger than Nog and his wrestling background could be the key to this fight, though I believe he’ll try to outstrike the Brazilian first.
I think Lil Nog is being discounted a little too quickly here due to his last fight. This is easily Bader’s toughest fight to date and I like Rogerio to come better prepared than his last outing and use superior skill and technique to seal the victory late in the closing stages.
Prediction: Antonio Rogerio Nogeuira to win by submission in Rd3
Chris Lytle vs. Matt Serra
I’m expecting this to be a good scrap, and from their pre-fight comments it seems like both Lytle and Serra think so too.
Both men love to throw leather and I expect them both to do so frequently in this match-up. Technically Lytle is the better striker, though often he throws some of that technique out of the window in favor of wilder power shots.
Serra likes to throw bombs as well though, and of the two I believe he has the heavier hands. Both have strong chins so it’s going to be difficult for either to be finished decisively though.
If the fight goes to the ground then each man has something to offer with submissions, though overall Serra has a more comprehensive jiu-jitsu background. As on the feet I suspect it’ll be difficult for either man to finish the other on the mat inside the distance.
It’s a tough fight to call but I like Serra here to land the more telling blows on the feet and come out on top if the fight hits the mat.
Prediction: Matt Serra to win by decision.
Sean Sherk vs. Evan Dunham
Is Sherk still a force at lightweight after a long absence or will Dunham show that he’s ready to compete with the best the division has to offer? I’m intrigued to find out.
Sherk is coming off a 16 month absence from the octagon due to a series of injuries, and prior to that he wasn’t exactly setting the world alight with a 1-2 record after appearing to discard his wrestling roots in favor of a new-found love of striking despite lacking the power and reach to really be effective in that realm.
It will be interesting to see whether the former champion will revert back to his roots now after having had plenty of time to reflect on his last fights. If he does then he could still be trouble for whoever he faces as he fits perfectly into the tough, strong grinding wrestler mould that has proven to be so successful in MMA competition.
It’ll be tough to bully Dunham though who has a solid wrestling background of his own, backed up by submission skills and an improving stand-up game. The younger man also has good cardio, and that could be telling due to the length of time Sherk has had out out.
I think Dunham’s wrestling will allow him to keep this fight on the feet where his reach advantage will pay dividends, while Sherk’s ring rust will start to show in the later rounds, allowing the younger man to get the nod on the judges scorecards.
Prediction: Evan Dunham to win by decision.
Melvin Guillard vs. Jeremy Stephens
Guillard Vs Stephens should be a perfect fight to start the main card off with a bang with both men likely to swing for the fences from the opening bell.
Both men possess bone-breaking power in their fists so it’ll be interesting to see if either drops their record of having never been stopped by strikes in their careers.
Guillard is fighting under Greg Jackson’s tutelage these days and that’s stood him in good stead so far. A little more measured, but still possessing the same raw power, blinding speed and killer instinct as before makes him an extremely dangerous fighter to stand and trade with.
Meanwhile Stephens looked good in his last fight with Sam Stout, showing a little too much technique to be labeled just a brawler. Speed kills as they say though and I think Guillard’s advantage in that regard tips the balance of this fight in his favor.
Prediction: Melvin Guillard to win by TKO in Rd2
Joey Beltran vs. Matt Mitrione
CB Dollaway vs. Joe Doerksen
Pat Audinwood vs. Thiago Tavares
Steve Lopez vs. Waylon Lowe
TJ Grant vs. Julio Paulino
Mark Hunt vs. Sean McCorkle