Ok, I’m going to confess right away that in my last set of bonus award predictions for UFC 131 I went 0-3, though I’ll take a little comfort from the fact that I went 10-2 as far as predicting who was actually going to win the fights goes.
Still, a better showing is neccessary this time around, so let’s get right to it with my best guesses at who’s going to be earning the bonus awards following Sunday night’s ‘UFC On Versus 4’ event in Pittsburgh.
Fight Of The Night
Plenty of options here. Pat Barry Vs Cheick Kongo stands out at first glance, but I question whether that one will turn out to be a stand-up war, or if Kongo will simply choose to put Barry on his back and gradually wear him down.
I think the main event is a strong contender. Rick Story always fights at a frenetic pace, and I think Nate Marquardt can match him in that regard, and with both men being well-rounded this could be a back-and-forth, up-and-down battle.
I’m opting for one of the fights from the prelims though, with Tyson Griffin, the owner of an impressive 5 ‘Fight Of The Night’ bonuses to date, taking a step down to featherweight to face former No.1 contender in the weight class, Manny Gamburyan. Both men have good grappling skills but like to throw hands, and I suspect they’ll end up slugging it out in an entertaining three rounder.
FOTN Prediction: Tyson Vs Gamburyan
Knockout Of The Night
I’m moving in the direction of the heavyweights here, but though I may live to regret it, I’m going to look past Barry Vs Kongo yet again.
Christian Morecraft was KO’d by Stefan Struve not so long ago, and I fancy Matt Mitrione, who’s hands have been improving at a rapid pace in recent fights, to follow suit with a big finish to continue his unbeaten run in the Octagon.
KO Prediction: Matt Mitrione.
Submission Of The Night
Another award with a few strong contenders. Amongst them are lightweight fighters like the crafty Joe Lauzon against Curt Warburton and the up and coming BJJ ace Rafael Oliveria against Nik Lentz.
I’d happily go with either of those two if it wasn’t for the fact that Daniel ‘Ninja’ Roberts is also on the card fighting TUF contender Rich Attonito. With ‘Ninja’ holding 9 of his 12 wins by submission and already having pocketed a ‘Sub Of The Night’ bonus in the past year, he looks good value to do so again here.
Submission Prediction: Daniel ‘Ninja’ Roberts