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UFC 113: Machida vs. Shogun 2 Preview and Predictions

Bon jour…and is all I know in French. Hoping as many of you as possible are heading up north for UFC 113 this Saturday in Montreal. It’s a fantastic city with great people, a laid-back culture, and phenomenal strip clubs (Go to “Super Sex.” Just go there.

Right now. If you are in Montreal and reading this, stop, get some cash and go immediately). I wish I could be sitting anywhere near the cage at the Bell Centre, but my mom’s Italian and would guilt me to death for missing Mother’s Day just so I could watch two half-naked Brazilian men beat the crap out of one another. Now that I’ve admitted my noble but semi-pathetic excuse for not going, let’s chat about the Main Card, eh?

Patrick Cote vs. Alan Belcher
As is customary for non-U.S. cards, the UFC have loaded up on Maple Leaf fighters, and the first fight on the main card is no exception with Anderson Silva-victim & countryman Patrick Cote taking on Alan Belcher, in a fight that was supposed to take place back at UFC 83 before Cote withdrew due to injury. Cote has not fought since his unfortunate loss to Silva via TKO (torn knee injury) at UFC 90. Before that, he was on a 5 fight-winning streak against Scott Smith, Jason Day, Kendall Grove, Drew McFredries, and Ricardo Almeida. Belcher has won 3 fight bonuses in a row between subbing Denis Kang at UFC 90 (Submission of the Night), a split decision loss to Sexyama at UFC 100 (Fight of the Night), and a TKO of Wilson Gouveia at UFC 107 (FOTN). Cote will get in and out with his boxing and will have some speed on his side against Belcher, but the ring rust is something to think about and Belcher hits hard. Both guys like to throw so this should be entertaining fight. For the sake of home field advantage, I give it to Cote.

Jay’s Pick: Cote via decision

Kimbo Slice vs. Matt Mitrione

Oh, TUF: Season 10…how disappointing you were…but at least you brought Kimbo Slice to the UFC. I don’t care what anyone says: I love Kimbo, but not because I think he’s a good fighter. He’s entertaining as hell and seems like a genuinely good guy who wants to learn MMA. He came into the reality show to boost ratings and wound up giving Roy Nelson a better fight than many expected despite the 3rd round loss early on. His efforts earned a fight with Houston Alexander at the TUF Finale where he won via unanimous decision (apparently, Alexander thought he was a human protractor and circled the cage more than trying to knock Slice out). “Meathead” Mitrione, however, will not be the same story. A former NFL player (Go GIANTS) with a penchant for freaking out on camera, Mitrione knocked Big Baby Jones silly with a KO in R2 of the finale. Odds makers have this basically even. Sorry, Kimbo. This guy hits a helluva lot harder than Seth Petruzelli.

Jay’s Pick: Mitrione via TKO, R2

Sam Stout vs, Jeremy Stephens
After a HW brawl (cause Bruce Buffer calls Kimbo a brawler instead of a striker…which is hilarious), we go down to the LW division. The London, Ontario native Stout is a tough SOB: Last 5 fights have gone the distance with the last two wins earning FOTN honors against a game Joe Lauzon & Matt Wiman respectively. Stephens most recently beat Clay Buchholz by carving a hole in his head at Fight Night 19 but dropped two before that to Gleison Tibau & Lauzon. I don’t expect a fancy ground war out of these two as both are going to slug it out on their feet. Stout’s last performance against Lauzon was very impressive and I see him taking it but Stephens won’t go down easy.

Jay’s Pick: Stout via split decision (Yup. Getting specific. Why not have fun/be risky with the picks?)

Josh Koscheck vs. Paul Daley
#1 contender to GSP’s belt is on the line with this one as the brillowpad-headed one himself, Josh Koscheck, takes on arguably the most powerful striker in the WW division, Paul “Semtex” Daley. Koscheck, one of the AKA triumvirate of contenders at the top of the division, is a NCAA Div I wrestling champ & 4 time All-American who’s most recent win was a sub victory over Anthony “Rumble” Johnson at UFC 106 that earned FOTN & SOTN honors (making dollars, people, making dollars). Unlike his AKA teammate Jon Fitch, however, Koscheck can finish with his fists too (TKO over Frank Trigg at UFC 103 and a R1 KO over Yoshiyuki Yoshida at Fight for the Troops). In THIS case, however, he should stick to the ground game. Daley knocks people out. Period. His last 4 fights have all been by TKO/KO using great technique and accuracy in his punches, most recently serving up a R1 KO to Dustin Hazelett at UFC 108 this past January. Koscheck talks a lot, but I think he’s smart enough to know his best plan is to take it to the ground and go for the submission, something Daley is definitely at risk to. GSP vs. Koscheck II later this year.

Jay’s Pick: Koscheck via submission, R2

Lyoto Machida vs. Shogun Rua – UFC Light Heavyweight Championship

I don’t think this fight needs too much of an introduction, but here’s a brief synopsis: Machida won the LHW belt from Rashad Evans at UFC 98 and the undefeated, elusive karate King’s reign began. Many of us, myself included, thought he would be untouchable for a long time. Then last year, Shogun, after TKO-ing old timers Chuck Liddell & Mark Coleman back-to-back, did in fact touch Machida…with a lot of hard legs at UFC 104. I, like many of the people at NY Jiu Jitsu (where I watched the fight), let out a collective “WHAAAT?!” when Machida was awarded the unanimous decision victory. Rua executed a near perfect game plan against the counter-striker in Machida: get in, get out, dish out damage, but don’t go too far so that Machida could really capitalize.

Apparently, it was not enough to get what should have been a split decision win. Here’s the dilemma for fight #2: Rua did not press enough with his normally aggressive attack (at least in the eyes of Cecil Peoples and his fellow judges) and may be looking to make sure he finishes the job this time, but if he gets too zealous Machida will make him pay for it. It’s -200/+160 in favor of Machida, and this is a REALLY tough fight to call, but I don’t think The Dragon’s era is over just yet.

Jay’s Pick: Machida via unanimous decision

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