One week removed from a solid UFC 120 in the UK, the promotion returns stateside for what will more-than-likely be one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, PPV of 2010 as heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar takes his slightly slimmer, bearded physique into the Octagon to face undefeated Cain Velasquez.
I sincerely hope Lesnar keeps the beard for fight night because the clean-shaven, flat top WWE thing is getting stale. In the event that the Yankees somehow push the ALCS to game 7 on Saturday, I will no longer be watching this fight at home and will instead relocate to a bar where I can watch both events and lose my sanity in a public setting with lots of beer.
[adinserter block=”1″] UFC 121 Undercard & Spike Prelim Quick Picks
Jon Madsen over Gilbert Yvel
Dong Yi Yang over Chris Camozzi
Sam Stout over Paul Taylor
Daniel Roberts over Mike Guymon
Tom Lawlor over Patrick Cote
Court McGee over Ryan Jensen
UCF 121 Main Card Predictions
Brendan Schaub vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
I was in Vegas a few weeks ago and actually met Gabe Gonzaga at Xtreme Couture. I got to watch him train. He is a large man. Unfortunately, so is Brendan Schaub and Schaub is even taller. At 1-2 in his past three fights (KO’d by Junior dos Santos at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones this past March, TKO-ing Chris Tuchscherer at UFC 102 last August and getting KO’d by Shane Carwin last March at UFC 96), Gonzaga needs a win. What better way to get back on track than beating Schaub, a Team Jackson striker who’s only loss came to Roy Nelson during their TUF 10 Finale. Other than that, he’s finished everyone with strikes. Given his experience, Gonzaga is the slight favorite. I know Greg Jackson probably has made a great game plan for Schaub, but I think if Gonzaga weathers the storm and gets this to the ground, his superior jiu-jitsu could be the deciding factor. I think the Brazilian is due.
Jay’s Pick: Gonzaga by submission, R2
Matt Hamill vs. Tito Ortiz
If you’ve followed Tito Ortiz’s not-so-obvious tweets lately, you know he’s having a hard time. Could it be the litany of injuries he’s had? Maybe. Could it be his seemingly rocky relationship with his ex-porn star wife Jenna Jameson? Maybe. Does Matt Hamill care about any of this? No. Tito’s injuries and the fact that he has not won since 2006 don’t bode well for him. Hamill, on the other hand, is technically riding a 4 fight winning streak (the italics is because his DQ win over Jon Jones was just that: a technicality. He was getting destroyed for the rest of that fight), I expect Hamill to take it and I look forward to an entertaining list of excuses from Tito talking to Joe Rogan after the fight.
Jay’s Pick: Hamill by decision
Diego Sanchez vs. Paolo Thiago
The next two fights on the card were tougher than the first two. Sanchez recently rejoined the welterweight ranks and was greeted with a decision loss to John Hathaway at UFC 114. Thiago is also coming off a decision loss to Martin Kampmann (who we’ll get to momentarily). I’m glad Sanchez has returned to Jackson’s Camp in New Mexico as I am sure Yoda will come up with a great game plan for him. At +100, he’s a solid underdog with a great chin and amazing cardio, but given the level of competition Thiago’s faced in this weight class (losses to Kampmann & Fitch, wins over #1 contender Josh Koscheck, Jacob Volkmann & Mike Swick), I think he’ll edge out the decision.
Jay’s Pick: Thiago by decision
Jake Shields vs. Martin Kampmann
Speaking of Kampmann, he gets to fight for the Strikeforce Middleweight belt on Saturday during a UFC fight! Wait, they already put it up for grabs and Jacare Souza won it? Guess I missed the memo…
In all seriousness, Shields makes his UFC debut after dominating Dan Henderson for the Strikeforce MW strap. The Cesar Gracie Black Belt has not lost since 2004 with notable wins over Yushin Okami, Carlos Condit, Paul “Suckerpunch” Daley, and Jason Miller. He’s not exactly what you’d call an exciting fighter (roughly half of his wins have gone the distance) but his grappling/jiu jitsu skills are undeniable. Kampmann, on the other hand, is 17-7 having finished 13 of those fights and who’s only loss in the UFC at welterweight was to Paul Daley. Unlike Shields, Kampmann will look to sprawl, keep the fight standing and pick apart Shields with his superior muay thai. Shields is the favorite at -210, but I am smelling an upset and fear Shields is looking past Kampmann to his potential title shot at the winner of GSP/Koscheck.
Jay’s Pick: Kampmann by TKO, R3
[adinserter block=”2″]Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez – UFC Heavyweight Championship
I don’t think this fight needs much of an introduction, do you? Let’s not get into the whole USA vs. Mexican pride thing for a minute (since Velasquez is from California, but hey, lets not split hairs over obvious geographical borders) and get down to in-cage performance. Unlike Shane Carwin in Lesnar’s previous fight, Cain will not exhaust in the second round. He has insane cardio for a man of his size and I am sure would love to drag Lesnar into deeper water and test Lesnar’s gas tank.
He’s undefeated at 8-0 (most recently KO-ing Big Nog at UFC 110) and is a two time All-American D1 wrestler out of ASU. Despite being a slight underdog, a lot of people are picking him to be the one to derail the Lesnar Freight Train…but alas, my friends, I am not picking Cain to win this fight. True, Brock looked like a little kid having a bad dream as Carwin slugged the snot out of him against the fence, but he took a lot of shots that would have put almost anyone else out. He then went on to take down Carwin in R2, pass guard, get side control and secured an arm triangle for the win. Was it pretty? No, but it proved he’s got a lot of heart and a solid chin. Cain will more than likely try to make up for the quality of punches with quantity but Brock’s focused more on his boxing and I don’t think will make the same mistakes again. The Yankees may be almost out of the MLB Playoffs, but I think after Saturday we’ll still be in Brocktober.
Jay’s Pick: Lesnar by TKO, R3
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