Was Jon Jones vs. Brandon Vera on Versus & UFC 111 too much MMA for you within a week and a half? If you answered “No” then you’re in luck: UFC Fight Night 21 is here (if you answered “Yes” you should probably stop reading here). After 5 hours of live MMA out in Newark, I can sit back, relax, and watch Kenny Florian vs. Takanori Gomi in the comfort of my own home on Spike and not worry that my girlfriend is sitting next to me eyeing GSP in person…which she did on Saturday…and that’s ok so long as she enjoys the sport (I must say, I think she went more nuts for Shane Carwin KO-ing Frank Mir than I did). Let’s get to it:
Nate Quarry vs. Jorge Rivera
We start the main card off with a middleweight scrap between two men riding two fight winning streaks in Quarry & Rivera. Quarry’s stand up has done him well with 5 of 7 wins coming by TKO/KO stoppage (4 of those 5 within R1). Unfortunately, he’s been shot down by the “top dogs” in the division with losses to then-champ Rich Franklin back at UFC 56 and more recently to #1 contender Demian Maia at UFC 91. Rivera’s had an up and down road since his stint on TUF 4, with notable losses to Rich Franklin, Chris Leben, and Martin Kampmann. He too has some confidence after a R3 TKO win over Rob Kimmons at UFC 104 and a split decision win over Nissen Osterneck at UFC Fight Night: Condit vs. Kampmann. Quarry, favored at -245, has the stronger stand up and I think will overpower Rivera on this one.
Jay’s Pick: Quarry via TKO, R1
Ross Pearson vs. Dennis Siver
Jay’s Pick: Pearson via decision
Roy Nelson vs. Stefan Struve
It is such a shame Nelson came out to Weird Al’s “I’m Fat” and can’t do it again. One of my favorite parodies and I grew to like Nelson a little bit more with his sense of humor about his pudge. Nelson just won TUF 10 by knocking out Brendan Schaub in the finale and looks to separate his performances from the reality show with this fight. To contrast his rotund, Big Country-ness is the skyscraper Stefan Struve, who, since getting knocked silly by my favorite HW wrecking machine Junior dos Santos at UFC 95, has subbed both Denis Stojnic and Chase Gormley and won a majority decision over Paul Buentello (despite leaping into Buentello’s fist with a horrid flying knee attempt). I like Struve’s length and that he uses it to his advantage when putting together submissions, but Nelson (for a large guy) is great on the ground and contrasts that with stronger stand up power than Buentello should Struve try that crazy flying knee again. Either way, I think The Fat Man will leave the building with a win.
Jay’s Pick: Nelson via TKO, R2
Kenny Florian vs. Takanori Gomi
Jay’s Pick: Florian via submission, R3 (My “Eh, not sure about the finish, but I like the winner” pick)
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