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
[adinserter block=”2″]I’m pretty intrigued about this fight. Full disclosure: I’m a Pearson fan (and yes, he’s favored at -200 on this one). After getting Maynard-ed (that’s lightweight for “outwrestled to a decision”) and knocked OUT by Melvin Guilliard, Siver has bounced back to craft a 4 fight winning streak featuring some spinning back kicks, submissions, and a partridge in a pear tree. Even at +200, he’s not a terrible underdog bet….but again, I am a Pearson fan. He developed well over the course of TUF 9, beat out Andre Winner to win the show then came back looking incredibly sharp on his feat against Aaron Riley at UFC 105 back in November. I think he ends Siver’s streak, but this fight should be fun to watch.
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
[adinserter block=”1″]And now we have a great main event to cap off 3 UFC cards in less than 14 days: Florian vs. Gomi. Florian comes into this as the stand out #2 LW behind the Hawaiian destroyer of worlds BJ Penn. Now, I was fortunate enough to see his loss to Penn at 101 live and I have to say I don’t think he looked bad necessarily. He just had a horrible game plan, which you don’t want to have with someone as powerful and flexible as The Prodigy. Despite the loss, he’s subbed almost everyone else in the division including Clay Guida, Joe Stevenson, and former UFC/current Bellator fighter Roger Huerta. Gomi is making his UFC debut after a compiling a storied 31-5 record in Japan with Pride, Shooto, and most recently Sengoku. With great boxing and knock out power, Gomi holds notable victories over Jens Pulver, Ralph Gracie, and Tatsuya Kawajiri, was the Shooto Welterweight champ, and the last Lightweight Champion of Pride. He’s got a two fight winning streak going with wins over Tony Hervey at Vale Tudo Japan and Takashi Nakakuri at Shooto: Tradition Final and could rock Florian if one of his shots gets through, but I give the slight edge to Florian with his recent string of stronger opponents and comfort within the UFC system.
Jay’s Pick: Florian via submission, R3 (My “Eh, not sure about the finish, but I like the winner” pick)
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