Benjamin Kohn: 9-3, .750
Nolan Howell: 15-6, .714
Daniel Galvan: 19-8, .704
Christian Diaz: 16-8, .667
Chris Groves: 16-11, .593
Lucas Bourdon: 7-5, .583
Tim Bernier: 6-5, .545
TC Engel: 14-14, .500
Tim Hickey: 14-14, .500
Josh Hall: 6-6, .500
Connor Dillon: 15-16, .484
Luke Irwin: 19-22, .463
(After a Bellator event where Nolan went 2-2, that was enough to knock him down to 2nd place and Ben Kohn’s nutty ass takes over the top spot. Your humble editor finished a game 3-1, but is still in the cellar. Damn.)
Light Heavyweight Bout: Brian Stann (12-5) vs. Wanderlei Silva (34-12-1)
Ben Kohn: Stann R1 KO.
Tim Bernier: Stann by KO. Wandy, retire while your brain still works. Please. I can’t take another KO.
Nolan Howell: Had this fight happened half a decade ago, Wanderlei Silva would probably have taken Brian Stann’s head off. However, Father Time and Uncle Glassjaw have caught up to Silva. His techniques are not as sharp as Stann’s and this fight is academic. Brian Stann by second round TKO.
Josh Hall: Wanderlei is past his prime, and his chin is nowhere near what it once was, but I think the legend has a little more magic left in him. Stann certainly has the tools to win this fight, but PRIDE NEVER DIE. The Axe Murderer via 2nd round KO in a classic Wanderlei flurry.
Chris Groves: I love Wanderlei as much as the next guy…but he’s only getting older and more deficient. I’ll be happy to be wrong, but with his chin, and Stann’s power, it’s Stann via KO, round 1.
Luke Irwin: Stann fighting back at Light Heavyweight gives me a little bit of pause, as he’s a completely different fighter at 185. However, it’s not 2004 anymore and Rampage falling through the ropes is a long, long time ago. Stann has faced some of the heaviest hands in the sport. Stann R1 KO.
Christian Diaz: I’m vaguely connected to Stann through a 6 degrees of separation kinda deal and I love the Axe Murderer..so this is tough. That being said, even though Stann is a combat veteran…Silva has been through some absolute wars (That’s some damn fine word play). Stann via TKO2.
Heavyweight Bout: Mark Hunt (8-7) vs. Stefan Struve (25-5)
Ben Kohn: Hunt R1 KO
Tim Bernier: Struve by Submission. I’ve been back and forth on this fight since it was announced. Hunt has the power, Struve has been KO’d or close to it a bunch of times. But I just think that Struve has turned some sort of mental corner, and will be too aware of the knockout to get caught by it. Hunt has been to the ground too many times in his UFC stint. I think Struve finds a way to bring him down, and a slick submission ends it.
Nolan Howell: I was hired to this site with the understanding that I would never be able to give unbiased analysis for a Mark Hunt fight. There’s only one way this fight ends and we all know it is coming. Hunt will survive on the ground because he almost tapped Fedor as he is an elite-level white belt in BJJ. Hell, his white belt could beat most people’s black belts, right, Jorge Gurgel? In conclusion, Stefan Struve will go full Nelmark. You never go full Nelmark. Mark Hunt by first round KO.
Josh Hall: This fight goes one of two ways. Either Hunt catches the very hittable chin of the Skyscraper, or Struve will submit him. Mark Hunt via near decapitating 1st round KO.
Chris Groves: I HAVE to think that Struve isn’t going to abide a stand-up war with the almighty Marku Huntu. I say he fights smart and we have Struve via Sub, round 1.
Luke Irwin: Struve loves, loves, LOVES, his sloppy brawls, and if this was even two years ago, I think he gets starched. But Struve is more mature now, smarter now, and is pushing towards a title fight. Much as Struve loves to get brawly, I’d like to think that he knows that this is the one person, maybe on the planet, that you don’t want to do that with. Struve R1 Submission.
Christian Diaz: My gut tells me that Struve is going to sub Hunt-o quickly and basically take one giant poop in the Army of Doom’s metaphorical cereal, but screw it..Hunt via KO punch to the sternum, resulting in Struve becoming two slightly below average sized human beings.
158lb. Catchweight Fight: Diego Sanchez (23-5) vs. Takanori Gomi (34-8)
Ben Kohn: Sanchez UD
Tim Bernier: Sanchez by decision. This Fuel card would be the coolest thing ever if we went back in time and brought some of these old fighters and replaced them with their younger selves. Gomi is shot. I don’t recall how much he’s being paid, but with the way the UFC is operating at the moment, this might be his last UFC fight, despite being 2-0 in his last 2. Side note: never count out Diego Sanchez doing something so incredibly weird or stupid and lose the fight. Dude is mental.
Nolan Howell: Look at my first prediction and realize that PRIDE has died…except for Mark Hunt, who is immortal. Sanchez by third round submission.
Josh Hall: Gomi is on his first 2 fight winning streak since 2009, while Diego makes his return to LW for the first time since BJ Penn did unspeakable things to his face with a head kick. I think Gomi uses his solid TDD here to keep the fight standing, but Diego will keep coming and coming. I’m taking Gomi via close decision.
Chris Groves: Maybe I’m crazy, but I don’t think Sanchez missing weight bodes well. I think Gomi has some momentum, and the layoff and ‘bad cut’ will get the better of Sanchez. Gomi via UD.
Luke Irwin: Lightweight Diego is not doughy, lazy, soft Welterweight Diego. They are two completely different fighters. I don’t put much stock in Diego missing weight. It’s been a long layoff and his first bout back at 155. Gomi can be exceptionally lazy and apathetic in the cage and that plays right into Diego hustling his way to a win. Sanchez UD.
Christian Diaz: A sane Diego Sanchez would take Gomi down and make this an ugly wrestling match..but that’s asking way too much of the vampire hunter. Umm…Diego via 29-28 decision with a few close calls sprinkled in.
Middleweight Bout: Hector Lombard (32-3-1) vs. Yushin Okami (28-7)
Ben Kohn: Lombard R1 KO
Tim Bernier: Okami by decision. Even after Lombard’s destruction of Palhares, I am not sold on him whatsoever. Okami hasn’t looked amazing recently, but I think he frustrates the hell out of Lombard, and makes him gas after a round. Okami with a clean sweep on the scorecards.
Nolan Howell: While Okami managed to stifle Alan Belcher with strong grappling, this fight should likely be contested entirely on the feet. While Okami is sharp, something tells me that Lombard will catch him and lay him right where he stands. Hector Lombard by second round TKO.
Josh Hall: I had planned on taking Okami via grinding UD, but Lombard’s comments about fearing being cut have given me pause. If he comes out throwing bombs, all it takes is one, and I now think he lands one. Lombard via 1st round KO.
Chris Groves: Okami’s chin isn’t uncrackable, and Lombard knows how to crack chins. I say he avoids/stuffs the takedowns and “Lightning” blasts “Thunder”. No one man should have all dat powa. Lombard via KO, round 1.
Luke Irwin: Which Lombard shows up? I personally think that he got the UFC monkey off his back with the Palhares win and feels more comfortable and focused. Lombard R2 TKO.
Christian Diaz: Okami should be able to control the distance for a solid decision win, but every time he gets tagged he wilts like a dandelion in a thunder storm..and it just so happens that Lombard has fists inside of his fists..I guess Okami via decision, but I’m hoping for a Lombard Murder.Death.Kill.
Featherweight Bout: Mizuto Hirota (14-5-1) vs. Rani Yahya (17-7)
Ben Kohn:: Yahya R2 Submission
Tim Bernier: Hirota by decision. Extremely close fight. My first instinct was to pick Yahya because I’m much more familiar with him, but Hirota is no joke. I think he stifles Rani en route to a decision.
Nolan Howell: People seem to be sleeping on Yahya here. His last three losses were to Chad Mendes, Takeya Mizugaki, and Joseph Benavidez. Count on some awesome grappling from Yahya. Yahya by first round submission.
Josh Hall: If Yahya can’t submit Hirota, I don’t see a lot of other avenues to victory for him. I think Hirota should use his wrestling to keep the fight standing, and win a decision on the feet.
Chris Groves: I think Hirota has the grit, determination and defensive grappling to make this a bad night for Yahya. Hirota via UD.
Luke Irwin: This fight could be very, very bad. Lots of Yahya on his back trying unsuccessfully to pull submissions. Refill your drink and/or evacuate your bowels during this one. Hirota SD.
Christian Diaz: Hirota should be able to dictate where this goes. Hirota via decision.
Welterweight Bout: Dong Hyun Kim (16-2-1) vs. Siyar Bahadurzada (21-4-1)
Ben Kohn: Bahadurzada R1 KO
Tim Bernier: Kim by decision. It’s really tempting to pick Siyar just because having another good Welterweight with some knockout power would be so much fun. I’m envisioning this fight and I think Kim wades his way in, stick to Siyar like glue, and uses his Judo game to bring it to the floor, where he shines.
Nolan Howell: Safe bet says DHK will grind out a decision. I’m not playing too safe on this card. Bahadurzada by first round KO.
Josh Hall: Siyar the Great made one hell of a first impression in his UFC debut, making a massive statement on the jaw of Paulo Thiago. His big weakness has always been the ground game though, and Kim has one of the strongest top games in the WW division. Also, Siyar is a Blackzillian, which has been the kiss od death as of late. Kim via lopsided decision.
Chris Groves: Siyar could end it violently at any point…but the most like scenario is Dong-Hyun “Kimming” for all 15 minutes. Kim via UD.
Luke Irwin: Siyar is a violent, bad, bad man. However, he’s never truly been in a fight with a great wrestler. However, what he does have are 26 fights in every corner of the world against every level of competitor. Nothing is going to surprise him, I think he fends off Kim well enough and finishes what Condit started. Bahadurzada R2 TKO.
Christian Diaz: Can Siyar blitz Stun Gun like Condit did? Sure. Will he? I’m thinking yes..but not with any success. DHK via decision.
Middleweight Bout: Brad Tavares (9-1) vs. Riki Fukuda (19-6)
Ben Kohn: Fukuda UD
Tim Bernier: Tavares by decision. I’ve picked a lot of decisions for this card. I don’t have much insight into this fight. It’s extremely close, but I think Brad has a more well rounded game. I’m expecting some close scorecards for this one.
Nolan Howell: Tavares by unanimous decision.
Josh Hall: Fukuda has alternated losses and wins in his UFC career, and I think that continues here. Tavares via decision.
Chris Groves: This is going to be one of those ugly fights where neither guy looks all that great. Tavares via Split-Decision.
Luke Irwin: Holy shit, Brad Tavares is 4-1 in the UFC?? Where the shit did that come from?? Well that’s rather jarring. At any rate, he’s going to be 4-2. Fukuda uses his reach and length to pepper him with his boxing and cruise to a victory. Fukuda UD.
Christian Diaz: Now that Volkmann is gone, I believe that Fukuda will officially be my least favorite fighter in the UFC. In spite of that, I think he’s too big and strong to lose to Tavares..but I would love to see it happen. Begrudgingly, Fukuda via whatever the polar opposite of Mark Hunt is..decision.
Bantamweight Bout: Bryan Caraway (17-5) vs. Takeya Mizugaki (16-7-2)
Ben Kohn: Mizugaki UD
Tim Bernier: Mizugaki by decision. Mr Tate isn’t very good at MMA, though he has won both of his UFC fights. I really like Takeya Mizugaki’s name. It rolls of the tongue.
Nolan Howell: Mizugaki by unanimous decision.
Josh Hall: Both these guys are experienced vets of the sport, but the steps up in competition have not gone well for Caraway. I think Mizugaki avoids the sub attempts from Caraway, and wins a decision.
Chris Groves: I think Mizugaki will finally break the “win one, lose one” curse he has had under Zuffa. Mizugaki via UD.
Luke Irwin: Classic gatekeeper-bout. Mizugaki is one of the (surprisingly plentiful) members of the Bantamweight gatekeeper squad. He’s the first rung. Then you get Jorgensen, then you get Wineland, then you get Faber. Like clockwork. Caraway is a fun and active fighter on the ground, but Mizu has been around the block three or four times and has only been submitted once in his career by Faber. Mizugaki R3 TKO.
Christian Diaz: Mizugaki should win this..but you can never discount an Alpha Male wrestler. Coin flip for me. Gut says Caraway, head says Mizu….ugh. Mizugaki 29-28 decision.
Lightweight Bout: Cristiano Marcello (13-4) vs. Kazuki Tokudome (11-3)
Ben Kohn: Marcelo UD
Tim Bernier: Marcello by ugly decision. I won’t lie, there are a lot of fighters that I know little to nothing about here. Marcello has some amazing jiu jitsu, but we haven’t seen that yet. He got flattened by Sam Sicilia and then put on that awful fight vs Reza Madadi. Marcello seems to have some awful fight IQ. Tokudome is no joke, but some of the fighters on his record are just bums.
Nolan Howell: Tokudome by Marcello having some of the worst standup ever.
Josh Hall: Marcello has incredible grappling chops, but unfortunately prefers the stand up as of late. Tokudome via decision.
Chris Groves: I think Marcello will decide to fight a little smarter, and not ‘stand and bang’. His ground game is very good. Marcello via Sub, round 2.
Luke Irwin: Marcello’s about to Gurgel his way to a loss here. Tokudome SD.
Christian Diaz: Wait..the UFC brought in a primarily Pancrase fighter? The hell? Were there not any YAMMA Pit Fighters left to choose from? Ugh. Marcello via ugly decision.
Bantamweight Bout: Alex Caceres (8-5) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (11-6)
Ben Kohn: Caceres UD
Tim Bernier: Alex Caceres by decision. Ugh. I’m not a Caceres fan at all. His face is so stupid. I hope I’m wrong and he gets blown out. He has no redeeming qualities.
Nolan Howell: Caceres by unanimous decision.
Josh Hall: Kang has really strong wrestling from what I hear, but I think Caceres wins a close decision.
Chris Groves: Kang hasn’t fought in a while, and an injury kept him out of his last fight with Caceres. I’m thinking Bruce Leroy, UD.
Luke Irwin: I’m starting to come around on Caceres, and I never thought I’d say that. He’s ditched that goofy shit for the most part and has become more serious and more self-aware. He’s also really, really damned good on the ground and in the scramble. If you throw out that ridiculous deduction against Edwin Figueroa, he’s won four in a row. Caceres R2 Submission.
Christian Diaz: I like Leroy but Ho Kang looks like he could be legit. Gonna go with Leroy based on experience, but wouldn’t be surprised at all if I turn out to be wrong. Caceres via decision.
Welterweight Bout: Hyun Gyu Lim (10-3-1) vs. Marcelo Guimaraes (8-0-1)
Ben Kohn: Lim R2 KO
Tim Bernier: Lim by decision. I’m surprised to see Lim at so much of a betting favorite. This seems like a toss up. Guimaraes beat the amazing Dan Stittgen. Lim hasn’t really faced anybody, and that sets off huge red flags for me on fighters coming in from some sort of a regional circuit.
Nolan Howell: Lim by second round TKO.
Josh Hall: I don’t know a lot about Lim, but Guimares had one of the worst winning UFC debuts ever, winning a spit decision over Dan Stittgen that looked more regional quality than UFC level. I’ll go with Lim via decision here.
Chris Groves: Guimaraes has a split decision over Dan Stittgen, which is not impressive at all. If the cut isn’t too much for Lim, his striking and range should yield a verdict of Lim via KO, round 1.
Luke Irwin: I don’t have many rules in life that I abide to consistently. But one of them is never pick a fighter who was taken to a split-decision by Dan Stittgen. Lim R1 TKO.
Christian Diaz: Winning a split decision over Dan Stittgen might be worse than actually losing to him..don’t question the logic, it makes sense. Hyun Gu Lim wins solely for the fact that he’s in no way associated with Dan Stittgen. Gu Lim via tko 2.