This weekends UFC card "Stacked" is the first real, decent card of the 'UFC done blowed up' era. The card is strong from top to bottom and features a significant import of talent from Japan. Here are my picks.
Mark Bocek (154.5) vs. Frank Edgar (Pictures) (154.5) Frank Edgar by virtue of his battle with Tyson Griffin. I didn't actually get to see that fight, but I heard a lot about it. I pick Edgar in the second by fury.
Jason Gilliam (Pictures) (171) vs. Chris Lytle (Pictures) (169.5) I rather like Lytle and his fighting style. I think he can fight just about anyone to a decision. If their talent level is notably higher than his the decision will usually go the other way but I see Lytle taking this one by decision and firemanship.
Diego Saraiva (Pictures) (155) vs. Jorge Gurgel (Pictures) (155.5) I have heard about Jorge Gurgel, but never seen him fight. He has a grappler's name, but I have heard it is his stand up that sets him apart. Saraiva is supposed to be a sick grappler. Gurgel by the fact that I have heard his name more and he is looking ripped at the weigh-ins (which means nothing).
Mike Nickels (205.5) vs. Stephan Bonnar (Pictures) (204.5) Nickels seems like a cool guy and I would like to see him do well. Bonnar has shown that he is probably just at the upper end of average. Neither of these guys have elite level talent. I have heard that Nickels ground game is really strong, but I have never seen it. I think Bonnar takes a decision with strong stand-up and good conditioning.
Alvin Robinson (Pictures) (156) vs. Kenny Florian (Pictures) (155.5) Ken-Flo is another guy that you don't bet against. I really like his skill set. Everyone knows how sick his jiu-jitsu is and his Muay-Thai is really coming around. Florian by submission in the third.
Heath Herring (Pictures) (259) vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (Pictures) (240.5) Big Nog in America...It is just so weird. Herring is a wild card lately. While he is best know for his battle with Fedor-as well as not being a homosexual- his recent fights have looked like a big night at the tough-man competition. My spider senses are telling me that Herring gets an absurd knockout from his knees while beaten and bloody and screaming. However, I say extra-big Nog by sub in the second. Americans don't even know. You don't even know. The boy ain't right.
Rashad Evans (Pictures) (204) vs. Tito Ortiz (Pictures) (205.5) I haven't seen a lot of Rashad Evan's fights but I keep hearing that he might be the real deal. I don't know yet. I admire Tito, especially after his coaching stint on TUF. He is really dedicated and knows how to win. Chuck has Tito's number, no doubt, so it is hard to guage where he is right now. This fight wil be a good ruler for if he is on the up or down swing. Tito by ref stoppage in the third.
Hermes Franca (Pictures) (154.5) vs. Sean Sherk (Pictures) (154.5) I loves the Hermes Franca. Sherk is an animal. Franca drops the bomb. Sherk is a bad-ass wrestler but Franca's jiu-jitsu is miles ahead. Franca's stand-up is ahead. Sherk is hard to submit with those dinosaur arms. Franca by third round KO.
Nathan Marquardt (Pictures) (182.5) vs. Anderson Silva (184.5) Even though Marquardt fought for years in Pancrase here in Japan, I have never seen him fight. We've been hearing the legend for years. I think Silva is one of those guys who is just born to fight. Don't be fooled by his slim build and soft voice, the guy is a killer. I love that he works the body triangle. I love that he destroys from the Thai clinch. Marquardt will earn some takedowns, but he will pay. Silva by third round KO.
there you are..take it to the office....