The time change has me thrown off. The school violence has me shook up. The fights start in 5 hours so I am spitting this out now, like the flour I thought was sugar. Let's try to stay awake and here are the picks:
Dunham vs. Eklund: I don't know a ton about Dunham but, since he is American, I am assuming that he has better wrestling than Eklund and that that earns him a decision.
Ciesnolevicz vs. Grove: Ciesnolevicz is a 205 pounder fighting on short notice in the 230s. That being said, I have never seen anything about Grove that makes me think he can win this. Again an American will win by superior wrestling, although he will have to absorb some leg kicks before a TKO in the 3rd.
Kelly vs. Mandaloniz: I would like to pull for "Rude Boy" Mandaloniz as he is part of the BJ Penn camp, but Kelly is the larger, and more complete fighter. I think Mandaloniz is tough, makes it a fight but Kelly takes the decision.
Cobb vs. Etim: Cobb is the hip, "I told you so pick" as, yet again, he is an American who can wrestle. And he is good. However, Etim was very impressive in his last fight and showed good kickboxing to go along with his strong ground game. I think this could be a real battle, and close,but I see Etim taking the decision.
dos Santos vs. Struve: dos Santos came out of nowhere and fulfilled the legend of his pad hitting video by knocking out Werdum in his last fight. Struve wouldfind it hard to come out of nowhere as he is 6'8" and everyone would see him coming. I don't know how much Struve has to offer in this fight. He is a ground fighter with outstanding reach. If he could work a superior jab and dominate on the ground, he could take it, but I don' think he will do any of those things. dos Santos will get inside and KO him in the 1st.
Koscheck vs. Thiago: Folks have been searching the dark vaults of Youtube for the last few weeks trying to determine if this Thiago character exists. It is well known that Koscheck is one of the least liked fighters in the UFC. I have never made it a secret that I do like him and think he is one of the most talented fighters in the world. His effort to get Bobby Southworth to make weight on the 1st season of The Ultimate Fighter was one of my favorite segments in the shows history and showed what kind of dedication he has. I think Koscheck knocks Tiago out in the 2nd.
Maia vs. Sonnen: This is the fight that I am most looking forward to. And why not? Who doesn't love to watch a staunch Republican scream and cry like a baby. Sonnen is that baby. He is a good fighter but he is susceptible to submissions and, like a vampire, he never goes quietly. Maia is my new favorite fighter and I am sure that he will do something beautiful. I see a heel hook coming in the 2nd.
Gouveia vs. Marquardt: I think I have already said everything there is to say about Marquardt. He is completely complete and excellent at not being great. He does everything right and has stamina for miles. Gouveia has stamina for meters, though he is a threat from anywhere. He has rare power in his hands and can pull a quick submission on the ground, but he gets worn out and then just hangs in there. I think this is what happens and Marquardt gets a decision.
Hardy vs. Markham: I am pretty stoked on this fight. Markham is a brawler with power. Hardy is a technician with little power. If hardy can keep his range and use his kicks, he should be able to make his strikes add up. If Markham can suck Hardy into his fight, he has the ability to knock him out. On the ground I like Hardy's use of the rubber guard o stall the fight back to a stand-up. I say Hardy and his good choice in music for decision.
Sanchez vs. Stevenson: There is one main question to this fight; Is Sanchez's weight cutting something that will effect his fighting. It is easy for him to say that he feels great, but, since this is his first fight at his new weight, we have no idea if he will be able to keep up his insane pace for three rounds. Usually Diego puts pressure on from the start and keeps it up. I think he will be able to, but you just don't know until you see. As for Stevenson, I am starting to feel bad for the dude. He is a really great fighter. He is one of the best lightweights in the world. He just isn't good enough to beat the guys he is being matched against lately. There is always his guillotine, which is a lot like one punch KO power, but I don't think Sanchez will get stuck in it. Some people say that Stevenson has the better standup, but Sanchez's lat bout against Firovantti was an awesome display of improved stand-up. Sadly, I think Sanchez dominates Stevenson by striking form range and relentless scrambling on the ground. Sanchez by decision.
There it is kids. Take it to the vending machine in the middle of the rice field. A European card in the middle of the night with lots of decisions. Arash Markazi would stay up but he is in the emergency room from swallowing the beer bong.