A few surprises here:
Since I’ve written a preview post on the main card fights, here are some quick thoughts on the preliminaries:
-Diego Brandao is a heavy favorite to beat Darren Elkins, but SILVA seems to think Elkins is the heavy favorite. Brandao has a handful of TKO losses in his career, so that seems to be the way to beat him, but Elkins has only shown a marginal ability to win that way. I’ll go along with the betting public and pick Brandao in this one.
-Anybody who’s followed this blog knows all about how much I like Edson Barboza, and I’ve thought he would be a UFC superstar since before he made his UFC debut against Mike Lullo. So far, he hasn’t disappointed, and there’s no way in hell I’m not going to pick him to beat Jamie Varner. Hopefully Varner will at least test Barboza’s wrestling and grappling, unlike Barboza’s UFC opponents thus far.
-Jason “Mayhem” Miller is a better striker and has a better ground game than C.B. Dollaway, but Dollaway has better wrestling. In the end, this may come down to who gasses out first, and while Miller looked awful against Bisping, his gassing out was a bit of an aberration in my opinion. I like Miller to win, but it’s close.
-I’m definitely going against SILVA in Dan Hardy vs. Duane Ludwig. Ludwig is awful on the ground, while Hardy has at least shown the ability to survive there, which explains the difference in how good these fighters are overall. But in this specific style match, I have to favor Ludwig, as he’s a better striker than Hardy.
-I’m going against SILVA for a third time in Jacob Volkmann vs. Paul Sass. Volkmann is actually the betting favorite, but what I wrote about how much I like Edson Barboza applies to Sass as well. It’s also a bad style match for Volkmann, who is a terrific wrestler and great at positioning, but has had to battle his fair share of submission attempts made against him. Enter Sass, the most likely fighter in MMA to want to be in bottom position on the ground.
-The biggest shocker is Glover Teixeira, whose SILVA score of 79.74 rates him #5 in the world at light-heavyweight. Teixeira has built his SILVA score in a similar manner as Nick Diaz and Hector Lombard: he’s beaten decent/good fighters on a very consistent basis. The only difference is that Teixeira hasn’t had a platform like Strikeforce or Bellator to showcase his skills. I like him to beat Kyle Kingsbury and at least make a run into title contention in the UFC light-heavyweight division.
-Daniel Pineda has looked very impressive in the UFC thus far, but on the flip side, his opponents were Max Holloway and Mackens Semerzier. Mike Brown may represent a step up in competition, but Brown has looked like a shot fighter since losing to Jose Aldo in the WEC. It’s a hard one to call, but I’ll go along with SILVA and take Pineda.