Saturday, May 5, 2012

UFC on Fox 3 preview

The third installment of UFC on network television doesn't have much in the way of big names, but it should make up for that with action and controversy.

Johny Hendricks certainly will bring the excitement. He is the only man in years to make a Jon Fitch fight entertaining (by knocking him out in less than 30 seconds).

Joining him in this bout is the controversy: Josh Koscheck, whose mouth over the years has pissed off a healthy legion of fans. Heck, the only time I remember him being the fan favorite was after his fight with Paul "Sucker-punching jerk" Daley.

This fight could very well determine the next challenger in the welterweight division, be it for a shot at interim champion Carlos Condit or (more likely) a shot at the true world title after Condit and Georges St. Pierre face off.

Hendricks just recently got into the top echelon of fighters in the weight class, and I'm sure he doesn't want to be back down a peg so quickly. Look for his punching power to be the difference maker in this fight.

Koscheck may be a great wrestler, but so is the former NCAA Division I champion Hendricks. Both men will struggle to get each other down and keep each other there. As such, I have to go with the man with knockout power to at least keep Koscheck at bay.

My pick in this fight will be Johny Hendricks by decision.

Main event: Lightweight Bout (5 Rounds): Nate Diaz v. Jim Miller

Because of a rescheduling of the second welterweight semifinal in Bellator, I'm 2-2 so far this weekend of fights. I hope these Fox picks amp it up for me.

The main event is also a mix of action and controversy. Both of these fighters have had interesting fights over the last few months, but Nate Diaz is, of course, part of the ultra-controversial Scrap Pack.

I don't expect any brawls here like with Strikeforce, but I do expect some heavy trash-talking to champion Benson Henderson.

This is where more controversy comes in. Dana White has said the winner of this fight, especially if it's Diaz, will get the shot at the championship after Edgar's rematch.

My blog post a while ago explained why I felt Anthony Pettis deserved the rematch with Bendo, and although I stand by that, I won't complain too hard about Edgar getting the next shot instead.

However, I have a massive problem with this. Yes, Nate Diaz is a BJJ black belt. Yes, he's undefeated since returning to lightweight, but to this point, Donald Cerrone is the lone win of confidence in that time. (And no, Takanori Gomi does not count).

Pettis has earned a shot before, has a win over the champion and was the final champion in WEC. I'm not sold on this at all. At the very least, he should have to fight Clay Guida after this.

The same goes for Miller, who lost to Bendo in the fight before he won the title. There is no reason for Pettis to not be next in line.

Anyway, digression over. Both of these fighters are BJJ black belts and win mostly by submission. Expect them to respect each other's abilities and stand up in this fight.

Much like his brother, I expect Nate to resort to rudeness in order to psyche out his opponent. Miller is more used to winning decisions and using his wrestling to control location of the fight.

This fight may go a while, but I'll take Miller by decision.

Rest of the main card

Middleweights: Rousimar Palhares v. Alan Belcher - Both men have black belts in BJJ (See a pattern?), but I'll take Belcher on this one due to his ability to be more balanced. Belcher actually has more KO victories than submissions, meaning that he has grown past his main style. I say he knocks out Palhares in Round 2.

Heavyweights: Pat Barry v. Lavar Johnson - Two kickboxers with long history of knockouts. Hmm, you think Dana White had something in mind? I'll go with Johnson here, as the age gap is minimal and he has a longer history of success in fights. Sorry, Barry, but you're a gatekeeper.

I'll see you all next week for Bellator 68 and UFC on Fuel.

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