I think, much like the main event, that Lauzon is being severely undervalued here. He is more than capable of finishing this fight quickly with his power. The issue for him is that Miller is far more proven late in fights.
This has been pretty much said by everyone, and although I'm never comfortable when everyone is expecting the same thing, I'd like to think that it's because the fighters are easy to scout.
I'll take Miller by decision.
Middleweight bout: Tim Boetsch v. Costa Phillippou
I'm picking this to be the fight of the night. Both men are on a four-fight tear and have stopped highly touted fighters (Boetsch beat Hector Lombard, Phillippou beat Court McGee).
Obviously, Boetsch has the more impressive wins and the wrestling game, but as big as Phillippou is, I don't think Boetsch can muscle his way to victory the way that he has in other fights.
I wouldn't bet this fight. It's really not an easy call and the line reflects that (Boetsch is -115).
I will say this fight stays standing and Phillipou will win by KO2.
Middleweight bout: Alan Belcher v. Yushin Okami
Okami is definitely one of the top middleweights in the world, and this will be a serious challenge for Belcher, who is continuing his one-man campaign tour for a shot at Anderson Silva.
These two have fought before and Okami picked up the decision in that fight. The difference is that Belcher is miles better than he was in '06, while I'm not sure I can say the same about Okami.
Honestly, I just think Belcher wants this more. I expect his winning ways to continue. Of all the fights, this is one I think you can make money on, as Belcher is the underdog by resume.
I am taking Belcher by decision.
Middleweight bout: Chris Leben v. Derek Brunson
I know what you're thinking: Who put three middleweight fights on the main card?
But nonetheless, we are committed, and this is not a very compelling fight.
Brunson lost two straight in Strikeforce before being called in on two weeks' notice to fight Leben. All I can think is how much this resembles a filler match to keep Leben fresh and justify Brunson's release.
I'm sure Brunson is going in full blast, and Leben is known for blowing sure things, but I'm not buying a blindside this wild.
Leben will pick up a decision win.
Bantamwights: Brad Pickett v. Eddie Wineland - UFC is starting to see the value of lower-weight fighters dominating the free prelim fights, apparently. Every fight here could wind up being more impressive than any main card fight.
Both of these fighters are strong, but Pickett has shown a more impressive skill set recently. I'll take him by decision in a slugfest.
Bantamweights: Erik Perez v. Brian Bloodworth - Can't say I'm the most knowlegeable about these two, but I do know Perez is on a tear recently and his marketablility in Mexico is invaluable. Bloodworth really has no major wins to speak of, and needs to prove himself here. I've got Perez by KO1.
Lightweights: Melvin Guillard v. Jamie Varner - How this fight didn't get moved to the main card is beyond me, but this does have implications in the lightweight division. This fight was supposed to take place two weeks ago, but Varner had a stomach virus and it was moved here, to Guillard's chagrin.
I do think that the double weight cut messed up Guillard, and he won't be at his best in a fight where skill difference is minimal. I'll take Varner by submission in round 3.
Lightweights: Michael Johnson v. Miles Jury - Michael Johnson is an excellent fighter, but Jury is an impressive prospect. he's got great kickboxing and BJJ, and has used both to finish every fight he's been in. I've got Jury showing off tonight by KO2.
Facebook card picks
Heavyweights: Todd Duffee v. Phil De Fries - Duffee by KO1
Flyweights: Chris Cariaso v. John Moraga - Moraga by decision
Featherweights: Max Halloway v. Leonard Garcia - Garcia by decision
My year in review blog will be coming up before 2013, so stay tuned for that. Enjoy the fights!
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