(Franklin and Belfort star in “Honey, I Shrunk the Heavyweights”.)
As part of our ongoing UFC 103 coverage, I’m here to either show how smart I am or completely embarrass myself. Here are my prognostications on the televised prelims and pay per view card.
Drew McFedries vs. Tomasz Drwal
Seems like a good match-up on paper, but it isn’t. McFedries has shown time and time again that he quits when you pour it on hardcore. Kampmann was beaten half to death before bullying him on the floor, and Cote landed a short right hand that made him wilt. Drwal is not a guy you want across the octagon if getting hurt is an issue. Sure he was beaten Thiago Silva, but it was more in the way that Boxcar Ira lost to Homer. Both were so exhausted in that fight, they would have fallen down had someone farted in their general direction – it just happened to be Drwal that night. Tomasz and McFedries have big power that could end the fight with one punch, and I think the former walks away with a new addition to his highlight reel.
Drwal by KO in round one
Efrain Escudero vs. Cole Miller
I see Escudero playing it safe inside Miller’s guard for fifteen minutes. He probably is good enough at BJJ to keep from getting subbed so that seems like the safe bet. (I didn’t watch TUF 9, sue me.) Jeremy Stephens showed Cole can be handled on the floor and Leonard Garcia proved you can muscle out of his submission attempts. Put two and two together to see we’ll have a replay of Ricco Rodriguez vs. Nogueira (except this decision will be legitimate).
Escudero by unanimous decision
Tyson Griffin vs. Hermes Franca
I’m almost tempted to pick Hermes in this fight. Tyson Griffin drinks the “striking is the only exciting thing about MMA” kool-aid. It really makes me sick that such an awesome grappler has been brainwashed like that. His matches with Clay Guida and Thiago Tavares are two of the most intense, exciting fights you’ll ever see in your life, and it was because they were mad scrambles. Never again, I guess. Now he just throws overhand rights while circling the wrong way. If there’s anyone who can make him pay for wanting to strike, it’s Franca. The demolitions of Caol Uno and Spencer Fisher should be enough to make anyone want to avoid striking. But I think Griffin avoids the power en route to a “meh” inducing 30-27 across all cards.
Griffin by unanimous decision
Josh Koscheck vs. Frank Trigg
Luckily for us, only one of these grapplers wants to be a striker. Trigg, the veteran he is, knows it’d be retarded to stay in the pocket with someone that has KO power (he tried it with Lawler and Sakurai). Just because he’s smart doesn’t mean he’s gonna win. Koscheck lands little combos and sprawls hard to get a decision. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Frank rush in to a big right hand and Kos capitalizes for a choke, but the judges are more likely to give him a victory.
Koscheck by unanimous decision
Martin Kampmann vs. Paul Daley
Whatever, Paul Daley can strike – I don’t care. This fight goes exactly like Kampann’s aforementioned bout with Drew McFedries. Martin gets beat up, hits a slick takedown and gets a choke almost immediately. When it comes to my boss Ryan’s thoughts on Paul, Jens Pulver has a saying: “Sometimes hype just ain’t enough.”
Kampmann by submission in round one
Mirko Crocop vs. Junior dos Santos
You know why I think Mirko will win? He doesn’t fear dos Santos. He won’t have to worry about takedowns like he did against Gonzaga, he won’t have to worry about clinching against the fence like he did against Kongo, and he won’t have to worry about getting subbed. This match was made to give the illusion of a dangerous fight for Crocop. In reality, he’s going against a green 6-1 brawler with no ground game who’s beaten a fat Werdum and a random tall European. Look for Crocop to unload years of pent-up dissatisfaction on a poor lamb.
Crocop by KO in round one
Rich Franklin vs. Vitor Belfort
This fight boils down to whether or not Rich can avoid or withstand Belfort’s power early. I think he will. Vitor had issues making 195 yesterday so those conditioning issues – like the ones that sent him to the hospital after fighting Tito – are still there. I see Franklin landing crisp combos and pounding out an exhausted Vitor for a referee’s stoppage late in the fight.
Franklin by TKO in round three