by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
UFC Welterweight Championship
Matt Serra vs. Georges St. Pierre
UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra
meets UFC interim welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre to unify the titles.
Serra has a 9-4 record and trains out of Team Serra-Longo with Pete Sell. St.
Pierre has a 15-2 record and trains out of Jackson’s Submission Fighting with
Serra comes off a stoppage victory
over St. Pierre at UFC 69, while St. Pierre submitted Matt Hughes at UFC 79.
This fight will be a sight to
behold, due to the fact that its being held in St. Pierre’s hometown of
Montreal and there will be more than 21,000 fans screaming at the top of their
lungs for their hometown hero. The pressure is definitely on St. Pierre, but
Serra, on the other hand, will be looking to prove that the first time wasn’t a
Tons of animosity has built up
between the fighters since their first meeting, both hurling insults at one
another. It now comes full circle on Saturday night.
Serra is the more technical fighter
on the ground, but St. Pierre makes up for it in pure aggressiveness,
athleticism, and solid submission defense.
Both fighters are quite good
strikers, Serra improving immensely over the last couple of years and St.
Pierre mixing solid boxing with quick, dynamic kicks. They are both well
conditioned, but that won’t play too much into the fight, as it won’t go the
Pure and simple, this is St.
Pierre’s fight to lose. He has looked phenomenal in his two fights since losing
to Serra and he won’t have any more excuses if he loses to him again. St.
Pierre needs to stay focused and not mess around, get to work right off the
bat, and bring the fight to Serra. Look for St. Pierre to let loose on the feet
and catch Serra with a shot, finishing the fight on the ground with strikes.
Prediction: Georges St. Pierre by
TKO in the first round.
Rich Franklin vs. Travis Lutter
Former UFC middleweight champion
Rich Franklin takes on Ultimate Fighter season four winner Travis Lutter.
Franklin has a 22-3 record and has trained specifically for this fight with
Matt Hume. Lutter has a 9-4 record and trains out of the Lion’s Den Dallas with
Both are coming off losses to UFC
middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Franklin was stopped with strikes at UFC
77, while Lutter was submitted with a triangle choke at UFC 67.
This is a do or die fight for both
fighters. Neither can afford a loss if they want to stay relevant in the UFC
middleweight division. Even though neither will be taking a crack at Silva
again anytime soon, they need to stay in the discussion for when the time
comes. Whoever wins will do so.
Franklin has the advantage on the
feet with his aggressive boxing style and Lutter on the ground with his slick
jiu-jitsu game. The key to the fight will be who is the better wrestler of the
two. They both want the fight in different areas and whoever is the better
wrestler will keep it in their comfort zone and have a good night.
Although Lutter is a former
collegiate wrestler, Franklin has shown staunch takedown defense and won’t be
easy to get to the ground. Lutter will obviously get the fight to the ground
eventually, but it won’t be nearly enough to win the fight. It will be a back
and forth affair. Franklin will control the fight on the feet, outworking
Lutter with crisp boxing and avoid being taken down for the majority of the
bout to win a decision.
Prediction: Rich Franklin by
Michael Bisping vs. Charles
Ultimate Fighter season three winner
Michael Bisping moves down to middleweight to take on Ultimate Fighter season
four participant Charles McCarthy. Bisping has a 14-1 record in MMA and trains
out of the Wolfslair Gym with Paul Kelly and in California with Juanito Ibarro.
McCarthy has a 10-4 record and trains out of American Top Team with Jorge
Bisping comes off a close decision
loss to Rashad Evans at UFC 78, while McCarthy submitted Gideon Ray with an
armbar at the Ultimate Fighter season four finale.
After struggling with some size and
strength issues at light heavyweight, Bisping has decided to try his hand in
the middleweight division. McCarthy has taken some time off from the sport, but
feels rejuvenated and ready to welcome Bisping to his new weight class.
Bisping has the edge on the feet and
should be able to use his size advantage over the smaller McCarthy. On the
other hand, McCarthy is the better ground fighter and seems to be right
mentally, heading into the fight.
Bisping has something to prove and
he’ll do just that on Saturday night. He will struggle early with McCarthy’s
ground game, but just like before, he’ll weather the storm and pour on the heat
midway through the bout.
Prediction: Michael Bisping by
TKO in the second round.
Nate Quarry vs. Kalib Starnes
Original Ultimate Fighter
participant Nate Quarry takes on Ultimate Fighter season three alumnus Kalib
Starnes. Quarry has a 9-2 record and trains out of Oregon. Starnes has an 8-2-1
record and trains out of the American Top Team with Cole Miller.
Quarry comes off knockout victory
over Pete Sell at UFC Fight Night 11, while Starnes comes off a stoppage loss
to Alan Belcher at UFC 77.
Quarry has finally made his return
to fighting after taking time off to heal up a serious back injury. Starnes,
meanwhile, is looking to get back on the winning track after an entertaining
effort in his loss to Belcher.
If the fight stays on the feet,
Quarry has the edge with his crisp boxing and Starnes has the edge on the mat
with his gritty ground game. The key to the fight will be who can execute their
game plan first and stay out of danger.
Although Quarry has recovered from
his back injury, the effects will always be with him, like less mobility to
defend a takedown. Starnes needs to be smart and not get into a stand-up fight
like he did against Belcher, where he didn’t do so hot. Expect Starnes to
clinch up often and get a takedown to grind out a decision over Quarry.
Prediction: Kalib Starnes by
Mac Danzig vs. Mark Bocek
Ultimate Fighter season six winner
Mac Danzig takes on Canadian ADCC champion Mark Bocek. Danzig has a 17-4-1
record and trains out of Xtreme Couture with Gray Maynard. Bocek has a 5-1
record and trains out of Jackson’s Submission Fighting with Donald Cerrone.
Danzig comes off a submission
victory over Tommy Speer at the Ultimate Fighter season six finale, while Bocek
won a decision over Doug Evans at UFC 79.
This will be Danzig’s debut at
lightweight in the UFC, which is his natural weight class. Bocek came into the
UFC with a lot of hype, but hasn’t panned out as planned.
Danzig is easily the much better
fighter on the feet, while Bocek is the better fighter when it comes to
submissions. The thing that will make the difference in the fight will be wrestling.
That gives Danzig an edge because he is the better wrestler.
Bocek will redeem himself with an
exciting performance, but he will fall short because Danzig will outwork him on
the feet and be able to stay out of danger on the ground. It will be a back and
forth fight, but Danzig will do enough to win the fight.
Prediction: Mac Danzig by
Jason MacDonald vs. Joe Doerksen
In a battle of Canadians, Jason “The
Athlete” MacDonald takes on submission wizard Joe Doerksen. MacDonald has a
19-9 record and trains out of the Pro Camp with Ryan Ford. Doerksen has a 39-11
record and trains out of Team Extreme with Jeremy Horn.
MacDonald comes off a decision loss
to Yushin Okami at UFC 77, while Doerksen comes off a knockout loss to Ed
Herman at UFC 78.
These two have met before with the
relatively unknown MacDonald beating the veteran Doerksen in a fight that made
people take a closer look at MacDonald. Both fighters need a win to keep their
UFC careers active.
MacDonald is the slightly better
striker of the two, but Doerksen still holds the edge on the ground with his
slick submissions. Neither fighter is a great wrestler, but that won’t play too
much into the fight.
This should be an interesting fight
for several reasons. They both need a win and MacDonald has made comments with
his resentment on fighting Doerksen again after already defeating him once
before. That will leave a chip on Doerksen’s shoulder and increase his
motivation to win the fight.
With that being said, MacDonald has
shown vast improvement since joining the UFC, while Doerksen has faded. Look
for MacDonald to win a comfortable decision.
Prediction: Jason MacDonald by
Alan Belcher vs. Jason Day
Talented striker Alan Belcher takes
on debuting young Canadian Jason Day. Belcher has a 12-4 record and trains out
of ReMix MMA with Duke Rofus. Day has a 16-5 record and trains out of the
Canadian Martial Arts Centre with Jesse Bongfeldt.
Belcher comes off a stoppage victory
over Kalib Starnes at UFC 77, while Day won a decision over UFC veteran David
Loiseau at Hardcore Fighting Championships: Destiny.
Belcher had to pull out of a fight
with Ricardo Almeida at UFC 81 because of a serious lung infection, but he is
fully recovered and ready to fight. Day has been making waves over the last
year on the Canadian scene and gets his chance to fight in the UFC.
Immensely talented on the feet with
both punches and kicks, Belcher hasn’t shown much of a ground game in the UFC.
Day is a well rounded striker, but, like Belcher, has shown weakness on the
This fight won’t hit the ground.
Expect both fighters to want to slug it out on the feet. That will favor
Belcher because he is a more complete fighter on the feet and has experience
fighting in the big show. After trading some shots, look for Belcher to finish
Day off with strikes late in the opening stanza.
Prediction: Alan Belcher by TKO
in the first round.
Ed Herman vs. Demian Maia
Ultimate Fighter season three participant
Ed Herman takes on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Demian Maia. Herman has a
14-4 record and trains out of Team Quest with Matt Lindland. Maia has a 6-0
record and trains out of Brasa in Brazil.
Herman comes off a knockout victory
over Joe Doerksen at UFC 78, while Maia submitted Ryan Jensen at UFC 77.
Herman has won three straight fights
in the UFC after dropping his first two. Maia has made a successful transition
from the grappling world to MMA and will look to keep his undefeated record in
On the feet, Herman is the better
striker and, combined with his training at Team Quest, has become a quite good
wrestler. Maia is one of the best grapplers in the world, but unlike many
fellow grapplers, he has made a smooth transition to MMA.
Herman’s weakness is still his
submission defense and that was proven in his last fight, when Doerksen almost
finished him with a choke. He was, however, saved by the bell. Considering
such, expect Maia to quickly get the fight to the ground and work on finishing
with a submission.
Prediction: Demian Maia by
submission in the first round.
Sam Stout vs. Rich Clementi
K-1 Max veteran Sam Stout takes on
Ultimate Fighter season four participant Rich Clementi. Stout has a 13-3-1
record and trains out of Xtreme Couture with John Alessio. Clementi has a
30-12-1 record and trains out of Team Voodoo with Kyle Bradley.
Stout comes off a decision victory
over Swedish fighter Per Ecklund at UFC 80, while Clementi comes off a
submission victory over Melvin Guillard at UFC 79.
Stout will be fighting in front of
his hometown crowd and that should motivate him to put on an excellent
performance. Clementi has put together an impressive strings of victories and
will look to continue the streak against Stout.
Stout is the far better striker,
having experience in K-1 Max facing the world’s best strikers. Clementi’s edge
will be on the ground, with his wrestling skill, and his tenacity.
This will be an interesting clash of
styles. Stout will look to take Clementi’s head off and Clementi will look to
put Stout to sleep with a choke. Stout has improved immensely since training at
Xtreme Couture and has developed good takedown defense. Look for him to tee off
on Clementi and stop his shot attempts, finishing him off midway through the
Prediction: Sam Stout by TKO in
the second round.
Cain Velasquez vs. Brad Morris
Former NCAA wrestler Cain Velasquez
takes on Australian import Brad Morris. Velasquez has a 2-0 record and trains
out of American Kickboxing Academy with Paul Buentello. Morris has a 9-2 record
and trains out of Australia.
Velasquez comes off a stoppage
victory over Jeremiah Constant at Bodog Fight: St. Petersburg, while Morris
submitted Masayuki Kono at Warrior’s Realm 12.
Its always interesting when two
heavyweight prospects face off in the UFC because finding a good heavyweight is
a rare occurrence in combat sports. Whoever wins the fight will have a bright
future ahead in the UFC.
In every aspect of the fight,
Velasquez is simply the better and more talented fighter of the two. He is an
accomplished wrestler with solid striking and is consistently improving in
every aspect of the game. The only advantage that Morris has over Velasquez is
that he is a relatively unknown fighter, which always poses a certain threat.
Plain and simple, Velasquez is going
to manhandle Morris on the feet and on the ground, never letting up until he
finishes the fight. Velasquez will brutalize Morris on the feet before taking
him down and finishing with strikes.
Prediction: Cain Velasquez by TKO
in the first round.
Kuniyoshi Hironaka vs. Jonathan
Shooto veteran Kuniyoshi Hironaka
takes on Canadian fighter Jonathan Goulet. Hironaka has an 11-4 record and
trains out of Academia Az in Japan. Goulet has a 21-9 record and trains out of
Team UCC in Canada.
Hironaka comes off a stoppage loss
to Thiago Alves at UFC Fight Night 11, while Goulet comes off submission
victory over Paul Georgieff at the Ultimate Fighter season six finale.
Neither fighter wants to leave
Canada with another loss. That will surely motivate them to put on their best
Hironaka is leagues better on the
ground then Goulet and neither fighter has an edge when it comes to striking.
The difference in the fight will be the level of competition that each fighter
has faced in the past and if they have learned from past losses.
Look for Hironaka to quickly get
this fight to the ground and outwork Goulet until he is able to lock on a
submission for the victory.
Prediction: Kuniyoshi Hironaka by
submission in the first round.