Jon Jones vs Brandon Vera
Jon Jones’ game plan for every fight has been the same… Unleash fury on his opponent. He uses snap kicks, leg trips, spinning back elbows, or whatever sounds fun at the time. His awkward boxing style has befuddled everyone he’s faced. He comes in with punches from all angles that frustrates anyone on the other side of them. Brandon Vera will look to keep distance with his long leg kicks, and follow them up with strikes. I’m interested to see how Jones handles himself in Vera’s muay thai clinch if the fight gets there. I don’t see Jones using too many of his leg sweeps or judo throws against Vera, due to the danger Vera can be on his back. I think this fight will be on the feet for the majority of the time, which favors the unorthodox, Jones.
Prediction: Jon Jones def Brandon Vera by TKO – Rd. 2
Junior dos Santos vs Gabriel Gonzaga
Gabriel Gonzaga becomes the first opponent since Fabricio Werdum that can possibly get the fight to the ground and test Dos Santos’ jiu-jitsu. We’ve all seen the destruction that Dos Santos can create on the feet, but we still haven’t seen his black belt jiu-jitsu in action. Gonzaga is dangerous on the feet as well, but i just can’t see him wanting to stand with Dos Santos for very long. I’ve seen video of Dos Santos’ ground game against Joaquim Ferreira and it was nothing to go crazy about. If Gonzaga can get this fight to the ground, Dos Santos could be in a lot of trouble. I’m calling an upset here…
Prediction: Gabriel Gonzaga def Junior Dos Santos by Armbar – Rd. 2
Paul Buentello vs Cheick Kongo
Not much to dissect in this bout. Both guys are going to come in and look to knock each other’s head’s off. Buentello hasn’t had a submission victory since 2005 and Kongo since 2003. I don’t see that changing on Sunday. Tough fight to call since both fighters have one punch KO power with a solid boxing background to back it up. It may come down to hand speed, which should favor Kongo just a bit. I’m not really feeling a finish though….
Prediction: Cheick Kongo def Paul Buentello by Unanimous Decision
Alessio Sakara vs James Irvin
Much like the fight above, maybe more so…. these guys will be looking for the big right hand from the first bell to the last one. Sakara, since training at American Top Team, has looked much more well-rounded in his last few fights. Irvin, is coming off a year and a half lay off due to a couple nagging injuries. I think Irvin may be a little sluggish due to the long lay off and will probably suffer the same result as the last time we saw him in the cage. KO’d.
Prediction: Alessio Sakara def James Irvin by KO – Rd. 1
Clay Guida vs Shannon Gugerty
Thank God this fight is on the prelim card. I don’t want to watch Guida lay on Gugerty for 15 minutes.
Prediction: Clay Guida def Shannon Gugerty by Unanimous Decision
Eliot Marshall vs Vladimir Matyushenko
Interesting match-up here. A case of two generations meeting at the crossroads of their careers. Eliot Marshall showed much improved take down defense in his last fight with Jason Brilz since his time on the Ultimate Fighter. Marshall will look to stay up-right and use his jab, which should land at will due to Matyushenko’s diminishing hand speed and the tendency to lower the right hand. As long as Marshall can avoid the clinch game and stay on his feet, i like him to pull the mild upset.
Prediction: Eliot Marshall def Vladimir Matyushenko by Unanimous Decision
Darren Elkins vs Duane “Bang” Ludwig
Every time Ludwig enters the cage he has one thing in mind, and that’s to try and knock his opponent’s head off. Darren Elkins looks to get an early take down and expose Ludwig’s very inefficient ground game. I like the experience of Ludwig to be able to fend off the take down of Elkins, and eventually score the big shot earning him maybe the last big win of his career.
Prediction: Duane Ludwig def Darren Elkins by TKO – Rd. 3
John Howard vs Daniel Roberts
John Howard is known more for his athletic ability more than being a technically sound fighter. Howard uses his strength to control fighters, wear them down, then look for the big KO shot. Daniel Roberts was a collegiate wrestler, who has made a name for himself in the MMA world by getting some slick submissions on his opponents. Roberts need to look for a submission early, most likely off his back, or it could be a long night for the UFC newcomer.
Prediction: John Howard def Daniel Roberts by Unanimous Decision
Chase Gormley vs Brendan Schaub
A good match-up for last year’s Ultimate Fighter runner up, Brendan Schuab. Gormley, a wrestler with little to no offense perils or submission defense. Due to Schaub’s football frame alone, Gormley should not have an easy time getting or keeping him down on the mat. I’m not quite sure if the end will come by TKO or submission, but it should be an impressive performance for Schaub.
Prediction: Brendan Schaub def Chase Gormley by Armbar – Rd. 1
Julio Paulino vs Mike Pierce
Prediction: Mike Pierce def Julio Paulino by TKO – Rd. 2
Jason Brilz vs Eric Schafer
Prediction: Jason Brilz def Eric Schafer by Unanimous Decision