UFC 134 Picks & Predictions

nullUFC 134 takes place on Saturday night from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has an exciting main card.

Here are my picks for tonight’s featured bouts.

UFC Middleweight Championship – Anderson Silva (28-4) vs. Yushin Okami (27-5) – Okami has the right skill set to actually pull off this upset, but he lacks the one thing that he truly needs to win …. aggression. Chael Sonnen had success against Silva by coming out fast and not letting Silva get settled in. If you watch Silva’s fights, he likes to take the first two minutes to dance around and develop a timing for his opponent. Once he has found it, he starts to dance a little and that is when the fight is usually over. Okami can’t let Silva get comfortable, but I fear he will. For that reason, I see Silva scoring a knockout in the second round.

Light Heavyweight Bout – Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (19-5) vs. Forrest Griffin (18-6) – Griffin won the first fight and I think he wins the second. I think this is a bad matchup for Rua because Griffin is a “dog” that will keep coming at him and push a pace that Shogun can’t handle. I see Rua tiring again in the middle of the fight, which will allow Griffin to control the fight on the ground and with his boxing. I pick Griffin by decision in an upset.

Heavyweight Bout – Antonio Minotauro Nogeuira (32-6-10 vs. Brendan Schaub (9-1) – I love the heart that Nogueira has, but I think his chin has taken a beating over the years and eventually Schaub will catch him with a knockout punch. Nogueira has the edge on the ground if the fight goes there, but he lacks the wrestling ability to takedown the likes of Schaub, who is a strong and burly heavyweight. I pick Schaub to win this fight by knockout in the first round.

UFC Lightweight Bout – Ross Pearson (14-4) vs. Edson Barboza (8-0) – Pearson is a tough fighter that likes to scrap, but it would be difficult to prepare for the type of leg kicks he will see against Barboza. After being hit with a few of those, it can completely throw a fighter off his game. For that reason, I see Barboza winning by decision as he will land the most effective strikes and control the pacing and style of the fight.

Light Heavyweight Bout – Luiz Cane (12-3) vs. Stanislav Nedkov (11-0) – Cane has been an all-or-nothing fighter as of late. His last three fights have ended in the first round, two of them saw him getting knocked out. In this fight, he takes on a fighter in Nedkov that can go to the ground and stay standing. If Cane can keep the fight standing, I think he can win, but he doesn’t have great technical skills, and I think that opens the door for Nedkov to get him to the ground and control him. I will take Nedkov to win his debut by decision in this one.

  

UFC 134 Betting Odds: Silva, Rua favored

nullUFC 134 takes place on Saturday, and has one of the better cards the UFC has put on in a while.

Our friends on at BetOnFighting.com have released odds for four of the main card bouts.

In the main event, Anderson Silva is the favorite (-450) to retain his UFC Middleweight Championship over Yushin Okami (+350). Silva (28-4) is looking to avenge a DQ loss to Okami (27-5) from 2006. Silva threw an up kick to Okami, when he was on his knees, which ended the fight. Okami is a big, strong wrestler, but not as aggressive as the likes of Chael Sonnen. Still, if Okami can get his hands on Silva, he could find a way to win the fight.

In the co-main event, Maurico “Shogun” Rua will look to avenge a loss to Forrest Griffin from back at UFC 76 in 2007. Rua (19-5) is considered the favorite to win this time, with odds of -220. Griffin (18-6) comes in with odds of +180. It should be noted that Rua was a heavy favorite the first time these two met, but Griffin managed to push a pace that Rua couldn’t handle and went on to score a submission in the closing moments of the third round.

For the available odds for UFC 134, including Schaub vs. Nogueira and Barboza vs. Pearson, check out the jump.

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The UFC Dark Horses

nullEveryone knows who the champions are in the UFC.

But, to really know MMA is to know which fighters are the future of the sport.

I don’t pretend to be a psychic, but I do think I know a talented fighter when I see them. So, here is a list of one fighter in each division that is somewhat under the radar. Each of these guys has the raw ability to someday get to the UFC title, if they continue to evolve and strengthen their weaknesses.

Heavyweight – Travis Browne (10-0-1) – Browne is coming off a draw with Cheick Kongo at UFC 120, but that isn’t a terrible showing for just his second fight in the UFC. It was the first time Browne hadn’t won and he has knockout wins over Abe Wagner and James McSweeney to his credit. He also has five knockout wins that have come in under 60 seconds. If Browne can develop his grappling skills to match his punching power, he will become a very dangerous opponent in the heavyweight division. Browne will be showcased on UFC 130 as he takes on Stefan Struve.

Light Heavyweight – Matt Hamill (10-2) – In a stacked light heavyweight division, many are forgetting about Matt Hamill. Winner of five straight, Hamill has wins over Tito Ortiz and Keith Jardine, and technically is the lone black mark on Jon Jones’ career, though it was by disqualification. Still, Hamill has some of the best wrestling in the division and his boxing is getting better. He has also shown the ability to take a punch, which will come in handy at UFC 130, when he takes on Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. A win for Hamill has to put him in the top five for title contenders.

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