UFC Fight Night 25 Picks & Predictions

nullUFC Fight Night 25 takes place on Saturday night from New Orleans with a solid card of four free fights.

Here is a look at which fighters I like on Saturday, and why.

UFC Welterweight Bout – Jake Shields (26-5-1) vs. Jake Ellenberger (25-5) – Shields is coming off the loss of his father, which may affect his performance, but I think this is his fight to lose. Ellenberger is a rising star and clearly the better striker, but he is taking a big step up in competition. I see Shields being able to work in his takedowns and grappling control to earn a tough decision victory.

UFC Middleweight Bout – Court McGee (12-1) vs. Dongi Yang (10-1) – This is a classic striker vs. grappler match up, and I like the grappler to prevail. Yang has big punching power, but I see McGee getting this fight up against the cage where Yang will be neutralized. From there, look for McGee to grind out a few takedowns and eventually secure a choke in the later rounds.

UFC Featherweight Bout – Jonathan Brookins (13-3) vs. Erik Koch (12-1) – Koch is considered the favorite according to the oddsmakers, but my pick goes with Brookins. He needs a lot of work in his striking, but his grappling takes a back seat to nobody in the division. I see Brookins taking a few punches early, but eventually getting inside Koch and using a judo throw or roll to get the fight to the ground. From there, I expect Brookins to work in a choke to get the win.

UFC Middleweight Bout – Alan Belcher (15-5) vs. Jason MacDonald (26-14) – Belcher makes his return after more than a year off and he has a lot to fight for. He was a rising star in the division prior to his eye injury and he should have the skills to get past MacDonald, who is somewhat one dimensional, with a great submission skill set. Look for Belcher to pick apart MacDonald on his feet and avoid the ground game as he gets a decision win.

  

UFC Fight Night 25 Weigh-In Results

nullWeigh ins for UFC Fight Night 25 took place on Friday night and all of the main event fighters made weight for the card.

In the main event, welterweights Jake Shields (171) and Jake Ellenberger (170) came in on weight. The two are both fighting for a top-5 spot in a very stacked 170-pound division. Shields is hoping to bounce back after a loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 129, while Jake Ellenberger is taking on the biggest challenge of his MMA career.

In the co-main event, Court McGee (184.5) and Dongi Yang (186) came in on weight for the 186-pound limit. This fight lacks some name power, but the UFC must feel they will put on a good show. Both guys leave it all in the cage, with Yang being an explosive striker and McGee being a relentless grappler that likes to scrap on occasion. McGee would be wise to stick to making this an ugly fight in hopes of avoiding a big knockout punch.

For full weigh-in results for Saturday’s card, check out the jump. Results are courtesy of Sherdog.com.

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UFC Fight Night 25 Betting Odds – Shields Favored

nullUFC Fight Night 25 – Battle on the Bayou takes place this Saturday night on Spike TV and features a solid card for a free MMA event.

When looking at the betting odds for this card, Jake Shields finds himself as the favorite against Jake Ellenberger in the main event of Saturday’s event. Shields has a money line of -185 while Ellenberger comes in at +155. This is a pretty classic striker vs. grappler matchup. Shields has the experience and grappling edge while Ellenberger is the better striker and has more to gain in this contest. It should be an explosive fight that will pave the way for the winner to become a top 5 contender.

Alan Belcher makes his return to the UFC after more than a year away due to a career-threatening eye injury. Belcher will face off with UFC veteran, Jason MacDonald in a middleweight bout. The local hero, Belcher, is the favorite in the fight with odds of -275. MacDonald comes in with a money line of +215. Belcher is a guy that enjoys using his striking and clinch game to beat up opponents. MacDonald is more of a submission specialist that will want to get the fight down to the ground.

In other featured bouts, Jonathan Brookins (+165) opens as an underdog to Erik Koch (-205) in his first fight since winning The Ultimate Fighter last December. Another TUF winner, Court McGee (-165) opens as a favorite in his contest with Dongi Yang (+135).

  

Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Odds: Barnett, Silva Favored

nullThe semifinals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix takes place this upcoming Saturday night and we have the latest odds on the big matchups.

Bullz-Eye.com has the odds for the two semifinal contests, which features Josh Barnett and Segei Kharitonov and Daniel Cormier taking on Antonio Silva.

Barnett walks into his bout as the favorite with a betting line of -280 against Kharitonov, who has odds of +220. Barnett (30-5) is coming off a second-round submission win over Brett Rogers while Kharitonov (18-4) knocked out Andrei Arlovski in less than three minutes of his quarterfinal match.

In this semifinal, Barnett has the grappling edge while Kharitonov appears to have the KO power in his striking. Whoever can dictate the location of the fight will likely get the victory.

In the other semifinal, Silva (16-2) is the favorite to win with odds of -175 while his opponent Cormier (8-0), has odds of +145 to win. Silva defeated Fedor Emelinanenko by second round TKO to reach the semifinals while Cormier is filling in for Alistair Overeem, who was removed from the tournament due to his unwillingness to fight in September because of an injury.

Cormier is a strong wrestler with some good submission skills while Silva has started to put together a complete fight game. Silva has big punches and a smother grappling style. He looked the most impressive of any fighter in the quarterfinals, but now fights somewhat of an unknown in Cormier, who has just eight pro fights.

The Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix will take place from the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati on Saturday. The show will air live on Showtime at 10PM ET.