The “Pain Poll” is back with a quick turnaround coming off UFC 80 this past weekend. This time the staff of 5 Oz. breaks down UFC Fight Night 12.
Mike Swick (10-2) vs. Josh Burkman (9-4)
Adam Morgan: Mike Swick was getting manhandled by the larger middleweights in the UFC but faced and defeated very stiff competition there as well. Swick moving down to 170 should be good for him. He’ll be a larger welterweight with extremely fast hands, a very dangerous combination. Burkman has good power and good grappling but has shown a less than technical striking game. Forrest Petz beat him up with body shots, gassing him in the late second round and that’s something Swick should be aware of. Mike Swick won’t want to lose his debut at 170. Mike Swick via unanimous decision.
Sam Cupitt: I’ve never really been impressed with Burkman in all aspects of his fighting style and I just think Mike Swick will be too fast and too good. I’ve been tossing up whether or not this will be victory by Swick-otine or vicious knockout but eventually came to the conclusion that after Burkman is unable to take Swick down, “Quick” will go Alex Schoenauer on his ass. Mike Swick via first round TKO.
Paul Balsom: Other than a wild punch that flatlines Swick, I do not give Burkman much of a chance in this fight. Swick has taken out some pretty solid opponents at 185, and he was a grossly undersized 185-pounder. Burkman does enough to keep himself alive against good competition, but has not finished anyone since Drew Fickett at UFN 3. I definitely do not think he will finish off Swick, unless Swick makes a big mistake, but rather I see Swick outscoring Burkman in every round. Swick via unanimous decision 30-27.
Sam Caplan: I think Swick can be a force at welterweight and I expect him to be competing for the 170 lbs. title by year’s end. Against Burkman, I think he’ll just be too much for him. Burkman is the better wrestler but Swick’s ground game is better than most people realize. Plus, you already have to consider him as one of the top strikers in the UFC’s welterweight division just behind Georges St. Pierre. My pick is Swick via first round TKO.
Mike MacLeod: I really like Mike Swick as a welterweight. Burkman is a solid wrestler, but Swick outclasses him in everything else. Burkman won’t get caught early and may give Swick some problems in the early going. However, Swick will eventually get him into position for a third round submission.
Ram Maramba: I’ve been eagerly waiting for Swick’s welterweight debut ever since he announced the move and this is the perfect fight for him. Burkman’s workman-like game will keep him in the fight, but Swick’s trademark quickness transcends weight-class. It’s a test for both fighters, but Swick is well-rounded in most aspects and outclasses Burkman’s striking by a large margin. After a competitive first-round, Swick will TKO Burkman midway through the 2nd.
Thiago Tavares (12-1) vs. Michihiro Omigawa (4-5)
Adam Morgan: Omigawa is 0-1 in the UFC and 4-5 overall and shouldn’t prove to be much of a problem for the talented Tavares. Tavares is coming off of a tough loss to Tyson Griffin, a fight that some people thought Tavares should have won. Tavares should be better than Omigawa at everything plus he won’t want to lose two in a row. Thiago Tavares via submission, round two.
Sam Cupitt: Ah yes, Michihiro Omigawa, just like Akira Shoji and Daijiro Matsui before him he is the typical Japanese fighter who knows enough in every aspect to survive a fight but not enough to win it. Obviously, this is a strategy that doesn’t lead to a positive record. Tavares will have the skills and gas tank to outwork Omigawa all 15 minutes. Thiago Tavares via Unanimous Decision.
Paul Balsom: Michihiro Omigawa has a losing record and does enough, with the exception of a couple flash KOs (one being delivered by Calvancante and another by a kick to the head), to survive for three rounds. He has never been submitted, which is an interesting statistic for this particular bout. I think Thiago Tavares will manhandle Omigawa for three rounds, and we will see a performance out of Omigawa much like that of Kazuhiro Nakamura in his recent bout against Lyoto Machida at UFC 76 in the sense that Omigawa will not look good but just survive. Omigawa will show some decent heart and solid submission defense and Tavares will outscore him in all three rounds. Thiago Tavares via unanimous decision.
Sam Caplan: I’m torn between whether to categorize this as a layup or free throw win opportunity for Tavares? Wait, I actually think it’s a slam dunk. Tavares via first round submission.
Mike MacLeod: This matchup tells me that the UFC is looking to build up Tavares to make him an intriguing opponent for Sherk or Penn down the road. This is going to be a squash. Tavares via submission in the first round.
Ram Maramba: I’m leery of calling Omigawa chum for Tavares after a couple of stunning wins by apparent underdogs at UFC 80. Tavares however has shown world-class grappling skills and was impressive in his last two fights. His loss to Griffin was an exciting bout and a very close loss; against Jason Black he controlled the fight from start to end. That his fight with Black looked like a “That 70’s Show” Fez vs. Hyde cagematch was a bonus. I think I’ll grow a pair and call the cocky Brazilian by flash submission in the 1st round.
Patrick Cote (11-4) vs. Drew McFedries (6-2)
Adam Morgan: Cote is coming off of a big victory over Kendall Grove at UFC 74 and McFedries is coming off a vicious knockout victory over Jordan Radev. This should be a slugfest. McFedries has extremely heavy hands and likes to swing for the fences but Cote is not afraid to stand and trade as well. McFedries seems to have the better power, Cote the more technical striking. Where I think Cote has the advantage is the grappling game. McFedries has not shown much on the ground whereas Cote trains with Fabio Holanda out of Brazilian Top Team Canada. If Cote’s smart, and I think he will be, he’ll take this to the ground and pound McFedries out for a stoppage. Cote via TKO, round two.
Sam Cupitt: Drew McFedries is just plain and simply a brawler. If you listen to his interviews he doesn’t really seem too concerned about the other areas of MMA. Does this mean Cote will exploit this? No. Even though Cote is the more accomplished Mixed Martial Artist he also likes to hit people and he likes it more when his opponent just wants to hit him too. This fight may go to the ground occasionally if they clinch but it’ll be back up soon enough. When it comes to predicting the winner, I think Cote is at the start of a streak of a wins and McFedries will be win number 3 after gassing in the 2nd before he’s TKO’d. Cote via TKO in the 2nd round.
Paul Balsom: Chin test for Patrick Cote. McFedries has a decent sprawl being a part of the Miletich camp, so like Sam said, I can see the fight maybe going to the ground from a clinch situation, but this will be far from a ground battle. Unless McFedries knocks Cote out in the first half of the fight, he will most likely become inoperable and lose his wind. I’m not betting money on this fight, so what the heck, I’ll take McFedries via KO early in Round 2.
Sam Caplan: I disagree with Adam’s assessment of McFedries’ ground game. Just because we really haven’t seen it, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Training at MFS, you know McFedries has to at least have some kind of ground game. And I don’t really care that Cote is the most technical striker of the two. You aren’t going to get much more technical than Marvin Kampmann and McFedries’ power was so much that Kampmann had to take the fight to the ground. After the tragic loss of his mother, I think McFedries shows a lot of aggression in this fight and wins via second round TKO.
Mike MacLeod: Here is your fight of the night as well as knockout of the night. I’ve changed my mind three times in recent days about who I think will come out on top. As of this writing, I’m giving McFedries the nod as he may eat a couple jabs before landing a KO strike. McFedries via KO late in the first round.
Ram Maramba: Cote showed he can bang in his KO victory over Kendall Grove, but McFedries is a different animal. If Cote doesn’t get suckered into a slugfest, he stands a chance. Maybe Kampmann is a quick study, but an MFS-fighter getting arm-triangled by a kickboxer-by-trade still sticks in my mind. Cote hasn’t always stuck to gameplans however, and McFedries’ terrible loss of his mother last month might focus his energy in the right direction. Slugfest it is, McFedries by KO in the 1st round.
Nate Diaz (7-2) vs. Alvin Robinson (9-2)
Adam Morgan: Alvin Robinson was beaten thoroughly in a fight with Kenny Florian and bounced back nicely with a victory over Jorge Gurgel at UFC 77. While Robinson is scrappy, athletic, and powerful, I think this fight is Diaz’s to lose. Even though Robinson beat Gurgel, Gurgel controlled him handily for the first round from the top. Once Alvin had Gurgel on his back he dominated. Diaz will be more active than Gurgel was on top or on his back, a place where he seems to excel in throwing up armbar and triangle attempts. Diaz’s experience and expertise on the ground will win this one. Nate Diaz via submission, round three.
Sam Cupitt: I like Nate Diaz as a fighter and that’s why I don’t like the feeling I’m getting about this fight. Robinson seems to me to be fairly strong for a lightweight and being a BJJ black belt, I’m thinking he may be able to achieve top position against Diaz and maintain it. Look to this fight going to one of those controversial decisions where the judges have to decide between submission attempts from the bottom against slow and methodical ground and pound. My uneasy gut feeling has me thinking Robinson via Split Decision… or it could just be gas.
Paul Balsom: I was there live for Alvin Robinson publicly embarrassing Jorge Gurgel. Nate Diaz is no Jorge Gurgel. I think after a little bit of trading on the feet, Robinson may get Diaz down, but Diaz finds his home on his back. Nate Diaz’s advanced jiu-jitsu is something Robinson will not have an answer for. Diaz via submission in Round 1.
Sam Caplan: Morgan, who cares if Gurgel controlled Robinson for a round, it was Robinson who still won the fight. And he won it going away, as Paul alluded to. Diaz is the better grappler but not by much. Remember, Robinson’s grappling lineage is also tied to a Gracie. Nate is a brown belt under Cesar Gracie but Robinson’s lineage goes back to Royce Gracie. On the feet, there’s no comparison — Robinson is way better in that category, which is where the fight will be lost by Diaz and won by “Kid.” Robinson via second round TKO.
Mike MacLeod: I expect that this will be a great match for fans of the ground game. We should see plenty of submission attempts and counters followed by more counters. Neither fighter will finish off the other, nor will he dominate enough to win a decisive decision. That’s why I’m calling Nate Diaz via split decision.
Ram Maramba: If I get my wish, this’ll be ADCC in the cage. Diaz may find he’s got some of his brother’s standup skills, but chances are this is going to the ground with the quickness. Once it hits the mat, the attempts will come a-flyin’. Diaz has shown an extremely active game from his back, but Robinson pounded Gurgel once he was on top. Diaz doesn’t look the type to tap, so I see this as a unanimous decision win for Robinson after some nice GnP.
Kurt Pellegrino (10-3) vs. Alberto Crane (8-1)
Adam Morgan: This should be a great grappling matchup because both of these guys are super legit jiu jitsu practitioners. I liked Crane’s gameness in his fight against Huerta but he clearly lacked the MMA experience that Huerta had. Pellegrino has quite a bit of “big league” MMA experience and he’s a standout grappler as well. I like Crane as a prospect down the road, but I give this fight to Pellegrino based on experience. Kurt Pellegrino via unanimous decision.
Sam Cupitt: This is a tough fight to call. Crane surprised me a bit against Huerta at UFC 74 when he showed his world class jiu jitsu while Pellegrino was very game against recent lightweight title challenger Joe Stevenson. “Batman” Pellegrino appears to be real hungry for a victory and once he survives a dangerous round and a half, I think Crane will gas and Batman will ride out a decision. Pellegrino via unanimous decision.
Paul Balsom: I am not going to reiterate everything Sam just said that I pretty much agree with. I also see Pellegrino being able to hold a fast-pace for the entirety of the three rounds and Pellegrino will win via unanimous decision.
Sam Caplan: If I was Pellegrino, I’d keep it on the feet. He’s a great grappler, but Crane gets the nod there. Where Pellegrino can earn points is on the feet because Crane is one-dimensional and Pellegrino has the better overall MMA skills. Pellegrino by unanimous decision.
Mike MacLeod: I should get my picks in earlier so that I can have something original to say. Ditto all of the above. Pellegrino by unanimous decision.
Ram Maramba: Crane looked great in the 1st in his fight against Huerta, but I don’t know what else he has. Pellegrino stuck it out with a wrestling and grappling stud like Joe Stevenson for three rounds, so I know what he’s got. Crane’s got the skins keep from being submitted, but Pellegrino will pull out the decision.
Cole Miller (13-2) vs. Jeremy Stephens (12-2)
Adam Morgan: I’ll have to agree with Caplan here and say that I like Stephens as a prospect but he’s not ready for a grappler the caliber of Cole Miller. Traing out of American Top Team, Miller has only gotten better each fight out and thoroughly dominated a game Leonard Garica his last time out. Stephens’ relative inexperience on the ground and Miller’s jiu jitsu will be the deciding factor in this one. Cole Miller via submission, round two.
Sam Cupitt: Jeremy Stephens and Cole Miller have both showed off in their two fights in the UFC that they’ve got game. To me though, Stephens still as a questionable ground game and Miller being the larger of the two fighters should be able to take Stephens there and get him to tap, or most likely go unconscious in the second round. Miller via Submission in the 2nd round.
Paul Balsom: Cole Miller via decision.
Sam Caplan: Stephens still impressed me even in a losing effort to Din Thomas. He’s a good athlete and is aggressive. He’s also coming off two wins since the loss to Thomas at UFC 71. One of those wins came outside the UFC so I’m not sure how excited I am about it. The other win was a unanimous decision against Diego Saraiva, who has since been dropped from the UFC. So while I like Stephens’ potential, I’m just not sure he’s ripe enough for the UFC. He’s certainly not ready for a grappler the level of Miller. Miller via second round TKO (strikes on the ground).
Mike MacLeod: Stephens is going to shock a lot of people as he will not be manhandled by Miller. This will also shock Miller when he gets caught early. Stephens via TKO in the first round.
Ram Maramba: I like Stephens a lot; even in a loss he looked pretty good. Miller showed some craftiness in his stint on TUF and some crazy Gumby-kicks in his impressive KO of Andy Wang. Miller will get close with a couple of submission attempts, but in the end it’ll be Stephens by GnP stoppage.
Matt Wiman (8-3) vs. Justin Buchholz (7-1)
Adam Morgan: I think this is where we say goodbye to Matt Wiman in the UFC. Buchholz is making his UFC debut and is a pretty highly touted prospect. He’s a former ICON Sports lightweight champion and trains with Urijah Faber’s camp. Wiman’s a better wrestler but I expect Buccholz to stuff his takedowns and keep the fight standing. Buchholz via vicious knockout, round two.
Sam Cupitt: The UFC seems to be trying to build up Wiman and Buchholz seems to be just the next dude for Wiman to beat. I don’t really get the attraction to Wiman’s game unless he’s taking flying knees to the head. Anyway, he’ll comfortably ride out a decision here. Matt Wiman via Unanimous Decision.
Paul Balsom: Kind of a crazy pick. Justin Buchholz is on a bit of a KO win streak right now, so I will say that he continues the streak and does the same thing against Wiman. Buchholz via KO/TKO in Round 1.
Sam Caplan: Sam, I don’t get the attraction to Wiman’s game either which is why I don’t think Buchholz is being brought in as the next due for “Handsome Matt” to beat. Buchholz is legit and is coming off a dominant first round victory during EliteXC’s “Uprising” show in Hawaii this past September. I think Buchholz pulls off the minor upset when he wins via TKO in the second round.
Mike MacLeod: Buchholz has only been in one fight that has made it through the first round. This one will be the same. I like Buchholz a lot and I don’t like Wiman much at all. Buchholz via first round knockout.
Ram Maramba: Buchholz has a pretty glitzy record coming into the big time. I’m speaking out of ignorance since I’ve never seen any footage of his fights, but his wins are varied and training with a guy like Urijah Faber has to be a good thing. I have seen Wiman fight and his submission game looked nice until he caught a flying Spencer Fisher to the face. I have no idea, so I’m rolling the dice for the newcomer Buchholz by flying tiger elbow followed by furious spinning monkey kick to Wiman’s inner Chi in one of the three possible rounds.
Gray Maynard (3-0) vs. Dennis Siver (11-4)
Adam Morgan: Gray Maynard is one of the real up and comers from the fifth season of TUF. He’s found a home training at Xtreme Couture with some of the world’s best fighters and has great wrestling and knockout power. Siver may put up a game fight due to his wrestling credentials but Maynard will eventually overwhelm him. Gray Maynard via TKO, round one.
Sam Cupitt: Maynard is another fighter the UFC is looking to build up and Siver is another opponent being thrown to the wolves. I doubt Maynard will knock out Siver standing so I guess that means he’ll live up to his nickname of ‘the bully’ and will pressure Siver by scoring takedowns and midway through round 2 will achieve the stoppage. Maynard via TKO in the 2nd round.
Paul Balsom: Maynard is showing pretty solid takedown and wrestling skills, and seems to love the ground and pound. He has great training partners and Dennis Siver will even not live up to Maynard’s sparring sessions. Gray Maynard via TKO (GnP) in Round 1.
Sam Caplan: Siver has a good wrestling background and while the amateur wrestling scene is very respected in European countries other than the UK, I still don’t think he’s the caliber of wrestler that Maynard is. Siver may have won via knockout at UFC 75 but I still don’t consider him to be a threat on the feet. I basically agree with Paul here and think Maynard will be too much for him. I agree with Paul so much that I am just going to copy and paste his prediction: Gray Maynard via TKO (GnP) in Round 1.
Mike Macleod: I like Maynard a lot and I’m already envisioning a full mount with fists flailing on Siver’s head. I too will copy and paste from Paul. Gray Maynard via TKO (GnP) in Round 1.
Ram Maramba: I’m a bit surprised at this matchup. The UFC seems to covet fighters they can market in Europe — going so far as inventing one in Marcus Davis — and Siver fits that description. He’ll be outmatched here by the swollen Gray Maynard, who’s a huge 155. Once Maynard gets his paws on Siver, it’s only a matter of time. Maynard by GnP halfway through the 1st.
Joe Veres (4-2) vs. Corey Hill (1-0)
Adam Morgan: Corey Hill’s size and athleticism alone might be able to win him this fight. Luckily he’s been training with Miletich Fighting Systems, one of the best camps in the world, and hopefully has become a much different fighter than the one we saw on TUF. Pat Miletich has been talking him up, so I’m willing to buy into it. Corey Hill via TKO, round two.
Sam Cupitt: Corey Hill comes into this fight with a large amount of expectation behind him. It’s not hard to see why, as Hill is a 6 foot 4 lightweight. Pat Miletich has huge wraps him and especially his wrestling ability, even going as far to say that Sean Sherk would struggle to take Hill down. Veres on the other hand is a 9 second UFC veteran after meeting Gray Maynard’s fist at UFN 11. I expect Joe Veres to go through absolute hell trying to get within reach of Hill and this fight to eventually end with Hill standing in Veres’ guard throwing bomb after bomb. Hill via TKO in round 1.
Paul Balsom: Like Sam mentioned, according to the folks over at Miletich, Corey Hill is the second coming of RoboCop and he is going to kill everyone in the 155-pound division. Veres is going to eat Robo-fists while he sits on the outside, and if he happens to make it in close and the fight makes it to the ground, Hill will be on top and exhibit some Robo-ground and pound, and all of this will happen in round 1. Corey Hill via TKO in Round 1.
Sam Caplan: We saw that Hill was quite an athlete based on his showing during TUF 5. We now know that he has the intelligence needed to succeed in MMA after he decided to leave Matt Hughes’ H.I.T. Squad for Pat Miletich’s Miletich Fighting Systems in Iowa. We also know he can learn at a rapid pace so I think we’re going to see a completely different fighter than what we saw on TUF. I’m going with Hill via second round TKO.
Mike MacLeod: Corey Hill and his camp have talked a lot about how good his training has been. In fact Hill says he envisions becoming the “Anderson Silva of the lightweight division.” And he’s never lied before, right? Ummm.. Even still, Hill via first round KO.
Ram Maramba: Hey, Pat Miletich likes him. What does it matter if I don’t? Hill TKO via Dhalsim-strike in the 1st.