The Ultimate Fighting Championship is back Saturday with UFC 91: Couture vs. Lesnar. This time, the Octagon is set up for what is being billed as the biggest fight in UFC history as Randy Couture puts his heavyweight championship on the line against Brock Lesnar. The event is being held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and is available on Pay Per View. You will also be able to follow the night’s action here at Fiveouncesofpain.com as we will have live Round by Round coverage as well as the return of our Live Event chat room. We’ll see you there.
Check it out below to see what the staff of 5 Oz. has to say about these and the rest of this weekend’s fights!
Matt Brown vs. Ryan Thomas
David Andrest: Matt Brown is stepping in on short notice to take this fight. I honestly think this was a fight the UFC thought Matt Riddle could win, and based on that I am pretty damn sure Matt Brown can win it. Thomas is coming off a loss to Ben Saunders, and I think he will meet a similar fate at the heavy hands of Matt Brown. Winner: Matt Brown TKO Round 2
Gary Ibarra: Matt Brown is looking to bounce back from that horrible decision loss at UFC 88, I still have no idea what the judges were looking at after the fight but don’t look for him to leave any doubt in this one. Brown by TKO Punches 2nd Round
Adam Morgan: Ryan Thomas has been training for a fight for months. Matt Brown has only been training for a fight for a few weeks. I expect this fight to be much closer than these two knuckleheads above me think it will be. That being said, Brown is the more tenacious fighter here and showed vast improvement in his last fight. Matt Brown via unanimous decision.
Cory Brady: Matt Brown has an in your face style that provides all sorts of problems for many fighters. He surprised a whole lot of people in his last fight when he came very close to upsetting favorite Dong Hyun Kim before dropping the split decision. Thomas is a tough guy with solid wrestling credentials but has shown a real willingness to stand and exchange in many of his fights. This could lead to his undoing as that’s exactly where Brown wants the fight to be. Winner: Brown, KO Rd2
Caleb Newby: Hey David, speaking of Matt Riddle, will you join me in my quest to give him the nickname “Papageorgio”? I’ve said it before. He looks like the kid who plays Rusty in the Vegas Vacation movie and has that youthful optimism. Plus, it’s a cool nickname. *Ahem* Anyway. Brown shocked me with his performance against Dong Hyun Kim, although I agreed with the decision, he nearly pulled it off. That fight did more for me than any of his previous outings. Loser leave the UFC (for now… as typical of the early undercard fights) and that man will be Thomas. Winner: Matt Brown – TKO, Rd2
Michael Huckaby: Can someone direct me to where this praise and these assumptions about Matt Brown come from? Was it the hype from the TV show because he’s shown to be nothing but dreadful every single time out. To be fair I would call this a 50/50 fight but that’s only because he’s fighting RYAN THOMAS. THE RYAN THOMAS!! I can’t in good faith predict that Matt Brown will beat anyone and shame on all of you. Winner: Thomas, sub, Rd1.
Mark Bocek vs. Alvin Robinson
David Andrest: I honestly think this fight has “fight of the night” potential. Bocek is tough as nails, and Robinson is a tough test for anyone. Both guys have good records with their only losses coming to top level talent. Both guys have won a majority of their fights via submission, however for no good reason I’m picking Bocek via TKO. Winner : Mark Bocek TKO Round 1
Gary Ibarra: Bocek has 2 losses on his record, one to Frankie Edgar and the other to Mac Danzig, now normally this would be a good reason to say he should win since he’s only lost to two extremely talented fighters but he only has a total of 7 fights and has only 1 win in the UFC coming by decision. Robinson has almost the exact same story, 3 fights in the UFC, 2 losses coming during the major tests of his mettle against Kenny Florian and Nate Diaz. This is a toss up but I give the edge to Robinson since his two losses were by the hands of much better fighters than the two that Bocek lost to. Robinson by Split Decision
Adam Morgan: Alvin Robinson is the better all around fighter in this fight by far. Bocek may have great jiu jitsu but this is MMA and Robinson has the better overall game. Add that to the fact that Bocek has trouble with wrestlers and Robinsob should be able to take him. If the fight hits the ground with Bocek on top then Robinson may be in trouble but I doubt it. His superior striking, submission defense, and wrestling should overcome Bocek’s jiu jitsu game. Alvin Robinson via TKO, round three.
Cory Brady: The loser of this fight could very well be taking a vacation from the UFC for a little while. Both men are 1-2 in their UFC careers an both men are coming off of disappointing losses. I think Bocek is going to be the more powerful man and expect him to control this fight from the top position while utilizing some solid ground and pound. Winner, Bocek, Decision
Michael Huckaby: I agree that this fight could be absolutely fantastic and I really hope Cory Brady is wrong in saying the loser might take a little vacation. These guys can put on very exciting fights and while I don’t expect to see this one (as it won’t be ending in the first round) I expect a real ground war. I kind of have a man crush on Bocek so it really pains me that I have to pick Robinson. I just think at this point in a pure MMA fight that Robinson can be more active and avoid Bocek’s weapons. Winner: Robinson, decision.
Jeremy Stephens vs. Rafael dos Anjos
David Andrest: Striker vs. Submissions. Looks like a great fight with two young up and coming fighters. I’ll take dos Anjos to get the fight to the floor and end it early. Winner: Rafael dos Anjos Sub Round 1
Gary Ibarra: This bout was tough to call, Stephens is a tough fighter with plenty of experience having fought some well known fighters in his weight class but Dos Anjos has a really great Jiu Jitsu game and is on a 9 fight winning streak against some of the best fighters Brazil has to offer.
Dos Anjos by Submission 1st Round
Adam Morgan: As Dave said, this is a great fight with some good up and comers. Rafael dos Anjos is making his UFC debut while Stephens has some pretty solid fights under his belt on the big stage. Rafael dos Anjos has a bright future but it usually takes at least one fight to prepare yourself for the big stage of the Octagon. I think Stephens has the better experience on the big stage to take advantage of dos Anjos’ relative inexperience. Jeremy Stephens via TKO, round one.
Cory Brady: Even though Stephens came up on the losing end of a decision with Spencer Fisher, he proved that he can hang with the best of them. This is something that Dos Anjos has yet to prove. This will be a huge jump for the Brazilian and Stephens should prove to be too explosive for him. Look for Stephens to jump on Dos Anjos early in this one. Winner: Stephens, KO Rd1
Michael Huckaby: Having seen Stephens three or four times now he certainly has the talent but as recent UFC events have taught me, do not go against the new strange Brazilian man with three names. Especially if their middle name has one of those weird loser cased first letters. Winner: dos Anjos, sub, Rd3.
Jorge Gurgel vs. Aaron Riley
David Andrest: I don’t really know how to look at this fight. Gurgel is odd, he has what many feel to be top level ground skills however he seems to want to stand and prove a point. Riley is a well traveled fighter with plenty of fight experience. I would tend to believe if Gurgel decides he wants to stand and bang with Riley he will find himself under .500 in the UFC once again. Winner Aaron Riley TKO Round 2
Gary Ibarra: Riley has much more experience then Gurgel with 37 fights in his career but if you look at the wins and losses closely you’ll see the trend of the losses coming in important fights. His fight this Saturday is no doubt an important fight. While Gurgel is not much more of a shoe in to win I am going to have to give him the edge in this one, not because he’s much better than Riley but mostly because Aaron seems to fold under pressure. Winner: Gurgel
Adam Morgan: Oh, Jorge Gurgel. If you could put it all together you would be at least a halfway decent lightweight. But alas, you cannot, and you continue to stand and trade with opponents who are better at striking than you are. Gurgel will try to stand and trade, make the fight exciting, and lose in exciting fashion. Aaron Riley via TKO, round three.
Cory Brady: Jorge Gurgel is a guy that I feel never gets enough respect or just has terrible luck. One of the two or a little of both, I’m still trying to figure that one out. The brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist is absolutely tenacious in the cage and his stand up has looked much improved since his UFC debut. Riley is a tough guy with a big record but it just seems like every time he makes the jump in competition he runs into problems. He’s going to run into a problem on Saturday night and that problem is going to be a rebounding, hungry Jorge Gurgel looking for his first win by stoppage in his UFC career. Winner: Gurgel, TKO Rd2
Caleb Newby: Yeah, I can’t make myself pick Jorge Gurgel. Not that he isn’t skilled and can’t win, he’s just so up and down. We always hear about his amazing jiu-jitsu but rarely see it in all its glory. And really, it’s just more fun to pick against him. Just one of those things. It is what it is. Winner: Aaron Riley – TKO, Rd2
Michael Huckaby: Is this like that WWE internet game where you can’t fire one guy because you make his friends mad and lower their morale? Seriously, I never rip anyone for no good reason but Gurgel has to go. He seems like a nice guy and anyone that is cool with Rich Franklin is cool with me but let’s be honest: if his friends weren’t his friends he wouldn’t be working in the UFC. His fights can be inconceivably boring and he hasn’t set any worlds on fire against a semi-major name opponent since entering the organization. Winner? The beer and hot dog carts the fans are going to during this.
Dustin Hazelett vs. Tamdan McCrory
David Andrest: McLovin vs. The Barn Cat !! the fact that is fight may not be shown is just shy of criminal. Both of these fighters are very entertaining to watch and this would be a difficult pick for a mere mortal. This is the odds on favorite for “fight of the night” in my mind. Winner Dustin Hazelett Sub Round 3
Gary Ibarra: This fight has just been upgraded to the main card due to a leg infection to Amir Sadollah that has forced him to bow out and with only 4 days until the fight no replacement was able to be found moving this bout to live TV and it’s a good thing, this is going to be a decent fight worthy of the live broadcast. McCrory has been training extremely hard for this fight, but Hazelett wont be hindered by the height and reach advantage of his opponent. Hazelett by Split Decision
Adam Morgan: I love this fight of up and comers with great nicknames. Hazelett is one to watch at 170 lbs. as his jiu jitsu game at this level is very, very good. Not to mention that his striking is coming along as well. McCrory just won a decision over a subpar Luke Cummo while Hazelett is coming off a victory over Josh Burkman. Hazelett has more experience against tougher opponents and a better overall game. I like McCrory and I picked him against Gono and Cummo but I can’t take him here. Hazelett via submission, round two.
Cory Brady: Hazelett’s submission game just seems to keep getting better and better. His armbar he threw on Josh Burkman in his last fight was just awe inspiring. McCrory looked great in his hard fought decision win over Luke Cummo at UFC 87 and impressive in his UFC debut with a submission over Pete Spratt but the fight that concerns me is the one that was sandwiched between those two. McCrory lost to Akihiro Gono by armbar back at UFC 78. There has been quite a bit of time to work on his submission defense between now and then but I just feel like Hazelett’s jiu-jitsu is just on a whole other level. This should be a wild fight, I’m looking forward to this one and I’m glad it made it’s way to the main card. Winner: Hazelet, Submission Rd2
Caleb Newby: This will be fun. I’d write more if I was going a different direction, but no, as a sheep I am taking the same pick as the rest of the guys. Exciting submissions, cool nicknames, you know the drill. Winner: Dustin Hazelett – Submission, Rd2
Michael Huckaby: This could be fun but Hazelett, at present time, is far more advanced than McCrory. I think Tamdan has quite a future if he continues what he’s doing but I think Hazelett is the next guy to push through at WW and make some kind of run. Winner: Hazelett, sub, Rd2
Demian Maia vs. Nate Quarry
David Andrest: One of two questions will be answered here. Does Maia have a good chin, and does Quarry have top level submission defense. Quarry comes into this fight off a gold medal performance in track and field vs. Kalib Starnes while the Maia submission machine rolled over Jason Macdonald. This fight will end up on the ground sooner rather than later, and the rest is history. Winner: Demian Maia Sub Round 3.
Gary Ibarra: This is a bout I’m really looking forward to, Nate Quarry is a great fighter but I have to give the edge to Maia. They both fought Gustavo Machado and Maia won Quarry didn’t, also Maia’s Jiu Jitsu game is phenomenal. He’s beat some of the most well known fighters in MMA during his Jiu Jitsu tournament career including the heavyweight fighting after him, Gabriel Gonzaga.
Maia by Submission 2nd Round
Adam Morgan: Nate Quarry is another Ed Herman for Maia to put to sleep. Coming from the same camp as Herman, Quarry possesses roughly the same skill set with better striking. Maia’s jiu jitsu is some of the purest jiu jitsu in all of MMA. He is textbook when it comes to the submission game and it’s almost inevitable that he will find a way to get this to the ground. And when he does it’s all over. Quarry deserves mad respect for coming back from injury the way he has but Maia is on a path to a middleweight title shot. Demian Maia via submission, round two.
Cory Brady: I hate to say it because I’m sure it’s been said a thousand times before but here goes nothing. This is your classic classic striker vs. grappler matchup at it’s finest. Quarry punches as hard as anyone at 185 pounds and there are very few in mixed martial arts with the submission ability of Maia. The one thing that’s for sure is that Quarry can be sure that he will be in a fight this time around. Maia showed a ton of heart in his last couple fights with Ed Herman and Jason MacDonald and he also showed a willingness to engage in the stand up. Quarry hits harder than either Herman or MacDonald and if Maia chooses to stick it out on his feet for too long that could be his downfall, but he won’t. This also has a lot of potential to end up being the fight of the night if it lasts long enough. Winner: Maia, Submission Rd2
Caleb Newby: I like Nate Quarry. And I’m not really talking about fighting here. People don’t give him enough kudos for his personality. His whole “If you can change, and I can change, we all can change” after the Kalib Starnes fight in Canada was fantastic. When he was forced off of TUF and hugged Forrest while saying “I’ll miss you most of all scarecrow” was another classic. Plus he is a nice guy. Unfortunately, Demian Maia is another several levels ahead in the ground game. Sooner or later he’s going to get a hold of Quarry and it’ll be over. Bet on sooner. Winner: Damian Maia – Submission, Rd1
Michael Huckaby: Considering my love of Maia and greatly dislike of Quarry this isn’t going to be easy for me. I don’t know that Maia is ready. Yes, Maia has all of the ground skills and Nate is unknown there but Nate has pretty much every single other advantage in the fight. He might not avoid the ground the entire way but I think he’s going to get a good amount of punishment in when he can. Winner: Quarry, strikes, Rd2
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Josh Hendricks
David Andrest: All I have to say is…Why? Why this fight? Why is it being televised? Winner: Gabriel Gonzaga Submission Round 1
Gary Ibarra: After the quick work Gonzaga made of Justin McCully with his first round submission victory at UFC 86, it really showed some much needed resilience on the part of Napao, especially coming of 2 consecutive losses. Hendricks is a grappler and Jiu Jitsu guy with some major punching power and an 18 and 4 record, but none of those wins coming against anyone of note and Gonzaga has fought wars in the ring with some of the best in the business like Fabricio Werdum and of course the evenings main event participant Randy Couture. Gonzaga via Unanimous Decision
Adam Morgan: I’m with Dave here. Why is this fight being televised? Is Gonzaga going to turn into some kind of draw for the UFC? You’ve got a Fight of the Night candidate in Hazelett vs. McCrory and this garbage gets televised? Yikes. Getting back on topic, Gonzaga is the better fighter here, no doubt about it. As long as he can keep from mentally giving up in the middle of the fight he should be able to handle Hendricks with relative ease, especially on the ground. Gabriel Gonzaga via submission, round one.
Cory Brady: Coming off of those two losses to Fabricio Werdum and Randy Couture, Gonzaga bounced back and looked good when he finished off Justin McCully by kimura in the first round at UFC 86. When Gonzaga is focused he is a threat to anybody in the heavyweight division and this fight will let us know if he is truly back. Hendricks is a tough guy with an impressive record but this is going to be a huge jump for him in a couple different ways. It’s going to be his first fight in the UFC which can be extremely jarring for any fighter. On top of that, Hendricks’ last two opponents had a combined record of 6-12 and Gonzaga is easily one of the best heavyweights in the world. This one won’t last long. Winner: Gonzaga, KO Rd1
Caleb Newby: Anyone else find it ridiculously easy to see through this fight? Gonzaga was a monster after Cro Cop, now… not so much. Throw Gonzaga a few so-so guys to rebuild and keep him in a holding pattern until the heavyweight tournament resolves itself. Sorry Hendricks, but much like Catone, you are being brought in to lose. Best of luck though, we know it’s more than possible to monkey wrench those plans. Winner: Gabriel Gonzaga – TKO, Rd1
Michael Huckaby: To go along with what Newby is saying, Gonzaga is the UFC’s version of WWE wrestler Kane. Build him up, go down, build him up, go down…. he’s always there when you need him. This fight seems tailor-made for a Hendricks upset but I don’t have the guts to pull the trigger because I can’t see it happening. With a little more Hendricks punching skill maybe he could make Gonzaga curl up and quit like everyone else does. Winner: Gonzaga, strikes, Rd3
Kenny Florian vs. Joe Stevenson
David Andrest: Florian has proven himself over time to be among the best at 155, while I like Joe Stevenson I see this fight going the way of Florian. I think Joe will get cut and bleed early and often with Kenny Florian finishing in the third. Winner Kenny Florian via Sub Round 3.
Gary Ibarra: Stevenson is the owner of the UFC’s most lethal guillotine choke but KenFlo has the heart of a Lion and the power to match. As much as Joe Stevenson has gone through to come back from his brutal loss to BJ Penn, he probably should have had at least one more tune up/confidence building fight before taking on a fighter of Florian’s skill and ability. This is not to say Joe Daddy’s loss is a foregone conclusion, not by a long shot, I definitely see this fight as a better test for Florian then Roger Huerta was although I don’t see the November 15th bout ending differently. There is one thing I know will be different in this bout from Florian’s decisive win against El Matador, neither of these guys will let this one go the distance. Florian by Submission 3rd Round
Adam Morgan: This is the fight that is getting overlooked by all the hardcore MMA fans out there. Florian has become so technically sound and has implemented great gameplans recently. He has proven himself to be among the elite fighters at 155 lbs. and his cardio is extremely good. Stevenson obviously has great wrestling and very good submissions, especially a nasty guillotine. It’s a toss up, it really is. But I think Florian will employ a gameplan to keep the fight standing and use his range to frustrate Stevenson and allow him to take advantage of that frustration. Kenny Florian via unanimous decision.
Cory Brady: Depending on how the Couture vs. Lesnar bout goes, this could very well be the fight of the night. Both Florian and Stevenson are tough as nails and leave it all in the ring every single time. It’s going to be an interesting matchup if it goes to the ground because Florian’s submissions are as smooth as they come while Stevenson always seems to be one guillotine attempt away from victory. Kenny Florian has yet to be submitted in his professional career and while I wouldn’t say that Stevenson can’t catch him, I will say that it’s highly unlikely that he will. The one area I feel one fighter has a significant advantage over the other is the striking. Although Stevenson is no slouch on his feet, I feel Florian is among the best strikers at 155 and that will be the main difference in this one. Winner: Florian, Decision
Caleb Newby: I’m actually more excited about this fight than the main event. Sue me. This really shows the moxie of Florian taking some really tough fights while waiting for a title shot once Penn finishes his meanderings to heavier pastures. I’m really torn here over who I think will take this one but I am a tad more on the Florian side over Joe Daddy. Stevenson catching Florian with his guillotine choke would be a shocker and nothing I’m going to bank on. Honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked to get a split decision here, it could be that close. No more stalling, I’ll have to pick eventually. Winner: Kenny Florian – Decision
Michael Huckaby: You’re all sheep!~ And me too. Florian will submit his place, if he hasn’t already, as the third best lightweight in the UFC with a win here. It’s just too bad he’s not on the level of Penn or Sherk and probably won’t get there any time soon. That’s no slight to him, that’s a compliment to Penn and Sherk. Florian has shown tremendous improvement in his striking and obviously still has atleast minor, if not major, advantages over Stevenson on the ground. I think Joe is a trooper and will make a fight out of it but will simply come out overmatched. Winner: Florian, decision.
Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar
David Andrest: I like Randy Couture really I do, I’ve said time and time again that I wouldn’t pick against him. I was wrong, I cannot pick Couture to win this fight no matter how hard I try. Lesnar is too big, too strong, and too fast. I don’t see this fight going long, I fear Brock may punch a hole clear through Couture’s head. I hate to say it, I don’t want to pick Brock, I hope I am wrong as I’d love to see Randy fight Nogueira, but it is what it is. Wrestling would have been a toss up 15 years ago, standing it’s a wash, and there is little to no chance of a sub by Couture. I don’t know why anyone would think Randy will be able to put and keep Lesnar on his back. I just don’t see it. I suspect we may find out Lesnar has a chin made of solid stone. Dirty boxing will only take a fighter so far limiting Randy’s only advantage to being in the scramble. I pick Lesnar to maul Couture early and finish him in devastating fashion in the late first or early second. Winner Lesnar TKO Round 1 or 2.
Gary Ibarra: Whether it’s Lesnar coming out and dominating from the opening bell or Couture exploiting Brocks inexperience and capitalizing on a quick mistake, either way I don’t see this one going past the 2nd round. We’ve seen experience beat athleticism in the octagon time and time again (See Mir Vs Lesnar) but every time Lesnar fights this becomes less and less of a factor since he’s gaining that much needed experience every time he trains and each time he fights. Couture has the experience and more importantly the heart to win this bought but the combination of his age and 15 month layoff all add up to a surprisingly brutal win by Lesnar. Lesnar by TKO due to Strikes 2nd Round
Adam Morgan: You guys are crazy. If there’s one thing that Randy Couture has showed us since returning to the cage against Tim Sylvia it’s that you never bet against him. No matter what the odds. On paper Lesnar is the clear favorite. With a freakish athletic ability, extremely strong wrestling talent, and a quickness unseen in most heavyweights he will be a beast to deal with. But what Couture lacks in those departments he more than makes up for in experience and gameplanning. Known for being one of the most cerebral fighters in all of MMA, Couture will have a gameplan to take Lesnar totally out of his element, especially in the greco clinch and in the dirty boxing game. What will truly be the telling factor, however, is if the fight goes into the championship rounds. We all know Randy has the cardio and the experience of championship fights. Lesnar is untested in both of these categories and should it go past round three, the advantage strongly shifts to Couture. Until Randy shows me that he’s vulnerable to a loss, I’ll take my chances with him. Randy Couture via unanimous decision.
Cory Brady: I have gone back and forth with this one since it was announced. Both fighters will be coming into this one with significant advantages over the other in different areas of their game. Lesnar is the bigger, stronger man and has youth on his side while Randy is the master of developing great game plans and will have a serious edge when it comes to cage experience. The bottom line for me is that this is a five round fight. If it was a three round fight I would give it to Lesnar but it’s not. Lesnar may be able to control Couture from the top position for the first two rounds but I see Captain America being able to turn the tide and utilize his clinch game and dirty boxing to put the former WWE superstar on his back in the third round. Lesnar will be like a turtle once Randy is able to take him to the mat and will end up eating a vicious series of elbows and punches that will force the stoppage. Winner: Couture, TKO Rd4
Caleb Newby: I’m shocked at the large number of experts taking Lesnar. I mean, it’s not like I disagree with the person picking Lesnar to win as he’s obviously not a dog here. I just didn’t expect it to be such a prevalent opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I can see Lesnar winning this but I don’t think I can go against Couture. It’s easy to get caught up with the sexiness of the Lesnar monster and all the horrible things he can do to Couture while underestimating the value of experience. The longer this fight goes, the better the savvy veteran should do in exploiting the rawness of the (quasi)-rookie. Should Couture avoid an early decapitation or hamburger face he’ll have many opportunities to capitalize on his plethora of advantages and tricks of the trade. Only bad thing about my pick is I am agreeing with Morgan, and we’ve all seen how well that goes. LOVE YA BUDDY! Winner: Randy Couture – Decision
Michael Huckaby: RANDY COUTURE RULE. When he’s the underdog in Vegas, pick him. When he’s not, don’t. A quick check shows Couture at +100 and Lesnar at -130. Why use any logic or judgment when I can be this lazy and simplistic. This is a freaking terrible matchup for Couture but you have to believe experience and lazy boxing will be able to play a huge part. This fight was made for Couture to get a payday and for the UFC to embarrass him. I hope only the first happens. Winner: Randy Couture, decision.
Now you have our picks, feel free to share yours below. List Winner/method/round . It’s your chance to put it out there for all to see.