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Pain Poll: The 5 Oz. staff breaks down UFN 18

The friendly staff here at are back with another edition of the world famous Pain Poll to give you the scoop on UFC’s Ultimate Fight Night 18 which will be taking place on April 1st in Nashville, Tennessee. There are a dozen scheduled bouts on this, what promises to be a wild card, so fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride while we take you through every single fight on the card.

Carlos Condit Vs. Martin Kampmann

Cory Brady: Ahh, The Natural Born Killer vs. The Hitman. I have a gut feeling that this one is extremely unlikely to go to the scorecards. Both of these guys are very well rounded so it’s hard to give a significant edge to either. I think this fight is going to have fireworks from both men but I’m expecting Condit to come out on top. Winner: Condit by TKO

Dustin James: And here we go with the UFC debut of Carlos Condit! Condit has a lot to lose in this fight. He’s riding an 8-fight win streak and is the last WEC Welterweight Champion. He’s coming into the UFC with a lot of hype. Hell, even UFC President Dana White is excited about his debut. Kampmann has a real chance to make a name for himself in the UFC’s welterweight division if he can manage to squeak out a win here. It’s a difficult fight to pick as I feel either fighter can pull off the win. Winner: Carlos Condit, Decision

Brendhan Conlan:  This is a tough fight for me to pick and, as far as I’m concerned, a bout that’s as close to a coin-flip as there is on the “Fight Night” card.  Kampmann not only possesses impressive kickboxing skills, as you might expect from someone with his background, but also an underappreciated arsenal of submission techniques.  Condit has a similar set of striking abilities, though I’d give him a slight advantage where wrestling is concerned and I believe his intensity and overall attitude also act in his favor when stepping into the cage.  It’s a tough fight for me to pick and because of that I’m going to toss a quarter into the air and leave it to the ringside officials.  Heads = Condit.  Tails = Kampmann. Winner: Carlos Condit, Judges’ Decision

Bryan Levick: The UFC didn’t make Condit’s debut an easy one as he faces one of the best strikers in Kampmann who has also strengthened his ground game each time out. We will find out of Condit was just a big fish in a small pond or if he can be considered as a serious threat to the UFC’s welterweight division which is stacked but offers no serious contenders to GSP’s throne. Condit went through a war his last time out against Japanese fighter Hiromitsu Miura in August of last year. The former WEC WW champion holds victories over Frank Trigg, Carlo Prater and Brock Larson. Kampmann will be fighting at 170 for just the second time as he was successful in his debut as a WW when he defeated Alexandre Barros at UFC 93 in January. The hitman is just as likely to KO his opponent as he is to submit them. I see this one going the distance with Kampmann eeking out a close decision in what could be Fight of the Night. Kampmann by decision

Ryan Bader Vs. Carmelo Marrero

Cory Brady: I will freely admit that I think that Ryan Bader has a TON of potential at light heavyweight. I’ll leave it at that for now, but don’t be surprised if you see Bader challenging for the title in the next year or two. With that being said, I expect Bader to utilize his superior wrestling skills to pound away at Marrero for the stoppage. Winner: Darth Bader by TKO

Dustin James: Marrero was last seen in the UFC at UFC 71 where he dropped a submission loss to Wilson Gouveia. Since then, Marrero has gone 4-0-1 in the WEC and other MMA promotions. His opponent in his return to the Octagon just happens to be the winner of the light heavyweight division on this past season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, Ryan “Darth” Bader. Bader looked extremely impressive during his run on “TUF” and seems to be the complete package with his excellent wrestling skills and vastly improving stand-up. It’s hard to say how much Marrero has improved since his last UFC run, but we shall see. One thing is for sure, he should be Bader’s toughest test to date. Winner: Ryan Bader, Decision

Brendhan Conlan: This is ultimately a battle between wrestlers with “Darth” Bader using his abilities to “force” Marrero into submission.  The Ultimate Fighter champion is younger, stronger, and his boxing skills are ever-improving.  I think he’ll control Marrero from start to finish but won’t be able to land the finishing sequence until the second stanza. Winner: Ryan Bader, TKO, RD 2

Bryan Levick: Bader goes up against a tough veteran in Marrero who will be fighting in the UFC for the first time since losing to Wilson Gouveia in May of 2007. Marrero trains with ATT and has faced some tough opponents throughout his career including Gabriel Gonzaga, Sherman Pendergarst and Cheick Kongo. The undefeated Bader hasn’t faced nearly the quality of competition that Marrero has but I believe he will be too strong and his wrestling superior. I don’t think Bader has what it takes just yet to finish a fighter like Marrero and he will keep him at bay with takedowns and some ground and pound working his way to a unanimous decision. Bader by decision

Tyson Griffin Vs. Rafael dos Anjos

Cory Brady: Tyson Griffin is a complete beast. I always kind of saw him as a one dimensional wrestler until his last MMA/boxing match with Sean Sherk which was absolutely beautiful to watch. I am now an official member of the Tyson Griffin fan club. Tyson will decide to keep this fight on the feet and knock Dos Anjos silly sideways. Winner: Griffin by knockout

Dustin James: I’m not sure exactly why dos Anjos would want to take this fight, but I’m sure he will pull off an upset now that I helped make him an even bigger underdog by doubting him against Griffin. Look for Griffin to do what he does best and pound his way to a unanimous decision win. Winner: Tyson Griffin, Decision

Brendhan Conlan: Tyson Griffin should get a percentage of the judges’ salary based on the fact his fighting style tends to make them earn their money.  The XTreme Couture lightweight is an excellent wrestler with above-average stand-up and adequate jiujitsu.  He has the energy and strength to sink most of his opponents in proverbial quicksand with the exception of comparable wrestlers or larger 155-pounders.  Dos Anjos is neither, and earns his paycheck as being primarily a submission-based Mixed Martial Artis – something fans might expect given his residence in Rio de Janeiro.  I think Griffin will be able to control the majority of the fight with his grappling and eventually use his striking to earn enough points to procure a victory. Winner: Tyson Griffin, Judges’ Decision

Bryan Levick: If you are a betting man I would say take Griffin by decision as his last 6 fights have all gone the distance but I see this one ending dramatically. Griffin will be looking to make a statement after losing to Sean Sherk last October at UFC 90. Griffin is a strong wrestler with under rated stand-up skills. Dos Anjos lost his UFC debut in highlight reel fashion to Jeremy Stephens at UFC 91 in November. He was fighting a good fight until he got caught with what the sickest uppercut I have ever seen in a MMA bout. While he possesses solid submission skills I don’t think he has the strength to fight Griffin off and will get pounded out by the second round. Griffin by TKO

Junie Browning Vs. Cole Miller

Cory Brady: I am personally looking forward to this bout more than any other on the card. It seems as if my recent interview with Junie has turned this into a grudge match of sorts, at least in Miller’s mind. Miller does have an extremely dangerous submission game, but I’m thinking that Browning is going to be able to keep the fight standing to showcase his much improved stand up since training with Shawn Tompkins and Xtreme Couture. Winner: Junie by TKO

Dustin James: Both fighters are veterans from “The Ultimate Fighter”, but both fighters are also worlds apart as far as MMA skills go in my opinion. I don’t expect Miller to struggle much with Junie. The best part of the fight could be Junie’s outburst after his loss. Winner: Cole Miller, Submission, Round 2

Brendhan Conlan: I know Browning has been refining his skills among the cream of the crop at XTreme Couture, and Shawn Tompkins has undoubtedly improved the controversial lightweight’s stand-up and overall attitude, but Cole Miller trains with an equally good camp at ATT but has a BJJ background to pull from (along with comparable striking) which should enable him to emerge victorious in a battle between former Ultimate Fighter contestants.  I expect Junie to start hot but slip up due to his overly emotional approach to competition, thereby allowing Miller to utilize his long limbs and lock in a submission for the win. Winner: Cole Miller, Submission, RD 1

Bryan Levick: This fight has been talked about as much if not more than any other fight on the card. Browning and Miller have been going back and forth at each other through various interviews they have done. Browning is extremely confident and so is Miller. What I saw from Browning on the Ultimate Fighter Finale in December was nothing like the fighter that was on the reality show. He was focused and finished the job he set out to do. While I may not like him I think he has some solid potential. Training with Xtreme Couture will do wonders for any fighter mentally and physically and it seems to have worked thus far for Junie. Miller is light years ahead of Browning in experience and has fought some serious competition. The ATT fighter has wins against Jorge Gurgel and Leonard Garcia while also facing Jeremy Stephens and Takeshi Inoue. With that being said I expect action from start to finish and I don’t think this fight will make it out of the second round. Miller has 9 submission victories to his credit but I really think Junie has gotten in his head and he will make a mistake and get caught. I am going against my better judgment and picking Junie by 2nd round TKO. Junie by TKO

Gleison Tibau Vs. Jeremy Stephens

Cory Brady: This is going to be an extremely interesting fight as well as an extremely difficult fight to call. Tibau looked great in his last fight, submitting Rich Clementi in the first round, while Stephens ran into some trouble in the form of Joe Lauzon. I think Stephens is going to be able to avoid being submitted twice in a row while edging ut Tibau in what should be a close contest. Winner: Stephens by decision

Dustin James: Both fighters are coming off excellent performances at UFC Fight Night 17 in February. Stephens ended up dropping a submission loss to the resilient Joe Lauzon. Tibau on the other hand sent Rich Clementi straight out of the UFC. This is a pretty difficult fight to pick but one thing is for sure, it should be a war. Winner: Gleison Tibau, Submission, Round 2

Brendhan Conlan: American Top Team’s Tibau is without a doubt one of the strongest lightweights in the UFC and has a top-notch BJJ base to pull from when it comes to tapping out his opponents.  That being said, I question whether or not his jaw is made from steel or Ming Dynasty porcelain, and I believe Jeremy Stephens’ fists are powerful enough to answer that question.  “Lil’ Heathen” has rendered his opponents unconscious in more than half of his professional fights.  My feeling is Tibau will start out strong and then fall to a slick combo followed up by some ground-and-pound. Winner: Jeremy Stephens, TKO, RD 1

Bryan Levick: Stephens is certainly a popular fighter thus far in my predictions. Tibau is a saavy veteran who bounced back from two straight losses with a submission victory over a very tough Rich Clementi at UFC Fight Night 17. Stephens is a threat to knockout his opponent at anytime but I feel as though he is very prone to submissions with 3 of his 4 career losses coming via tapout. Stephens is young and talented but still has a lot to learn and I think Tibau will be too much for him on this night. Tibau via 3rd round rear naked choke. Tibau by submission

Ricardo Almeida Vs. Matt Horwich

Cory Brady: I love Matt Horwich to death but this is a terrible match up for him. Look for Almeida to utilize his far superior submission game to make it an early night. Winner: Almeida by submission

Dustin James: Man, it must suck to be Matt Horwich. The poor guy gets saddled with facing Dan Miller in his UFC debut at UFC 90 and drops a decision loss. And now he has to face the always dangerous Ricardo Almeida. The winner of this fight will more then likely be decided by the judges. I really can’t see it going any other way. Winner: Ricardo Almeida, Decision

Brendhan Conlan: I can see this match-up acting as a “Loser Leaves Town” affair.  Horwich is 0-1 in the UFC and 1-2 in his last three fights without showing enough  personality or flair in his career to keep average fans interested.  Almeida is 1-1 in the UFC and put on a performance against Patrick Cote at UFC 86 that could have cured even the most severe case of insomnia.  Neither man is known for striking, while both excel at submissions, so I don’t expect much stand-up action when they meet on April 1st.  I’d argue Horwich is a somewhat better wrestler than Almeida while the Brazilian has a distinct edge on the ground regardless of the fact 18 of Horwich’s 22 wins have come via submission.  That means I view Almeida as being superior at the one thing Horwich relies on for achieving victory so I have no doubt about who will win the bout when things are said and done. Winner: Ricardo Almeida, Submission, RD 2

Bryan Levick: I was really disappointed with Almeida’s last performance which was back in July of 2008 in a split decision loss to Patrick Cote. With a shot at Silva on the line I felt he would be more aggressive but he wasn’t and he lost because of it. This will be only his 3rdfight in 5 years but he keeps active as he trains fighters at his school but that doesn’t make up for actual fighting. His submission skills are up there with the best grapplers in the world. Horwich has been around the block a few times fighting for the IFL for over two years before making his debut in a loss to Dan Miller at UFC 90 in October of 2008. He has fought some tough competition but has never been able to get over the hump and string some victories together. He does own wins against Josh Burkman, Benji Radach, Mike Pyle, Jason MacDonald and Krzysztof Soszynski. An outstanding 18 of his 22 wins have come by submission but he is not going to be able to submit Almeida and unfortunately I see a slow paced heavy clinch fight with Almeida picking up a decision. Almeida by decision

Brock Larson Vs. Jesse Sanders

Cory Brady: I’m excited about Larson’s return to the UFC. It’s been a long road back, but hopefully he’s here to stay. Larson is going to have an easy time dismantling Sanders on his way to bigger, and more compelling match ups in the UFC. Winner: Larson by TKO

Dustin James: I’m actually thrilled to see Brock Larson return to the UFC as I want to see how he stacks up against some of the top competition in the world. Sanders is making his UFC debut here and he actually does have the ability to upset Larson here….I just can’t see it happening. Winner: Brock Larson, Submission, Round 1

Brendhan Conlan: My initial impression when I saw this pairing was that Larson was going to smash Sanders like Barry Bonds playing Wiffle-Ball.  However, after coming across Sanders’ 20-4 professional record, I quickly reconsidered my take and have since labeled this bout as being much more evenly matched.  While Larson has definitely fought superior competition over his career, respect must be given to a guy who has a 5:1 win/loss ratio and is currently riding a six-fight winning streak.  I think the determining factor in this bout will be Larson’s strength and wrestling prowess which should allow him to control Sanders more often than not and eventually win courtesy of the judges’ scorecards. Winner: Brock Larson, Judges’ Decision

Bryan Levick: Larson will be fighting for just the second time in the UFC with his lone appearance up until now being a decision loss to Jon Fitch in 2005. That loss was the first of his career and he would go on to lose just once more in 13 fights since then when he lost to WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit in August of 2007. Larson is a strong highly skilled wrestler who trains at Minnesota Martial Arts Academy. There are two other wrestlers who train there that you might be familiar with. Their names are Sean Sherk and Brock Lesnar. Larson has 16 submissions in 24 career wins. Sanders will be making his UFC debut and having fought for some small Midwestern promotions. While he is 20-4 with 12 submissions to his credit he hasn’t fought anyone of substance. Look for Larson to put it to him early and often submitting him late in the first round. Larson by submission

Tim Credeur Vs. Nick Catone

Cory Brady: This one is going to be a lot of fun. Credeur just looks better and better every time I see him, and Catone is definitely a prospect to look out for. I think Credeur’s experience will be the difference in this one. Winner: Credeur by submission

Dustin James: Credeur has looked good thus far in his UFC stint and it makes it difficult to pick against him. Catone is undefeated in his MMA career and Credeur will definitely be a step up in competition. This is a pretty tough one to call. Winner: Nick Catone, KO, Round 2

Brendhan Conlan: Nick Catone is no joke and has shown the ability to both knock his opponents out, as well as submit them, with relative consistency.  That being said, I think Credeur is a more rounded fighter with good kickboxing, wrestling, and jiujitsu skills.  His only two career losses are to Joey Villasenor and Chael Sonnen which says a lot in itself.  I think the first ten minutes of Credeur vs. Catone should be fairly even with both men finding themselves in advantageous positions at some point in those rounds.  Come the third frame, I feel Credeur’s ring savvy and tremendous heart will take over, and I see him capitalizing on a mistake by Catone to eventually pull out the submission win. Winner: Tim Credeur, Submission, RD 3

Bryan Levick: Credeur who goes by the nickname of crazy is on a five fight winning streak with 2 of those wins coming in the UFC. He is 11-2 with only 2 of his fights making it past the first round. His two losses are nothing to sneeze at either coming against Chael Sonnen and Joey Villasenor. Catone is undefeated in his short career and won his UFC debut against an overmatched Derek Downey at UFC Fight Night 17 in February. I don’t know much about Catone other than he has pretty solid all around skills but in this case I will go with the devil I know and that is Credeur by second round TKO. Credeur by TKO

Jorge Rivera Vs. Nissen Osterneck

Cory Brady: Jorge Rivera is a dangerous veteran that always has a punchers chance, while Osterneck is an up and comer that looked impressive while losing to Jake Rosholt in the WEC. This fight will be wild, no doubt about it. Tough fight to pick. Winner: Osterneck by knockout

Dustin James: It has been almost a year since we’ve seen Jorge Rivera in action and it’ll be interesting to see how he fairs against UFC newcomer Osterneck. Rivera easily has the advantage in the experience department and he’s also a pretty tough dude. It will definitely be Osterneck’s toughest fight to date and we shall see what the kid is made of. Winner: Jorge Rivera, KO, Round 1

Brendhan Conlan: This will be the first time Rivera has fought since his teenage daughter passed away in August of last year.  While that sort of situation would probably leave most individuals emotionally and spiritually crippled, I have a feeling “El Conquistador” is the type of person who used his heartbreak as motivation in the gym.  I strongly believe he will be fighting for her memory on April 1st instead of feeling sorry for himself and succumbing to the effects of depression.  Nissen Osterneck is a skilled competitor with better grappling skills than Rivera, and he could definitely end up knocking Jorge out if he lands a clean shot, but I don’t think his striking is as diverse as Rivera’s and I’d also give the former TUF contestant the edge where speed is concerned. Winner: Jorge Rivera, TKO, RD 2

Bryan Levick: Rivera is has had a lot of ups and downs both personally and professionally. Losing a 17 year old daughter would cause most people to give up but Rivera motors on. He is 4-3 in his last 7 fights with 6 of those coming inside the octagon. He has fought a who’s who of UFC middleweights including Kendall Grove, Martin Kampmann (Now A WW), Chris Leben, Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin, Travis Lutter and Davis Loiseau. Obviously the edge in experience will go to the 37 year old Rivera. Osterneck is making his UFC debut and is part of the WEC contingent of fighters who the UFC moved when they disbanded some weight classes. He suffered his first loss to Jake Rosholt at WEC 36 in November of 2008. Young and hungry might not be enough as I see Rivera taking advantage of the experience factor and winning by decision. Rivera by decision

Rob Kimmons Vs. Joe Vedepo

Cory Brady:This is definitely a loser goes home match. These fights are always so tough to call, with both men trying to rebound from extremely disappointing losses. I think Kimmons experience will play a factor in this bout to give him the much needed victory. Winner: Kimmons by decision

Dustin James: Why is this fight on the card? Ohhh, this is one of those “loser leaves UFC” fights. That really makes it hard to care about this one. Winner: Rob Kimmons, KO, Round 1

Brendhan Conlan: Vedepo may be 7-2 in his career but I don’t think he has much of a chance against the vastly more-experienced Kimmons (who has three times as many wins but only two more losses).  Kimmons can also claim first-round stoppage wins in eleven of his last fourteen fights.  I believe his stand-up and grappling are superior in comparison to Vedepo and expect such to be proven come showtime. Winner: Rob Kimmons, Submission, RD 1

Bryan Levick: Kimmons is 1-1 in his UFC career and was handled pretty easily by Dan Miller at UFC Fight Night 15 in September of 2008. He is 21-4 in his career with 13 wins by submission. Vedepo known in some circles as “The Doctor” hasn’t fought since losing his UFC debut to Alessio Sakara at Fight Night 15 via head kick. He is 7-2 and only one of his fights has gone the distance. I have no reason to believe this one will be any different. Kimmons by 1st round submission

Tim McKenzie Vs. Aaron Simpson

Cory Brady: These guys are no strangers, as both men trained at Arizona Combat Sports during the same time before McKenzie moved back to his home state of California. Aaron Simpson is a former Arizona State University wrestling coach with dynamite in his fists, nuffsaid. Simpson is definitely going to make waves in the future of the UFC, no question about it. Winner: Simpson by knockout

Dustin James: Two WEC guys coming over to the WEC more than likely fighting for a permanent roster spot. Mmmm smell the drama! Winner: Aaron Simpson, KO, Round 2

Brendhan Conlan: Aaron Simpson is undefeated and batting a perfect 4-for-4 when it comes to professional appearances and knockout wins.  However, McKenzie is a veteran with wins over respected opponents like Doug Marshall and Bill Mahood, and I have no doubt he will provide Simpson with the toughest challenge yet in his young career.  McKenzie has the jiujitsu edge in this match-up so Simpson will be wise to keep things standing.  I believe he’ll be able to do so and eventually land a shot that will subsequently lead to a TKO stoppage. Winner: Aaron Simpson, TKO, RD 2

Bryan Levick: McKenzie comes over from the WEC where he 2-3 during his stay there. He has fought and lost to Steve Cantwell, Chael Sonnen, Scott Smith and Akihiro Gono with his biggest win coming against former WEC light heavyweight champion Doug Marshall. In 17 career fights only one has gone to the judges. Simpson is 4-0 with one fight coming in the WEC as he defeated David Avellan at WEC 36 in November of 2008. In four career fights all of them have ended via TKO. Three of the four have ended in the first round. I will flip a coin and go with Simpson by 1st round knockout. For some reason I see a vicious highlight reel head kick. Simpson by KO

Steve Steinbeiss Vs. Ryan Jensen

Cory Brady: This is your striker vs. grappler match on the card. Steinbeiss has been making a lot of noise coming outof Arizona Combat Sports as a fearsome striker and I think that is going to be the deciding factor in this bout. Winner: Steinbeiss by knockout

Dustin James: Yet another fight where the loser will more than likely be sent packing. The UFC is really trying to trim it’s roster down tonight. Winner: Ryan Jensen, Decision

Brendhan Conlan: This is a nice bout to start out the evening’s action.  While neither Steinbeiss or Jensen have shown themselves to be potential world-beaters, each man has a relatively balanced skill-set and matches up well with the other.  I think Jensen will be able to utilize his grappling and experience to neutralize the bulk of Steinbeiss’ attack and ultimately pull out a decision-win because of it. Winner: Ryan Jensen, Judges’ Decision

Bryan Levick: Another fighter I know very little about Steinbeiss is coming off a split decision loss to Carmelo Marrero at WEC 36. He has fought for Bodog and is 4-2. He trains with Ryan Bader at Arizona Combat Sports and can offer Bader some insight into Marerro. Other than that I have no clue. Jensen is fighting in the UFC for the fourth time and still looking for his first victory inside the octagon. He has lost to Wilson Gouveia, Demain Maia and Thales Leites. He has also fought for Strike Force losing to Joey Villasenor. Based upon his record which is 13-5 and the quality of opponents he has faced I will give him the slight edge here. He has never had a fight go past 2:04 of the second round and in fact has only seen the second round twice. Jensen by choke middle of round one. Jensen by sumbmission

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