Split Decisions – UFC Fight Night 11 Preview

Another quarter, another show to promote, and as a result, another UFC Fight Night. Brodigan gave you some quick picks, and I’m here to break things down further.

Kenny Florian vs. Din Thomas
All things being equal, this fight should probably be for a title shot against whoever holds the belt after the Penn/Sherk/TBD fight. Thomas dispatched Jeremy Stephens in his last fight, and I’m sure he’d love a rematch against B.J. Penn, but he’ll have to beat the underrated Florian to do so. Kenny “We need to get him a new nickname” Florian is a late replacement for Spencer Fisher, who withdrew due to a staph infection that seems to be going around the McMilitech camp, and will be a much tougher opponent for Thomas. Where Thomas had a height and reach advantage over Fisher, he’s at a disadvantage over Florian. Despite his BJJ black belt, Kenny is probably known more as a striker, having developed some nasty elbows and leg kicks. Thomas is also a BJJ black belt and I think he does use it more offensively, so while I’m sure that Thomas is willing to trade punches you’d think that he’d prefer things on the ground.

The X-factor here might be Florian’s trainer Mark Dellagrotte, who helped Din out with his striking during The Ultimate Fighter 4. It’s not exactly Belichick-like, but any information you can (legally) compile on an opponent is all good. It’s probably a stalemate on the ground, so Florian’s superior striking likely takes it.

Florian, TKO R3

Junior Assuncao vs. Nate Diaz
Do the Diaz brothers ever fight without having something to prove? Nate Diaz wants to show us that he’s worthy of the title of The Ultimate Fighter by beating Junior Assuncao. Both guys like to bang, so I’d expect a fun little fight here. Assuncao is apparently a professor in Capoeira, and wouldn’t that be fun to see someone go all Eddy Gordo in the Octagon?

Okay, I’ve seen Carina “MMA Barbie” Damm do some, but that was after the fight. Not that I was complaining or anything.

Anyway, Nate wasn’t all that impressive against Manny Gamburyan in his last fight, so we’ll see if he can do better here. But to be honest, this seems to say “upset” to me.

Junior Assuncao, Decision

Chris Leben vs. Terry Martin
Chris Leben turned down a fight against Mike Swick, so instead he gets matched up against Terry Martin as they try to build Martin up as a Monster of the Midway. Real smart, Chris. All Martin has done since moving down to 185 is obliterate Jorge Rivera in 14 seconds and retire Ivan Salaverry by basically dropping him on his head. Mighty impressive stuff, I say. With two losses in a row, Leben needs this win, but I’m never 100% sure if he truly cares about the wins or losses. Leben hit his ceiling a long time ago, and despite the thin talent pool at 185, the UFC really doesn’t need him anymore. Martin, however, is someone that they do need, because should he come up with another impressive win, he’ll probably be fighting for the title against the Silva/Franklin winner or going up against Ryo Chonnan in a #1 contenders match. And I think he will deliver.

Martin, KO R1

Nate Quarry vs. Pete Sell
Wouldn’t it be ironic if Cecil Peoples reffed this rematch? Quarry is coming off a two year layoff after encountering back problems. Pete Sell is a coach on The Ultimate Fighter 6 and would probably like to win this fight leading into the show. Both men would like to make a statement here, and I’m ain’t expecting any of that ground nonsense to happen here. Conditioning and ring rust will surely be a factor for Quarry, so I expect Sell to pull out a KO here.

Sell, TKO R2

Undercard Predictions
Thiago Alves over Kuniyoshi Hironaka, Decision
Dustin Hazelett over Jonathan Goulet, Submission R2
Leonard Garcia over Cole Miller, Decision
Edilberto “Crocota” de Oliveira over Luke Cummo, TKO R2
Gray Maynard over Joe Veres, TKO R1

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