We’re all pumped for UFC 162 and are making our picks. Participating below:
Let us know what you think and who you have below.
Cub Swanson vs. Denis Siver
Keyes – Big fan of Swanson and glad that he seems to have found a level of consistency that is propelling him towards a featherweight title shot. I’m picking Swanson here as I feel he will be too quick and aggressive for the skilled, but at times plodding, striker that is Dennis Siver. Swanson
Sawitz –I have to do a mea culpa here. A long time ago I wrote Cub Swanson off as washed up … and he proved me wrong by righting the ship and becoming an elite level fighter once more. Siver can end things with a big body kick but like Adam I think he’s a bit too plodding for Swanson, who’s become significantly more dynamic as a striker. Swanson
CY – What an exciting match up this could prove to be. Both fighters are super fun to watch and always go for the finish. Siver has begun to compliment his phenomenal kicking game with much improved takedown defense and grappling savvy, yet Swanson seems hell-bent on avenging his highlight reel loss to the champion Jose Aldo and has looked tremendous since entering the UFC. I believe Swanson will have too much for Siver and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Greg Jackson trained charge blasts his way into a featherweight title shot. Swanson via KO
Frederick: This has the makings of being all action. Both men love to strike and both are looking to score an impressive win and prove that the next title shot at 145 pounds belongs to him. Siver is good, but Swanson’s career turnaround is something that has to be respected as he was on the brink of losing his UFC spot. He cherishes it, and wins keep him going. He will get the win in a hopefully fun fight. Swanson
Roger Gracie vs. Tim Kennedy
Keyes – Tim Kennedy really has not done himself any favours with his recent comments on fighter pay and a loss here could end up with a trip to the prelims for the foreseeable or worse; and a loss for Kennedy is what I am leaning to. Bar engaging in a sloppy kickboxing bout that no one wants to see, the route to victory for each man traditionally comes as a result of grappling exchanges and Gracie just plain out-grapples Kennedy here with consummate ease. I see it going Gracie’s way as he locks in a sub in the later stages of the fight. Gracie
Sawitz – Tim Kennedy is a great talent but hasn’t pulled the trigger to become an elite fighter in his two fights against elite talent (Luke Rockhold, Jacare). But he’s good enough to out strike Gracie, who’s game plan is going to be simple: get the fight to the ground and tap him. Kennedy is crazy if he takes Gracie, the best BJJ player in MMA according to a lot of people, down to the ground. Kennedy wins but it’s going to be awful. Kennedy
CY – Kennedy is the more complete fighter but this is a particularly dangerous match up for him, as he prefers to take opponents down and dominate from top position. He will be hard pressed to implement this strategy against Gracie and so it will depend heavily on whether he can keep things upright long enough and do significant damage in the process. I expect Gracie to implement his game plan more effectively and do enough to get his hand raised come announcement time. Gracie via unanimous decision.
Frederick: This is a tough fight to pick. If it goes to the ground, that is Gracie’s world and the fight is likely done. On the feet, Kennedy is better, but it may not be saying much. This could be a sloppy fight, and a boring one. It’s a toss-up for me, but I’m picking Kennedy due to experience. Kennedy
Tim Boetsch vs. Mark Munoz
Keyes – Munoz and Boetsch are two powerful wrestlers who pack a punch. This would normally be too close to call for me but in this case the one deciding factor is activity. Boetsch last fought in December but Munoz has been out of action for the best part of a year with a broken foot and has suffered both with is weight and his emotions whilst on the sidelines. Boetsch via TKO. Boetsch
Sawitz – The one thing that Munoz hasn’t been able to shake is his chin; he’s been bricked out in awful fashion by a number of guys and his MMA wrestling is insanely overrated. I think this fight looks a lot like the Boetsch-Okami fight; it’s ten minutes of Munoz out grappling Boetsch somehow and then Boetsch just lights him up standing for the KO. Boetsch.
CY – Intriguing fight. Both need a win to get back on track after poor performances in their last outings. Munoz is the more decorated fighter but Boetsch has come on leaps and bounds since he began training under Matt Hume and is extremely durable. I expect a very competitive match up which will be decided by the superior wrestling and strategy execution of Munoz. Munoz via decision
Frederick: The backstory of the year away for Munoz is a tremendous story. He knows he wants to fight, and he wants that win. Boetsch looked very good at 185 pounds before his fight with Costa Philippou. Munoz is one of the best middleweights in the world when he is 100%. He seems to be, and he will get the win here. Munoz
Frankie Edgar vs. Charles Oliveira
Keyes – When Oliveira first burst on to the scene I thought that here was something special but as the fights wore on and the competition increased, fundamental flaws in his fight IQ appeared which have held back the talented Brazilian and seemingly placed him in the exciting yet (relatively) harmless category. I can only see Edgar pouring on the pressure in relentless fashion until Oliveira folds and Edgar triumphs in his return to the three round format. Edgar
Sawitz – Frankie Edgar just can’t catch a break, huh? After three straight losses to two of the top five fighters in the world, fights in which a lot of people thought he went 3-0 in, he catches another tough out in the featherweight division. It’s three rounds and a lot less pressure this time around, I think, and I think he looks like a killer for the first time in a long time. Plus I never pick against Frankie, thus I have to pick him. Edgar
CY – If Oliveira were to pull this off I would rank it as the biggest upset of the night (yes including the main event). Despite defeats to Henderson and Aldo, Edgar remains near the very top of both the lightweight and featherweight classes and although Oliveira is rapidly improving and has a wicked submission game I expect ‘The Answer’ to dominate in the stand up and duly put Oliveira away. Edgar via TKO
Frederick: Give credit to Oliveira- he takes tough fights. His three losses have come to Jim Miller, Donald Cerrone and Cub Swanson, all of whom are top-ten fighters. Edgar is one of the best in the sport. Oliveira is talented, but Edgar is on another level. Edgar wants back in that win column after three straight losses, and he wants to score a finish. He will get it done. Edgar
Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman
Keyes – To be honest I am struggling to see why the Weidman bandwagon has so many passengers. The guy undoubtedly has enormous potential and a skill set that theoretically could cause Silva problems but to plump for Weidman in this fight seems foolhardy for me. Silva isn’t a star on the wane; he has not looked like he’s slowing down in any of his recent outings and if anything he seems to be as imperious as ever. For me, this is just too big a jump in competition for Weidman and has come a little too soon for him to fully take advantage of the opportunity he has been given. Silva
Sawitz – I’m the guy who’s called Anderson Silva the greatest fighter who’s ever lived. But Chris Weidman reminds me of Cain Velasquez before the Lesnar fight; I just KNOW he’s elite but he doesn’t quite have the resume for it yet. I interviewed him as part of a scrum and this is a deep, legitimate confidence in him as well. He’s not scared or hyping a fight; Weidman has that “it” factor and I can’t pick against him. I just can’t. Weidman via submission.
CY – It would be easy to jump on the Weidman wagon as he does appear to posses all the tools to dethrone the champion. With that duly noted I remain firmly in awe of Anderson Silva and expect the ‘pound for pound’ best to find a way to win as great champions so often do. I don’t expect it to be easy but I do believe ‘The Spider’ will emerge victorious. Silva via TKO
Frederick: The darling pick seems to be Weidman taking the upset. Until Anderson Silva loses, it’s hard to pick against him, and while I have in the past, I will not do that here. His fight IQ is so good that Weidman is not going to know what to do with him. Weidman has solid odds and would be a good betting choice, but I wouldn’t put money on him. Silva wins this and I don’t think it goes past round 3. Silva