UFC 119 Predictions!
By Matthew DeGonzaque (Sept 24, 2010)
This Saturday will be the UFC's PPV offering for the month of September. No titles on the line this month, but 2 former heavyweight champions will collide as Mirko Cro Cop and Frank Mir battle in the main event. It should be an action packed card and hopefully you will all check it out. These are my picks for the 5 main card fights happening live during the PPV card.

Main Event

Mirko 'Cro Cop' Filipovic (28-7-2) versus Frank Mir (13-5): This is a fight were both fighters badly need a win in order to stay relevant in the heavyweight division. In his last fight, Mir was destroyed in the first round by Shane Carwin while Cro Cop hasn't had a meaningful victory since 2006 when he won the Pride Grand Prix. Since then, every time he has fought a top opponent he has been beaten. A win by either fighter would put them in immediate title contention while the loser would continue their downward spiral towards obscurity.

The fight presents an interesting style clash as Cro Cop is primarily a kick boxer while Mir likes to take his opponents down and submit them. Mir's best chance at victory is to finish Cro Cop early in the fight. Mir has always had questionable cardio and he loses his aggression as he gets hit, which is sure to happen as the fight goes on. Cro Cop has 3 rounds to work over Mir, to pick him apart until the time is right to finish him.

In my opinion, the advantage goes to Cro Cop. Even in a diminished state, his striking is still far superior to Mir's. He only needs one clean blow and he can win the fight at anytime. Mir's best bet is to try and get Cro Cop to the ground, but Mirko's sprawl should be able to keep Mir from getting the fight to the ground. Cro Cop forces Mir to fight standing up and picks him apart and finishes him in the 2nd round.

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (19-3) versus Ryan Bader (11-0): This is a classic 'veteran versus young prospect' fight where the bout could go either way. Nogueira looked horrible in his last fight, getting controlled and out wrestled by UFC newcomer Jason Brilz, but Rogerio still won the fight in what was a very questionable decision. Bader is undefeated and coming off of a knockout win over journeyman Keith Jardine. It’s easily Bader's biggest challenge but after Nogueira's last performance against Brilz, I think Bader definitely proves to be too much for Nogueira in this fight.

I think Bader will be the one who dictates were the fight is going. He showed against Jardine that he has knockout power and he has shown his strong wrestling skills in previous fights. I think Nogueira has the slightly better stand up though so I think it will only be a matter of time before Bader uses his wrestling to take Nogueira down and start picking up points. Nogueira does have a black belt in Jiu Jitsu but he isn't quite on the level of his twin brother. Nogueira will try to land submissions, but he won't be able to finish the fight. Bader will be too young, fast and strong for one half of the aging Nogueira brothers. Ryan Bader will wrestle his way to a decision victory.

Sean Sherk (33-4-1) versus Evan Dunham (11-0): Like Bader-Nogueira, this is another “veteran versus young prospect' showdown. It's been a rough couple of years for Sherk. He had his lightweight title taken away from him after failing a drug test, then was soundly defeated by BJ Penn in his bid to regain the championship. He's had two fights since then, going 1-1, and had to pull out of his last 3 scheduled fights due to injury. Sherk needs this win to restore his status amongst the top lightweights in the UFC. Dunham is an undefeated prospect who improves every time he steps into the cage, completely dominating Tyson Griffin in his last fight. Dunham has quality striking and submission skills that he has shown in all of his previous UFC fights.

Sherk's greatest asset is his wrestling ability, but in the past few years he has ditched his wrestling skills in favor of engaging in striking battles with his opponents, which has caused him to lose two of his last 3 fights (to Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn). Dunham has better stand up of the two and Sherk standing with him will give Dunham the advantage in the fight. If Sherk chooses to wrestle then he has a chance to defeat Dunham, although Dunham's submission skills make him a threat for Sherk on the ground as well. My guess: Sherk will come out and try to out strike Dunham, but will get dominated on the feet. By the time Sherk realizes he should look for a takedown, it will be too late in the fight. Dunham will defeat Sherk by decision.

Matt Serra (11-6) versus Chris Lytle (29-17-5): This is a rematch of The Ultimate Fighter season 4 finale where Serra came away with a split decision. Lytle and Serra are both veteran journeyman fighters in the UFC who have both have reached their peak at welterweight. It’s actually surprising to see these guys fighting again because neither fighter will gain anything by beating one another and their first fight was hardly a barn burner.

The first time they fought, Serra won by managing to stifle Lytle's offense and pin him up against the cage for 3 rounds, winning the decision and the title shot against GSP. Neither fighter has changed their style since that fight and that will likely cause the fight to go the exact same way. Serra is smaller, but he is faster and stronger than Lytle which will give him the advantage. Lytle is the better striker in the fight, but he doesn't have the aggression to hold Serra off and let his hands go. Serra will use the same blue print he used to defeat Lytle the last time; he will use his strength and speed to push Lytle around the cage, pin him against the cage and use his striking to score points. Matt Serra uses Octagon control to defeat Chris Lytle by decision.

Melvin Guillard (24-8-2) versus Jeremy Stephens (18-5): This is going to be a stand up war and a likely candidate for Fight of the Night when the night is over. Neither Guillard or Stephens do much fighting on the ground. When they fight, they usually come in looking to strike. Both men are solid punchers and will engage in a stand up war as both men look to finish the other off. Guillard's speed and stronger KO power will be what gives him the edge in this fight. Guillard will struggle with Stephens in the beginning, but his faster strikes and power will wear Stephens down resulting in Guillard putting a beating on his opponent until he folds at the end of the second round. Guillard defeats Stephens by knockout in the 2nd round.

Check out UFC 119 this Saturday on PPV!

Questions or comments,
Matthew at: mdegonzaque@hotmail.com
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