The strangeness that was UFC LOV4 brought me down to a 13-6 lifetime pick record, but I think this is going to be a big event for me, it's certainly a decent card for the buyers around.
As is seeming to be the standard, all the unaired prelims will be broadcast live on Facebook. I think this is a great thing for the fans and clearly demonstrates that the fan base is enough that they feel comfortable putting a free event on so often without it diluting their PPV buyrates that much.
Several eras of success are on the card, with Tito, Wanderlei, Faber, Condit, Bowles and Cruz all holding either WEC or UFC gold dating back to the early aughts. Looking down through my picks I see this as being a bad night for the old guard and and bold step into the future of the art of fist to face.
**Post your own picks in the comments and if you beat mine you will get a special prize**
Dominick Cruz (c) v. Urijah Faber
For whatever reason, I never found myself in the Faber wave; he's too pretty, too butt-chinned, too spacey and just not interesting to me. He's shown a mean guillotine and a strong RNC but not a lot else I enjoyed. That being said, Cruz fights with a decision as the goal and that infuriates me to no end. As far as I am concerned a decision win is somewhere between a draw and a no contest, and I think they should treat them like a countout in pro wrestling (as in title can not change hands on), but I digress. This is an intellectual exercise, so though I will cheer for a finish most of all, I see Cruz winning on points after 25 frantic, ineffectual minutes. Boo.
Wanderlei Silva v. Chris Leben
This is a fight I would rather have seen closer to Silva's last fight, but what can you do? As is they have a similar way of throwing big power hooks from the hip, as well as more than enough time on the mats to handle themselves well enough. I see them trading punches often, but ending in clinches, greco-roman clinches with Leben taking it against the cage and landing a big power shot on the fence that puts down the legend in the second round. This is another one where I will be cheering for something other than my pick, as I would love the see Silva go on a run and get an expedited title shot, but I just can't see him taking this one.
Tito Ortiz v. Ryan Bader
Assuming Tito hasn't broken his neck or his femur or some other such bullshit, I think we'll finally see an end of his lying, cheating self in the cage. Bader is better at everything that Tito was ever good at; Bader is younger and faster; Tito is a lying, cheating douche-bag.
Carlos Condit v. Dong Hyun Kim
Mark this one down for the younger, more boring generation, sneaking in the backdoor with pseudo-wins and boring decisions. Kim is a suffocating grappler that is so afraid of losing he refuses to try and win. He doesn't advance position or try and secure submissions, nor does he strike effectively standing or on the ground. Condit however is a raging bull of muay thai and submission attempts. I will be cheering for Condit here but I can't believe he will win.
Dennis Siver v. Matt Wiman
This is finally one where I think the guy going for the finish will actually be able to get it. Dennis Siver has mean kicks and tight boxing, with great body shots setting up big power shots. Wiman will come in bigger and trying to muscle out an ugly fight but I think Siver will catch him coming in and finish the fight, either tko, or strikes to a submission, in the second.
Melvin Guillard v. Shane Roller
If nothing else, Guillard's move to Jackson's MMA has put him with people that can keep him focused and working on a cohesive gameplan for a fight. His boxing is devastating and his hips are too str4ong and too fast for Roller to take control of. Look for Guillard to put him away early, and make a case for KO of the night.
George Sotiropoulos v. Rafael dos Anjos
Simply put Sots has more tools in the box. His muay thai is tight and technical and his jits are very strong. The troubles he has had have been in scoring the takedown, but I think his punches will force dos Anjos to pull guard. Sots is best from side-control, where he moves to mount very well. In either position he is very good at isolating an arm. He sometimes rolls for it before it is tight enough, but I think he'll walk away with the submission of the night in the first round of this exciting fight.
Brian Bowles v. Takeya Mizugaki
Brad Tavares v. Aaron Simpson
Anthony Njokuani v. Andre Winner
Jeff Hougland v. Donny Walker