Saturday night is the UFC`s first trip to Australia. Although the card lacks a title fight, the main card isn`t bad at all. Here are my picks and thoughts on each fight.
Ben Rothwell vs CroCop
Rothwell is a big man who did very well in the IFL and has a ton of fight experience. He has dropped 2 of his last 3 fights and didn`t look great in his UFC debut vs Cain Velasquez. CroCop is coming off a tough loss to Junior Dos Santos, so look for him to come out hungry. I see this fight ending with one of CroCop`s vintage head kicks. Crocop by KO in round 2.
Ryan Bader vs Keith Jardine
Bader is a strong wrestler with an undefeated record of 10-0. With that, I don`t think he`s faced anyone as tough as the Dean of Mean. Jardine is one of those fighters who brings the pain every time he fights. He goes for broke and win or lose, his fights usually end in spectacular style. I`m going with Jardine by tko, round 3.
George Sotiropoulos vs Joe Stevensen
I like both these guys. Sotiropoulos will have his countrymen in his corner, but will the added pressure of fighting at home in Oz help or hinder his mental game? Joe Stevensen looked awesome in his last fight vs Spencer Fisher. His game had gotten predictable and prior to the fight with Fisher, he switched camps to train under Greg Jackson (aka Yoda). With that, I`ve got to give him the nod. Joe Daddy wins this fight via submission in round 2.
Michael Bisping vs Wanderlei Silva
Bisping looked great in his last fight vs Denis Kang. He had to come out hard and prove himself after getting his head knocked off my Dan Henderson at UFC 100. (a fight I was lucky to witness in person) With that said, he`s fighting a man who has his back against the wall. Wanderlei Silva lost his last two fights, although I believe he won his last one vs Rich Franklin, but that`s in the past. Watch for Wand to come out hungry especially seeing Rampage will be in Bisping`s corner during the fight and at the weigh-ins. Wanderlei hates Rampage and has vowed that seeing him by the cage will give him extra motivation to destroy Bisping. Wanderlei takes this one by murder in round 1.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Cain Velasquez
7-0 Cain Velasquez meets the biggest challenge of his young career. Minotauro looked amazing in his last fight vs Randy Couture. The winner of this fight will be one fight away from a title shot. (possibly less if the winner of Carwin vs Mir is not ready to fight Lesnar by July) I see Big Nog taking this fight by submission in round 3.
Heading to Jiu Jitsu for my boys little ninja`s class. Stay tuned and stay healthy!