FightLockdown Forecast - UFC 149: Faber vs. BaraoAuthor : Brad Taschuk
Breaking down the card is FightLockdown writer Brad Taschuk, and one of the top players in the history of the forum's Championship Pick 'Em League, Chris Raye. Read on for their picks and breakdowns of this weekend's card.
Renan Barao (-190) vs. Urijah Faber (+165) (for Bantamweight Interim Title)
Chris Raye: I think this fight will be pretty entertaining from start to finish. Both fighters are capable of stopping the fight by either submission or TKO, and both have shown they are hard to stop. This leads me to believe that the fight will go to decision. When it comes to Lightweights and below, most of the fights tend to end that way. I think Barao is just overall the better fighter and the odds seem to agree, so I think he will do enough to earn the unanimous decision, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a split decision. Winner: Renan Barao via Unanimous Decision.
Brad Taschuk: I see the talent that Barao possesses, and it is plentiful, but I feel like most people are stopping their assessment of this fight at that point. Barao is taking a giant step up in competition here, as Urijah Faber offers far more than Brad Pickett and Scott Jorgensen, the two wins that got Barao to this point. Unlike when Faber fought Barao's teammate (of sorts) Jose Aldo, Urijah will hold a speed advantage in this fight, and I believe that will prevent this from being a repeat of that WEC 48 encounter. My biggest worry for Barao, even beyond the level of competition, is his cardio. If Faber makes this a high-paced fight and forces Barao to defend takedowns early, I see the Brazilian fading and Faber taking over late. It is probably more likely that Faber would take a decision based on his performance in the second half of the fight, but his finishing ability cannot be understated. Winner: Urijah Faber via 4th Round Submission.
Final Forecast: As a well-matched title fight should be, we are split on the outcome of the bout, so you're on your own.
Hector Lombard (-380) vs. Tim Boetsch (+315)
Raye: I only see two ways for this fight to play out, and that's either an early Lombard TKO, or a Boetsch decision. I've only seen Lombard out of the first round once, and that was against Alexander Shlemenko. He gassed badly in that fight and had to resort to lay and pray most of the time. Boetsch is on a nice streak and has shown he can be dangerous during any round of the fight, but I think Lombard will come in motivated and be looking to make a statement. I think he will eventually land a big punch in the first round and end this one early. Winner: Hector Lombard via 1st Round (T)KO.
Taschuk: It amazes me looking into this fight how many people have completely forgotten the first two rounds on Boetsch's fight against Yushin Okami. Tim Boetsch was getting his ass-kicked standing, he was getting his ass-kicked in the wrestling, and he was getting his ass-kicked on the ground. Being that Okami isn't nearly the prolific offensive fighter that Lombard is, that spells trouble for Boetsch in this one in my eyes. Lombard is going to be the faster fighter, he's going to have more punching power, he's even going to have more technical striking, and his Olympic calibre Judo should be more than enough to stymie Boetsch's best weapon, his clinch game. Rather than the early TKO, I see Boetsch's toughness carrying him through, but Lombard being a step ahead for the entire fight. Winner: Hector Lombard via Unanimous Decision.
Final Forecast: Whether it ends early or goes the distance, our panel sees UFC newcomer Lombard moving one step closer to his big payday against Anderson Silva.
Shawn Jordan (-120) vs. Cheick Kongo (+100)
Raye: I've had Kongo winning this fight all along, and then I go to look at the odds and they are favoring Jordan. I don't know him that well, but the fights I've seen him in he hasn't really impressed me enough to make me think he should be favored to win. His stand up isn't anything special. I think Kongo is the much better striker and has improved on his wrestling over the years, and even though it too isn't anything special, I believe it's good enough to keep the fight standing. He has only been submitted once and that was by Mir, so I'm not worried there either. I think it's about time we see another Kongo finish, and after a boring first round of figuring each other out Kongo will get it in the second. Winner: Cheick Kongo via 2nd Round (T)KO
Taschuk: I look at this fight similarly to Kongo's relatively recent bout against another Heavyweight prospect in Travis Browne. The difference? Shawn Jordan is not nearly as good of a prospect as Browne. Jordan has still developing striking, a decent wrestling game, and a gas tank that has faltered regularly in the past. While I'm a bit less confident in Kongo's defensive wrestling than my cohort, I think that the key to a victory for the Frenchman is his chin. As long it can hold up through the first five minutes, I see Kongo either taking Jordan down in the second, or catching his opponent as he comes in, and working from there for the finish. Winner: Cheick Kongo via 2nd Round (T)KO.
Final Forecast: The panel is in complete agreement that the longtime Heavyweight "doorman" Kongo puts Jordan's prospect status on hold for a little while longer.
Brian Ebersole (-380) vs. James Head (+315)
Raye: Ebersole, in my opinion, is trying to be the new Chris Lytle. He's capable of ending the fight on the feet, but his ground game is where he is best, and he often forgets that and just wants to entertain the crowd. Head is another one I'm not that familiar with. I looked up some video of him and he's decent enough agaist average competition, but I don't think he is UFC caliber yet. I think his submission offense is better than his defense and I think that will be his downfall in this fight. I don't think he is ready for a fighter like Ebersole, and I think it will show quickly. I think Ebersole will still try to entertain the crowd, but I think he will do it by taking the fight to the ground and ending it there. Winner: Brian Ebersole via 1st Round Submission.
Taschuk: Coming in after beating TJ Waldburger only one month ago, Ebersole actually finds himself with an easier fight on his hands here. James Head is certainly more suited to the Welterweight division than Middleweight, but his UFC career has shown deficiencies in his striking, grappling and cardio. He faded badly against Nick Ring, and got beaten up and submitted because of it. In his next bout, even though he ended up beating Papy Abedi, he was taking a lot of early punishment from a less than UFC calibre fighter. Against Ebersole, I see him hanging around early, but as he starts to tire and the takedowns come easier for Ebersole, I see the Texan-turned-Aussie advancing position and finishing with Ground and Pound. Winner: Brian Ebersole via 3rd Round (T)KO.
Final Forecast: Ebersole's versatility should shine through against Head, as he can end the fight by Submission, TKO, or even win a decision. What our panel is sure of is that Ebersole will have his hand raised.
Matt Riddle (-155) vs. Chris Clements (+135)
Raye: In my opinion Riddle isn't that good. He is sloppy. I also think he is the favorite in this fight based off of name value alone, because I don't see how a 6-3 record and losing two recently can make someone a favorite in any fight. Clements is a finisher, but Riddle is hard to finish. I think we will do enough damage on the feet for three rounds straight and earn an easy decision. Maybe the oddsmakers know something I don't. Winner: Chris Clements via Unanimous Decision.
Taschuk: This is what main cards in the UFC have come to in 2012. Yikes. I know there have been tons of injuries on this card, but these guys hardly deserve to be in the UFC, nevermind on a main card. Riddle should be on a three-fight losing streak, and Clements could have very well lost his UFC debut to Keith Wisniewski. Riddle has the physical advantages in this fight, but has the fight IQ of a drunk four year-old. He could quite easily take Clements down and do enough on top to win a decision, but instead he's going to run forward throwing haymakers and getting countered all night. Clements does have the ability to finish this fight, especially as Riddle gets tired, but I favour a decision here. Winner: Chris Clements via Unanimous Decision.
Final Forecast: Riddle undermines himself again, and loses a very winnable fight by keeping it in Clements' realm.
Court McGee (-120) vs. Nick Ring (+100)
Raye: Winner: Court McGee via Unanimous Decision.
Taschuk: Winner: Nick Ring via Unanimous Decision.
Final Forecast: As many were with their fight on The Ultimate Fighter, our panel is split on the fight that we see getting that elusive third round.
Francisco Rivera (-120) vs. Roland Delorme (+100)
Raye: Winner: Francisco Rivera via Unanimous Decision.
Taschuk: Winner: Francisco Rivera via 1st Round (T)KO.
Final Forecast: Rivera's striking coupled with Delorme's lacking defense will allow 'Cisco' to pick up the victory. The only question left: will it be a stoppage or decision?
Ryan Jimmo (-175) vs. Anthony Perosh (+155)
Raye: Winner: Ryan Jimmo via 1st Round (T)KO.
Taschuk: Winner: Ryan Jimmo via Unanimous Decision.
Final Forecast: Whether his point-fighting style comes through or Jimmo is able to put Perosh away, the former MFC champion makes a successful UFC debut.
Bryan Caraway (-210) vs. Mitch Gagnon (+175)
Raye: Winner: Bryan Caraway via Unanimous Decision.
Taschuk: Winner: Bryan Caraway via Unanimous Decision.
Final Forecast: Mr. Miesha Tate overcomes his mental struggles to pick up the victory over the not quite ready for prime time Saskatchewan native.
Daniel Pineda (-215) vs. Antonio Carvalho (+178)
Raye: Winner: Daniel Pineda via Unanimous Decision.
Taschuk: Winner: Antonio Carvalho via 2nd Round Submission.
Final Forecast: Youth against experience, aggression against technique. Our panel is split on this Featherweight clash.
Anton Kuivanen (-165) vs. Mitch Clarke (+145)
Raye: Winner: Anton Kuivanen via 1st Round Submission.
Taschuk: Winner: Anton Kuivanen via Unanimous Decision.
Final Forecast: The UFC's foremost Finn recovers from his debut to defeat yet another Canadian prospect on the undercard.