B.J. Penn vs. Frankie Edgar
I’ve made it very clear that I thought Penn completely outclassed Edgar in the first bout and was the recipient of a royal screw job by the judges. The judges complete lack of competence to score powerful counter punching quality over Edgar’s quick flickering punching quantity is still appalling. Penn has been hinting towards going for takedowns and if he gets them he can use his otherworldly grappling to work over Edgar. What I see is Penn’s superior boxing ability again busting up a very tough Edgar, but with Penn being more adept at going for a finish. I see Penn hurting Edgar with a counter punch on the feet and following him to the mat to look for back control which is death for any opponent of B.J. Penn. B.J. Penn Regains the Lightweight Title via Rear Naked Choke.
Randy Couture vs. James Toney
There is a myth that James Toney is still a great pugilist, mostly a myth manufactured for fight hype. Toney is far beyond his prime and everyone can see that in the way he speaks. Let it be known that it is not humorous at all that a once great boxer clearly has some brain damage stemming from a long career in combat sports. It won’t be funny when some of our mixed martial arts heroes go down the same path in 10-20 years. As far as technical boxing ability, sure Toney is overnight the best pure puncher in MMA, but that’s not saying much when he just doesn’t have the speed and power to land that one kill shot he’s banking on. Randy Couture is not stupid, he’s one of the very best game planners that we’ve ever had in this sport and will drag this to the ground with his greco-roman acumen, sit in half guard and pound away. Randy Couture by 1st Round TKO.
Gray Maynard vs. Kenny Florian
I am constantly impressed with the improvements that Florian shows from fight to fight. He is a fantastic student of the game and consistently adding new techniques to his arsenal. Maynard really only has one advantage, his wrestling. If he wants to win this bout he should go watch Florian’s fight with Sean Sherk and emulate a similar game plan, although I wouldn’t recommend bleeding profusely in Florian’s eyes after taking razor sharp elbows from Florian’s guard. Maynard has a tendency to want to get into fire fights on the feet which will spell doom against Florian who can pick him apart at will from range. Kenny Florian via Decision.
Demian Maia vs. Mario Miranda
Miranda comes in on short notice to face the BJJ behemoth in Maia. Miranda has some Muay-Thai chops that Maia would be smart to completely avoid. Maia needs to get dirty inside the clinch and get this fight to the ground anyway he can, whether it be the lateral drop that he hit Chael Sonnen with or the finishing takedowns that he was known for before he fell in love with his striking. It won’t be easy, Miranda is a capable wrestler with decent takedown defense and his own BJJ black belt, but Maia’s grappling is another level than most in the world. Maia can get it to the mat if he chooses and I suspect he will come with a better gameplan this time around. Maia via 2nd Round Submission.
Nate Diaz vs. Marcus Davis
While Davis has fallen off as of late he is still a capable fighter with decent boxing skills. The Diaz brother’s striking is less about technique as it is volume. It is effective at smothering opponents and tiring them out, but the technique is inherently flawed which is why fighter’s consistently land clean power strikes on both of them. That being said Diaz, like his brother, has a rock solid beard and that allows them to get away with it. The dynamic I’m most interested in is Diaz playing guard against Davis as his ability to keep a high guard and slap on triangles is his best technique and I think he can exploit a winded Davis later in the fight. Nate Diaz via 3rd Round Submission.