After going 42 days without a UFC event in the sweltering late summer months, fall has brought cooler weather, beautiful scenery and an endless repeat of UFC events.
Friday's UFC on FX card from Minnesota marks the third consecutive week of UFC programming from the fine folks at Zuffa, and it's not ending here; next week is Brazil, with its beaches, acai granola bowls and Silva vs. Bonnar.
But we'll talk about that next week. For now, Jonathan Snowden, Jeremy Botter and Scott Harris gathered around the campfire to predict UFC on FX 5, an event short on superstar names but incredibly long on potential.
Jonathan Snowden: After successive shellackings at the hands of Cain Velasquez and Daniel Cormier, Silva must be thrilled just to put the American Kickboxing Academy in his rear view. Unfortunately for him, Browne is a fast rising star who intends to use Silva as a stepping stone to contention. Browne by TKO, Round 2.
Jeremy Botter: Browne is an incredibly fast man for his size, while Silva is incredibly slow for his (or any other) size. Look for Browne to use that speed to keep Silva at bay and off guard before finally finishing him late in the second. Browne by TKO, round 2
Scott Harris: This one is scheduled for five rounds, but I don't believe it will last that long. Browne is too good an athlete and too good a striker not to send Silva to his third straight stoppage loss. Browne by TKO, round 2
Matthew Roth: Travis Browne is one of the hot young fighters in the UFC's heavyweight division. The guy is able to do techniques that a heavyweight shouldn't be able to throw in a fight such as flying knees. I just think he's just too athletic for Antonio Silva. Browne by TKO, round 2
Botter: Hieron beat Ellenberger back in 2006, but those were different times and this is a completely different Ellenberger. It's also a completely different Hieron in that he's aged quite a bit over the years, and he's now at the tail end of a middling career. He got his lucky break by being called back into the UFC, but the unfortunate flip side is that he has to face a wrecking ball like Ellenberger. Ellenberger by TKO, round 1
Harris: Ellenberger seems to have a wide advantage on paper over Old Man Hieron. But don't forget he beat Jake Ellenberger back in 2006 and cornered Martin Kampmann when Kampmann upended Ellenberger. Maybe, just maybe, Hieron can dirty it up enough to pull the stunner. Hieron by split decision.
Snowden: Jay Hieron's career has been one disaster after another. Undeniably talented, Hieron simply hasn't gotten the breaks he needed to make a name on the national level. The time is now. Seven years after he last fought in the UFC Octagon, Hieron will step back into the cage in the big show. Jake Ellenberger, who won six in a row before seeing his title shot collapse under the force of Martin Kampmann's knees, willbe there to greet him. For Hieron, it will be right back to the end of the line. Ellenberger by decision
Roth: I've been a Jay Hieron fan for years now. I thought he was one of the obvious choices to get brought over once the IFL collapsed. Instead, he put together a very impressive record outside of the UFC and now he gets his chance to show he belongs. Unfortunately, he's fighting Jake Ellenberger who is just a better version of Hieron. I expect this to be a short bout with Hieron getting put to sleep. Ellenberger by TKO, round 1
Harris: I'd say this is a matchup of the best standup (Dodson) and the best submissions (Formiga) in the flyweight division. Formiga's pretty small, even for a flyweight, and I think he'll get punished in his UFC debut. Dodson by unanimous decision.
Botter: This is the fight I'm looking forward to more than any other on this card, and that's saying something considering the depth available here. I expect this to be a fun, fast-paced and technical fight; if you didn't appreciate the Benavidez/Johnson fight from UFC 152, chances are you won't like this one, either. Also, if you don't like watching flyweights, chances are you're not actually a fight fan, but just a modern incarnation of the Just Bleed guy. Dodson by unanimous decision
Snowden: I don't think I'll ever forget how cocky John Dodson when I talked to him years ago. Way before The Ultimate Fighter and a UFC contract, he knew he was going to be the next big thing. Turns out he's the next little thing instead. Dodson by Decision.
Roth: This fight is for a title shot and I think they made the right choice in fighters. Both Dodson and Formiga are considered two of the best flyweights in the world and neither will cruise to a boring decision win. I am not sure how to pick this one as we've seen "octagon jitters" affect other top flyweights like Ulysses Gomez. I'm gonna go with the known known and pick John Dodson to win. Dodson by Unanimous Decision
Botter: I have no idea how this fight is on the main card, but I think it'll be a fun outing anyway. Neer has a love for getting into firefights, and that's exactly what you're going to see here. Edwards is serviceable, but not serviceable enough to keep himself upright and conscious here. Neer by TKO, round 1
Snowden: Nine years into his career, Neer just keeps plugging away. A solid fighter who will never be a title contender, Neer is nevertheless too much for Edwards. Neer by decision.
Harris: In this battle o' the journeymen, both men need a win. I think Neer pulls this one out; he's got more tools and a ton more experience. His recent work with the Diaz brothers and company won't hurt, either. Neer by unanimous decision.
Roth: I love me some Josh Neer fights. Say what you want about his personality or what he does outside of the cage, but inside, he's one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC. I've never seen him back down from a fight and his chin is phenomenal. Neer by TKO, round 1