B/R MMA Staff Predictions for UFC on Fuel TV 7 Preliminary Card

Dwight Wakabayashi@WakafightermmaCorrespondent IIFebruary 14, 2013

B/R MMA Staff Predictions for UFC on Fuel TV 7 Preliminary Card

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    The UFC will be rocking the Wembley Arena in London Saturday night with the bantamweight interim title on the line between champion Renan Barao and young challenger Michael McDonald. The event will be on Fuel TV and mark the seventh show the UFC has held on the network.

    The main card is set up nicely behind the main event with some highly relevant scraps on tap with Cub Swanson and Dustin Poirier set to settle things at featherweight as well.

    As always, the preliminary card should not be overlooked and is packed with talented Brits such as Terry Etim, Paul Sass, Vaughn Lee and Andy Ogle. It will also see Stanislav Nedkov make his middleweight debut.

    The week of every event, B/R MMA staff writers Scott Harris, Riley Kontek, James MacDonald, Andrew Saunders and myself, will offer our picks for the preliminary bouts on the card.

    Here are our prelim predictions for UFC on Fuel 7.

Phil Harris vs. Ulysses Gomez

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    Dwight Wakabayashi: This battle of strengths will end up in a really close grappling match and end with Gomez getting a decision.

    Gomez, Unanimous Decision

    Andrew Saunders: Ulysses Gomez ran into a buzzsaw named John Moraga in his first UFC appearance. This time around, the Hispanic sensation will be able to utilize his excellent grappling skills to outwork his opponent. Expect Gomez to earn the eighth submission win of his career in this contest.

    Gomez, Submission, Rd. 2

    James MacDonald: This one could either end up being a decent grappling match or a mediocre kickboxing bout. Either way, I expect Gomez to nab a decision.

    Gomez, Unanimous Decision

    Scott Harris: Both of these guys are good grapplers, but I think Gomez is just a little better.

    Gomez, Unanimous Decision

    Riley Kontek: Ulysses Gomez will get a mulligan from me for his debut loss to John Moraga. Gomez is a nifty grappler that will find a way to down Phil Harris and work his superior ground game. Expect a tap out win for the American.

    Gomez, Submission, Rd. 2

    Picking Gomez: All

Vaughn Lee vs. Motonobu Tezuka

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    Dwight Wakabayashi: I see Tezuka being just slightly better on the ground but Lee is the better all-around fighter and has the home crowd on his side.

    Lee, Unanimous Decision

    Andrew Saunders: Vaughan Lee rarely leaves his fights in the hands of the judges scorecards, although opponent Motonobu Tezuka has gone the distance 19 times in his career.

    At heavyweight, this would point to a cardio advantage for Tezuka, but when fighting at 135 pounds, it won't make a tremendous difference. Neither fighter has a pedigree worth bragging about, but I like Tezuka here for the upset based on what I've seen out of Lee.

    Tekuza, Unanimous Decision

    James MacDonald: Vaughan Lee is coming off a surprising submission loss to T.J. Dillashaw, given his grappling credentials. This is a good opportunity for the Brit to start rebuilding some momentum.

    Lee, Submission, Rd. 2

    Scott Harris: Lee's the better striker. Tezuka, however, is not only a better grappler but is younger and more experienced. Sound the upset alarms.

    Tezuka, Unanimous Decision

    Riley Kontek: Vaughan Lee is a nifty ground worker, but he would be wise to stay away from the submission expertise of Motonobu Tezuka. Lee will be the better striker, and should he avoid a takedown from the Japanese grappler, he should be able to outpoint him with his striking.

    Lee, Unanimous Decision

    Picking Lee: Wakabayashi, Kontek, MacDonald

    Picking Tezuka: Saunders, Harris

Tom Watson vs. Stanislav Nedkov

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    Dwight Wakabayashi: I really enjoy watching both of these fighters work, and they are both very good at everything in the cage. I'm hoping Nedkov doesn't gas out in his middleweight debut.

    Nedkov, Unanimous Decision

    Andrew Saunders: Nedkov looked like a force to be reckoned with at 205. Now as a middleweight, I think everyone might be fearful of his power. However, Watson will be ready for his aggressive style and counter-attack his way to victory.

    Watson, Unanimous Decision

    James MacDonald: This is a compelling encounter on paper. After an iffy start to his UFC career, Watson has a chance to make good on some of the hype. Nedkov is an extremely tough out, though, so it could be a long night for the former BAMMA middleweight champ.

    Watson, Unanimous Decision

    Scott Harris: This is probably my favorite matchup on the undercard. Nedkov, who remains undefeated following Thiago Silva's bathroom fire, doesn't mind grinding. Watson is susceptible to grinding, but the problem is, Nedkov gets tired. Watson should outlast him and get his first UFC win.

    Watson, Unanimous Decision

    Riley Kontek: Tom Watson struggled in his UFC debut against Brad Tavares and his aggressive takedowns. In facing a new middleweight in Stanislav Nedkov, he will receive the same aggressive takedowns as he saw, if not more aggressive. However, I am a huge Watson fan and will go down with the ship.

    Watson, Unanimous Decision

    Picking Watson: Kontek, Harris, MacDonald,Saunders

    PIcking Nedkov: Wakabayashi

Andy Ogle vs. Josh Grispi

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    Dwight Wakabayash: Grispi has more experience and has paid more dues to this point in his career, and I think he deserves a win for his troubles. Ogle's green game says Grispi gets it.

    Grispi, Unanimous Decision  


    Andrew Saunders: Josh Grispi was once a world-title contender and is going to finally score the elusive UFC victory that he has been longing for. I don't want to count out Andy Ogle but this matchup doesn't lean in his favor.

    Grispi via TKO, Round 2

    James MacDonald: This would have been viewed as an obscene mismatch a couple of years ago, however, Grispi has fallen off the proverbial cliff in terms of his position within the UFC’s featherweight division. That being said, he should have a little too much for Ogle.

    Grispi, Unanimous Decision

    Scott Harris: I want to sound the alarms here given Grispi's underwhelming track record, but the 23-year-old Ogle, here in just his second UFC fight, just doesn't seem to have enough yet.

    Grispi, TKO, Rd. 3

    Riley Kontek: Remember when Josh Grispi was supposed to get a title fight, but then an injury occurred and he ended up losing his way out of contention for the belt? Yes, it has been a tough run in the UFC for "The Fluke," but he gets a favorable matchup in the form of Andy Ogle. I think he will wrestle the Brit down and earn a tapout.

    Grispi, Submission, Rd. 2

    Picking Grispi: All

Paul Sass vs. Danny Castillo

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    Dwight Wakabayashi: Sass is very good at what he does but got beaten at his own game in his last fight with Matt Wiman. Castillo is a very good wrestler who has more tools to use for the win.

    Castillo, Unanimous Decision

    Andrew Saunders: Don't be fooled by his last loss. Paul Sass is a submission machine who can pull off a triangle choke or leglock on any man unfortunate enough to be within his grasp. Danny Castillo cannot rely on his wrestling in this fight, and Sass will likely pull guard if he must to get this done.

    Sass via Submission, Round 2

    James MacDonald: I would like to think that this will turn into an intriguing battle on the mat, but Castillo may elect to keep the fight on the feet. If he does, he should squeeze out a decision. If the bout ends up on the floor, there’s a good chance he’ll take a nap between Sass’s legs.

    Sass, Submission, Rd. 1

    Scott Harris: Both of these guys need a win, simple as that. Though Castillo's a wrestler, I don't see him putting the Sass angle on his back—that would be trouble. Then again, Team Alpha Male has surprised me before in the game-planning department.

    Sass, submission, Rd. 1

    Riley Kontek: Paul Sass is extremely effective on the ground, but that is only when he can wrestle his prey down. Danny Castillo is a power wrestler who will stay on his feet and away from the deadly submission game of the Brit. Expect Castillo to outpoint Sass on the feet.

    Castillo, Unanimous Decision

    Picking Sass: Harris, MacDonald, Saunders

    Picking Castillo: Kontek, Wakabayashi

Terry Etim vs. Renee Forte

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    Dwight Wakabayashi: I think Etim has been handed an easy foe here but the question is, can he bounce back from being on the wrong end of the highlight reel in 2012? I think he takes it easily.

    Etim, TKO, Rd. 2

    Andrew Saunders: Terry Etim may have found himself on the wrong end of a Knockout of the Year performance in 2012, but he will kick off his 2013 with a Submission of the Night bonus against the overmatched Renee Forte.

    Etim, Submission

    James MacDonald: We haven’t seen Terry Etim since he was starched by Edson Barboza over a year ago. That being said, the Liverpudlian still has a ton of potential and should have too much quality for Forte.

    Etim, TKO, Rd. 2

    Scott Harris: I think the UFC felt bad for Etim after the spinning wheel kick. Etim will never be a household name, but he's a solid fighter and he'll wash that taste out of his mouth Saturday night with a little home cooking.

    Etim, Submission, Rd. 1

    Riley Kontek: Terry Etim is getting a gift on home soil. Can somebody remind me again why Renee Forte is still in the UFC?

    Etim, TKO, Rd. 1

    Picking Etim: All