UFC 98 is right around the corner. While I make picks on Stablewars.com every PPV event, I have decided to write down my thoughts for each pick and share them with the Bleacher Report community.
Dave "Diamond" Kaplan (3-2) vs. George Roop (8-5)
Both men are stand up fighters who are coming off loses in their UFC debuts at The Ultimate Fighter Finale: Nog vs. Mir. Seeing as neither man will like to take it to the ground, I will go for the longer George Roop.
Yoshiyuku "Zenko" Yoshida (10-3) vs. Brandon Wolff (7-3)
Both men are 1-1 in their UFC stints, coming off of being KO'd in the first round of their last match. Yoshida never really stood a chance against Josh Koscheck in front of an extremely pro-American crowd. Wolff holds a strength advantage, but I will take the experience and ground game of Zenko in this fight.
Krzystof "The Polish Experiment" Sosyinski (18-9-1) vs. Andre Gusmao (5-1)
Gusmao drew an incredibly athletic freak in Jon Jones for his first UFC fight. Gusmao will be underestimated by many due to this performance. While Krzystof is 2-0 now in the UFC and has been impressive I expect Gusmao to show why he was brought to the UFC in the first place.
Phillipe "The Filipino Assassin" Nover (6-1-1) vs. Kyle Bradley (13-6, 1NC)
Nover has tons of talent and is completely able to compete in the UFC. Efrain was the better man on that day and Nover is out to show he is more then able to run with the best in the UFC. I expect him to make quick work of Bradley, who has been made an example of in his last two fights as well.
Pat "HD" Barry (4-0) vs. Tim "The Thrashing Machine" Hague (9-1)
Hague has one loss which he has avenged in his most recent fight. He is a King of the Cage veteran and has the ability to finish quickly. Barry shocked many when he came out and handled Dan Evensen the way he did. Hague is used to the more reckless style of KOTC and I feel Barry will show him a warm welcome to the UFC style of fighting.
Brock Larson (26-2) vs. Chris "the Professor" Wilson (13-5 1NC)
Larson carries an impressive record and a three fight win streak into this fight. Wilson has lost two of the last three fights going the distance in everyone. Wilson will need to end this fight before the cards or Larson's experience and endurance will overwhelm him on the cards. I will pick Larson by decision.
Sean "Muscleshark" Sherk (37-3-1) vs. Frank "the Answer" Edgar (9-1)
Both men go about their matches the same way with strong wrestling and endurance. I feel as if the win will go to whoever gameplans better which is Sherk's forte, against everyone not named BJ Penn. I see Sherk taking the decision here.
Dan Miller (11-1 1NC) vs. Chael Sonnen (23-10-1)
Sonnen, the unofficial final WEC middleweight champion, received a wake up call from Damian Maia in his UFC return. As he looks to bounce back, in the way is another impressive up and comer. Dan Miller is a versatile, young, and athletic talent who is ready to take the next step. Unfortunately for Sonnen he seems to be just getting in the way of Miller. Miller will end this fight early.
Drew "Massacre" McFriedes (7-5) vs. Xavier "Professor X" Foupa Pokam (20-10)
Both men are known for their ability to end fights early. Also, they are known for their inability to make it much of a match after the first round. Foupa Pokam has gone the distance quite a bit more on average then McFriedes and I think will handle the early onslaught better then McFriedes. I'll take Foupa Pokam ending the fight relatively quick.
Matt Hughes (43-7) vs. Matt "the Terror" Serra (16-5)
This fight has been way to long in the making. Serra's herniated disc forced Hughes to fight Georges St. Pierre, who was more motivated then ever to get his title back. Hughes then took a fight with Alves shortly after and showed his age is catching up with him. Serra has fought twice in the past 2 years. Hughes is looking to hang it up, I see him ending on a high note beating Serra by wrestling and riding him out while Serra looks for submissions and finds an inability to accomplish anything from under Hughes.
Rashad "Suga" Evans (18-0-1) vs. Lyoto "the Dragon" Machida
A battle of undefeated men, who have frustrated many of the UFC's top competitors with their unorthodox styles. Machida finally showed an ability to finish the fight and excite the crowd in his last fight against Thiago Tavares. This is, rightfully, the toughest match to call. Both fighters are so equal in takedown defense, striking ability, and intelligence.
However, I will have to go with Rashad due to his style of going for the win. Machida will sit back and wait for Rashad to make a mistake, which he will not, to take advantage of. It should go to the cards and Rashad will be the aggressor and more dominant fighter, earning the decision.
All-in-all this is a stacked card and should prove for some exciting finishes throughout the night. I can't wait to see Rampage Jackson vs. The winner of this title fight. I expect this to be one of the better PPV's of the year and should be a solid step towards an even more stacked UFC 100. I would highly recommend this to any casual fan and it should turn you into a full time fan. My hopes are high, I'll report in with my review after the fights, sometime Sunday.