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UFC 177: B/R Staff Main Card Predictions

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2014

UFC 177: B/R Staff Main Card Predictions

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    Get excited this weekend! UFC 177 is coming your way on pay-per-view, so get ready to shell out some hard-earned dough to watch a title fight and other fun scraps.

    OK, enough being Mr. Happy. Let's face it: UFC 177 is not that good. In fact, it should be a tax write-off.

    However, if you are like me and have an addiction to MMA that cannot be cured by a 12-step program, you will be tuning in. The fights will in fact be good bouts and excite you, should you choose to choose to watch.

    So, for your entertainment, I have put out the metaphorical Bat Symbol to the rest of our Bleacher Report staff to make some predictions. Joining me as always will be Sean Smith, Craig Amos, James MacDonald and Scott Harris to walk you through the fights on Saturday night.

2014 Staff Records

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    I have conceded my narrow lead into a tie. Craig Amos is lucky I am shaving points in this prediction series. I am a compulsive gambler by nature.

    Also, I have heard that trash talk and hyping things up are huge in the fight game these days, so I will now resort to that.

    Scott Harris, you sir, are awful. You have been in the basement for far too long, and your little buddy Sean Smith is pulling away from you now.

    Now that that's out of my system, we can get back to business. Below are the records for this year so far.

    Riley Kontek: 97-53-1

    Craig Amos: 97-53-1

    James MacDonald: 94-56-1

    Sean Smith: 90-60-1

    Scott Harris: 88-62-1

Yancy Medeiros vs. Damon Jackson

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    Kontek

    Damon Jackson has just nine days notice to take on a Strikeforce and UFC veteran. Plus, he is fighting up a weight class. Tough task, right? Well, Jackson is an impressive wrestler, and that's something that could pay dividends here. That is, unless, Medeiros touches his chin. I call upset on this one.

    Jackson, Unanimous Decision

     

    Amos

    Jackson, a late-replacement opponent for Medeiros, will need to get this one to the mat if he hopes to make a good first impression with the UFC brass. For his part, Medeiros will try to make this a pure striking affair, and if he can accomplish that, I'm thinking it won't take him long to dispatch Jackson.

    Medeiros, KO, Rd. 1

     

    Smith

    It’s pretty crazy that these two find themselves on the main card of a UFC pay-per-view. Neither has a UFC win, and Medeiros will likely be fighting for his job on Saturday. All the pressure is on the UFC veteran, and I think he’ll fold against Jackson, who has nothing to lose in this matchup after stepping in on very short notice due to a Justin Edwards injury.

    Jackson, Submission, Rd. 1

     

    MacDonald

    Why? That’s what immediately pops into my head when I see this fight on the main card of a pay-per-view. That aside, I have to go with Jackson here. The 26-year-old is coming into the UFC with an undefeated 9-0 record, while Medeiros has yet to gain a win in three attempts inside the Octagon.

    Jackson, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    Harris

    The quick assumption is that Damon Jackson is basically a wetwork to keep the fight alive, but he's actually pretty good. I'm still picking against him, though. Medeiros is better than his record indicates. He hits like a truck, and he's due for a win.

    Medeiros, TKO, Rd. 2

Ramsey Nijem vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira

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    Kontek

    I like Carlos Diego Ferreira. In fact, he was one of my top-rated prospects coming into the UFC. He showed why in his quick choke-out of Colton Smith. Ramsey Nijem has been largely inconsistent in the UFC. The guys he has beaten are not top of the line, and Ferreira has the potential to go far in the lightweight division. That's why I go with the native Brazilian.

    Ferreira, Submission, Rd. 1

     

    Amos

    Nijem always seems to me as though he is on the cusp of breaking through to the next level. Maybe his current two-fight win streak signifies his belated arrival, but I'm not entirely convinced just yet. If he gets by Ferreira, I will believe in him, but I don't really believe that he'll do that.

    Ferreira, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    Smith

    Ferreira looked very good in his UFC debut, where he submitted Colton Smith in only 38 seconds. With two submission losses in his MMA career, Nijem does have some defensive holes on the ground that Ferreira can exploit. I think the Brazilian does just that and remains undefeated inside the Octagon.

    Ferreira, Submission, Rd. 1

     

    MacDonald

    I’m not the biggest fan of Nijem. By modern standards, he has a limited style. In contrast, Ferreira impressed me in his UFC debut, taking out Colton Smith in rapid fashion. The undefeated 29-year-old should take this before the judges need to get involved.

    Ferreira, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    Harris

    You don't have to do a lot of detective work to find out why no one cares a whit about this card. Nijem is chronically inconsistent and his A game is unexciting. Ferreira's an outstanding prospect, but no one has really heard of him. Is this pay-per-view material?

    Ferreira, Unanimous Decision

Bethe Correia vs. Shayna Baszler

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    Kontek

    People are starting to jump on the Bethe Correia bandwagon, but Shayna Baszler's experience and grappling edge are too good to ignore here. Correia barely edged Julie Kedzie and beat a Jessamyn Duke who was likely too raw to be UFC-ready. Baszler has been around the block a time or two and will show Correia why she has been around as long as she has.

    Baszler, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    Amos

    Baszler, of course, has a fair advantage on the ground, but I'm not sure Correia will condescend to let that factor in. I'll say the Brazilian manages to keep things standing for the most part, at least long enough to rack up points on the scorecards and earn a decision. I'd call a split, but all of my personalities agree Correia will eke it out.

    Correia, Unanimous Decision

     

    Smith

    Had Baszler not been away from competition for so long, I might have sided with her in this matchup. However, I think Baszler’s inactivity will hurt her in what promises to be an evenly matched scrap. It’ll come down to the wire, but Correia should be able to outlast Baszler and gain an edge on the scorecards in the later rounds.

    Correia, Unanimous Decision

     

    MacDonald

    This is a tough fight to call. Baszler is the more technical, talented fighter. Unfortunately, she hasn’t competed since The Ultimate Fighter last year, so ring rust could be an issue for the veteran. The more rugged Correia has scraped by her first couple of UFC opponents via decision, so I haven’t been overly impressed by her. I’m going to take a gamble on Baszler here.

    Baszler, Unanimous Decision

     

    Harris

    This one is more interesting outside the cage than in it. Correia can dirty it up in close range, and Baszler can dirty it up in any phase. I'm looking for a grindfest, in other words. I think Baszler has the experience and the ground game to snuff out one of the year's funnest stories. Ring rust, schming shmust—know what I'm saying.

    Baszler, Unanimous Decision

Danny Castillo vs. Tony Ferguson

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    Kontek

    These guys match up so well, it's really hard to call. Tony Ferguson has one-punch KO power, but so does Danny Castillo, who has some of the most underrated hands at lightweight. Their wrestling is both good as well, though I'll venture to guess Castillo is superior there. Castillo is going to notch one point for Team Alpha Male here.

    Castillo, Unanimous Decision

     

    Amos

    This is some pay-per-view co-main event, isn't it? No matter who wins, I think we can all agree that the fans are the true winners here. I mean, when I spend $50 on a show, this is what I hope for in what is supposed to be the second-most important fight of the night. Oh, Ferguson is going to knock Castillo out.

    Ferguson, KO, Rd. 2

     

    Smith

    This is a tough one to call. Ferguson has not allowed a takedown in six UFC appearances, and Castillo’s clearest route to victory appears to be on the ground. However, Last Call also showed he’s no slouch when he stood with Edson Barboza. I think the Team Alpha Male member simply has more ways to win this fight and will do so on the scorecards.

    Castillo, Unanimous Decision

     

    MacDonald

    This fight doesn’t boast a ton of name recognition, but don’t let that put you off. There’s a lot to look forward to here. Castillo will look to impose his wrestling game on Ferguson, but he’s unlikely to find much success there. The former TUF winner is extremely well-rounded and might just be a future champion.

    Ferguson, Unanimous Decision

     

    Harris

    Castillo tends to be really good at wrestling when his opponent is really not so good at the same thing. Ferguson is good, though. So he should win the takedown battle and ground and pound his way to victory in perhaps the most ignominious co-main matchup in history.

    Ferguson, Unanimous Decision

TJ Dillashaw vs. Joe Soto

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    Unanimous Staff Pick: Dillashaw

    As if UFC 177 couldn't have taken anymore hits, Renan Barao dropped out of the main event late. Now, prelim fighter Joe Soto, who is a former Bellator champ, takes a late title fight opportunity against TJ Dillashaw.

    Although Soto is definitely skilled, he fought less than a month ago and was preparing for a guy with a style unlike Dillashaw's. It's not impossible for him to win this fight, but it is highly unlikely.

    That's why the staff here has agreed that Dillashaw will retain his title. He is simply breaking out into a league of his own at 135 and was preparing for a guy more dangerous than Soto.

    Soto will put up a fight, but will ultimately come up short.

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