All the hype and build-up is done.
The fighters have done their preparations, as have the scribes, breaking down all the fights and examining every angle imaginable to try and come up with the best picks possible.
UFC 100 was a rebound event for me, delivering an 8-3 record while going a perfect 5-for-5 on the televised card to bring me a little closer to respectability.
Time to build off that success and keep the ball rolling...
Josh Neer (25-7-1) vs. Kurt Pellegrino (13-4-0)
While Pellegrino has the better ground game, Neer is the more complete fighter and he's actually earned more wins via submission than his black belt counterpart.
"Batman" is sure to be a tough test, as he's a solid all-around veteran who can give anyone fits. Asks Joe Stevenson and Nathan Diaz. But Neer is a talented kid who needs to show that his head is on straight and a chance to move up the ladder in the lightweight division is what he's after.
Kendall Grove (12-5-0, 1 NC) vs. Ricardo Almeida (10-3-0)
Almeida has the BJJ pedigree to make this an interesting test between a striker and a grappler, but he also has a penchant for emptying the gas tank somewhere near the middle of the second round.
Grove, once on the verge of getting the pink slip from the organization, can make it three-in-a-row with a win and should use his length to keep Almeida from getting inside and trying to bring this fight to the ground.
Amir Sadollah (1-0-0) vs. Johny Hendricks (5-0-0)
There really is no good way to predict this fight. On paper, Hendricks is the winner simply because he has spent more time inside the cage under the bright lights than his opponent.
Then again, his opponent thrived with the camera on his 24/7 in winning TUF 7 before becoming, as my man Zak Woods from Watch Kalib Run described him to me earlier, a sickly leper who has been out of the ring for over a year.
Training gets the nod from me in this one, and the boys at Xtreme Couture will ensure the UFC's next goofy and likable TUF winner is ready to go.
Anderson Silva (24-4-0) vs. Forrest Griffin (16-5-0)
After weeks of going back-and-forth over this fight in my mind and on WKR podcasts with Zak, I've come to one conclusion:
Anderson Silva is not going to lose this fight.
I love Forrest and think there are ways he can claim a victory over the Middleweight champ, but there are just too many things that Silva does freakishly well for Griffin to game plan against.
And for the record, I fully expect to see "The Old Anderson Silva" this time around.
BJ Penn (13-5-1) vs. Kenny Florian (13-3)
I'm rooting for Kenny, but the objective, professional side of me that wants to exhibit my journalistic integrity knows this might be a long night for my man from Massachusetts.
Penn made weight and looked in good shape from various accounts, and that could be all the indication anyone needs. After all, it has been seven years since he lost a fight at 155.
That's not to say an upset can't happen, I just don't think it will.
Punch Drunk Predictions
Record: 44-37 (Getting better...)
Danillo Villefort over Jesse Lennox (Submission, R1)
George Sotiropolous over George Roop (Unanimous Decision)
Matt Riddle over Dan Cramer (Unanimous Decision)
Thales Leites over Alessio Sakara (Submission, R2)
Tamdan McCrory over John Howard (Split Decision)
Aaron Riley over Shane Nelson (TKO, R1)
Josh Neer over Kurt Pellegrino (Unanimous Decision)
Kendall Grove over Ricardo Almeida (TKO, R3)
Amir Sadollah over Johny Hendricks (Submission, R2)
Anderson Silva over Forrest Griffin (TKO, R2)
And in the Main Event of the evening...
BJ Penn over Kenny Florian via Unanimous Decision to remain UFC Lightweight Champion.
Now touch gloves and come out swingin'...
E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance MMA journalist who authors the MMA blog Keyboard Kimura, as well as contributing to Watch Kalib Run and MMA Ratings. Follow him on Twitter or receive daily news and information through his Facebook Fan Page. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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