Elizabeth Banks and Natsia Liukin...why not? I'm sure they are huge UFC fans. These fights are in order of which I'm looking forward to most.
Middleweight: Thales Leites (14-2, 9 sub) vs. Alessio Sakara (13-7, 8 (T)KOs)
Leites has beaten Nate Marquardt by split decision at UFC 85 in 2008 and most recently lost to Anderson Silva by unanimous decision in an unimpressive performance but who was the last middle weight to look good against Silva? I'm not holding that against Leites, who is an injury replacement.
He is 5-1 in his last six fights and his only other loss was a unanimous decision to Martin Kampmann at TUF Finale 4 in 2006.
Sakara last fought against Joe Vedepo, who he knocked out with a head kick in an impressive performance at Ultimate Figh tNight 15. The fight was in 2008 and only lasted 1:27.
Sakara's last fight to get out of the first round was in 2006 at UFC 57 but since then he has been beaten by Dean Lister, Houston Alexander, Chris Leben and Drew McFedries.
The Predicition: Leites will allow Sakara's streak of fights ending in the first round to continue, but it will be in Leites' favor. Leites is probably training the hardest he ever has after losing to Silva and he is a dangerous fighter.
It's ending in the first round, in favor of Leites but I'm not sure to call it by TKO or submission. Ms. Banks tells me to go with a first-round TKO but don't be surprised by the submission.
Lightweight: George Sotiropoulos (9-2, 5 sub.) vs. George Roop (9-4, 4 sub.)
This was supposed to be Sotiropoulos and Rob Emerson squaring off, which would've been a great fight. Fortunately for Sotiropoulos, Emerson was injured and Roop is in.
Soti is 2-0 in the UFC and 6-1 in his last seven fights, currently riding a three fight win streak. I think he has looked like an up and coming star in his first two fights and beating Roop would probabl guarantee him a UFC career for the next few years.
Roop did not really impress me on TUF. His last fight was a split decision victory over David Kaplan at UFC 98, which even I'll admit was impressive. He is 4-1 in his last five bouts and also lost by split decision to Shane Nelson (who is also on the card) in 2008.
The Predicition: I want to say Sotiropoulos will end the fight early but Roop is a tough SOB and changed my perception a little bit by beating Kaplan at UFC 98. I'll still giving the edge to Sotiropoulos but it's going to the judges...unanimously, though.
Welterweight: Jesse Lennox (10-1, 5 (T)KO, 5 sub) vs. Danillo Villefort (9-2, 5 sub.)
Lennox has never let a fight go to decision. This is his UFC debut but he rides a three-fight win streak and has experience competing with the IFL and WEC. His last fight was a KO of Blas Avena at WEC 38 in Jan. 2009. The stoppage occured only 41 seconds into round 2. His only loss was in the IFL.
Villefort also makes his UFC debut, riding his own winning streak of five into the fight. His last fight was also at WEC 38, where he TKO's Mike Campbell in round 1. He also has a knack for ending fights early, touting only one decision on his resume.
The Predicition: This should be an exciting fight but I don't expect it to last long. I'm taking Lennox by KO in round 2.
Lightweight: Shane Nelson (12-3) vs. Aaron Riley (27-11-1)
Nelson, a BJ Penn MMA product, is on an eight fight win streak, an impressive run that has been going since the middle of 2006. At UFC 96, he knocked out Riley in just 0:44 of round one.
Riley is a 28 year old with one UFC victory. He has had a tough group of competitors, though. Doctors stopped his 2006 bout with Spencer Fisher after round one and he fought Robbie Lawler in 2002 at UFC 37, losing by unanimous decision.
I don't see this playing out much different than the UFC 96 contest. Riley will hold on longer than 44 seconds, no doubt, but I still don't see him making it out of the first round. A first round KO for Nelson will move him up the lightweight ladder.
Welterweight: Matt Riddle (2-0) vs. Dan Cramer (1-0)
These two welterweights are young in age, both are 23, and UFC experience. I won't pretend like I know much about them. Cramer has a split decision win over Mat Arroyo at UFC 94 and Riddle won in his TUF 7 Finale bout by submission. I'm still giving this one to Cramer, bya split decision.
Welterweight: Tamdan McCrory (11-2, 9 sub) vs. 13-7 (8 (T)KOs)
"The Barn Cat" McCrory began his pro career with a nine fight win streak but is 2-2 since. He is 3-2 in the UFC and last beat Ryan Madigan at UFC 96 in the first round.
Meanwhile, Howard rides a four fight win streak in to the cage. His last fight was his UFC debut, in which he recorded a split decision over Chris Nelson at UFC 94.
The Predicition: McCrory has the edge in UFC expereince and has been up against tougher competition. The Barn Cat submits Howard in the second.
Thanks for reading, let's hear your predicitions. And don't forget WEC tomorrow night!!!!! (And the Bills' Hall of Fame game, let's go Buffalo!)