Tonight marks the end of a busy week.
Between delivering the Fight Week Preview series, as well as some interviews, editorials, and the Punch Drunk Predictions on UFN 19 on Wednesday, twelve posts have already come off the figurative presses.
Hopefully, this round of fearless forecasting will serve as Lucky No. 13...
The Prelims: Fast and Dirty
Rob Emerson vs. Rafael dos Anjos
The former cast member from season five of The Ultimate Fighter was choked out by Kurt Pellegrino last time out, while the Brazilian black belt gave Tyson Griffin fits in a fight that was closer than the scores showed.
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Igor Pokrajac
One is a crafty veteran returning to the UFC after an extended hiatus that saw him clean out the IFL Light Heavyweight division, the other is Mirko Cro Cop's training partner who has beaten no-one of relevance in his career.
Eliot Marshall vs. Jason Brilz
One of the better undercard bouts of the night, Brilz is riding a ten-fight winning streak and hasn't lost since 2001. Marshall is a legitimate BJJ black belt and solid on the ground. Training with Greg Jackson and company in New Mexico doesn't hurt either.
Rick Story vs. Brian Foster
If this was three or four years ago, Foster would be the easy pick just because he trains with Matt Hughes and the H.I.T. Squad team. But it isn't 2005 anymore, is it? Remember how impressive Jake Ellenberger looked against Carlos Condit on Wednesday night? Story beat him.
Rafaello Oliveira vs. Nik Lentz
Oliveira was originally slated to fight on the Affliction: Trilogy card against Japanese star Takanori Gomi. Nik Lentz is no Takanori Gomi, not even the less impressive version we've seen in recent years.
Jim Miller vs. Steve Lopez
One half of one of the two sets of "Fighting Miller Boys" in MMA, Jersey Jim's two career loses came from going toe-to-toe with Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar. Do you see either of them on the other side of the cage?
Drew McFedries vs. Tomasz Drwal
Somebody is going to get KTFO in this one. Drwal is younger, stronger and making the drop to his more natural fighting weight of 185 for the first time. Drew McFedries is Drew McFedries.
Efrain Escudero vs. Cole Miller
The winner of season eight of The Ultimate Fighter had a tough time making weight and will have an even tougher time in his post-TUF debut, as Cole Miller, half of the other set of "Fighting Miller Boys" competing in MMA is a slick submission specialist and should get the win, especially because he decided against doing an interview with me for some reason.
You got in-depth coverage of each of the main card fights already this week, so it's on to the picks.
Punch Drunk Predictions
Rafael dos Anjos over Rob Emerson, Submission R2
Vladimir Matyushenko over Igor Pokjarac, TKO R2
Eliot Marshall over Jason Brilz, Unanimous Decision
Rick Story over Brian Foster, TKO R3
Rafaello Oliveira over Nik Lentz, Unanimous Decision
Jim Miller over Steve Lopez, Submission R1
Tomasz Drwal over Drew McFedries, TKO R1
Cole Miller over Efrain Escudero, Submission R2
Tyson Griffin over Hermes Franca, Tyson Griffin Special (Unanimous Decision)
Josh Koscheck over Frank Trigg, Submission R2 (Probably a Rear Naked Choke)
Martin Kampmann over Paul Daley, Submission R2 (See above)
Junior dos Santos over Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, KO R1 (Uppercut of Doom)
And in the Main Event of the Evening...
Rich "Ace" Franklin over Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort by Unanimous Decision...especially since Belfort had a bitch of a time making weight.
Now touch gloves and come out swingin'!
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