UFC 118: Predictions for the Entire Card

Rob Belote@GuysNationSenior Analyst IDecember 26, 2016

As my GuysNation.com readers are well aware by now, I do my best to make predictions on each and every major UFC event. 

The past few times, I’ve actually done really well at predicting what the outcomes would be, and although I don’t want to suggest anyone use these predictions in Vegas, it might not be a bad idea. 

I won’t be held responsible for any lost money, but listed below are my predictions and reasoning behind my picks.



Preliminary card

* Welterweight bout:
United States – Mike Pierce vs. Brazil – Amilcar Alves

Always hard to predict someone’s UFC debut, especially for Brazilian fighters who have never fought outside of South America (even if he is 11-1). 

I like two of the past three outcomes for Mike Pierce, so that’s where I’m going (though I wouldn’t be surprised to see Alves win by submission).

Prediction: Mike Pierce

Rumor debunked:  This has nothing to do with the fact that Mike's last name rhymes with "fierce".


* Welterweight bout:
England – Nick Osipczak vs. United States - Greg Soto

Osipczak has won two of his last three, but so has Greg Soto...and Soto’s loss was due to an illegal kick.  Osipczak has more UFC experience, so I’ll go with him.

Prediction: Nick Osipczak

Pre-Fight Advice for Greg Soto:  Keep your upkicks to yourself.


* Middleweight bout:
United States – Dan Miller vs. United States – John Salter

The fact that Dan Miller has three straight losses and is still in UFC should tell you something.  Losing to Chael Sonnen, Michael Bisping and Demian Maia (all by decision) is not an accomplishment, but it’s not something to completely detract from Miller. 

Salter likes to finish his fights, and while I think Miller will be super-motivated, I don’t think he’s going to be able to remain in UFC after this fight.

Prediction:  John Salter

Naming Conventions:  Doesn't the name "John Salter" make it sound like he belongs as an anchor on the evening news?


Preliminary card (Spike TV)

* Lightweight bout:
England – Andre Winner vs. United States – Nik Lentz

Winner has looked good in his past two fights since losing his UFC debut, but it’s hard for me to predict against Nik Lentz and his huge winning streak.

Prediction:  Nik Lentz

Questionable Nick-Names:  How did Nik Lentz get the nickname "The Carnie," and shouldn't he be begging someone to help him get a new one?


* Lightweight bout:
United States – Joe Lauzon vs. United States – Gabe Ruediger

Joe Lauzon has plenty of well-deserved superlative fights on his resume, and Gabe Ruediger hasn’t had a fight in UFC since 2006 (a loss to Melvin Guillard). 

Ruediger does have a string of submission victories which he followed up with a knockout win, but I’m choosing against him and disregarding the fact that Lauzon has lost two of his last four.

Prediction:  Joe Lauzon

Throwing Away Perfection:  Is this the one pick that's going to truly come back to bite me in the ass?  The signs point to Ruediger, and the predictions could be otherwise perfect for UFC 118...


Main card

* Welterweight bout:
United States – Nate Diaz vs. United States – Marcus Davis

I have enjoyed several of the fights I’ve seen from “Irish Hand Grenade” Marcus Davis, but it seems that when he faces elite talent, Davis comes up short. 

Nate Diaz is as close to being an “elite talent” as Davis has ever faced.  Though Nate Diaz has only won 4 of his past 7, he was awarded Submission Of The Night honors in two of those wins, Fight Of The Night honors in another win, and Fight Of The Night honors in two of the three losses. 

The other loss during that span was a split decision against a top contender in the Lightweight division.  Marcus Davis could make a huge statement in this match, but I don’ t think he’ll be able to do quite enough.

Prediction: Nate Diaz

Disturbing Trends: Is it bad that Nate Diaz hasn't put together back-to-back wins since 2008?


* Lightweight bout:
United States – Kenny Florian vs. United States – Gray Maynard

The winner of this fight is likely to get a shot at the Lightweight championship against the winner of UFC 118’s main event, so there’s plenty of motivation for both fighters. 

Anyone who has heard of Kenny Florian knows that KenFlo is one of the smartest guys in the business and one of the most technically sound. 

When he fought B.J. Penn for the Lightweight Championship, I really thought KenFlo was going to win.  He didn’t. 

Does he have motivation to get back to the top?  Absolutely, but probably not as much as Gray Maynard.  Despite holding a victory over the current Lightweight Champion, Frankie Edgar, there has yet to be a title shot for Gray Maynard. 

Detractors of Maynard would likely point to the fact that Gray hasn’t finished a fight since 2007, earning his past six victories by decision. 

Maynard is undefeated, but KenFlo knows how to finish fights, with only one of his fights since 2007 going to decision… which he won.  This is a tough one to predict, but I hate decision outcomes.

Prediction: Kenny Florian

Illogistics:  Shouldn't Maynard be fighting Edgar?  I guess the UFC really thinks Penn's loss was a fluke.


* Middleweight bout:
Brazil – Demian Maia vs. Brazil – Mario Miranda

Somehow this is the first time I’m hearing about Mario Miranda, but I’m decently impressed.  He has only had two fights in UFC and he’s already on the main PPV card against a top talent in his division. 

The only loss on his resume doesn’t matter to me, as Gerald Harris is a beast.  He must have done something significant at UFC 115 in his last fight to deserve the spot on this card. 

That said, Demian Maia lost to Anderson Silva by decision in his last fight, and a year ago, he got knocked out in the first 30 seconds in what I’d consider a fluke. 

Miranda isn’t elite like Silva and he’s not a knockout artist, so I’m predicting that Maia and Miranda have quite the BJJ exhibition.

Prediction: Demian Maia

Submissions-A-Plenty:  Is it possible that these two BJJ experts could find a way to simultaneously lock in holds that make each other tap out / pass out at the same time?  I'd love to see a draw by way of submission if for no other reason than the historical significance of it.


* Heavyweight Main Event bout (No. 1 of 2):

United States – Randy Couture vs. United States – James Toney

I’m really looking forward to this fight.  MMA fans and boxing fans love to have the argument about which combat sport is the better option, and this is a step in the right direction. 

While we still need to see an MMA competitor like Anderson Silva or Chuck Liddell take their try in a boxing match, this fight provides a great opportunity. 

Randy Couture admittedly doesn’t have world-class boxing skills, but he’s a great wrestler and is a legend inside the octagon.  If James Toney can keep this fight more of a boxing match, he’d likely get the win...

For the full version of this article including pictures and my predictions on the Couture / Toney fight and the Penn / Edgar 2 fight, check it out at www.GuysNation.com, voice your opinion on those two main events and potentially win the chance to get a free T-shirt!



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