The last few UFC cards (not counting Fight Night) have been loaded, so we were bound for a letdown at some point.
So when Minotauro Nogueira pulled out of his main event rematch with Frank Mir, and was replaced by the fighter formerly known as Mirko Cro Cop, I was understandably skeptical. Especially when I looked at the rest of this sorry card.
But in order to clarify my gambling thoughts, as well as make some jokes about various fighters I don't like, here's my predictions.
Melvin Guillard vs. Jeremy Stephens
This is an interesting fight as both of these guys are kinda journeyman fighters.
They both have some interesting wins, with Guillard beating Marcus Davis a few years ago and Stephens beating Rafael Dos Anjos awhile back. Because they're both aggressive strikers with a lot of heart, this has fight of the potential stamped all over it.
In fact, of all the fights on this card, this is the only one I would actually pay for.
But also expect Guillard's experience to be a bit too much for Stephens.
Guillard by Decision.
Sean Sherk vs. Evan Dunham
This is a classic up-and-comer versus wily veteran matchup.
Sherk is the former lightweight champion, and his four losses have all been to UFC champions. However, at 37 and no longer chemically enhanced, there is a real question about whether or not the "Muscle Shark" will be able to make one last run at relevance, and possibly a title shot.
On the other side of his career, we have 11-0 young lion Evan Dunham.
Dunham has already shown good striking, great BJJ, and a ton of potential. There are whispers already that he's ready to be the next big thing at 155. This fight will be a good test.
If he comes out and dominates Sherk the way he has earlier opponents, it will announce his arrival as a true contender. I think he gets it done.
Dunham by Decision.
Matt "The Terror" Serra vs. Chris Lytle
Former Welterweight champion and owner of the single biggest upset in UFC history, Matt Serra is another aging veteran looking to make a final stand.
Not unlike General Custer, Chris Lytle is right there with him.
So this rematch of The Ultimate Fighter Season 4 Finale should be intense.
Lytle is coming in the midst of a three-fight win streak, but the fighters he's beaten during the streak won't knock your socks off. Unless you happen to be a big fan of Kevin Burns.
Serra always brings it with his Tasmanian-Devil fighting style as well as world-class (but often unseen) Jiu-jitsu. Serra is coming off a devastating knockout of Frank Trigg's corpse and a loss to Matt Hughes.
He's anxious to prove he's still in the discussion at 170, but I don't see it.
Lytle KO in second round.
Ryan Bader vs. Rogerio Nogueira
Another old legend being thrown to a young lion. I'm starting to sense a theme here.
I could go on a rant about how the UFC is talking to us about our own mortality when they pick matchups like this, but I'll save my barstool philosophy for when I'm trying to get in a girl's pants.
Ryan Bader is fresh off a very impressive KO of Keith Jardine. Now some people (myself included) would say he was close to getting finished himself in that fight.
But he did manage to fight through it and ended it with a massive left. Bader clearly has elite athletic ability, he's a former Pac-10 champion wrestler, and has impressive power in his hands.
Oh yeah, and he's still undefeated.
Rogerio Nogueira is a legend. Though he's still the Frank Stallone to Minotauro's Sly, Little Nog has superior boxing, having medaled for the Brazilian team at both the Pan Am and South American games.
However, in his last fight against little-known Jason Brilz, Rogerio looked awful. He was taken down and controlled at will, and was lucky to squeak away with a VERY questionable decision.
He won't be so lucky against Ryan Bader.
Bader by TKO in third round.
Frank Mir vs. Mirko Cro Cop
The "Main" event of the night is gonna be a snoozefest, if it even happens.
It was bad enough when Cro Cop replaced Nogueira. But the latest news out of the Cro Cop camp is that he has injured his eye and has blood in it.
Dana White has said Cro Cop will undergo a battery of tests when he gets to Indianapolis to determine whether or not he can fight. If he can't, maybe Frank Mir can come out and shadow box for a little while or something.
Frank Mir is a two-time UFC champion. He tried going up in weight and power for his last fight against Shane Carwin, and it didn't work out quite the way he'd hoped for.
So this fight, he's aiming to drop back down to about 255. Mir is an extremely well-rounded fighter, with good boxing, excellent BJJ, and solid wrestling.
He owns the record for most submissions by a heavyweight. Recently, he's been talking about dropping down to 205, where he feels he may be able to compete better.
Mirko Cro Cop was a great fighter. About three years ago.
Since then, age has caught up to the former Pride superstar, as well as some vicious KOs. Like the taste of his own medicine Gabriel Gonzga gave him, he's pretty much washed up as a fighter, as evidenced by his "submission" of Pat Berry.
Cro Cop has no chance in this one.
Mir by Submission in first round.