I’m back for another installment of “Take it to the bank!” In UFC 119, I was 9-2 in picking fights. Although, just like Evan Dunham, I feel robbed. Either way that was by far the best fight of the night, as the rest of the card kind of feel flat.
Well, UFC 120 from England is coming up this Saturday, so it’s only right that I give you the picks to make you rich.
James McSweeney (4-5) Vs. Fabio Maldonado (17-3)
I have never been impressed with McSweeney. A guy who has been stopped by punches from Mustapha Al Turk and Neil Grove really shouldn’t be competing in the UFC. He might be the only guy in the UFC with a losing record (somebody check Phil Baroni’s record please).
Maldonado is making his UFC debut; he is coming into this fight with a 10 fight win streak. Maldonado also happens to train with the Nogueira brothers. Most of his wins are by TKO and two of the three losses came from some type of submission. I don’t see McSweeney attempting any kind of submission in this. I look for Maldonado to earn his first win in the UFC.
Winner: Fabio Maldonado TKO Round 2.
Spencer Fisher (23-6) Vs. Curt Warburton (6-1)
There is not a lot to say about Spencer Fisher. The guy brings it. He throws his hands better than anybody in the lightweight division. His biggest problem has been his regularity in the UFC. He is coming off two losses in a row.
Enter Curt Warburton, England’s own who has a win over Ross Pearson. Most of Warburton's wins come via some type of strikes. So if anything, this fight should be a standup slugfest. But who wins in this stand up slugfest? Good question. Well, first the fans do, but besides that I have to give an edge to Fisher. Coming off two losses really does something to a fighter.
Winner: Spencer Fisher Unanimous Decision.
Mark Hoist (8-2) Vs. Paul Sass (10-0)
Mark Hoist boasts a 0-1 Octagon record. He has some good wins out of his eight. He fell short to John Gunderson in his last and only fight in the UFC. Paul Sass is an English triangle machine. The reason I dubbed him that awesome nickname is because seven out of his 10 wins come via triangle choke.
He is debuting in the UFC, and some will say the pressure might hurt him, but I don’t think it will since the fight is in England. Hoist is very well rounded and this is a tough fight to pick. But the hometown and the undefeated record are going to be hard to conquer.
Winner: Paul Sass Submission Round 3.
Stanislav Nedkov (10-0) Vs. Steve Cantwell (7-3)
I am a huge Steve Cantwell fan and am very excited that he is back from whatever it was that kept him from fighting. With all that being said, he has his hands full. He has not been fighting for over a year, and is fighting an undefeated pit bull of a man.
Nedkov is a bully in the ring. He has a TKO win of Travis Wiuff and a split decision win over Kevin Randleman. Most of his wins are by TKO, but he does have a submission game. Most of his fighting has been in Bulgaria against opponents that are not well known.
Cantwell has been out for a little over a year but has fought better competition overall. This basically comes down to styles, and styles make fights. I can’t pick against Cantwell. I won’t do it.
Winner: Steve Cantwell Split Decision.
Rob Broughton (14-5-1) Vs. Vinicius Kappke de Quieroz (5-1)
Broughton is an English fighter who has knocked out James Thompson twice and has a TKO victory over the one and only Butterbean. Broughton seems to be well rounded, with his 14 wins coming in all diverse ways.
Quieroz might have a long and difficult name to pronounce, but it usually does not take long for this guy to end things. All five of his victories are via KO or TKO and four of them come in the first round.
His lone loss is by submission, but I don’t think that is going to play a part in this fight. Quieroz is 6’7" and fights out of Chute Box Academy, ever heard of it? This should be two heavyweights who go in there and swing until one falls down.
Winner: Vinicius Kappke de Quieroz KO Round 1.
Cyrille Dibate (16-6-1) Vs. Alexander Gustafsson (9-1)
Dibate or The Snake is an exceptional striker. He is long and lean for 205 and is dangerous for anybody. He has fought some top guys; a loss to the champion Shogun really put his striking on the map. He also might be known for being the striking coach for team USA on The Ultimate Fighter, even though he is French.
Gustafsson is a commanding striker who ended Jared Hammon’s night early at his UFC debut. He dropped a submission loss to Phil Davis, and there is no shame in that, because Phil is an excellent fighter.
This has fireworks written all over it. I am really interested in seeing who wins the striking. The Snake is more technical, while Gustafsson is more powerful. They both are very tall for this weight and I feel like this could be a fight they show on TV. It is a hard one to call, but damn it somebody’s gotta do it!
Winner: Alexander Gustafsson KO Round 2.
James Wilks (7-3) Vs. Claude Patrick (12-1)
James Wilks is The Ultimate Fighter 9 winner; he holds a 1-1 record in the UFC. I have never been blown away by Wilks, but reports are he is one of those fighters who is a stud in the training room. He just hasn’t brought it when the lights are on.
Claude Patrick is a tremendous fighter. He is very well rounded but his grappling is what stands out. None of his 12 wins are by decision and his only loss is to a monster middleweight, Drew Mcfedries. This is going to be a tough fight for Wilks, as I see Claude just being better everywhere.
Winner: Claude Patrick Unanimous Decision.
Cheick Kongo (15-6-1) Vs. Travis Browne (10-0)
Travis Browne has quickly caught my eye, a 6’7" beast from Hawaii who dismantled an undersized James McSweeney in his UFC debut. He undoubtedly has a sterner test in the always spirited Cheick Kongo. I think Cheick fought really smart in his fight with Paul Buentello. He stood up for a bit, but knew he had an advantage in the grappling and took advantage of it.
Eight of Browne’s wins come by some type of Knockout. This is a tough fight to call because I don’t know which Cheick Kongo is going to show up. Either way I think this is going to be a competitive fight, but I’m going to pick the upset.
Winner: Travis Browne TKO Round 2.
John Hathaway (14-0) Vs. Mike Pyle (19-7-1)
This fight is the one where a prospect becomes a contender. I think John Hathaway is going to run through Mike Pyle and make a statement. I don’t see this being a close fight and I hope they give Hathaway a Top 10 or even a Top 5 fighter after this.
Winner: John Hathaway TKO Round 2.
Dan Hardy (23-7) Vs. Carlos Condit (25-5)
This is the fight I am looking forward to the most. I just don’t see any way this fight could be boring; I just can’t see it. Dan Hardy is coming into this fight with the loss to GSP, while Carlos Condit is coming in with a massive win over highly touted prospect Rory Macdonald.
I have literally thought about how this fight would go about 20 times since it was announced. I have both of them winning either way. If Hardy wins, it will be by stoppage or he will take a split decision. If Condit wins, it will be by submission or split decision.
This fight is the characterization of a pick 'em fight. As big of a Dan Hardy fan that I am, I just see him maybe being a little too over confident with his new BJJ skills and I think he might get caught in a choke, because I think Carlos will have to break his arm for him to tap.
Winner: Carlos Condit Submission Round 3.
Michael Bisping (19-3) Vs. Yoshirio Akiyama (13-2)
This is a significant fight for both of these fighters. I have never believed the hype with Bisping when he came off the show, and I still haven’t been blown away by anything that he has done thus far.
The same goes with Akiyama; he has a lot of hype behind him because of how popular he is in his home country. That could be said for both of these guys; they are where they are at right now because of the popularity they carry in their respected countries.
These guys are good fighters, but I just don’t think they would main event if they weren’t who they were. With that being said, I see a hometown upset happening. Bisping received a gift in the Hamill fight, and I don’t think that will be the case here. I see Akiyama being in better shape than the Leben fight and really using his Judo.
Winner: Yoshirio Akiyama Unanimous Decision.