It's been a long time since we've done this. Booth will be riding solo for this one but here are our 2012 staff pick 'em stats as we head into UFC 152 -
Booth: 66-41 62%
McKeating 17-11 61%
Rose 31-26 54%
Tierney 18-21 46%
Expect to see the written pick portion phased out as we start up our radio show moving into 2013. Until then, here our the picks for UFC 152. Welcome back to the Octagon folks! We will start with the pay-per-view portion of this much welcomed card that will take place in lovely Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Main Card (PPV)
• Light Heavyweight Championship: Jon Jones (C) vs. Vitor Belfort
Vitor Belfort can win this fight. If he does though it'd have to be early. The majority of his 14 career knockouts have come in the 1st round. He has power in his hands that make grown men lose sleep at night. The problem is, can he get inside of Jon Jones' hearty 10 inch reach advantage to utilize his mitts? If anyone can, it's Vitor.
I can see this fight going one of two ways. Vitor gets inside and put those old lion paws on the temple of Jones, he stuns him like he's never been stunned before. Then Vitor follows up the way only "The Phenom" can, a blitz of punches at a hundred miles per hour rendering Jones unconscious and ******* up everyone's pound for pound rankings. So there's always that.
Then you have Vitor keeping his distance. Maybe he doesn't come out with a blitz, maybe he lays back and lets the young lion come to him. Well for one, that could make for a long and boring night. Well, maybe not. It would allow the champ to pick apart his prey from the outside. It'd give Jones a major advantage. Look out for a repeat of the Anderson Silva front kick or something else just as spectacular. Jones has an arsenal that would make Thierry Henry proud. And he's just getting started folks.
Jones via something you can put on a poster, or a commercial for the first EA UFC video game.
• Flyweight Championship: Joseph Benavidez (124.4) vs. Demetrious Johnson (125)
Josepeh Benavidez is the uncrowned flyweight champion. He has been for years. If only I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say "When they make a division at 125, this guy will be the king." Luckily for the "Beefcake" they made this division while he's still relatively young at the age of 28. He's going against a guy who has really proven himself at 125 already by taking on Ian McCall twice. After a frustrating situation in Australia, all "Mighty Mouse" did was come back and defeat McCall in a very decisive manner, earning himself this date with Benavidez tomorrow night.
It's been quite the journey for both of these men and as a fan who is having a tough time picking favorites the longer he stays close to this sport, the ideal situation would be for both of these men to go home with the gold. It just doesn't work that way though. Again, luckily for both of them they are in their 20's and are the two perfect fighters to get this 125 pound division started off with a bang. Keep McCall in that mix and watch out for the Moraga's, Dodson's and Cariaso's of the world. Tomorrow night there will officially be someone for all of them to gun for. His name will be Joseph Benavidez. The force is strong with this one.
Benavidez via unanimouse decision. No that is not a typo.
• Middleweight Bout: Michael Bisping (185.6) vs. Brian Stann (185.4)
This one really isn't that hard to pick. It's a great fight but I don't see how Stann drops this one. "The All-American" is a +155 dog and you better believe he'll be a part of my parlay. So why is Brian Stann such a sure thing?
If Bisping wants to win this he has to stay on his bike and pedal around Stann, pick his shots and stay away from the power of the well decorated U.S. Marine. The thing is, Stann is pretty quick himself. He even proved against Alessio Sakara that he can knock you out inside your guard. Like Bisping, he utilizes his knees as well but when Stann throws anything, he throws to put you to sleep. Bisping just doesn't have the power to finish Stann and it's unlikely that he will wear him out. I'm going with Stann to make a statement here and even though he won't be asking for a title shot, he just may get it anyway.
Stann via "how can one man have so much power."
• Light Heavyweight Bout: Matt Hamill (205.6) vs. Roger Hollett (203.6)
Facing Alexander Gustafsson on short notice and getting finished in ultraviolent fashion would make me want to retire as well. It's ok Matt, and welcome back, nice to see you again. Have fun dominating Roger Hollett with your above average wrestling.
Hamill via wrestling and Tito Ortizesque grounding and pounding.
• Featherweight Catchweight Bout: Cub Swanson (145.8) vs. Charles Oliveira (146.4)*
This is matchmaking at it's finest. A win over Charles Oliveira puts Cub Swanson right back where he was before he dropped that embarrassing 8 second fight to Jose Aldo back in the summer of '09. He's put himself right back on the map with some devastating KO's over Ross Pearson and George Roop, making him the comeback fighter of 2012 so far.
Oliveira has to be the scariest new addition to the 145 pound division. He followed his sub of the night calf slicer victory over Eric Wisely with a filthy anaconda choke win that deleted TUF 12 winner Jonathan Brookins from any sort of title contention, anytime soon. Swanson is susceptible to being choked and Oliveira is a master. You have to give the advantage to Cub though standing up. The Jackson's submission fighter has to be smart not to follow Oliveira to the ground unless he's absolutely positive that he is stunned to the point of no return. Tough fight to pick but should be a fun fight to watch. Perfect fight to kick off the pay-per-view portion of tomorrow nights festivities.
Oliveira via guillotine.
Prelim picks after the break.
Preliminary Card (FX/Sportsnet)
• Light Heavyweight Bout: Igor Pokrajac (205) vs. Vinny Magalhaes (204.8)
Have you seen any of those ADCC videos with Vinny Magalhaes. Man this guy is fun to watch. Don't let his record fool you. He's dangerous anywhere the fight goes and he's getting a second chance in the UFC. I refuse to believe Vinny is taking this lightly. If he can avoid the power of the Duke and take this one to the ground look out for a submission of the night performance - well actually being on the same card as Oliveira will make that tough - from the last M-1 light heavyweight champion.
Magalhaes via submission.
• Lightweight Bout: Evan Dunham (155) vs. T.J. Grant (154.6)
Evan Dunham confuses me. I can't tell if he's a future contender or pretender at 155. Don't get me wrong, the dude has plenty of talent. But can he rise to the occasion when called upon. I think that awful judges decision against Sean Sherk set him back a little bit. He drops one to Guillard, (who can knockout anyone on any given night) and then reels off a couple straight against two pretty tough guys in Bailey and Lentz. Now he gets a Canadian in TJ Grant that looks phenomenal in his new weight class.
Grant, like Dunham, is a big 155'er. A win here in front of his home crowd (Nova Scotia is about 20 hours away from Toronto, give or take, so it's really not his home crowd but the fans will treat him like it is) will do wonders for Grant. Dunham is a tough opponent but I believe he's a permanent gatekeeper. And TJ Grant is ready to do his best Paul Engemann impression. He will "Crash the Gates." He may even walk along the razor's edge while he's at it.
Grant via decision.
• Welterweight Bout: Sean Pierson (169.4) vs. Lance Benoist (170.4)
That KO loss at UFC 129 against Jake Ellenberger left a bad taste in Pierson's mouth. Now he's back in Toronto and unfortunately Lance Benoist is the unlucky cat that will pay for it.
Pierson via TKO.
• Featherweight Bout: Jimy Hettes (145.8) vs. Marcus Brimage (145.4)
Hettes (pictured) just looks like a little punk kid. One of those preppy jerks that doesn't get the hottest girl in class but she's pretty damn close. He does well in sports but isn't the star of the team. He's a class clown and he probably makes fun of nerds like me. I have no evidence of any of this but it's just what comes to mind when I look at him.
So we have two southpaws here that are looking to make a statement and gain relevance in the shark tank that is the UFC featherweight division. This division is just filled to the brim with killers and I believe Jimy (with one M) Hettes is one you're gonna want to look out for.
Hettes via UD.
Preliminary Card (Facebook)
• Welterweight Bout: Seth Baczynski (171) vs. Simeon Thoresen (170.4)
The Polish Pistola vs. The Grin. Both great nicknames but I give the advantage to Baczynski, slightly. So based on that I'll give Thoresen the fight.
Thorsesen via submission. Sidenote - Out of 33 combined victories in the pros, 25 have come by way of submission for these two combatants.
• Bantamweight Bout: Walel Watson (135.2) vs. Mitch Gagnon (135)
Bryan Caraway is a tough opponent for your UFC debut. Gagnon should have better luck against "The Gazelle" tomorrow night and as long as he doesn't feel the pressure in front of his friends and family in Toronto I really like him to finish Watson here.
Gagnon via submission.
• Welterweight Bout: Charlie Brenneman (170.8) vs. Kyle Noke (170.4)
Hendricks has seen a lot of press lately after being the most outspoken fighter from the UFC 151 (R.I.P.) He's calmed down now though and actually has stated that he is thankful for the extra 4 weeks he's had to train for Kyle Noke. You know what that means.
Noke via "Smashes"
photos via - combatlifestyle , ufc
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