“Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis (17-3) vs Ryan “Darth” Bader (22-5)
Look at these big boys making top dollar fighting for a belt live and free on Spike, soon to be the Paramount Channel, it’s a stage they would have never found themselves in the UFC. Who will win though? Who takes the gold? I just went to do some tape study using the trusty fightpass dot com. Searched Phil Davis and to my surprize the first fight I saw was in fact Phil Davis vs Ryan Bader. So then I realized I had to once again dive in. Submerge myself in the depths of a fight I had already forgotten. Luckily I can’t remember who won. Okay Having watched the first fight I can say this fight comes down some simple things. Davis will be looking for the takedown and though he has superior wrestling to Bader it isn’t by that great of a margin. So expect great defensive wrestling from Bader but he will give up takedowns considering how he attacks on straight lines. Bader’s willingness to throw on the feet will slowly put Davis into a defensive shell. Bader may not find that fight ending strike but his consistent work rate will diminish Davis’ will to fight.
- Bader via Decision
Aaron Pico (0-0) vs Zach “The Altar Boy” Freeman (8-2)
Aaron Pico looks like the real deal and at 20 years of age it would be a shame to see all his talent not get put to good use. Both a amatuer boxing and wrestling champion Pico seems like the pick here. I like his chances transitioning to MMA and putting him against a journeyman like Freeman will hopefully bring out the best in him. Just too much to like about Pico in this fight he has to be the pick.
- Pico via KO
Michael Chandler (16-3) vs Brent Primus (7-0)
I should preface this by saying I am a huge Chandler fan and he has some of the best athleticism I’ve ever seen in MMA. Chandler doesn’t last longer than a round and a half before he really starts to fade. Now I could go on and on about all the tricks he pulls out when he is tired but ultimately it can cost him fights. Brent Primus is a talented yet untested kid looking to prove he is legit.
- Chandler via KO
Douglas Lima (28-6) vs Lorenz “The Monsoon” Larkin (18-5)
Lorenz Larkin is also one of my boys and I think he uses his speed and movement to pick Lima apart. Larkin will presumably have success with the leg kick but he is also sort of a headcase who checks out in fights. That is not something you want to do with Lima who can finish you because of just one mistake. At his best Larkin is an offensive dynamo and I hope to see a stunning display of striking. Be on the lookout for Lima’s own leg kicks and his vicious counter left hook.
- Larkin via KO
Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko (36-4) vs Matt Mitrione (11-5)
Seeing Fedor rocked by Fabio Maldonaldo I just can’t pick him here. Mitrione is a fun guy and I like his movement based striking at heavyweight. Though he has a tendency to move directly into overhand rights. Of the two I think Mitrione’s chin can hold out maybe just a second longer and that is why he is the pick.
- Mitrione via TKO
Chael “PEE” Sonnen (28-15) vs Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva (35-12-1)
Like what do you even say? Chael has lost his last two fights cause he blew it in wrestling exchanges, something I should stress is his strength, then just gave up. Wanderlei on the other hand hasn’t fought since 2013 and it was a wild fight with the now retired Brian Stann. Wanderlei was dropped several times in that fight and a few of his fights previously. I’m just gonna pick Chael cause I am a old fan and at the very least he was willing to fail a drug test instead of run away.
- Sonnen via Decision
I Should note Heather Hardy is making her MMA debut and I don’t know much about her. I watched this one fight and I think she has a really cool style of striking just look at her timing. If she can make things click inside the cage she could conceivably be one of the best female flyweights on Earth. With the UFC just getting around to starting their own female flyweight division it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.