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Scott’s Picks: UFC 124 – Predictions and Pre-Fight Thoughts

UFC 124

Predictions and Pre-Fight Thoughts

by R. Scott Reis

Another season of the Ultimate Fighter has come and gone which means its time for another pay-per-view to be headlined by opposing coaches from the show. Some of the matchups between coaches (Hughes/Serra, Evans/Jackson) have fallen flat, with the most recent (Ortiz/Liddell) falling apart completely. However, it’s hard to imagine Koscheck/St. Pierre bringing anything but exicitement to the cage, so let’s go ahead and look to next weekend and the fights that await us.

 Main Card Analysis

Joe “Daddy” Stevenson (31-11) vs. Mac Danzig (19-8-1)

            The battle of the ringers of the Ultimate Fighter. Seriously, having guys this experienced come through the TUF was a crime. Danzig had already fought 21 times (including fighting Sakurai in PRIDE) when he came onto the Ultimate Fighter, and Stevenson had already fought 29 times. Neither lightweight has really found his groove yet in the UFC. Stevenson has had problems with opponents he could not take down and Danzig has had problems with opponents who repeatedly take him down. One fighter will lose a very frustrating decision here; hint: my money isn’t on the vegan to take home the win.

Jim Miller (18-2) vs. Charles “do Bronx” Oliveira (14-0)

            Dana White might as well cut the Fight of the Night check for these two guys right now. Both coming off impressive wins from UFN 22 right here in Austin, Texas, these two lightweights won’t slow down. I’d give “do Bronx” the nod for the jiu-jitsu advantage, but Miller definitely has the superior wrestling. This will be a standup war and whoever wins the takedowns will win an exciting decision. I’m guessing Oliveira.

Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve (20-4) vs. Sean “Big Sexy” McCorkle (10-0)

            I’m not really sure why this bout is on the main card. Outside of quick losses to Roy Nelson and Junior Dos Santos who are both considered at the top of the heavweight division, Steven Struve has handily beaten every heavweight he’s faced in the UFC. I don’t see McCorkle, who lacks experience in the big show giving Struve any kind of challenge he hasn’t overcome before. Expect Struve to finish an overmatched McCorkle with strikes.  Afterwards, “Big Sexy” will be relegated back to the undercard where he can gain some much needed experience.

Thiago “Pitbull” Alves (17-7) vs. John “Doomsday” Howard (14-5)

            Expect fireworks in this fight followed by somebody taking a nap facedown on the canvas. Alves is an easy favorite going into this fight, with a much higher level of experience against quality opponents. Some may point to Howard’s knockout power, but remember Doomsday is a guy who last year was sneaking by Tamdan McCrory and Chris Wilson (who have both since been cut from the UFC roster) with split decisions. Look for Alves to hurt Doomsday standing and finish up with strikes on the ground for a TKO victory.

Georges “Rush” St. Pierre (20-2) vs. Josh “Kos” Koscheck (15-4)

            Most oddsmakers have GSP as an almost prohibitive favorite coming into next Saturday. I’ve seen this fight as wide as -500/+300 in GSP’s favor. I think stylistically this fight is closer than many people are considering. Sure, GSP has looked unstoppable in his last few fights. But against whom? A gassed BJ Penn and two fighters with less than stellar wrestling, Hardy and Alves. The last really good wrestler GSP faced was Jon Fitch, whom he battered standing for 5 rounds. Koscheck has significantly better standup than Jon Fitch however, and a much more explosive wrestling style. In their first fight, GSP and Kos were both on their backs for periods of the fight. This fight will be a reflection of how much each fighter has learned and grown since their first encounter. GSP will probably still walk away the champ when the final bell has rung, but I won’t be shocked if the belt changes hands either.

 Undercard Quick Picks

Pat Audinwood vs. John Makdessi – Makdessi by TKO
Ricardo Almeida vs. TJ Grant – Almedia by Decision
Dan Miller vs. Joe Doerksen – Miller by Decision
Matt Riddle vs. Sean Pierson – Riddle by TKO
Jesse Bongfeldt vs. Rafael Natal – Natal by Submission
Dustin Hazelett vs. Mark Bocek – Hazelett by Submission

 R. Scott Reis is an avid MMA fan and amateur MMA writer who has competed in jiu jitsu bouts all over Texas and recently made his amateur MMA debut. He writes and trains out of Austin, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @TXMMAScott.