JONATHAN BROOKINS VS MICHAEL JOHNSON
PREDICTION: Brookins (rear naked choke, round 2)
After watching the Ultimate Fighter season 12, this should be a good fight albeit one Brookins should win. Johnson always seemed to fight only slightly better than his opponent and squeak out wins. However, Brookins ran through his opponents making it look easy. He’s quicker, more athletic, and has more ways of beating his opponent. Unless Johnson catches him with a big punch, Brookins wins this.
IGOR POKRAJAC VS STEPHAN BONNAR
PREDICTION: Bonnar (TKO, round 3)
As much as I want to pick a fellow Croatian, they just haven’t had much success in the UFC. Bonnar’s record is deceiving, but he’s been in every fight he’s had. As much as both fighters tend to lend themselves to decision fights, Bonnar’s UFC experience should lend itself. Despite this, I expect Bonnar to come out swinging and dominate the pace.
DEMIAN MAIA VS KENDALL GROVE
PREDICTION: Maia (triangle choke, round 3)
I give Grove credit for winning The Ultimate Fighter, but he’s not even in Maia’s league and he yet again made his life in the UFC difficult by taking a fight he shouldn’t have. Maia is a submission guru which lends itself well as Grove has never been submitted, but Maia has transformed into a more complete fighter and can take the fight to the ground at will. I think he’s got too much to use not to win.
RICKY STORY VS JOHNY HENDRICKS
PREDICTION: Hendricks (unanimous decision)
Both fighters are riding a solid winning streak and flying under the radar in the UFC. However, one thing I’ve noticed is that Story tends to struggle against dominant wrestlers. With Hendricks big hands (he knocked out Amir Sadollah) and his ability to control the fight on the ground, he should have no problem winning unless Story catches him in a submission.
NAM PHAN VS LEONARD GARCIA
PREDICTION: Phan (unanimous decision)
Nam Phan looked good in The Ultimate Fighter house. It wasn’t until later that I realized he was fighting 10 pounds over his normal weight class. He’s got great hands and is a very technical fighter. Garcia is a straight banger who comes out swinging and tends to throw technique to the wind. He probably had the fight of the year against Chan Sung Jung. Phan should win this easy as long as he stays smart and true to his game.