Keith Jardine vs. Rampage Jackson
Keith Jardine always wins the fights he shouldn’t. He’s beaten Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell and Brandon Vera when no one gave him a shot. Rampage on the other hand has been up and down throughout his career – his latest down time in the summer when he lost his belt to Griffin. Look for Rampage to have another bad night and Jardine to use his leg kicks and distance to keep Jackson away to win a decision on all 3 judges scorecards.
Carwin will be too big and strong for a Gonzaga that has quit in the past. As good as Gabe can be, he can look weak, like a loss last year to Fabricio Werdum showed us. Looked for Carwin to put the heat on Gonzaga and win via 2nd round TKO.
Gray Maynard vs. Jim Miller
Jim Miller is a very tough guy who has developed into a great fighter. One day he will crack the top 10. But today that’s Maynards turn. Maynard has shown superior wrestling throughout his career and will show that at UFC 96. However, also look for a much improved stand up game and Maynard to surprise many by putting Miller away with ground and Pound in round 3.
Matt Hamill vs. Mark Munoz
Hamill showed in his August fight with Rich Franklin that he is not ready for the top 10 just yet. Well, I don’t think Munoz is even ready for the UFC just yet. Munoz was a star collegiate wrestler and is 5-0 in MMA. I think Munoz is Matt Hamill from 2 years ago. Not very many fights, and more importantly all outside of the UFC. Look for Hamill to put Munoz down with punches in the 2nd round on his way to a TKO victory.
Pete Sell vs. Matt Brown
Both guys really like to brawl and I would have to give the chin advantage to Matt Brown. Pete Sell has been up and down in his career and other than his last win over Josh Burkman, mostly down. Brown’s record isn’t superb, but he has fought a lot of tough guys and did well against the very dangerous Don Hyon Kim in August losing a split decision. Look for Brown to catch Sell late in the 2nd round on route to a KO win.
Undercard Quick Picks
Jason Day vs. Kendall Grove
Grove has his back up against the wall but Day does too coming off a loss. Look for Day to put pressure on Grove and give Day the decision win.
Ryan Madigan vs. Tamdan McCrory
I have this fight going Madigans way in an upset. He has very high level kickboxing and has never lost in MMA. McCrory hasn’t been developing his game like we thought he would and he will lose this one – giving him 2 losses in a row.
Tim Boetsch vs. Jason Brilz
Jason Brilz is a much better wrestler than Boetsch and will prove that Saturday night, moving his record to an impressive 17-1 via decision win.
Mike Patt vs. Brandon Vera
Vera needs this bad and will use his superior strikes to knock Patt out in the first round.
Shane Nelson vs. Aaron Riley
This is a likely the easiest fight on the card to call. Riley is much more experienced and skilled than the young Nelson and will put Shane away with kicks and knees early in round 1.
Agree or disagree with our predictions for UFC 96? Feel free to leave a comment below to have your voice heard. We’ll follow up after the big card tomorrow night.