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UFC 145 Preview and Picks

April 19, 2012

MMA

The long-awaited bout between Jon Jones and Rashad Evans is finally upon us.  Saturday, April 21, the former friends and ex-teammates square off in the Octagon at UFC 145 for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.

The story has been well-documented.  Evans was in line for a title shot against then-champ Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, but was unable to fight due to injury.  In stepped Jones, the high-rising star, who won the belt in impressive faction.

The war of words concludes this weekend, but the battle in the cage begins on PPV.  Still, it isn’t the only fight on the card.  UFC 145 is a balanced card between weight classes, showcasing the speed of lighter divisions, along with the power of the big boys.  Read after the jump for main card predictions and leave YOUR predictions in the comment section.

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Lightweight bout: Mark Bocek (10-4, 6-4 UFC) vs. John Alessio (34-14, 0-3 UFC)

Bocek is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, winning seven of his 10 fights submission.  Though he’s had success against lower level Lightweight competition, he’s had little success against the upper-echelon fighters.  Losses against Benson Henderson (which was for title contention), Jim Miller, and Frankie Edgar will keep him away from the title picture without an upper-tier win, though he is dangerous in a ground fight.

Mark Bocek is looking for his seventh UFC win.

Alessio is a longtime MMA veteran.  He has mostly battled in the independent circuits, but has had stints with Pride, WEC, and Dream.  He hasn’t fought in the UFC since Ortiz vs. Shamrock 3: The Final Chapter, losing a unanimous decision to Thiago Alves.  He’s 10-1 in his last 11 fights, winning six by submission.  He’s very experienced and can win by stoppage or decision.  He also holds victories over people legally named War Machine and Phil Collins.

John Alessio is an MMA veteran, with years of success on the independent circuits.

This fight will likely be a ground-based fight.  Alessio has won both of his last two fights by unanimous decision, but he can win with variety.  Bocek, the Jiu-Jitsu specialist, will look to finish via tapout.  If he can’t go to the ground, he loses.  Plain and simple.  But he will.  And he will get the win by stoppage.

Pick: Bocek – submission, 3rd Round.

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Featherweight bout: Mark Hominick (20-10, 3-2 UFC) vs. Eddie Yagin (15-5-1, 1-0 UFC)

Mark “The Machine” Hominick comes in with a lot of pressure to win.  He has lost two straight fights, including a wicked 7-second knockout at the hands of Chan-Sung Jung that tied a UFC record for fastest knockout.  The fight before was a unanimous decision loss to Featherweight champ Jose Aldo.  He’s submitted more fighters than he’s knocked out in his career.

Mark Hominick looks to rebound from his second straight defeat.

Eddie Yagin lost his only UFC fight to Junior Assuncao by unanimous decision.  He’s won in a variety of ways himself, with an assortment of rear-naked chokes and guillotines, plus a smattering of TKOs thrown in for good measure.

Eddie Yagin became the Tachi Palace Fights champion before receiving a UFC contract.

Hominick will be hungry to avenge his speedy loss to The Korean Zombie, but I don’t expect him to panic.  Hominick is a very talented fighter who rose quickly to the upper echelon of his decision.  His losses were the result of fighting a darn good fighter and just getting caught.  Yagin is a talented fighter, but Hominick is one of the better Featherweights in the world.

Pick: Hominick  – Unanimous Decision.

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Bantamweight bout: Miguel Torres (39-4, 2-1 UFC)vs. Michael McDonald (14-1, 3-0 UFC).

Miguel Torres almost wasn’t employed for this fight.  After sending out an offensive tweet, he was cut by UFC president Dana White, only to be rehired a short time later.  Ranked #6 in the world by Sherdog, he held the WEC Bantamweight Championship, and has two Fight of the Night honors.  He opened his career 37-1, mostly on the independent circuits.  He finished his WEC run with a 6-2 mark, and has won two of three in the UFC.  His last fight was a Unanimous Decision win over Nick Pace at UFC 139.

Miguel Torres is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt.

Michael McDonald is an exciting fighter, plain and simple.  At UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs. Davis, he won a unanimous decision victory over Edwin Figueroa, which claimed Fight of the Night honors.  His most recent bout, against Alex Soto at UFC 139, was a 56 second knockout that grabbed the Knockout of the Night award.  He has only gone to the judges cards once, and his fights usually end in a highlight reel finish.  He also holds a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Michael McDonald grabbed Knockout of the Night honors in his last bout.

McDonald is a speedy worker, with only four of his 15 fights escaping the first round.  Torres will want to work a slower pace, and his best shot is likely to take the fight to the ground.  Still, that will not be easy against against McDonald, who will make you pay if he catches up to you.  Torres is a talented, experienced fighter, but McDonald is so explosive from his feet.

Pick: McDonald – TKO 2nd round.

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Heavyweight bout: Brendan Schaub (8-2, 4-2 UFC) vs. Ben Rothwell (31-8, 1-2 UFC)

Heavyweight fights are truly fascinating.  All of the varied styles of MMA still factor in when predicting and watching the fights.  But as we saw in the Cain Velasquez – Junior Dos Santos bought, these guys are so big and strong that one wayward punch can change the entire fight.

At the Ultimate Fighter 10 finale, Brendan Schaub was knocked out by Roy “Big Country” Nelson.  He rebounded with two TKO wins, then destroyed Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic at UFC 128 with a devastating right hand that scored him Knockout of the Night honors.  He was knocked out by Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 134, but is very capable of stopping a fight in a moment’s notice.

Brendan Schaub ended MMA legend Mirko Cro Cop's UFC tenure.

Ben Rothwell has had mixed success recently.  He has lost to Andrei Arlovski, Mark Hunt, and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez.  His lone UFC victory was a Unanimous Decision win over Gilbert Yvel at UFC 115.  That fight was back in June 2010, and Rothwell tore his ACL, which kept him out of action until his Unanimous Decision loss to Mark Hunt.

Ben Rothwell has had a mixed bag of success recently, but looks to rebound.

Schaub is a fan favorite kind of Heavyweight.  He brings it with his standup game and can deliver a massive knockout quickly.  Rothwell will look better as he shakes off the ring rust a little more, and a three round fight may have benefited him last time out.  He will look good, but that might not stop Schaub’s incredible power.

Pick: Schaub – KO – 1st Round

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Welterweight bout: Rory MacDonald (12-1, 3-1 UFC) vs. Che Mills (14-4 [1], 1-0 UFC).

Many people are very high on Rory MacDonald’s prospects.  His Fight of the Night at UFC 115 against current UFC Interim Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit was a coming out party.  MacDonald controlled the first two rounds of the fight before Condit came back with a vengeance in the 3rd round.  MacDonald couldn’t hang on and dropped a TKO loss with just seven seconds remaining, but impressed many.  Since then, he holds wins over Nate Diaz and Mike Pyle and a win against Che Mills could start getting him some talk for title contention.  He trains at Tristar gym, the same gym that Georges St. Pierre trains at.

Rory MacDonald fought valiantly against Interim Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit.

Che Mills made a big statement to the UFC with his debut, a TKO win over Chris Cope at UFC 138.  His TKO win over Marius Zaromskis in 2008 won him the Cage Rage British Welterweight Championship.  Zaromskis currently holds the DREAM Welterweight title.  Only four of his fights have gone past the first round, so a quick KO or submission is nothing new for him.

Che Mills exploded into the primetime at UFC 138 with an explosive knockout of Chris Cope.

This is a fascinating fight, as the winner could draw very close to challenging the eventual GSP-Carlos Condit victor.  This fight may or may not go for a while.  Nothing should be incredibly surprising, but it will be very exciting.  It should also be a nice build for both guys, as they come on right before Jones-Evans.

Pick: MacDonald – Submission 2nd Round

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Light Heavyweight Championship bout – Jon Jones (15-1, 9-1 UFC) vs. Rashad Evans (18-1-1, 12-1-1 UFC)

Jon “Bones” Jones is a freak of nature.  A 205-pounder who could easily move up to Heavyweight, he has the explosive speed of Weltwerweights and Middleweights, with the stopping power of Heavyweights.  His only loss was a disqualification loss against Matt Hamill, where he was DQ’d for using 12-6 elbow strikes.  His 84.5” reach is just sickening, and nobody has really found a way to effectively close the gap.  Lyoto Machida did an OK job in the first round of their title fight, but Jones figured him out quickly and put him to sleep with a standing guillotine.  He has an expert wrestling background, but has added submissions to compliment a good standup game.  His unorthodox strikes are marvelous to behold, as we combos spinning back fists with that freakish range.  He is truly a fighting machine.

Jon Jones has destroyed everyone that he has fought in the 205-lb division.

“Sugar” Rashad Evans is a very talented fighter, but a very polarizing figure.  His only loss was a KO loss to Lyota Machida, who Jones handled easily.  Rashad has bested a who’s-who of fighters.  Chuck Liddell, Michael Bisping, Forrest Griffin, Thiago Silva, Quinton Jackson, and Tito Ortiz have all been claimed as Evans’ victims.  Though he began his career as a wrestler, he has become a very good standup fighter.  Still, he can be very tentative.  His fights can become dull sometimes, as he waits for his opponent to push and make a mistake.  But it works, and he is among the elite in the Light Heavyweight division.

Rashad Evans has dominated the Light Heavyweight division, but Jon Jones may be his toughest fight yet.

Rashad will have the same problem as everybody else in the Light Heavyweight bracket.  He gives up nearly a foot in reach to Jon Jones.  But he trained with Jones, and apparently wrestled with some success against the current champ at Greg Jackson’s gym.  But the same goes for Jones, who seems to get better every fight.  He always has a new trick, a new wrinkle, or new tactic to try.  Opponents have difficulty mimicking him in training because his body and his skills are so unorthodox.  If Rashad can outwrestle Jones, he can win.  Maybe.

Pick: Jones – TKO 3rd Round

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About mattpocket

I am the Sports Director at 88.3 FM WXOU Radio, out of Oakland University. I am the play-by-play voice of the Oakland Golden Grizzlies. I've been to two NCAA Tournaments, been heard on ESPN, and won 9 Michigan Association of Broadcasters Awards. Follow me on Twitter. @cornerpocket422 You can tune in to The Corner Pocket every Friday from 3-5 pm with my cohost Bryan and Everson and myself, featuring the best guests, such as Dave Birkett, Jim Nill, and Bruce Buffer.

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One Comment on “UFC 145 Preview and Picks”

  1. Grieser Says:

    No way in Hell does shad win. i assure we will see shad face part two. if you arent familiar with the shad face, look it up on sherdog. you will laugh your ass off.

    a few more things. rothwell sucks and hes getting cut after this loss.
    mcdonald will roll
    mark hominick should rename himself mark “hematoma” hominick

    Reply

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