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UFC on FOX: Diaz vs. Miller picks

May 4, 2012

MMA

Last time out, I picked four of the six fights correctly.  Not a bad first try.  Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller might not be a card packed with top-tier names, but it should still represent the UFC well.  Only four fights on the main card this weekend.  Let’s dive right in to Cinco de Mayo’s UFC on FOX 3.  Leave your picks and thoughts in the comment section.  Read picks after the jump.

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Heavyweight bout – Pat Barry (7-4, 4-4 UFC) vs. Lavar Johnson (16-5, 1-0 UFC)

Pat “HD” Barry is a legitimate heavyweight.  Though he dropped two in a row before wrecking Christian Morecraft, he’s capable of making anybody go stiff as a board.  He’s also a kickboxer with nine knockouts to his credit in that realm of martial arts.  Because of his kickboxing background, he likely won’t submit somebody unless they invite him to, but he’s lost by tapout a couple of times in his career.

Pat Barry turned Christian Morecraft into a plank… then demonstrated that visual to the UFC fans.

Lavar Johnson is a butt-kicker.  He lost his last two bouts in Strikeforce, but is an accomplished MMA fighter.  He’s trained with American Kickboxing Academy, meaning he specializes in standup work, like many heavyweights.  He’s never gone to the judges scorecards, and has only grabbed one submission victory.  After his first loss, he rolled out an eight-fight winning streak.  He then lost two in a row before smashing seven more faces in.  Coming off of another two-fight loss streak, does this mean Johnson is in line for another big string of victories?

Lavar Johnson is a high level kickboxer who survived multiple gunshot wounds in 2009 to get back in the fight game.

This one should be quick, but exciting.  Two kickboxers going head-to-head means we likely won’t see much action on the ground unless one guy gets rocked and is hanging on for dear life.  It’ll be fast, with a flashy, brutal knockout.

Prediction: Barry – KO 1st Round

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Middleweight bout – Rousimar Palhares (14-3, 7-2 UFC) vs. Alan Belcher (17-6, 8-4 UFC)

Rousimar Palhares is nuts.  He’s a Brazilian jiu-jitsu master who’s won an astounding seven fights by the “Heel Hook from Hell.”  He executes wild body slams, utilizing his stocky frame at 5’8″, 185 lb. to batter opponents, then catch them with those submissions.  By the way, he also won a fight by kneebar.  This guy is crazy fun to watch.  His UFC debut was a nice win over Ivan Salivarry, with this cute little armbar.

Alan Belcher has built up a nice resume in his time in the UFC.  Until his last fight with Jason MacDonald, he had claimed nightly awards in each of his last four fights.  Two Submission of the Nights and two Fight of the Nights later, he’s established himself as a fun guy to watch who can win in a variety of ways.  He began his career as a guy who won mostly with his fists, but has developed a rather nice ground game, earning a black belt in jiu-jitsu.  He, too, has some wicked wins.  See below, particularly around the 1:00 mark.

Pick: Palhares: Submission (Heel Hook) – 2nd Round

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Welterweight bout – Josh Koscheck (17-5, 15-5 UFC) vs. Johny Hendricks (12-1, 7-1 UFC).

Josh Koscheck is a guy people love to hate.  He’s quite the outspoken character, often playing the role of a pro wrestling heel before most of his fights.  He is a former NCAA Division I wrestling champion, but also brings one-punch knockout ability.  The welterweight division is known for wrestling, Georges St. Pierre, and little else.  Koscheck s a guy who builds up his fights and brings it in the Octagon.  Despite his wrestling background, he’s trained with AKA in the past, giving him plenty of standup experience.  He can win in the standup game or on points.  Koscheck is the definition of a true mixed martial artist and Sherdog has him ranked #3 in the world in the 170 lb. division.

Josh Koscheck could throw himself back into Welterweight title contention with another big win.

Johny Hendricks has a big beard.  He’s also the 2005 and 2006 NCAA Division I wrestling champion at 165 lb.  He holds two Knockout of the Night honors in his UFC tenure, including the brutal knockout of Jon Fitch in the video below.  Like many Welterweights, he brings high level wrestling skills to the table.  Like Koscheck, he adds a little bit more variety to his game.  He isn’t just a wrestler, though his wrestling is superior to most guys in the division.  Sherdog has him ranked as the #4 Welterweight in the world.

Pick: Koscheck – Unanimous Decision

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Lightweight bout – Nate Diaz (15-7, 10-5 UFC) vs. Jim Miller (21-3, 10-2 UFC)

Nate Diaz is the younger brother of Nick Diaz, and is more or less the same guy.  Cocky, tough-as-nails, and ready for a war.  He’s claimed five Fight of the Night honors, three Submission of the Night honors, and is the Ultimate Fighter Season 5 winner.  He’s an animal in the cage, but has had mixed results in recent UFC bouts as he tries to adjust his game.  He is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, though, and has executed many wicked submissions.  UFC president Dana White has said that, with a victory, Diaz is in line for a shot at the Benson Henderson’s Lightweight title.  Unless he pulls a Nick Diaz.

The Diaz brothers are not nice. That might help Nate pound Jim Miller’s face at UFC on FOX 3.

Dana White has stated that Jim Miller is, incredibly, still a fight or two away from a title shot, even if he defeats Nate Diaz.  Though Diaz is 5-5 in his last 10 fights (wins over Donald Cerrone and Takanori Gomi are good wins, but the record still stands), Miller has wiped out everybody except title-holder Benson Henderson and frequent contender Gray Maynard.  His rear-naked choke victory over Melvin Guillard, combined with his sparkling UFC record, have many believing that he should be in line.  Miller fights in a variety of ways, and holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.  He trains at AMA, which specializes in BJJ and Muay Thai Kickboxing.

Jim Miller won’t be thinking title shot when he steps in the cage. Instead, he plans on just having his hand raised in victory.

Pick: Miller – Unanimous Decision.

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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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3 Comments on “UFC on FOX: Diaz vs. Miller picks”

  1. jumpingpolarbear Says:

    Rousimar is a beast. Don’t know if he is too short for the division, but his ground game is insane!

    Reply

  2. mattpocket Says:

    Kos isn’t really a straight wrestler anymore though. He’s turned into a pretty decent kickboxer, too. And really, I’m not sure how Kos flipping off fans is any different than a top level boxer or other fighter getting miffed at them either. Fans don’t have to like a guy. He doesn’t have to like them either. Frankly, it sells fights. Fights he typically wins. I’m not the biggest Koscheck guy either, but the dude wins.

    As for Diaz, I get why Miller would be a fight or two away. He’s beaten a ton of guys who are nowhere near title contention, so merely handing him a title shot for having one great win and a bunch of nice undercard wins isn’t a great way to build a guy up. But Diaz? He’s struggled mightily lately. His wins are better than Miller’s, but why would you set a guy up for a title shot if he’s shown that he probably wouldn’t be able to defend it? The Diaz brothers are fun to watch because of their antics, but Nick is a far superior fighter, frankly. This feels like a method to keep Nick in the fight game and get him back to face Condit/GSP by setting up Nate. It seems to me that they’ve really hyped up Miller as a fighter that they really don’t believe he is… only he might very well be. They might think that they’ve hyped up an inferior guy that they think will be fed to the Diaz wolves. But Miller’s pretty good. This isn’t a cakewalk, and I’ve got him coming out on top.

    And as I wrote above, Barry/Johnson is going to be straight kickboxing. Johnson trains at AKA, so if either guy wins by submission, I’ll be stunned.

    Reply

  3. Grieser Says:

    great card. my thoughts.

    pat barry is a bit of an oddball. great standup. not so great ground game. honestly i dont know jack about johnson so that match is up in the air for me.

    I’d like nothing more than to see Hendricks take Koscheck out just like he did with Fitch after the way Kos acted after his last fight. Flipping the bird to the people who pay to watch a fight is garbage. I predict it stays a stand up fight and Kos is outclassed. Thats usually what happens when two guys of ground fighting disciplines are matched up.

    And if I may say so myself, I think you and Sherdog both overrate Koscheck. Ill take Rory Mcdonald, GSP, Fitch, Ellenberger, Hendricks and Condit over him right now.

    Im also going with Paul Harris (Palhares, if you cant figure it out) for the simple fact that he is a beastly personification of the type of jiu jitsu i hope to practice one day. His internet memes are effing hilarious too. And dammit, i love leg locks.

    Miller and Diaz. I like Jim Miller. i’d like to see him get a shot. Hell, even if Dana disagrees, the man deserves a title shot if he wins this fight. I cant stand the Diaz brothers. In the last year they dismantled two of my favorite fighters. I think their act is a load of bull in and out of the octogon. Seeing another Diaz Hype train get derailed so soon after the last one would bring me much happiness.

    Reply

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