This Saturday Night, we have UFC 131: Dos Santos vs. Carwin. This is a stacked card that features a little something for everyone, and one that should be a lot of fun. We didn’t get to this event without a speed bump, however.
For the second pay-per-view in the row, the UFC was forced to change their main event. Originally supposed to be Ultimate Fighter coaches Brock Lesnar and Junior Dos Santos, diverticulitis has once again taken Lesnar out of action. In steps Shane Carwin, who was originally scheduled to face the debuting Jon Olav Einemo, and himself returning from a lengthy absence due to injury. After it was widely speculated for months, Dana White officially announced earlier this week that winner would be getting the next shot at Cain Velasquez’s Heavyweight Title.
Also featured on the card is the Featherweight debut of Kenny Florian, as he drops yet another weight class to take on WEC veteran Diego Nunes. Although not official, rumor has it that KenFlo may be in line for a shot at Jose Aldo with an impressive performance.
Rounding out the PPV is Jon Olav Einemo vs. Dave Herman, Donald Cerrone vs. Vagner Rocha, Demian Maia vs. Mark Munoz.
Joshua Heizer – MMA Senior Editor for UltimateSportsTalk.com
Brian Willey – Owner/Operator of Effingham Computer Services
Rob Fletcher – Realtor, Republican Flag-Bearer, and proud Sh*t-Stirrer
Stephen Schlegel – MMA writer here at UltimateSportsTalk.com
Scott Keith – Canadian, Internationally renowned author, blogger, and (self-proclaimed) Smart-Ass
Isaac Castillo – Co-Worker and all around nice guy
Larry Cassano, III – Host of the “Award Winning and Critically Acclaimed”* The Ultimate Fight Show, heard
every Saturday at Noon (if you want his detailed analysis of the fights, you will have to tune in).
*The Ultimate Fight Show has yet to win any awards, and I doubt any critics have even listened to the
show. However, both Larry and Chris’s Mom’s are huge fans, and feel that their boys are on their
way to Superstardom!
Now, on to the picks…
Kenny Florian vs. Diego Nunes
Joshua – I’m a huge Florian fan. I know Nunes is a very, very solid fighter who is very intent on making a name with an upset against the former lightweight, but I got to go with my boy on this one. My pick: Florian, Round 1 Submission
Brian – Florian by KO
Rob – Nunes
Stephen – Florian will control a three round chess match, taking home a Unanimous Decision victory.
Scott – Fun fact: Ken-Flo is my favorite fighter after Lesnar and GSP. Given that he was going nowhere at lightweight and couldn’t win the title, cutting to featherweight is a cool choice on his part. I wouldn’t bet against him, either.
Isaac – Florian via Submission
Larry – KenFlo
Chris – Since being handily defeated by BJ Penn two years ago, Kenny Florian was in a bit of a holding pattern in the UFC’s Lightweight division. The introduction of the Featherweight division was a welcome option for Florian, and I think he is an immediate contender there. I like Diego Nunes a lot, but it is not his time. KenFlo by TKO.
Demian Maia vs. Mark Munoz
Joshua – This is a very interesting fight. Munoz has world class wrestling, while Maia has world class jiu jitsu. I see two possible scenarios. 1) Munoz takes Maia down over and over and works him on the ground for three rounds. OR 2) Munoz takes Maia down a few times and then gets tapped in the guard. I’m going with the second scenario. My pick: Maia, Round 1 Submission
Brian – Munoz by Submission
Rob – Munoz
Stephen – Munoz shows more aggression and denies Maia’s submission attempts, winning a boring Unanimous
Scott – I’m not a huge fan of Maia, and Munoz has been impressive the times I’ve seen him recently, so I think
Munoz gets the decision here. I think Maia might have peaked with his title shot against Silva, actually.
Isaac – Damian Maia via Decision
Larry – Damian Maia
Chris – Damian Maia, as impressive as his jiu jitsu is, just bores me. Mark Munoz’s wrestling is superb, and is less boring. All this probably means that somebody will probably be knocked out in highlight reel fashion. I doubt it. Munoz by Decision.
Donald Cerrone vs. Vagner Rocha
Joshua – Donald Cerrone is a beast. And a far more experienced fighter than Rocha. While Rocha has a
fantastic jiu-jitsu game, I think Cerrone is just too big and too strong for him. My pick: Cerrone via Decision
Brian – Cerrone by KO
Rob – Rocha
Stephen – The Cowboy peppers Rocha for three rounds, eventually finishing him via rear naked choke in the 3rd Round.
Scott – They could really use the Cowboy as a personality to carry the lighter-weight divisions, so hopefully he gets the big KO win here.
Isaac – Cerrone via Decision
Larry – Cerrone
Chris – Cerrone should be able to use his experience and strength advantage to bully Rocha around before an eventual Submission (of the Night) victory.
Jon Olav Einemo vs. Dave Herman
Joshua – Einemo hasn’t fought since 2006, but he’s stayed in shape and has not stopped training. Herman is a knockout artist with a wrestling base. Each is making their UFC debut, but are veterans of the sport. I think Einemo’s ground game is too much for Herman. My pick: Einemo Round 2 Submission
Brian – Herman by Decision
Rob – Einemo
Stephen – Einemo will avoid Herman’s strikes long enough to get the fight to the ground and secure an arm bar victory midway through the second round.
Scott – I don’t know enough to make a truly educated guess, so I’ll say Dave
Herman by Decision.
Isaac – Herman via Submission
Larry – Dave Herman
Chris – Einemo hasn’t seen real competition since 2006, while Dave “Pee Wee” Herman has been tearing up the smaller-tiered MMA promotions the past 5 years. Plus, you’ve got to love a big heavyweight named “Pee Wee”. Herman by KO.
MAIN EVENT Junior Dos Santos vs. Shane Carwin
Joshua – This fight is just going to be a fantastic display of pugilism. No doubt about it. The odds are very slim of a lay and pray and/or ground clinic. This will be two guys trading blows until someone goes down. Really all you need to do is guess which one will be standing at the end. My pick: JDS Round 3 KO
Brian – Dos Santos by Submission
Rob – Carwin
Stephen – Dos Santos will weather an early storm from Carwin, and overpower Carwin with strikes at the end of Round 1. Dos Santos wins via TKO in Round 1.
Scott – I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Carwin learned enough of a lesson from the Lesnar fight not to gas out in the first round, and I think he’ll actually pull it back a bit and knock Junior out in the second round to really mess up Dana White’s plans. JDS didn’t look terribly impressive against Roy Nelson, and I think
Carwin might end up being too much for him.
Isaac – Carwin via KO
Larry – Dos Santos
Chris – If you are a fan of “Catch-As-Catch-Can” classics, you will probably not be thrilled by this fight. While both are more than capable on the ground, the only way this one is getting there is after a blow to the face. Someone is going down, and going down hard. While I may be personally pulling for Carwin here, I predicted two years ago that JDS would be one of the next Heavyweight Champions, so I am sticking with that now. Dos Santos will win this one by TKO.
Let’s review the Favorites:
Kenny Florian 7-1
Mark Munoz 5-3
Donald Cerrone 7-1
Dave “Pee Wee” Herman 5-3
Junior Dos Santos 5-3
Remember to tune in Saturday at Noon for The Ultimate Fight Show, where Larry and I will look back at last weekend’s Ultimate Finale, preview this weekend’s UFC 131 and next week’s continuation of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament, and take a look at the biggest stories in the world of Boxing.
Enjoy the show!