Main Event: Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Roy Nelson
Here we have two veterans meeting in the octagon. Unfortunately, both Nogueira and Nelson are on the downward spiral in their careers. Both have been inconsistent lately with Nelson losing his last two and Nogueira posing a 2-3 record in his last five.
Looking at the stand up, Nogueira definitely has the edge technically and he has a very underrated boxing style. Before he was submitted by Frank Mir, he dropped him with an excellent combination with his hands.
Furthermore, Nogueira boxed his way to victory against Randy Couture at UFC 102. This compares to Nelson's boxing that really is nothing but 'throwing for the fence.' Nelson holds a lot of power in his hands, finishing every one of his UFC match-ups by T/KO.
On to the ground game, both are some of the best in the heavyweight division. However, Nogueira is well ahead of Nelson. For years he was regarded as the best BJJ practitioner in MMA and still is regarded as one of the best today. Although Nelson is solid on the ground, Nogueira is a different kettle of fish.
I think that the only way Nelson wins is to land a haymaker on Nogueira. Other than that, it's the former UFC interim heavyweight title holder's to lose.
Nogueiria via decision
Clay Guida vs Tatsuya Kawajiri
You know what you're getting when Guida fights. His energy, cardio and relentlessness is what has got him to where he is today. Since dropping to featherweight, he has had two very close fights. He meets a newcomer to the UFC - but by no means a newcomer to MMA - in Kawajiri.
Kawajiri has fought the best outside the UFC. He met Gilbert Melendez for the Strikeforce lightweight title along with Eddie Alvarez, Shinya Aoki and Josh Thompson. His ground game is very good, finishing four of his last five by submission.
Guida has looked good in his win against Hatsu Hioki and loss against Chad Mendes. I think that Guida's energy and pace will be too much for the debutant Kawajiri. Although the Japanese star has fought on some huge shows, there is none bigger than the UFC. Nerves are one thing, but meeting Guida is another.
If you look at when Kawajiri fought Melendez, Gilbert started very fast and did not let 'The Crusher' settle. That is Guida's style. he'll mix up striking with takedowns and dirty boxing against the cage and get the W.
Guida via decision
John Howard vs Ryan LaFlare
This is a very good match up by Joe Silva as both fighters are hungry and want to progress. Since being cut from the UFC, Howard has gone 8-1 including capturing the CES middleweight title. LaFlare, on the other hand, poses a perfect 10-0 record.
LaFlare looked very good in his last fight against the tough Court McGee. I think that if LaFlare can get this fight to the ground, he will make it very hard for Howard. Three of his 10 wins have come via submission.
However, Howard is very well-rounded. When he was first cut from the UFC, he lost to Jake Ellenberger, Thaigo Alves and Matt Brown. All three are top welterweights now. Since he's spent time away from the UFC, Howard has worked hard on becoming solid in all areas. He displayed this in his win over the very well respected Siyar Bahadurzada, as he dominated in every aspect.
Howard via decision
Ramsey Nijem vs Beneil Dariush
This fight only goes one way.
Nijem was runner up in an Ultimate Fighter series that was extremely poor with the exception of Tony Ferguson and Miles Jury.
Nijem has very poor stand up and relies on wrestling in his fights. When he gets it there, Nijem doesn't capitalise. He leaves huge gaps that can be capitalised with a submission.
This is where Dariush capitalises. The 24-year-old looked exceptional when submitting Charlie Brenneman on his debut. His left hand dropped his opponent and he followed it up with a Rear Naked Choke for victory. This is what I see happening in this fight. Ferguson and Jury finished Nijem by T/KO. I think Dariush is too talented not to do the same.
Dariush via T/KO
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