It's been a while since my last UFC predictions, but hopefully I'm not going to be too rusty. So far, I've hit a decent 24/33 main event picks correctly. This saturday we've got UFC 108, featuring the return of Rashad Evans, his first fight since being knocked clean out by Lyoto Machida. The card is fairly weak for a PPV event, as many of the original fighters such as Carwin, Nogueria, Condit, Gonzaga and Tyson Griffin pulled out do to injury. In fact, an unbelievable nine fighters have pulled out of the event due to injury since it was first announced.
Junior Dos Santos vs Gilbert Yvel
To be honest, I'm surprised to see Yvel even fighting in the UFC. As strong a competitor as he is, he can be very controversial being disqualified on multiple occasions for biting an opponent, poking the eyes of Don Fry in a fight, and knocking out a referee in a fight. Then again, the UFC is all about ratings. As for the fight itself, Junior Dos Santos has looked very good in his last few fights, showing some strong boxing skills, and a tough chin, but Gilbert Yvel is a strong kickboxer and won't give Dos Santos an easy target. That being said, I expect to see the younger Dos Santos push the pace like he did against Mirko Cro Cop and grind out the Unanimous Decision.
Jim Miller vs Duane Ludwig
Duane Ludwig is making his return to the UFC after almost four years, and will have his hands full with Jim Miller. Jim is one tough fighter, with his only loss in his last eleven fights coming at the hands of unbeaten Gray Maynard. Jim is a submission fighter, who can take a punch like a champ. Both his losses are decisions, coming against two of the top LW fighters in the UFC. Duane has shown to be susceptible to Jiu Jitsu, with half his losses coming via submission. Jim, I believe, is a far superior fighter, and should put him away with an early submission. I say, Miller by 1st round Rear Naked Choke.
Joe Lauzon vs Sam Stout
The return of Joe Lauzon who, in my opinion, is one of the best fighters in the LW division, and will be a contender by the end of the year. That is my prediction, write it down. Unfortunately, the first stepping stone on the way is ironically "Hands of Stone" Stout. Being Canadian, I have to support Stout, and although he is tough as nails and has great striking, being a professional kickboxer before going MMA, Joe Lauzon couldn't be a worse match up for him. Joe has a very strong chin, and flourishes when he fights against strikers. Ask Jeremy Stephens, Mike Brown and Jens Pulver. Expect Joe to work this fight to the ground, and either pound it out, or got for the armbar. I've got Joe taking the 2nd round armbar.
Dustin Hazelett vs Paul Daley
This is the fight that I'm most excited for on the card. Dustin Hazelett always puts on a Jiu Jitsu clinic when he fights, finishing fights with everything from flying armbars to inverted armbars. Dustin has showed that he has problems with stronger striking, being finished by Josh Koscheck, but his recent fights have shown much more techinical striking on Dustins part. Although Paul Daley has some of the best pure boxing in the welterweight division, he has been exposed on the ground often with five of his eight loses coming to submission. My gut tells me that Dustin will weather the early storm on his feet, and eventually catch Paul. I expect a late 1st round Guillotine win for Dustin Hazelett.
Rashad Evans vs Thiago Silva
This fight is tough to call. Thiago Silva is a scary looking dude, and I'm worried if I say Evans will win, he'll hunt me down, kill me, then do that sketchy slashing motion over his neck. Sorry Thiago, please don't hurt me you crazy Brazilian, but I honestly think Rashad is going to outwork you and take the decision. Thiago has some deadly striking, but Rashad has fought some people who can throw bombs and has beaten them. I think Thiago doesn't have quite enough tools in his toolbox to take out Rashad. Lyoto was able to implement a gameplan that made Rashad fight a style he didn't want to fight and caught him. Thiago won't be able to do that. I wouldn't be entirely surprised if Silva lands a haymaker and knocks Rashad out, but if Rashad fights his fight, he will frusterate Silva and win the unanimous decision.