Expert Predictions: Legacy FC – January 29, 2011

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We are expecting big things out of our expert prognosticators in 2011. We’ve even stepped up the game a bit and added 2 more members to the panel.  Back again are Justin Trapp (, Mike Calimbas ( and Rich Burmaster (, and joining them this time around is Lance Edwards ( and AJ Hoffman (Houston MMA Examiner).

Instead of keeping our experts record like we did last year, this year we’ll be keeping track of their point total.  For every correct pick they get +5, for every correct round picked they get +2 and for every method they pick right they get +3.  If they pick the correct award winner they get +5 for each. If this sound familiar it’s because we are using the same scoring system for our Legacy Fan Pick’em Contest.  You can play along and when the fights are over, we;ll compare your score to our experts!  Plus, if you score the highest, you can win some swag!

Do you agree with them or do you think they are crazy? Either way, let ’em know!  When you’re done reading all the pics, feel free to leave your own picks and comments below and let our experts and Houston know who you think is going to win and why.


Jordan Rivas vs Justin Murray

Jordan Rivas Jordan Rivas Name Justin Murray Justin Murray
6’0″ / 168lbs Ht/Wt 6’0″ / 170lbs
#7 Rank Not Ranked
3-0-0 Record 2-0-0
Elite MMA-Houston Gym Bushi Ban – World Headquarters
Justin – Mike PICKS AJ – Lance – Rich

AJ: I am really looking forward to this one. I haven’t seen either one get pushed. They both had dominating wins at Legacy last July and Murray just destroyed Bryan Garcia at IXFA. This one is a coin flip for me, but I will take Murray just because I have seen more of him.

Prediction: Justin Murray via Submission in Rd 2

Justin: I should know better than to pick against Justin. Justin is a very well rounded fighter.  One place Jordan does have a perceived advantage is on the ground.  I believe if he can get Justin on his back he will be successful from there.

Prediction: Jordan Rivas vis Submission in Rd 2

Lance: Both good submission guys, I think we’ll have a good fight on our hands. Both of these guys are finishers and Im sure we’ll see it go to the ground.  I see Murray as pulling off the sub however.

Prediction: Justin Murray via Submission in Rd 2

Mike: On ‘In the Cage’ last week I heard the guests in studio pick Jordan Rivas in this fight by virtue of his BJJ Black Belt. “When two grapplers fight, pick the one with the higher rank,” they said. They also said they didn’t know too much about Rivas prior to this fight but they will after it. Justin Murray is much improved but Rivas will show he is on another level by submitting Murray in the second round.

Prediction: Jordan Rivas vis Submission in Rd 3

Rich: Jordan Rivas is a scary good BJJ black belt and will look to take this fight to the ground immediately. Justin’s wrestling is good enough to stuff the takedown and he has shown high level BJJ skills himself in tournaments and in his recent MMA fights..Look for Justin to use his BJJ to avoid the submission attempts of Rivas and get back to his feet where he should hold an advantage,

Prediction: Justin Murray via TKO in Rd 3

Ricardo Talavera vs Jeff Rexroad

Ricardo Talavera Ricardo Talavera Name Jeff Rexroad Jeff Rexroad
6’0″ / 170lbs Ht/Wt 6’3″ / 170lbs
#5 Rank #9
2-0-0 Record 1-1-0
Elite MMA-Houston Gym Paradigm Training Center
Justin – Lance – Mike Picks AJ – Rich

AJ: Honestly, I have not seen Talavera fight, and I can’t find any footage online. My first impressions of Rexroad are that he is a really good ground fighter, but he spars with the Bronzoulises and Melancons of the world, and they have nothing but good things to say about it. This is only a half-educated pick, but I think Rexroad takes it.

Prediction: Jeff Rexroad via Decision.

Justin: This fight has been the toughest for me to pick…I go back and forth….I am a huge fan of the way Ricardo fights but with the same breath i was really enjoying rexroad’s fight with gardner switching from submission to submission…..flips coin………Ricardo

Prediction: Ricardo Talavera via TKO in Rd 3.

Lance: Both these fighters come from strong camps, and both will have been doing a LOT of preparation for this one. Rexroad has been around a long time training, with a brown belt in BJJ and improving skills in kickboxing Rexroad is no cake walk.

I really think Talavera is going to be a stand out in 2011 if he increases his activity level for fights. He’s extremely athletic and with a background in san shou I believe will edge this one out for the win.

Prediction: Ricardo Talavera via TKO in Rd 2.

Mike: Ricardo Talavera’s family and mine are very close. About as close as I believe these guys are matched in terms of skill, both truly very well-rounded guys. Like Rexroad said on the radio, “”a jack-of-all-trades.”” That’s how I perceive both of these guys. I see this one as a possible FOTN candidate, which I believe Ricardo will win likely by choke in the 3rd after two rounds battling in the clinch and controlling the striking from the middle distances. However, I will ABSTAIN from picking this bout officially due to the fact that there might be a probably of bias on my end due to our close friendship and I see this as a close one to call.

Side note – If any of my friends from Paradigm wants to bet on this though, I have $50 on Ricardo Talavera. Let me know and bring cash to the fights. 🙂

Prediction: Ricardo Talavera via Submission in Rd 2.

Rich: Talavera is one of the most explosive fighters in Houston. Solid knee’s from the clinch wait any fighter who gets to close.Rexroad has a solid overall game and his ability to chain together submission attempts make him a dangerous foe.

Prediction: Jeff Rexroad via Submission in Rd 2.

Daniel Pineda vs Levi Forrest

Daniel  Pineda Daniel Pineda Name Levi Forrest Levi Forrest
The Pit Nickname The Barbarian
5’7″ / 145lbs Ht/Wt 5’11″ / 170lbs
#1 Rank #1
11-7-0 Record 6-0-0
4 oz Fight Club Gym Gracie Barra – The Woodlands
Lance – Rich Picks AJ – Justin – Mike

AJ: I love watching Daniel fight, but he is still not quite as complete of a fighter as I would like to see. Forrest has a great story, and it will be interesting to see how he responds to the weight cut. I think he is a little more well rounded, and if shows any jiu-jitsu here, he should take it.

Prediction: Levi Forrest via Submission in Rd 2.

Justin: Congrats to Daniel for being the cover athlete for the debut of Legacy Magazine.

Its hard for me to pick against an undefeated fighter who looked very good at 170.  I do believe Pineda is much better than his record indicates…I think this fight will come down to gameplan and the Gracie Barra unit seems to have gameplans down pretty well.

Prediction: Levi Forrest via Decision.

Lance: What a tough one to call! Forrest is undefeated, whereas Pineda has a fair few losses on his record. Both these guys are finishers. Forrests only trip to decision was in his win against Bronzoulis, and Pineda’s philosophy seems to be win or die trying…

I expect a fast paced fight, and to be honest I struggled to decide which way I will go on this one, picking between Pineda by TKO and Forrest by sub, I settled on Pineda.

Prediction: Daniel Pineda via TKO Rd 3.

Mike: It’s very hard to pick against a streaking Daniel Pineda after his impressive performance against Rey Trujillo but I’ve got to do it. Houston hasn’t really seen much of Levi Forrest since his extremely impressive win against Mike Bronzoulis last March but all his pedigree remains the scene. He’s got a very even-keeled and balanced stand-up style and thirteen years of wrestling acumen to back it cup. Couple that with the fact that he is going to be the bigger fighter walking in and that puts him in the position of favorite for this one. He’s gone five rounds before and I think he’ll do it again to take the decision.

Prediction: Levi Forrest via Decision.

Rich: Do not leave your seats when this fight starts as it may not last long. Which ever fighter gains the advantage will likely finish the other via TKO .Two of Houston’s toughest fighters . The only question is how will the weight cut affect Levi?

Prediction: Daniel Pineda via TKO Rd 2.

Brian Melancon vs Derrick Krantz

Brian Melancon Brian Melancon Name Derrick Krantz Derrick Krantz
Nickname D-Rock
5’8″ / 160lbs Ht/Wt 5’10″ / 170lbs
#2 Rank Not Ranked
4-1-0 Record 10-3-0
Paradigm Training Center Gym No Gym on File
AJ – Justin – Lance – Mike Picks Rich

AJ: Krantz is really good, and is going to be a good gauge for where Melancon is at. 2 losses, one to Todd Moore and one to Dustin Poirier, who just got his first UFC win (in dominating fashion). That said, I think Melancon at 170 is scary. We saw what he has in his hands at 155 when he finished Moore, and who knows what he will look like at 170. I expect that his cardio is better without the cut, and if he fights a smart fight he should take a tough win

Prediction: Brian Melancon via Decision.

Justin: Todd Moore beat Derrick and Brian beat Todd a few months back.  I know I know styles make fights but in this one I see a charismatic Melancon coming out of this one similar to the Todd Moore fight.

Prediction: Brian Melancon Rd 2 TKO.

Lance: Last time I wrote a prediction on Melancon i mentioned my concerns for him weight cutting, with his move to 170 I wont be voting against him on that basis.

Krantz is one of Texas’ most well respected fighters, with a record of nine wins and two losses according to Sherdog, and 10-3 on our own more accurate TCD rankings, Krantz brings more experience. Whereas Krantz lost to Moore, Melancon defeated Moore in their previous meetings.

Melancon is on the path to vindication, and Im sure he’ll be hungry! I doubt we’ll go past the second or third round in this one.

Prediction: Brian Melancon Rd 2 TKO.

Mike: If I were going to Legacy to see one fight, it would have to be this one. Reason being, both fighters are well-rounded physical specimens that throw as if they wear brass knuckles into the cage. They’re also both extremely hard to finish from any position. I’d have to give the edge to Melancon on the feet and Krantz as far as ferocity in his ground-and-pound. The experience factor along with the submissions go to Krantz… The more I think about it, D-Rock may just be the betting favorite in this fight but I think it’ll be very close. If it all comes down to that one shot, I have a hunch Melancon carries his power to 170 and lands the hook combo that wins it.

Prediction: Brian Melancon Rd 2 TKO.

Rich: This will be a very close fight and has potential to be fight of the night. Krantz is a tough fighter with the skill set to beat anyone at any given time. Melancon will be fighting back at 170 for the first time since having trouble with the 155 weight cut.Look for Brian to want to end this early with big power shots. Coin flipper IMO.

Prediction: Derrick Krantz via Decision.

Joe Christopher vs Mike Bronzoulis

Joe Christopher Joe Christopher Name Mike Bronzoulis Mike Bronzoulis
Jitsu Nickname
6’0″ / 170lbs Ht/Wt 6’0″ / 170lbs
Not Ranked Rank #2
11-5-0 Record 10-2-1
No Gym on File Gym Paradigm Training Center
Picks AJ – Justin – Lance – Mike – Rich

AJ: I have only seen Christopher fight once, and he seems a little one dimensional. I think this is probably just the next step for Mike B. He really seems to be on the rise right now. I know Christopher hasn’t been knocked out before, but Mike is looking to finish him.

Prediction: Mike Bronzoulis via TKO in Rd 2

Justin: Both of these guys are experienced fighters not to mention they are top shelf talent.  I have seen Joe’s fights on Youtube and HDNet and I have seen Mike fight in person…. Initially I picked Joe Jitsu to win but after further review via Youtube im going with the Greek.

Prediction: Mike Bronzoulis via TKO in Rd 3

Lance: Joe “jitsu” Christopher is someone many local fans may not have seen, but he’s no slouch, a Bellator and MFc veteran, Christopher has a good five years at a professional level under his belt.

Everyone knows Bronzoulis in Houston, and after a first round defeat of the tough Harris at his last outing, he appears to be stepping up in his level of competition.

Expect to see bronzoulis come out strong, as this plucky power puncher tends to look for the KO. Christopher I feel will try and take Bronzoulis down, he’s good at sticking to his opponent on the ground and getting the sub.

I chose Bronzoulis for the win, but please guys hide the salad at the weigh-ins!

Prediction: Mike Bronzoulis via TKO in Rd 1

Mike: Based on what I’ve been hearing lately, Joe Christopher has been on top of his game and putting in an exceptionally good training camp. He’s a career fighter and family man who takes his profession seriously. He will, however, be walking into a hostile environment in Mike Bronzoulis’ hometown. The Greek puts up an exceptional pace and is a very active fighter, esp. with his GNP. I don’t think either fighter will finish the other. This one will go to the judges’ cards and I believe Mike B. will win out due to superior top control.

Prediction: Mike Bronzoulis via Decision

Rich: Mike B is on a roll and looks unstoppable right now. Look for him to look to outstrike Joe early and then finish this fight on the ground.

Prediction: Mike Bronzoulis via KO in Rd 1

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John Malbrough John Malbrough vs Patrick Greene Patrick  Greene
AJ – Lance – Mike – Rich PICKS Justin

Patrick  Greene Jennifer Scott vs Karina Hallinan
Justin – Rich PICKS AJ – Lance – Mike

Patrick  Greene Angel Huerta vs Andy Sandoval Patrick  Greene
AJ – Justin – Lance – Mike – Rich PICKS

John Malbrough David McClung vs Alex Morono John Malbrough
PICKS AJ – Justin – Lance – Mike – Rich

John Malbrough Rey Trujillo vs Justin Reiswerg Patrick  Greene
AJ – Justin – Lance – Mike – Rich PICKS


Awards AJ Justin Lance Mike Rich
Sub. of the Night Levi Forrest Jordan Rivas Justin Murray Jordan Rivas Jeff Rexroad
KO of the Night Angel Huerta Angel Huerta Brian Melancon Brian Melancon Mike Bronzoulis
Fight of the Night Melancon v Krantz Talavera v Rexroad Melancon v Krantz Scott v Halliman Melancon v Krants

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For complete coverage of Legacy Fighting Championship on January 29th, check out the Legacy FC section of