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.
Meet the experts
Mike Calimbas (mopthemats.com) – (17-15-0) Mike Calimbas is an MMA Writer, devotee, and fan that has been a part of the Mixed Martial Arts community for over fifteen years. He has served as a ring official & timekeeper for amateur MMA in numerous local events in Texas with the USACA/Lonestar Beatdown. Mike has also written and provided analysis on the topic of MMA & Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for various online publications, including FightLine, Ploomy, and MoptheMats.com. Mike has been training BJJ, etc. on-and-off for the past six years. Off the mats, he spends most of his time with his family, including his baby son, Nicholas and girlfriend, Megan. For more on Mike, check him out on http://twitter.com/mikecalimbas.
Justin Trapp (fighterportraits.com) – (18-14-0) Justin Trapp is a photographer, designer and one of the premier marketing minds in the MMA industry. He manages the branding and marketing for mma companies, fighters and gyms. He has been a loyal fan of the sport since its inception and works to educate the biased. To see some of his work visit his website, fighterportraits.com.
Richard Burmaster – (18-14-0) Richard Burmaster is co-founder of (and a writer for) thecagedoor.net. He has been active in the MMA scene for close to 8 years and has trained in MMA for the last 5 years. His job keeps him on the go across the United States, and thus has afforded him the opportunity to train in many of the top gyms across the nation. From Army combatives to the Militech Fighting Systems, he has been able to try out many of the martial arts from coast to coast. When Richard is not working on his full time job, training in MMA or working with thecagedoor.net, he enjoys spending time with his wife and son.
|Michael Lytle||Name||Ola Siyanbola|
Mike: Never one to lack metaphorical phrases, Sam Hoger calls his pupil the “Anderson Silva of the South.” That’s high praise for somebody with one amateur bout under his belt. However, Ola’s performance in the cage hasn’t indicated anything other than the promise that this type of hyperbole may some day be worth it. Siyanbola is a lightning quick fighter who guns for highlight reel knockouts with a pretty devastating arsenal of kicks. He’s also one of those fighters that seems to have a neverending motor too. His opponent Michael Lytle has a 3-1 record walking into this match with all of his wins coming via submission so he’s obviously no slouch on the ground. His last bout was a title victory win for the Texas Amateur Fighting League just last month. Will Lytle continue his streak and submit the slick Siyanbola? Or will Ola dot the exclamation point on his rapid ascent to stardom via one of his head kicks? Prediction: Ola Siyanbola via 2nd round Knockout.
Justin: Ola looked impressive in his last win and Lytle is tough for anyone but I really see Ola taking a progressive step forward in this next fight. Prediction: Ola Siyanbola via Unan. Dec.
Rich: Ola is primed and ready to take over the Houston scene as the most exciting fighter at 155lbs and this is his chance to show us all his head kick KO in his last fight was the rule and not the exception. I no nothing about his opponent sorry dude. Prediction: Ola Siyanbola via Knockout.
|Alex Morono||Name||Pete Sprajc|
|Gracie Barra The Woodlands||Gym||Westside MMA|
Mike: I predict fireworks in this one judging from their recent bouts at Legacy Muay Thai shows.
In watching Sprajc take on Mike Castillo in April, it was clear to see that Pete stays pretty true to a technical Thai boxe style. With solid clinch, extremely fast leg kicks, and solid straight shots with his hands, he certainly seems more the wily veteran than amateur fighter when it comes to the stand up game. Alex Morono seems a little more a wildcard on the feet but with several distinct advantages. Primarily, with a huge frame and some power in his hands, Alex definitely has all the tools to be a power puncher. Watching his recent fight with Cody Phillips at the June Muay Thai event, I definitely view Alex as a fighter who looks to bully his opponents on his feet.
What does this all add up to in this matchup. Well, if Sprajc can control the distance, then I think his technical ability may be able to carry him through. If Morono can weave his way inside and turn this into a brawl while staying out of the taller fighter’s clinch, then he’s got his shot to end it on the feet as well. I actually think that clinch area of the game may be the X-Factor in this matchup. Can Pete deliver some destructive attackes there with his hands, feet, and knees, or will Morono be able to muscle through them via dirty boxing or taking it to the ground? If it does go to the ground, I look for Morono to try and control this fight via top control and ground and pound, and I attribute that mostly to the fact that I view him as the stronger fighter.
Prediction: Alex Morono via Unan. Dec.
Justin: You wont find two nicer guys outside the cage, inside the cage is a different story. Pete has great muay thai and is a game opponent for Alex who has impressive muay thai himself. I think this fights depends on Alex’s cardio. He always comes out like a bat out of hell but in this match I think Pete’s experience will help him tremendously. Hard pick but I ultimately see Alex taking this via sub. Prediction: Alex Morono via submission.
Rich: Petar Sprajc is a very technical fighter who seems to have his condifence back after a great showing in the Muay Thai card. Petar has great striking and is always looking for the finish. Alex Morano is a hungry young fighter with very sharp technical skills both striking and on the ground. I think this fight comes down to is Morano has improved his gas tank since we last saw him. With the GB guys behind him I am sure he has. Prediction: Alex Morano via Submission.
|John Malbrough||Name||Jon Thibeault|
|Kingwood MMA||Gym||4oz Fight Club|
Mike: A seasoned amateur, John Malbrough has seemingly fought just about everybody at 185, including the likes of Andrew Craig and Pat Bierschwale en route to finally winning the Legacy 185 title. Equally comfortable on the ground and on his feet, what I see from John Malbrough is a fighter who never folds in fights, not giving up when he’s down and hard as hell to put out. On the other side of the cage, you have Jon Thibeault, a fighter who’s nickname is “Rudy.” I have no idea why they call him that as he is neither short, nor do I think anybody has ever told him he’s too small to play any sport. Maybe Jon has the drive of an entire football team and goes Rudy when he has his sights set on goals but I digress. In Thibeault, what can be seen is a fighter that is insanely strong for the 185 ibs. weight class. As evident in his win over Craig Garner, Thibeault loves to muscle his opponents from the clinch and deliver solid ground and pound. His submission prowess doesn’t look like a walk in the park for his opponents either. This title bout is going to come down to a battle of heart and will, and I look for both guys to leave it all in the cage in a potential fight of the night. Prediction: John Malbrough via split decision.
Justin: A tale of 2 Jo(h)ns. John Malbrough gets better and better everytime he fights. Jon Thibeault looked good against the porn-stache king Gardner so this is a tough one to pick. I think in this fight we will continue to see the evolution of Malbrough as a mixed martial artist. Prediction: John Malbrough via Unan. Dec.
Rich: Rudy is very big 185lber and when you add his physical abilities with the gameplanning of The General and Jeremy at 4oz you have a very tough fighter who will be ready for war. Malbrough has shown great improvement since losing to Andrew Craig last year. With each fight we have seen a more confident John and a confident John is trouble for anyone in his way. I have to go with the champ here. Prediction: John Malbrough via Decision.
|Davis Fleming vs Ellis Boyd||Fleming||Fleming||Boyd|
|Colin Wright vs Carlos Jimenez||Wright||Wright||Wright|
|Shelby Sheehan vs Corey Garcia||Garcia||Garcia||Sheehan|
|Jacob Kugler vs Aaron Croon||Kugler||Kugler||Kugler|
|Martin Garcia vs Joe Trevino||Trevino||Trevino||Trevino|
|Philip Bourque vs Levi West||West||West||West|
|Scott Buzzaird vs David Armes||Buzzaird||Armes||Buzzaird|
|Jose Martinez vs Zack Fade||Fade||Fade||Martinez|
|Jeremy Hunter vs Kaileb Cummins||Hunter||Hunter||Hunter|
|John Gorrell vs James Gonzalez||Gorrell||Gorrell||Gorrell|
|Charles Lloyd vs Kendrick Holloway||Lloyd||Lloyd||Holloway|
|Brett Landriault vs Andrew Musquiz||Musquiz||Landriault||Landriault|