Tito Ortiz (15-6) vs Forrest Griffin (16-6)
Tito Ortiz has always been a polarizing figure in MMA. He has been brash, rude, offensive, and yet still maintained a huge fan base. His unreal conditioning, vicious ground and pound and stellar wrestling made him a very imposing figure in the cage. He defeated Wanderlei Silva by decision at UFC 25 in 2000, and he would defend the title 5 times before being defeated by Randy Couture at UFC 44 in 2003. Since then he has been on a roller coaster ride in the UFC. He was defeated by Liddell twice as well as beating Ken Shamrock twice. He left the UFC, became a referee in TNA wrestling, and he came back and defeated Forrest Griffin. Mix in a dispute with Dana White, marrying a porn star, and leaving and returning again, and you can see he has been on quite a journey. Tito has not won in the cage since Oct 10 2006 when he defeated an overmatched Ken Shamrock for the third time. He has two losses and one draw in that time period. This will be his first fight in nearly 5 years that he will be free from his back pain that hampered him the last few years. It will be interesting to see if his recent back surgery will bring us the old Tito back, the one that would overwhelm and wear out his opponents.
Forrest Griffin is a hard working banger who is coming off of the worst and most embarrassing defeat of his career. The original TUF winner from season 1 and a previous holder of the Light Heavyweight Championship, Forrest has had an up and down career. He is 4-4 since 2006. You never know what you are going to see from Forrest. He has the ability and chin to defeat top level fighters such as Rampage and Shogun, but not the mental make-up to make a run as the champ. His recent losses to Rashard Evans and Anderson Silva seem to really have dented his tough guy aura as well as his confidence. He looked like an amateur against Anderson in a fight where he was the bigger fighter. Forrest might always be the really tough gatekeeper. Those who want to be champions will have to get through him before they get a title shot, but he will unlikely ever get another shot. Â If Titoâ€™s back is fully healed, and if he is prepared, he will run right through Forrest. Look for him to shoot for the quick takedown or clinch Forrest against the cage early in the fight. Forrest needs to utilize his reach and great leg kicks if he is going to have a shot at winning this.
Predication: Â Ortiz via TKO Round 2
Josh Koschek (13-4) vs Anthony Johnson (8-2)
Anthony Johnson has serious power and a very good wrestling background. Josh Koschek has a vastly superior wrestling background and has fought higher caliber fighters. Cardio is always going to be a question for Johnson as he cuts a tremendous amount of weight, reportedly upwards of 25-30 lbs. Kos has shown great cardio especially during his fight with GSP. Josh has shown to have big power in his right hand, but he lacks the technique that Johnson has in his standup. If Anthony comes in shape he should be able to punish Kos standing. This could also be a really close grind it out fight.
Predication: Â Johnson via TKO
Paulo Thiago(11-1) vs Jacob Volkmann (9-0)
Jacob is a BJJ styled fighter who is on an impressive streak. Paulo pulled out a huge upset with his KO of Josh Koscheck, and then he was handled easily by Jon Fitch in his next fight. Paulo is a BJJ and Judo black belt with some serious skills and power. Even with his advantage standing, look for Paulo to look for a quick trip and take this to the ground.
Predication: Â Paulo via Submission in Round 2
Amir Sadollah (1-1) vs Phil Baroni (13-11)
If Amir can survive the first couple minutes with Baroni, he should be able to use his superior ground game to win this fight. Phil is notorious for having a light gas tank, and after his last fight with Joe Riggs, I see no reason to think it will be any different for this fight. Amir has very little experience, and I would usually not bet on a fighter with just two pro fights going up against a seasoned vet, but when the vet is a run down Phil Baroni, I will take my chances.
Predication: Â Amir via Submission in Round 2
Luiz Cane (11-1) vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueria (17-3)
Take away the DQ loss to James Irvin, and Luiz Cane is an undefeated fighter, who has not been challenged up to this point. Although a BJJ black belt he hold no true submission wins, as he prefers to stand and bang with his opponents. Antonio Nogueria has beaten a much better line up of fighters in his career including Allistar Overeem, Dan Henderson, and Sakuraba. He has underrated striking, and he also holds a black belt in BJJ. Cane will be the more aggressive fighter, but Antonio has an iron chin and great footwork. Hopefully, Antonio has learned to move his head, or Cane will test that chin quickly.
Predication: Â Antonio by decision
In other fights I will take Saunders, Rosholt, Uno, Sotiropoulos, and Larson.