UFC 113 predictions, preview and analysis

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This UFC 113 preview is brought to you by Comcast.

UFC 113: "Machida vs. Shogun II" is set to go down this Saturday, May 8, from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, live via pay-per-view.

Remember: MMAmania.com will provide LIVE updates with blow-by-blow, round-by-round commentary of the main card action on fight night, which is slated to air on PPV at 10 p.m. ET.

To get us pumped for the event, MMAmania.com Editor and Senior Writer, Jesse Holland (that’s me), has finally shed those other deadbeat contributors like a bad case of fleas. Besides, they were never right anyway and as we all know, Nostradumbass is never wrong.

The rematch we've all (kind of) been waiting for has arrived. Was the UFC light heavyweight belt held hostage while these two try to figure out who really won their first go-round at UFC 104? And did the trickle down effect alter some other high-profile 205-pound match-ups?

Someone's to blame for Jon Jones being paired up with "The Janitor..."

In welterweight action, Paul Daley and Josh Koscheck are one fight away from challenging Georges St. Pierre for the 170-pound title. We know "Semtex" can strike and of course "Kos" can wrestle, but which trash-talking contender will make the first mistake?

One thing that isn't a mistake is the inclusion of Kimbo Slice on a UFC pay-per-view. We know that he can draw on free TV -- but will the layperson fork over some greenbacks to watch the bearded brawler duke it out with Matt Mitrione? And how much do you increase his competition if he wins?

There will certainly be a lot to talk about on Sunday morning.

I’ve also included the current betting lines for each fight so that you can get a feel for what the money has to say about the chances of each combatant.

Now, enough with the formalities … let’s get cracking.

205 lbs.: Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida (16-0) vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (18-4)

Nostradumbass predicts: I like this fight. I like it because for a while there, Muay Thai was the striking of choice for the upper echelon of fighters while Karate was merely a punchline to a bad MMA joke. Probably right around the same time that Machida was stringing together four straight unanimous decisions while "Shogun" was making a mockery of the PRIDE rank and file.

Then out of nowhere the scales tipped.

Rua debuted in the UFC against Forrest Griffin to embarrassing results and "The Dragon" started breathing fire on the world's best light heavyweights. Karate was back (as were the Chuck Norris jokes), but was it here to stay? After a shaky start, Rua seems to have turned things around. And he's going to try to prove that Machida-do is Machida-done with another round of punishing kicks and aggressive style.

Here's the X factor: Did Shogun show his hand last October? If that was the very best he has to offer and Machida now knows exactly what to train for, will it be as effective the second time around? And if it is, will Machida consider the ground game as an alternative?

We know the Urinator has submission skills but so does Rua. True, his only tap came at the expense of an overzealous Randleman, but when 15 of your 18 wins come by way of (T)KO, it's hard to encourage someone to hit the mat.

This is a very difficult fight to predict, but I'm leaning towards another close decision for the champion. As I alluded to previously, I believe the first fight was a gift -- not just in the decision, but in the strategy for their rematch. He knows what's coming. The question is, can he stop it? Maybe, maybe not. But I believe he can at least avoid it long enough to take three out of the five rounds.

Betting lines (as of May 7):

Machida: -185 ((Bet Now))

Rua: +155 ((Bet Now))

Prediction: Lyoto Machida via unanimous decision

170 lbs.: Josh "Kos" Koscheck (14-4) vs. Paul "Semtex" Daley (23-8-2)

Nostradumbass predicts: Is GLAD or Hefty the new sponsor of Paul Daley? I'm all for trash talk, but this guy is one smashed watermelon short of a Gallagher concert. You do a great job of making fun of Koscheck and the Romoshop gag was good for a laugh, but let's not forget that "Kos" earned his spot --and will be making his seventeenth appearance inside the Octagon on Saturday night.

Career longevity is almost a myth in this sport, but Koscheck is always game and happens to be pretty talented. Why all the hate? The hair? The wrestling? Some guys just can't get the love but it doesn't matter, he doesn't need it against "Semtex."

Now I don't believe Koscheck will waste time with Daley on his feet. Why should he? The takedowns (I think) will be there all day. I don't buy into the talk about the Brit overhauling his takedown defense and Kos isn't just your garden variety wrestler.

Daley is very experienced, but half his wins have come against fighters who couldn't be identified in a police line-up by their own siblings. Has he been impressive in the UFC? Absolutely, but that's because two fighters (who should know better) let him stay in his comfort zone.

I'll never understand that in this sport.

If you're a relief pitcher in baseball and Hymie Rabinowitz is batting with the bases loaded and ol' Hymie can't hit the slider, are you going to throw him a fastball? Of course not. So why stand and bang with a guy who can knock your block off?

Koscheck says he really wants another crack at Georges St. Pierre and I believe him. I think the only way to get there is through the path of least resistance. That entails a fake, a takedown and some ground and pound. Rinse and repeat. The crowd may not adore you, but winning ugly is still winning.

And for the haters, ask yourself this question: In a fight against Daley, what would St. Pierre do?

Betting lines (as of May 7):

Koscheck: -230 ((Bet Now))

Daley: +180 ((Bet Now))

Prediction: Koscheck via unanimous decision

265 lbs.: Kimbo Slice (4-1) vs. Matt Mitrione (1-0)

Nostradumbass predicts: Kimbo Slice is on a UFC pay-per-view. Two years ago it would have been heresy but hey, this is a promotion that signed portly pugilist James Toney so nothing really surprises me anymore. Nor would a win for the bearded brawler.

The money has these two at an even -115 and that sounds about right because for my money they're both equally bad. No ground game, no cardio, just a couple of big punches. Should I be impressed that "Meathead" stopped Marcus Jones? The same physical anomaly that can bench press 500 lbs. but can't throw a knockout punch?

And Slice is no better.

If Houston Alexander wasn't so busy playing ring around the rosy with his imaginary friends, that fight may have turned out differently. No matter. Like the main event, this fight is hard to predict -- but for the opposite reasons. I think Kimbo has the weaker chin but they'll both be gassed after one round anyway so if Mitrione is going to win this one it's gotta be in the first frame.

Kimbo is talking up his submission game but c'mon, let stop kidding ourselves already. Kimbo is like all-Berries Cap'n Crunch: Here for a limited time. When the fans get sick of him he'll get pulled off the shelf -- unless Mitrione does it first.

The Nostradumbass crystal ball is cloudy on this one but I think Kimbo survives a dicey first round to squeak out a split decision win in one of the uglier fights of 2010.

Betting lines (as of May 7):

Slice: -115 ((Bet Now))

Mitrione: -115 ((Bet Now))

Prediction: Slice via split decision

155 lbs.: Sam "Hands of Stone" Stout (15-5-1) vs. Jeremy "Lil' Heathen" Stephens (16-5)

Nostradumbass predicts: Okay folks, who's ready for a fight of the night? Hopefully these two lightweights are, because they have the chops to put on an exciting bout.

Right off the bat I'm taking Stout.

Not because of the experience, they both have 21 fights. And not because I think Stout is any tougher -- Stephens has 12 finishes in 16 wins. No, I'm taking Stout because his performances have continued to steadily improve. He hasn't had a finish in a while but he looked great in the Lauzon fight and I think he's riding that  momentum.

"Lil' Heathen" is also coming off a win but he's 2-5 in his last five fights and I think Stout is not only improving, he's also a little more consistent. It's not unreasonable to look back over his ten fights and think those few decision losses could have gone the other way and the only fighter to finish him in the past five years has been Kenny Florian -- hardly a knock on anyone.

I like the gritty toughness of Stephens and he's durable -- which is why I'm predicting this goes to the cards, but Stout knows how to turn it up in the later rounds while I've seen Stephens go flat in the closing minutes. Add the home turf advantage and it's Stout by UD.

Betting lines (as of May 7):

Stout: -200 ((Bet Now))

Stephens: +160 ((Bet Now))

Prediction: Stout via unanimous decision

185 lbs.: Alan "The Talent" Belcher (15-6) vs. Patrick "The Predator" Cote (13-5)

Nostradumbass predicts: What do you get when you take a year and a half off for knee surgery and return in front of your home town fans? If you answered "A win" then you obviously have learned nothing from Nostradumbass in the three years that I've been wasting your time with this column.

I think people went a little overboard with Cote's place in this division based on his UFC 90 fight against Anderson Silva. What is "The Predator?" Well, he's a tough middleweight with a solid chin and some power in his hands.

Nothing more, nothing less.

He had a nice run there in 2007-08, but it wasn't exactly against guys you would mistake for world beaters. Now, I'm not trying to deify Belcher, but "The Talent" has a distinct advantage in that he's competed three times while the Canadian was out rehabbing his knee.

And you can ask Shogun Rua what coming back from a catastrophic knee injury is like.

He's tearing it up in training? That's great, but so does everyone else. Being in the cage with a guy who is no stranger to leg kicks could be a recipe for disaster. How many kicks to the reconstructed knee before Cote start to fight scared?

Of course that's just once scenario, but it seems a bit more likely than Cote coming in better than he was before and knocking out Belcher in round one. He may go balls to the wall in the opening frame but it will be a rapid descent from there. If Belcher doesn't hurt him by the second round the layoff will.

Expect Belcher to take over late in the fight and secure a unanimous decision victory.

Betting lines (as of May 7):

Belcher: -125 ((Bet Now))

Cote: -105 ((Bet Now))

Prediction: Belcher via unanimous decision

That’s a wrap, folks.

Remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of UFC 113: "Machida vs. Shogun II."

What do you think? Now it’s your turn … let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for Saturday’s event.

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