UFC 'Fight for the Troops 2' predictions, preview and analysis


UFC Fight Night 23: "Fight for the Troops 2" from the Fort Hood Army Base in Killeen, Texas, is set to go down tomorrow night (Jan. 22) live on Spike TV.

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 at 9 p.m. ET (with two featured prelim fights airing live on the UFC's official Facebook Page earlier in the evening).

The UFC is back with another "Fight for the Troops" to raise money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, designed to "benefit military personnel who have been catastrophically disabled in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and veterans severely injured in other operations and in the normal performance of their duties."

Leading the charge will be Evan Dunham and Melvin Guillard, who throw hands in the night's main event to see who gets one step closer to the 155-pound title and who goes to the back of the line.

And if you're tuning in to see if Troops Part Deux can top the house of horrors that was the Dec. 2008 offering (Corey Hill and Razak Al-Hassan to save you a trip to Google), may I remind you that Pat Barry is on the televised portion of the fight card.

Expect fireworks.

I've also included the current betting lines for each fight so 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:

155 lbs.: Evan Dunham (11-1) vs. Melvin "The Young Assassin" Guillard (26-8-2)

Nostradumbass predicts: Evan Dunham is back after earning the second most famous asterisk in sports against Sean Sherk at UFC 119 last September. And for all the supporters that believe he's still undefeated despite his split decision loss to "The Muscle Shark," you can bet the Xtreme Couture product will be looking to make a statement on Saturday night.

I think he gets it done.

There's a lot of talent in the UFC's crowded 155-pound division. Even more so now that the promotion has absorbed the leftovers from the recent WEC merger. Unless you have a great look or a big mouth, it's easy to fly under the radar in spite of your success (see Miller, Jim).

Dunham is unquestionably one of the division's most promising young prospects and despite having a personality like Teletran-1, he's managed to turn some heads with a combination of technical superiority and good old-fashioned heart.

Guillard can only win this fight on the feet. Dunham can win it anywhere.

I won't say that Melvin doesn't have a chance, because when you can swing as fast and hit as hard as he does, the fight has the potential to be over at any second.

Unfortunately Guillard's submission defense has more holes in it than Junie Browning's liver.

I know, I know, he's with the all-mighty Greg Jackson now so every past mistake has been washed clean, but even with his ownage of Waylon Lowe early last year, I didn't see anything in "The Young Assassin 2.0" against Ronys Torres and Jeremy Stephens that has me running to the bookies for this bout.

This contest is uh, black-and-white as far as I'm concerned. Melvin can hit and hustle with the best of them, but against Dunham it will become painfully obvious just how one-dimensional he really is, Jackson or no Jackson.

Guillard hasn't caught up with the times. The times have caught up with Guillard.

Betting lines (as of Jan. 21):

Dunham: -260 ((Bet Now))

Guillard: +200 ((Bet Now))

Prediction: Dunham by submission

145 lbs.: Mark "The Machine" Hominick (19-8) vs. George Roop (11-6-1)

Nostradumbass predicts:  Color me reactionary, but when did Mark Hominick become the next big thing at featherweight? I'm told a win over George Roop gets him a title shot against Jose Aldo? The same guy that lost to Mike Brown, Hatsu Hioki and Rani Yahya?

I hope Dustin Poirier is enjoying that fruit basket Mark sent him, because without a "Fluke" upset at UFC 125, I'm not sure we're even having this conversation.

Hominick went 3-0 in 2010 and closed out the year with a split decision win over Leonard Garcia at WEC 51 back in September. The Canadian has been in the fight game for about ten years and has more than enough tools to defeat George Roop, which I believe he does on Saturday night.

Roop is all over the map in terms of wins and losses and even sprinkled in a draw against Garcia to mix things up last March. He stays employed by adopting the "Bad Boy's" bar-fight mentality where any shred of technique and discipline is abandoned in favor of a rock 'em sock 'em robot offense that gives the drunk fans in attendance something to cheer for.

I don't expect him to replicate his KO finish over Chan Sung Jung anytime soon and Hominick is too technical on his feet (and hopefully too intelligent) to let it turn into a slug fest. I predict "The Machine" will be mechanical in his approach and stick-and-move his way to a unanimous decision victory.

His reward? Being shipped to Toronto for a public execution. Sounds like fun.

Betting lines (as of Jan. 21):

Hominick: -260 ((Bet Now))

Roop: +200 ((Bet Now))

Prediction: Hominick via unanimous decision

265 lbs.: Matt Mitrione (3-0) vs. Tim "The Thrashing Machine" Hague (12-4)

Nostradumbass predicts: I know I'm not in the minority when I say I didn't think Matt Mitrione had the goods to become anything more than another TUF also-ran that only got into MMA because of his NFL pedigree.

That and the fact that mixed martial arts always seems like the cool thing to do when you're a high-profile athlete -- until you get KTFO.

Well, "Meathead" doesn't seem to be going away quietly and aside from doing us all a favor and sending Kimbo Slice back to the barbecue, he's assembled a three-fight winning streak and managed to look more polished in each performance.

That's why he wins on Saturday night.

The key to his continued success is to further improve with each fight. If he's in as good a shape as he says he is, then Hague will have his hands full. "The Thrashing Machine" lived up to his moniker in King of the Cage (KOTC) but his UFC tenure has been a disaster.

True, he submitted Pat Barry in his Octagon debut, but choking out an altricial "HD" is nothing to hang your hat on and his record following that win was a dismal 0-3 against mid-level competition.

Should we classify Hague as a Canadian can? Not yet, but there's nothing in his recent performances to indicate that he's been able to make the necessary adjustments to survive in the UFC whereas Mitrione appears to be settling into a rhythm.

I don't know if he'll secure the finish, but "Meathead" should have no problem locking up his fourth straight win if this thing finds its way to the scorecards.

Betting lines (as of Jan. 21):

Mitrione: -260 ((Bet Now))

Hague: +200 ((Bet Now))

Prediction: Mitrione via unanimous decision

265 lbs.: Pat "HD" Barry (5-2) vs. Joey "The Mexicutioner" Beltran (12-4)

Nostradumbass predicts: You know when those recent photos of a jacked-up Pat Barry started making the rounds I couldn't help but feel relieved. He's 5' 11' and fights at heavyweight and instead of re-evaluating his place within the division and perhaps pondering what his stand-up could do at 205, he just goes to the gym and gets bigger and stronger.

That's why I cheer for "HD."

He's not cutting weight and he's not going to the Renzo Gracie academy to train jits. He's going to the weight room to leg press a Volkswagen so that he can cripple you with low kick on fight night. Barry isn't going to change, I mean the guy still uses MySpace for Pete's sake.

Fine by me.

All I ask is that the UFC lets him fight opponents that are as technically bankrupt as he is when it hits the floor. Or at least give him someone with enough balls to think they can stand and trade with this guy and still retain the ability to chew solid food.

Enter Joey Beltran.

"The Mexicutioner" has 12 wins with only one of them coming by way of submission. He likes to slug it out as evidenced by his recent battles against Matt Mitrione and Tim Hague.

Beltran's last finish came against a flaccid sperm whale that somehow disguised itself as Rolles Gracie at UFC 109 and I guess you can also count his Jan. 2010 stoppage over Houston Alexander but to be honest, knocking out "The Assassin" after his UFC career is like banging the homecoming queen after the football season.

If Barry gets his wish and Mex comes to fight, this thing could get ugly. Re-watch the Dan Evensen fight from UFC 92 to get an idea of how this one should play out. Then get a wheelchair to help Beltran get back to the dressing room after all is said and done.

Betting lines (as of Jan. 21):

Barry: -230 ((Bet Now))

Beltran: +180 ((Bet Now))

Prediction: Barry via technical knockout

155 lbs.: Cole "Magrinho" Miller (17-4)  vs. "Handsome" Matt Wiman (12-5)

Nostradumbass predicts: What would a Nostradumbass post be without an upset pick? More accurate? Possibly, but that won't stop me from hating on Cole Miller for no other reason than the fact that he keeps beating the people I root for.

"Magrinho" has a terrific ground game that transcends most of the nuts-and-bolts grappling we see among the current crop of UFC lightweights (just ask Dan Lauzon). He also seems to be putting his hands together quite well like we saw at UFC Fight Night 22 when he staggered the venerable Ross Pearson.

Normally, I'd be right there with the odds makers in declaring him the likely winner, but I just can't shake the site of him crumbling against Efrain Escudero and Jeremy Stephens.

Let's also keep in mind that Matt Wiman has historically been too "Handsome" to submit, having gone 17 fights without tapping.

In addition, my sources tell me that Wiman's really gone balls-to-the-wall in training camp. And by "sources" I mean the competing site I stole this from since they do a much better job of delivering a competent predictions post.

When I look at this fight from a distance it's easy to see Miller pressing the action, working for subs and just being the overall busier fighter. But this my friends is MMA and nothing should be taken at face value. I'm riding the Wiman War Wagon right into the sunset.

Which is probably why I'll get burned on Saturday night.

Betting lines (as of Jan. 21):

Miller: -180 ((Bet Now))

Wiman: +150 ((Bet Now))

Prediction: Wiman 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 Fight Night 23: "Fight for the Troops 2."

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

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