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UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit Main Card Preview/Predictions part 1

Greetings Maniacs

Here are my picks for this weekends event, good luck with all of your picks and I hope this helps.

Links to part 1, and part 2 covering the prelim fights.

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UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit Main Card Previews/Predictions Part 1

Middleweight bout: Ed Herman vs. Clifford Starks
Background: Herman is 19-7 and Starks is 8-0
Current Betting Odds:
-290 Herman, Starks + 230

-Ed Herman - 31 years old - 6'2" - Reach: 75"

-Herman was born in Vancouver, Washington and made his pro debut in 2002. A TUF finalist, he's been inconsistent in his own UFC career, with tough losses slowing his progress up the middleweight rankings. Going 13-2 before entering the TUF competition, he lost to Kendall Grove in the finals. He was awarded a contract and returned to fight Jason MacDonald. Since then he's gone 6-3 with loses to Demian Maia, Alan Belcher, and Aaron Simpson(due to injury). He's a good finisher, with 17 of his 19 wins coming by stoppage, (89%), with 11 submission wins and 6 KO/TKOs. He is the owner of two Submission of the Night awards and 1 KO of the Night award, he's a competent striker by faster, more explosive fighters have been able to beat him to the punch. He 3-3 in his last 6 fights.
Youtube: (Not a lot of footage, videos linked sucks)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePAGozKP0iA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQSjMivh4iw

Clifford Starks - 30 years old - 5'10" - Reach: 75.5"
-Starks was born in Pamona, California and made his pro debut in 2009 at Rage in the Cage 138. At standout Division 1 wrestler (placed 3rd in PAC-10), he uses his wrestling and take downs to win his fights. He isn't a great finisher, with only 50% of his fights coming by way of stoppage, 1 submission and 3 KO/TKOs. He opened his career with 7 straight wins and got the call to fight in the UFC last year at UFC 137. He won a decision over (Now) 0-2 UFC fighter Dustin Jacoby. Expect Starks to use smothering takedowns and top game against pretty much all of his opponents. He has a boxing/ Muay Thai base, but it's leagues behind his wrestling ability.
Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-RoNylh-Ho
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFwLfnH8N9g

My Pick:
Right now the betting odds are heavily in Herman's favor. He has twice as many wins on his record and has been in with much better competition. He was having a lot of problems with Aaron Simpson, another stand out wrestler, easily being taken down several times in the first round. Herman also has 4 losses by submission, Joe Doerksen, and Kazuo Misaki before his two UFC submission losses. So it's safe to say he has a good submission game himself, but when he meets other good grapplers he doesn't always fair well. That being said, he should be able to work off his back enough to possibly submit Starks. I say the best bet for him is to keep the fight standing and exploit Starks biggest weakness, his striking. Herman by TKO in the third round.

Bantamweight bout: Renan Barao vs. Scott Jorgensen
Background: Barao is 27-1-1 and Jorgensen is 13-4
Current Betting Odds:
Barao -240, Jorgensen +180

-Renan Barao - 24 years old - 5'6" - Reach: 70" (Ranked 7th Bantamweight)
-Barao was born in Natal, Brazil and made his pro debut in 2005. Barao opened his career with a loss, a decision loss. Since then he's gone on a 28 fight unbeaten streak, 27 wins with 1 no contest. He is a good finisher, with 6 KO/TKO's and 13 submission wins for a finishing ratio of 70%. He entered the WEC in 2010 and was brought over when the promotion folded into the UFC, making his UFC debut at UFC 130. His next fight was at UFC 138, against Brad Pickett in the co main event in a Fight of the Night performance. He looked really good with his Muay Thai in that fight, and when he had Brad Pickett hurt he swarmed him, took the back like a boss and submitted him after about 30 seconds on the ground. He is a black belt in BJJ and trains with Jose Aldo and Diego Nunes at Nova Uniao.
Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCT1eXZfXI4

-Scott Jorgensen - 29 years old - 5'4" - Reach: 66" (Ranked 5th Bantamweight)
-Jorgensen was born in Utah and made his pro debut in 2006. He entered the WEC in 2008 with a 4-1 record, losing his WEC debut to Damaico Page. He earned two Fight of the Night awards under the promotion and challenged Dominic Cruz for the Bantamweight title just prior to the UFC folding the smaller promotion in. His record in the WEC was 7-3. Of his 4 losses, only one has been a finish, a submission loss in his 3 fight. His finishing ratio isn't the greatest at only 46%, but that's not uncommon for the lighter weight classes. He's 2-0 in the UFC, and he is a good all around fighter with solid stand up(even though his last KO was through GNP, division 1 wrestling(3 time PAC 10 champ) and is a purple belt in BJJ.
Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5jE7udnxFs

My Pick: It's popular today to say that a high level wrestling pedigree is like having a black belt in wrestling. If that's the case then Jorgensen is probably a 2 degree black belt in freestyle wrestling, and Barao is a black belt in BJJ. Both have good striking, I think that Barao is the more complete striker with his use of kicks, but those kicks will open him up to takedowns. Jorgensen's top game and wrestling base could be the difference in this fight, expect a fast paced, exciting fight that could easily be fight of the night. I'm going to take Jorgensen to win the decision.

Welterweight bout: Josh Koscheck vs. Mike Pierce
Background: Koscheck is 16-5 and Pierce is 13-4
Current Betting Odds:
-240 Koscheck, +180 Pierce

-Josh Koscheck - 34 years old - 5'10" - Reach: 73"
(Ranked 6th Welterweight)
-Koscheck was born in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania and made his pro debut in 2004. He's a solid finisher, with 5 KO/TKO's and 5 submissions for a ratio of 63%. He is another Division 1 wrestler from Edinburo University, a 4 time All American, and 2001 champion and 2000 runner up. He's been around the UFC for a long time, appearing in the first season of TUF, though he didn't win the competition, he was awarded a contract. He's been in the Octagon with some of the best in the world, St. Pierre, (0-2), Diego Sanchez, Chris Lytle, Thiago Alves, Paul Daley, and Matt Hughes. He's a two time KO of the Night winner, two time Fight of the Night winner, and a 1 time submission of the night winner. He is 5-2 in his last 7 fights with his losses being to Paulo Thiago by KO in 2009, and to GSP by decision for the welterweight title back at UFC 124. He most recently fought aging Matt Hughes, winning by KO in the first round. In addition to being a top level wrestler, he is a purple belt in BJJ and has a solid boxing game.
Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y1rFP14bdA

-Mike Pierce - 31 years old - 5'8" - Reach: 71"
-Pierce was born in Portland, Oregon and made his pro debut in 2007. Pierce is on the cusp of being someone to really look at in the welterweight division. His losses are all by decision, he's never been finished, 3 of his losses are to top level fighters in Mark Munoz, Johny Hendricks, and Jon Fitch. That's being said, his biggest win is against UFC outcast Brock Larson. He isn't the best finisher, with a 53% finishing ratio, including 6 KO/TKOs. He is another high level, Division 1 wrestler out of Portland State University. A stocky welterweight, he is known for his solid chin and very good top game. This is a huge step up in competition. He is also 5-2 in his last 7 fights. He most recently won by split decision over Paul Bradley at UFC on Fox 1.
Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEBvLV5wCho

My Pick: If wrestling had belt levels, I would think Koscheck and Pierce would both be black belts, but Koscheck is probably better by a good degree. Koscheck has fought better competition throughout his career and if the fight goes to the ground, I doubt Pierce will be able to keep Koscheck on his back. Personally, I don't care for Koscheck, his antics during fights(Paul Daley, acting like he was hit with the knee when it clearly didn't touch him) and out of the cage don't impress me. That being said, he wins fights and has superior ability everywhere over Pierce. I don't think Koscheck is going to finish him, but I'm picking Koscheck to win the decision in what is probably not going to be a very exciting match up.

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