Blah blah blah, let's get on with it. You know the routine by now. This isn't some kind of time-wasting spam post ala Motmaitre. This is the real deal, from God's lips to your ears. The prophecies, the whispered gospels, the way and the truth and the light.
Soto and Rivera are both known for getting finished in their UFC debuts, which makes this a sort of "who sucks less?" fight to pick. And like every other free fight card, this is a pickem. Although Soto has just one loss to the fearsome up-and-coming Michael McDonald, it was a quick KO. Rivera, meanwhile, is coming off back-to-back first round KOs in the minor leagues. In fact, Cisco has five first-round KOs in his seven wins, which means he brings a lot of power to the table for a bantamweight fighter. Although pure KOs are rare in the 135-pound division, I think that Soto's aggressiveness and Rivera's power leads to one conclusion.
Rivera by KO Round 2
I'd be lying to you if I said I was some kind of expert in these undercard fights. It's basically a coin toss and a prayer to each of the gods with each pick. One thing is obvious. Both of these fighters are veterans and finishers, with 20 stoppages for "Big Frog" and 19 for Eduardo. That might mean either could finish the fight at any time, but I think their submission strengths cancel each other out and we go to a decision. If that's the case I give the nod to the American.
Curran by decision
I think both fighters have been overlooked by people for the quality they possess. Although the nod goes to dos Anjos, Shalorus is no slouch himself, providing great wrestling with decent punching power. The problem is that the older Iranian fighter is getting a little long in the tooth and is on a bit of a losing slide. Losing to Jim Miller and relative unknown Khabib Nurmagomedov in his first two UFC fights, it's probable he lost to Bart Palaszewski in a close split decision in his last WEC fight.
Meanwhile, dos Anjos is never an easy out. He has four wins since 2009, including a surprising brutal KO of George Sotiropolous, who hasn't been seen since. His only losses came by way of a split decision to Gleison Tibau and an injury TKO to Clay Guida, both of whom are near the top of the food chain. Kamal isn't.
Dos Anjos by submission Round 2
Did Erick Silva knock out Carlo Prater in about 45 seconds in his last fight? Yes, he did. Does that mean Carlo is a scrub? Uh, how about no? Prater may be the underdog here but he's beaten the likes of which most UFC fighters would dream to put on their resume: Carlos Condit, Melvin Guillard, and Spencer Fisher being but a few. Sadly, that was a long time ago and the 30-year-old hasn't beaten a UFC-calibre fighter since Keith Wisniewski in 2007. Grant, meanwhile, has performed well in the UFC, losing a close majority decision to Johny Hendricks, while picking up two wins. The Canadian should have what it takes to grind out a hard-won fight.
Grant by decision
What is it with Yang and former TUF 13 alumni? After dropping two decisions to Court McGee and Chris Camozzi, Yang will do battle with Brad Tavares, who has only one loss to grinder Aaron Simpson. I don't see this fight going any better for Yang as it did the others, as Tavares is likely better than the others who have already beaten him. Yang has a brick chin, but he's slow and will be only looking for the KO. It won't be enough.
Tavares by decision
I have no basis for this prediction other than the fact I want to see it happen. And it will happen. It will, fuck damn it. It will.
McKenzie by McKenzietune Round 1
I know people are up on Lawlor. They like his antics and his style and his go-out-swinging attitude. But Jason MacDonald is not one to be impressed with antics and wild swings. Other than a loss to Alan Belcher, who is finally getting his due as an elite MMA fighter, and a leg injury loss to John Salter, MacDonald has displayed dangerous patience inside the cage. Lawlor, meanwhile, has shown a propensity to blow his load and then fade to the finish against Doerkson and Weidman.
MacDonald by submission Round 2
Slobberknocker. This is going to be a serious throwdown that should test the chins of both fighters. Sadly for Igor, we've seen Fabio has an iron chin and he hits like a fucking bull. Fabio has lost four fights, two by decision and two by submission. Since we can assume Igor won't be submitting anybody, we can only rely on the fact both men will get punched in the face. And the man who punches harder is Fabio Maldonado, a 22-0 boxer with 21 knockouts.
This pick is your unambig "lock" of the night.
Maldonado by KO round 2
After a rocky start to his MMA career, Hougland has gone 9-0 and hasn't lost since GSP was a rank newbie. Although he hasn't exactly been a worldbeater like GSP since that time, he seems to be doing something right, winning seven of those fights in the second round or earlier, and most by submission. Jabouin, meanwhile, has been inconsistent, winning some fluky split decisions and losing by the odd flying triangle choke. You know, standard stuff. Although Yves is on a bit of a streak and is no scrub, he's also been caught before. He will get caught again.
Hougland by submission Round 3
This is a very interesting fight. Stephens might just be the most underrated lightweight in the UFC. Despite losing split decisions to Mevin Guillard and Anthony Pettis in recent years, he's also knocked out Marcus Davis and Rafael dos Anjos, among others. Although Cerrone has more solid standup and a reach advantage, Stephens brings that X-factor knockout power that Cerrone doesn't have. And although Stephens has been finished before, he's damn hard to finish. You have to assume this will be a war.
Cerrone by decision
Amir's had an enigmatic career in the UFC, at times solid, and other times thin. Although he only has a 5-3 record, Amir is a pure UFC product, with each win coming over fellow UFC fighters, albeit fringe ones. But that's what Lopez is. A fringe fighter. And his loss to Justin Edwards did nothing to contradict that.
Sadollah by decision
This might seem like a foregone conclusion, but it's not. Although Dustin is on a big win streak, he's also been a product of fortune, fighting the likes of newcomer Max Holloway, skinny Pablo Garza, Jason Young's first UFC fight, and Josh Grispi, a man who seems to have lost his fighting touch. It's amazing to think he's a title contender with that resume, but I guess that goes to show just how weak the Featherweight division. Thankfully the Brazilian TUF fighters might add some pinache to it when they're done that series.
Jung, meanwhile, brings a KO over Mark Hominick, and a creative submission against whinging puncher Leonard Garcia. Beyond that, it's tough to say who he's really beaten. He was also KOed by George Frikkin Roop. So there's that. I think if Poirier uses his ground and pound and refuses to stand and trade with Jung, this one ends late.
Poirier by TKO Round 3