Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back on network television this evening (July 11, 2012) to bring you UFC on FUEL TV 4: "Munoz vs. Weidman" from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, featuring a middleweight main event that could produce the next 185-pound title contender.
But will it be Mark Munoz or Chris Weidman?
Elsewhere on the card, Joey Beltran makes a triumphant return to the Octagon after shedding some skin on the regional scene, taking on James Te Huna in a light heavyweight fight that's an early favorite to produce "Knockout of the Night."
But that's not all.
After the jump, your old pal Nostradumbass, fresh off a stellar night of picks for UFC 148, will break it all down and let you know whose circuits are getting crossed in "The Capital of Silicon Valley."
Check it out:
Nostradumbass predicts: What's interesting about this fight is how Mark Munoz and Chris Weidman are both fantastic wrestlers, yet we'll probably see this one turn into a stand-up war, you know, "for the fans," because we love guys who stand and trade and boo anyone who goes to the ground.
At least, it sure seems that way when you're there live.
I usually make my UFC predictions with a certain amount of conviction (see Sonnen, Chael), but I'm not really feeling it here. This one is difficult to unravel because both competitors are so evenly matched. Once that happens, we have little choice but to go to the tape.
That's why I've gotta side with Munoz.
My one concern with "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" is his chin. I've seen him staggered before and it's not outrageous to think he takes it south if the "All American" can put him on queer street. Then again, it's hard to say with any certainty what Weidman will do against Munoz because his competition, to date, has been mediocre at best.
Yes, he defeated Demian Maia, a former division number one contender, but that fight was such an abomination it should be stricken from the record like the existence of Queen Hatshepsut. Outside of that, he mugged Alessio Sakara and strangled Tom Lawlor.
Decent competition, but not exactly top 10.
Munoz is coming off a surgical layoff, which is always a concern, but I believe he'll do enough to get the decision win, but I won't say that with any real confidence.
Final prediction: Munoz def. Weidman via split decision
Nostradumbass predicts: James Te Huna and Joey Beltran are like mirror images. Same age, same height, nearly the same records ... and they both love to keep it standing. I had little confidence about the main event, but when it comes to picking this bout, I can at least say it's probably not going to a decision.
Beltran, who was known for having an iron chin, was booted from the ZUFFA ranks after getting knocked out by Strikeforce import Lavar Johnson, which is kind of like firing Roy Horn for getting mauled by a white Bengal tiger. "The Mexicutioner" was reborn as a light heavyweight and picked up a win on the regional scene to get a call back.
It's not going to end well.
I know it may seem premature to think a guy is going to start getting knocked out based on one KO, and he did survive a laundry list of heavyweight strikers in the past, but going to sleep inside the cage is like urinating when you go out for a night of drinking.
Once you break the seal...
What Beltran gained in speed by moving to 205 pounds, he lost in power. Te Huna has only been to a decision once in 14 wins and has 10 stoppages by way of (T)KO, including three inside the Octagon. The Aussie has meaty mitts and he's already a veteran of the division.
Fists will fly once the pistol fires, but I don't think Beltran will make it to the finish line. Unless the jokes on us and he shoots for a double leg right out of the gate ...
Final prediction: Te Huna def. Beltran via technical knockout
Nostradumbass predicts: Kenny Robertson made his UFC debut against Mike Pierce at UFC 126 back in early 2011, getting knocked out in the second round. Yes, that's the same Mike Pierce who's gone to a decision in eight of his last 10 fights, including four straight.
Doesn't leave me with a ton of confidence heading into "The Shark Tank."
Robertson rebounded with a spinning backfist win over Lucio Linhares on the regional scene later that year, but I can't get excited for two reasons. First, it was over Lucio Linhares and second, it was on the regional scene. He was able to win 10 in a row prior to his misstep, but his streak includes guys like Roy Timmons, who is 1-8, and Brady Gillian, who is 0-2.
Simpson doesn't have a list of big-name wins either, but he's nothing if not battle-tested.
"A-Train" is coming off a loss to Ronny Markes earlier this year and had his problems against Mark Munoz and Chris Leben, but if the cut to 170 was tolerable, I think his wrestling, combined with his Octagon experience, will be enough to get the job done.
Final prediction: Simpson def. Robertson via unanimous decision
Nostradumbass predicts: This is a great fight that probably deserves more attention than it's getting. Both Francis Carmont and Karlos Vemola are trying to find their footing inside the ranks of the UFC and to date, the Parisian has been more successful at 2-0.
"Limitless" had an up-and-down start to his combat sports career, but has finally settled in and found his groove, rattling off seven straight wins, including Chris Camozzi at UFC 137 and Magnus Cedenblad at 2. He has a nice balance of finishes in 18 wins, securing nine submissions and six (T)KO stoppages.
Part of Vemola's past problems stem from his change in weight.
I think "The Terminator" will live up to his potential once he gets comfortable and don't be surprised to have this contest serve as his breakout fight. We've seen flashes of brilliance in the past and I think he overwhelms the Frenchman on the feet.
Like his opponent, Vemola also sports a nice balance in his finishes and has yet to win a fight by way of decision, something I have a sneaking suspicion Carmont will remember on fight night.
Right after they wake him up.
Final prediction: Vemola def. Carmont via technical knockout
Nostradumbass predicts: When you talk as much shit as T.J. Dillashaw has coming into a fight, you had damn well better back it up. I get the impression, after his last fight, he thinks he's a much better striker than he is, but I won't deny he's a talented wrestler who can usually dictate where the fight ends up.
North or south?
Whenever I think "wrestler," I immediately think "decision," and I'm sure I'm not alone. There is hope, however, as Vaughan Lee has only been to a decision twice in 20 professional fights. He's displayed a formidable submission game and has a quartet of (T)KO finishes as well.
I'm picking him.
Dillashaw is the "safe" pick because he mixes it up with the Team Alpha Male studs, but his decision win over Walel Watson did little to inspire me and his run on The Ultimate Fighter (which ended in a knockout loss) was the path of least resistance. With only six professional fights, beating guys like Brandon Drucker (0-2) and Mike Suarez (1-3), I'm not boarding the hype train just yet.
Hell, I'll even pick a finish.
Final prediction: Lee def. Dillashaw via submission
Nostradumbass predicts: I know he's struggled to stay consistent lately, but Anthony Njokuani has one of those styles that I find entertaining. Win or lose, I feel like he puts on a good fight. My concern heading into tonight's contest is that he owns three submission losses.
For Rafael dos Anjos, that may be all he needs.
The key for the Brazilian is getting "The Assassin" all tied up with nowhere to go. In the stand-up, he'll get picked apart, giving up a sizable advantage in both height and reach. I don't think he's in danger of being knocked out, but getting peppered for fifteen minutes is sometimes just as bad.
Neither fighter has yet to breakout in the crowded 155-pound division and I think they've both been stuck with difficult match-ups. This bout is no exception, though I believe it sways towards Dos Anjos. Without the power to put him on his ass, it's only a matter of time before the polished grappler can muscle his way in and try to exploit some extremities.
The sweatier Njokuani gets, the safer he gets.
Final prediction: Dos Anjos def. Njokuani via submission
That's a wrap, folks.
For previews and predictions on the preliminary card fights click here and here. To see all the odds and betting lines for UFC on FUEL TV 4 click here and remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of "Munoz vs. Weidman."
What do you think? Now it's your turn ... let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for tonight's event.