Gee, it seems like just yesterday that Benson Henderson fully schooled Frankie Edgar in their last match, leaving the former champ looking like he'd just been Chris Browned. But we're back again, as the rest of the clogged lightweight division waits for Edgar to lose again. Ah well, let's get these pre-dick-tions and prog-cock-nications over with.
You might remember the 36-year-old senior citizen Mitsuoka as the can fed to Takanori Gomi in Japan to placate the audience. You might also remember him as a fighter from Sengoku, Deep, or Dream, if you subject yourself to that kind of garbage. Or you might even remember him from the ancient days of Pride, way back in the long, long ago, the before time.
Regardless, Mitsuoka is fucked here. He's going to get treated like every other mediocre sandal-wearing fisher-eater does in the UFC: get pwned. It's bad enough he's facing Nik Lentz, a grappler who is a handful for anybody, but this is the Carnie's featherweight debut, which means he's likely going to be a huge 145er.
Look, I know Mitsuoka beat Gleison Tibau a million years ago. He also beat Rodrigo Damm, Joachim Hansen, and a handful of other irrelevant nobodies. He's got submission skills, too, as evidenced by 11 of his 18 wins coming by way of a choke, armbar, or heel hook. Don't matter, son. Lentz is no slouch on the mat either, with 10 submissions to his own credit.
Lentz by unanimous lay and pray
I'll be the first to admit Pague disappointed heavily in his last fight against Ken Stone after making such wonderfully short work of Jared Papazian. Pague is a decent grappler, if he can get it south, and is pretty good at finishing a fight he's winning, never having relied on the judges. But let's face it, he's inconsistent.
After taking just two weeks off from Papazian, Pague was a different fighter against Stone. And now, just six weeks later, he's back at it against newcomer Chico Camus. Who the fuck is Chico, anyway? Sounds like a guy who'd cut your balls off if you owed him money, and feed them to his pitbull. Chico is the owner of three decision wins in a row against guys who you haven't heard of.
The Roufusport fighter has two consecutive wins at Tachi Fights, and he's called his ground game "underrated" in recent interviews leading up to the fight. That, to me, says one thing. He doesn't want it to go to the ground. And against Pague that could be lethal. Although he's never lost by submission, there's a first time for every maiden.
Pague by submission in round 2
You remember the debut of Erik Perez, don't you? John the dumbfuck Albert had Perez locked a triangle and somehow still managed to absorb some of the worst ground and pound I've ever seen. My face literally still winces when I think about those hammerfists hitting Albert in the head and the loud thud they made as his skull tried to blend with canvas.
But Stone aint no Albert. After being fed to the dogs in his UFC debut and second fight, he bounced back with a quick destruction of Donny Walker, and a split decision over Dustin Pague. That means he should offer up a better fight than Albert did.
Having said that, you'd be hard pressed to count out Perez after being in a triangle choke for three minutes and not giving a single shit about it. If I had to flip a coin I'd go with Perez. This will likely be a back and forth battle won by the tenacity of the younger, improving Jackson fighter.
Perez by TKO in round 3
This is deservingly the hot bout. Jared Hamman is a knockout artist who was destroyed by Constantinos Phillipou in his last outing, while Michael Kuiper began his UFC debut by losing his first MMA fight in a spirited decision at Condit's last marathon.
I gotta say, although Hamman has a stoppage over old man CB Dollaway, Travis Wiuff, and a host of other nobodies, he's been slobberknockered by top opponents like Alex Gustafsson. And although Kuiper has the misfortune of being European, he's a Judo master with more than decent KO power and a submission game if he needs it.
Although Hamman seems to have a pretty decent chin, I see him going to sleep fairly early in this one.
Kuiper by KO in round 1
Tommy Hayden, who was choked out in the first round of his UFC debut by submission master Fabricio Camoes, fights under team Jorge Gurgel. Nuff said? Yeah, I think so. Bermudez is a tough wrestler for anybody to handle, and though Hayden has a submission win over TUF scrub Dustin Neace (23-18), his four other submissions are against guys as impressive as Harry Johnson (6-7) from "Absolute Action MMA."
I think Bermudez also has fairly underrated power in his hands, despite not scoring a knockout since early 2010. I doubt we're going to see a submission, but I think we'll see a finish. Bermudez is going to lay into Hayden, ground and pound him, and get the mercy ref stoppage.
Bermudez by TKO in round 2
Let the record show that I think Lawrence is the most overrated prospect to come out of TUF yet. Having said that, I don't think Holloway is the guy to stop the hype train. Lawrence may have scored a fluke KO against John Cofer, but I think his real skills lie in his wrestling. His only loss came in TUF after taking it to Michael Chiesa for two rounds, only to choke in the third.
Holloway, meanwhile, is a formidable standup fighter with good looking kickboxing skills. Which is why I think you'll see Lawrence take this to the ground all night long. It'll be a Chad Mendes special, folks, and there's little Holloway and his spindly little legs can do about it.
Lawrence by unanimous decision
Accept this fight for what it is: Okami getting back in the win column. Look, nobody thinks Roberts has a chance in hell, which is always a dangerous proposition since anything can happen in MMA. But just because anything can happen doesn't mean it will. Okami is top of the food chain and Roberts... well he just decisioned some dude named Caio Magalhaes.
But Okami's a decision-machine these days. He dominates guys on the ground, has a decent standup game, but brings no power. The last time he laid some dude out was when Evan Tanner wasn't a corpse. Which is pretty long ago.
Okami by unanimous decision
Look, I'll be the first to admit that Shields' welterweight run was the least impressive in UFC history. After gassing out a debut against Martin Kampmann in which he looked horrible, he got an undeserved shot against Georges St-Pierre, which he demonstrated the worst standup the world's ever seen. He followed that with a quick loss to Ellenberger which briefly made that fighter the talk of the town (now he's a bum because he lost to Kampmann). And his last abortion was a horrible fight against Yoshihiro Akiyama where he somehow outstruck the other fighter.
In his last three fights, Shields has utterly been unable to get his opponent down. And he's looked horrible doing it. Contrast that to Ed Herman, who throws bricks in his hands, and has returned from a two year layoff to demolish Tim Credeur, Kyle Noke, and Clifford Starks in a combined round and a half. I'd like to pick Herman because he has everything going for him: huge power, momentum, confidence, and a great ground game.
I'd like to, but should I? Shields beat Dan Henderson at 185, despite taking an H-Bomb flush on the chin. Before Hendo, he beat Mayhem Miller (when he didn't suck) and Robbie Lawler at middleweight. Although I don't think Shields has anything for Herman, he always has laying on a guy. And I think laying on Herman will be his main tactic. Can he hold down Herman for three rounds without getting knocked out?
Shields by unanimous decision
This fight isn't hard to pick if you watch both fighters' last outing. While Cerrone put on a Muay Thai clinic against Jeremy Stephens, the Young Assassin looked tentative and scared, like George St-Pierre against BJ Penn in 2006. If Cerrone comes out like he did last time, Guillard's got nothing for him.
Guillard's most dangerous weapon is his quickness, power, and unpredictability, but all three have to combine for victory. Any hesitation is death. For Cerrone, he's got the range to hit Guillard all day long. Although the likely scenario is a three-round lesson in Muay Thai, I have a feeling the Crack Addict is going to succumb to his favourite method of losing.
Cerrone by rear-naked choke in round 2
We saw this film already and it wasn't really that close. Bendo dominated Edgar, landing leg kicks, a nasty upkick, and turning the former champ's face to a mess. Although it's amazing Edgar can fight so well at 155 despite the fact he should be fighting two weight classes down, Bendo's welterweight frame is too much for him.
Having said that, Frankie can never, ever be counted out. He's the single toughest fighter in the UFC and he cannot be denied. He will outwork, outsweat, outdesire any fighter in the league, and never stop until the final bell. He will bring a war to Bendo. It just won't be enough. He might win one, maybe two rounds. If he wrestles he might even make it close.
Since Edgar's unlikely to submit Bendo or knock him out, and Frankie is almost impossible to stop, count on this being a repeat of the last fight.
Benson Henderson by unanimous decision to retain the UFC lightweight championship and face Nate Diaz
That's it. And to quote Queen Elizabeth II: "I used to own all these fucking countries."