UFC Fight Night 13 is set for later on today, Wednesday April 2, from the Broomfield Event Center in Broomfield, Colorado. The three-hour SpikeTV special will begin at 7 p.m. ET, leading in to the debut of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7 series at 10 p.m. ET.
Remember: MMAmania.com will provide LIVE updates and blow-by-blow, round-by-round commentary of the main card action throughout the telecast. As usual, it promises to be a great discussion during an exciting line up of fights.
To get us pumped for the festivities, MMAmania himself will try and reverse his editorial atrophy by going toe-to-toe with site contributor and turgid egomaniac Jesse Holland with predictions for the upcoming show.
The mission: Forecast which fighters will leave the Octagon with their hands raised later on during the featured fights of the evening.
It's important to note for the predictions that while someone may be lauding a certain fighter, he isn't necessarily the guy who he thinks is going to win.
Basically, we never want this to come out sounding repetitive. At the end of each analysis, therefore, you will see the individual picks at the conclusion of the write ups.
Let's get to it:
Kenny Florian (7-3) vs. Joe Lauzon (16-3)
Jesse Holland: Kenny Florian is by now one of the elder statesmen of the TUF generation. He happens to match up very well with Joe Lauzon but his advantage in this fight comes from experience. Ordinarily you wouldn't give that advantage to a competitor who has fewer total fights than his opponent, but KenFlo is battle tested. In addition to headlining Ultimate Fight Night 11, Florian went five rounds for the lightweight championship at UFC 64 against Sean Sherk. Pressure will not be an issue for the Boston native. I'm also giving Florian a slight edge in the striking and I think he's a little too wily to be submitted by Lauzon if it goes to the ground. I don't predict an early finish here, but if Kenny can keep Joe off balance and flustered like he was against Manny Gamburyan (and even land a few of those trademark elbows), it's going to be Florian for all three rounds.
MMAmania: Joe Lauzon has been here before: The underdog in a bout that is supposed to help determine a worthy challenger to the 155-pound crown. In his Octagon debut, he ruined the triumphant return of former division champion, Jens Pulver, in less than one minute. It remains one of the greatest upsets in the short history of the promotion. No one gave the "creepy" kid from the Boston area much of a chance, and while the odds are not stacked as high this time around, most feel that he is in over his head. Lauzon has finished all three of his professional fights under the UFC banner and will look to make it four straight against perhaps his toughest opponent to date. He boasts a solid ground game, which can now only be better thanks to training exclusively with BJ Penn since his stint on TUF. Florian has a marked edge on the feet; therefore, look for Lauzon to set up the takedowns and work top position for the better part of this fight. He could very well steal this one if he can execute his gameplan.
Jesse Holland — Florian via unanimous decision
MMAmania — Florian via technical knockout
Karo Parisyan (18-4) vs. Thiago Alves (13-3)
Jesse Holland: There has been some criticism as of late regarding Karo's ability to finish fights. While I do agree that a man with his talent goes to the scorecards way too often, it shouldn't overshadow the fact that he is a very dangerous fighter. Save for the airborne towel at RSF 2, Parisyan has not been knocked out or submitted in 22 fights. Alves doesn't have enough confidence in his hands to get inside on Karo, and if he did it would likely become a Judo clinic courtesy of "The Heat." Karo may not have looked his best against Ryo Chonan at UFC 78, but neither did Alves, who squeaked out a TKO after cutting Chris Lytle at the same event. The biggest advantage for Karo is his proven track record. He's outlasted some tough competitors including Nick Diaz and Matt Serra. Alves in contrast has trouble with some of the better names in his weight class like Jon Fitch and Spencer Fisher. After Wednesday night you can add Karo Parisyan to that list.
MMAmania: Thiago Alves has some of the most improved stand up in the welterweight division. He uses blistering kicks (see Hironaka, Kuniyoshi) and knees (see DeSouza, Tony) to either soften up his opponents or take them out completely. "The Pitbull" trains with probably the best camp in all of mixed martial arts, American Top Team (ATT), which means that he is going to come well prepared for wherever this fight ends up. In addition, ATT wisely enlisted the services of Rhadi Ferguson -- a four-time national Judo champion and former Olympian -- to help prepare Alves for the showdown. It's not the lifetime of experience that Parisyan brings to the table; however, it could be just enough to get Alves over the top. He's young, hungry, powerful and willing to do what it takes to win this fight. That's far from an easier opponent, Karo -- careful what you wish for.
Jesse Holland — Parisyan by unanimous decision
MMAmania — Karo via Parisyanimous decision
Matt Hamill (3-1) vs. Tim Boetsch (7-1)
Jesse Holland: Matt Hamill has enjoyed a pretty successful run so far in his UFC career, winning his first three and then taking a moral victory against Michael Bisping at UFC 75. Unfortunately things are going to get ugly when he faces Tim Boetsch, who isn't called "The Barbarian" because he likes to spend his nights online playing Diablo 2. All seven of Boetsch's wins have come by way of knockout or submission. Ordinarily short notice can affect a fighter's performance, but after seeing what Boetsch did to David Heath at UFC 81, I'm throwing that theory right out the window. Hamill is an average striker at best and will probably rely on his excellent wrestling to try and keep Boetsch on the ground. Unfortunately I'm not sure if Hamill has yet figured out what to do once he gets there. The Boetsch strategy should be to avoid the takedown and fire at will. Tim Boetsch, 2-0 in the UFC.
MMAmania: Coming into this fight, all the buzz is engulfing not the former TUF star (Hamill), but his very game and eager opponent (Boetsch). Can lightening strike twice inside the Octagon? Sure, Boetsch can come in and knock Hamill senseless. But to do that he needs to create space, which is a tall order against such an accomplished and determined wrestler like Hamill. In the fight with Michael Bisping, it was clear that Hamill had refined his boxing skills considerably. He was content to sit in the pocket, pick the Brit apart and shoot for the takedown when the opportunity presented itself. He also demonstrated that he is not scared to absorb punches. Boetsch claims that his wrestling is on par if not better than Hamill's -- I tend to disagree. Hamill is freakeshly strong and will be able to, at the very least, take the fight down to the floor and keep it there for some time. His cardio is a bit of concern, especially a mile high, as well as his recently repaired knee. Then again, those two factors alone could mean that Hamill decides to play it safe and coast to a boring decision.
Jesse Holland — Boetsch via technical knockout
MMAmania — Hamill via decision
Nate Diaz (8-2) vs. Kurt Pellegrino (11-3)
Jesse Holland: Kurt Pellegrino is a great submission fighter and a powerful lightweight. His striking may not be as refined as some of the other talent in his weight class (Diaz included), but when you can choke like he can, it really doesn't matter. Eight of his eleven wins have come by submission. Pellegrino may keep it standing long enough to feel things out, but no question this fight will be decided by grappling. As we've seen, Diaz can fight from his back and fight well, but Pellegrino will be too strong and too busy to take any damage on top. Having said that, Kurt needs to stay out of the triangle and force Diaz to make a mistake in positioning. His best strategy is to try and keep a relentless pace that Diaz does not handle well. Despite winning, Diaz was overwhelmed against Manny Gamburyan at the TUF 5 finale and against Hermes Franca in his loss at WEC 24. Pellegrino should be studying those tapes and approaching with the same aggressive offense.
MMAmania.com: Nate Diaz is truly a treat to watch when he competes -- he is constantly working for some fight-ending maneuver. He transitions seamlessly from submission to submission with seeming ease. Kind of like Jesse and all those obscure references to "Blood Sport." Diaz is on a six-fight win via submission streak of which three came inside the Octagon. But can he do it against an experienced veteran and Brazilian jiu-jitsu player such as Kurt Pellegrino? Diaz has all the tools to become a major force at 155 pounds in the near future. He's up against a guy this time around, however, who is comfortable on the ground and is better when upright. This is a big test for Diaz ... one that I don't think he passes. The future, however, is bright.
Jesse Holland - Diaz via submission
MMAmania - Pellegrino via unanimous decision
Houston Alexander (8-2) vs. James Irvin (13-4)
Jesse Holland: Good news travels fast in these parts, and I think the scouting report on Houston Alexander is a simple one: Shoot and strike. Alexander could probably KO an elephant and I don't think Irvin is interested in testing his chin this time around. Alexander (by his own admission) does not train much jiu-jitsu and his ground defense against Thiago Silva at UFC 78 was surprisingly inept. Irvin needs to exploit that weakness not by stopping Alexander's power but by avoiding it. Irvin has only two submission wins to his credit but if he can put Houston on his back or stomach - two places he may not be comfortable fighting from - strikes from top position will do the job as well. Unless of course he wants to just go for broke and try another flying knee to open the round like he did against Terry Martin back at UFC 54.
MMAmania: Houston Alexander is a bad dude to get locked inside a cage with -- he fights balls out almost to a fault. He has insane power in both fists that can lift a grown man off his feet when he connects just right. Irvin, on the other hand, either pulls flash knockouts out of his ass (Terry Martin and Hector Ramirez, respectively) to escape with wins or gets hurt moments into his fights (Luis Cane and Thiago Silva). Based on his track record in the UFC, there's nothing good to like about "The Sandman" in this fight. In fact, it's not going past the first round because either Alexander turns his lights out almost immediately or Irvin pulls a Wanderlei Silva-esque UFC 79 blooper, rolling his ankle during the prefight hooplah. Only this time Irvin snaps his limb in two, crashes to the canvas in a screaming heap and knocks himself out with his own flying knee as he reaches to grasp his shredded hoof. Take that to the bank.
Jesse Holland — Alexander via knockout
MMAmania — Alexander via knockout
Swing bout: Frank Edgar (8-0) vs. Gray Maynard (4-0)
Jesse Holland: Frank Edgar has gotten himself into lightweight title contention not just by going undefeated (3-0) in the UFC (8-0 overall), but by doing it against tough competitors like Tyson Griffin and Spencer Fisher. Opponents still have not been able to figure out how to stop Edgar's wrestling and his offense in round three is just as relentless as it was in round one thanks to his incomparable cardio. On paper both Edgar and Maynard match up very well with similar styles, but I see Edgar as Maynard 2.0 in that he is more refined in every aspect. Edgar has been vocal about showcasing his striking which we haven't gotten to see much of during his UFC tenure but when you can wrestle like he can, why bother? In order to avoid a lay 'n pray label which some critics are anxious to give him, he knows he needs a stoppage - especially against a fellow wrestler like Maynard. Look for Edgar to take his game to the next level and finish it with a TKO.
MMAmania: I agree with everything Jesse just wrote -- mark this day as an MMAmania historical moment because it doesn't happen often. Edgar is indeed Maynard 2.0 and his boxing is terribly underrated. He just needs to let them go and hit Gray in the face with bunches of punches. He will go down. Sorry, Gray ... but it's late and I don't want to beat around the bush.
Jesse Holland — Edgar via technical knockout
MMAmania — Edgar via knockout
That's a wrap, folks.
Remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and our coverage of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7.
What do you think? Now it's your turn ... let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for UFC Fight Night 13.