UFC 103 takes place Saturday September 19th in Dallas Texas. To change things up a bit for our staff predictions, Adam and myself have each picked a fighter and broken down why that fighter could win. We then give our prediction on how we really think the fight will happen. For those keeping score, Adam has gone 8-1 over the course of two events and I have gone 3-6. Will I be able to score some extra points this weekend? Read on and find out.
Franklin vs. Belfort
AD: Belfort could win because he holds the advantage in footwork and speed. He is the more fundamentally sound boxer. He displays a mean southpaw jab which will likely create problems for Franklin. Belfort should have an advantage when the fight is standing, and I do not see Franklin easily taking Belfort down to the mat. Franklin has not shown the best takedowns and Belfort is no wrestling fish.
BT: Franklin could win because he is always bringing his A game. While he holds four losses, those came at the hands of Lyoto Machida, Dan Henderson (split decision), and Anderson Silva twice. Franklin has looked even more impressive since moving up a weight class as the weight cut is minimal and he seems to be faster than his opponents. Franklin can withstand a beating, but can also dish it out.
AD Prediction: Throughout his career, Belfort’s mind has always been unstable. It is clear that Franklin is a smart and focused fighter, who always comes into a fight with a good game plan. With two southpaws pitted against each other, both fighters will have to adjust to the difficulties presented in front of them, and the winner might just be the one who adapts the best to the situation. Look for Franklin to spoil Belfort’s return to the organization, as he out smarts Vitor and makes this a very uncomfortable match for his opponent. Franklin will win a decision.
BT Prediction: I have to give this fight to Franklin as I think his game has evolved over the years. He has realized that he just needs to fight a smart fight and is able to stick to a game plan. While he does have some problems with wrestlers, I think this fight will stay standing and Franklin will get the decision win.
Cro Cop vs. Dos Santos
AD: Junior dos Santos can win this matchup based on his superior athletic ability and youth. “Cro Cop” used to be a feared striker with a devastating head kick, but it seems like those days are far left behind. Dos Santos has finer hand speed and accuracy over Filipovic, and his aggressive nature could be a fight stopping problem for Filipovic.
BT: Cro Cop is arguably one of the most lethal strikers in the game. He used to go around telling people “Right leg hospital, left leg cemetery” which was a reference to his kicks. A former K-1 fighter, his striking is above and beyond many in the heavyweight division.
AD Prediction: Cro Cop is not the feared killer he once appeared to be in his days in Pride. He is no longer the intimidating fighter he once was; Dos Santos has taken his place. Dos Santos’ aggressiveness will leave no time for Cro Cop to work powerful leg kicks and “Cigano” will take out his opponent just like he took out Werdum. This should be quick, it should be exciting, and expect a (T)KO victory in Dos Santos’ favor, in the opening round.
BT Prediction: Dos Santos has been making quick work of his opponents. He started training in bjj and when he was offered his first fight, he knocked the guy out cold. Cro Cop says he wants to fight for the title, but I think his age is starting to play a factor. I don’t see this fight going much past the two-minute mark of the first round, and I see Dos Santos’s hand getting raised.
Kampmann vs. Daley
AD: Paul Daley could come in and steal this fight due to his impressive striking skills. If Daley can keep this matchup into a kickboxing affair, he will be able to test Kampmann’s questionable chin, and leave the octagon with a nice win bonus for knockout of the night. Daley has the power and ability to throw a one punch knockout, so Kampmann must be worried about making any mistakes.
BT: Kampmann is currently riding a two-fight win streak since dropping down to the welterweight division. While his last fight against Carlos Condit was a split decision, the victory put him one step closer to getting a shot at current champion, Georges St. Pierre. Originally scheduled to take on Mike Swick to determine that number one contender status, the change in opponent, might not have the same impact on the welterweight division. But Kampmann has a very well rounded game with nearly equal fights ending by submission or a knock out.
AD Prediction: While the Swick-Kampmann matchup would have been a good one to see who gets to lose to GSP next, Daley will still make this an interesting fight as Swick’s replacement. Daley certainly has the ability to catch Kampmann and put him to sleep, but I see “The Hitman” reigning supreme as he will be successful with his takedowns, and he will take advantage of Daley’s sub-par ground game. Kampmann will submit Daley before the third round.
BT Prediction: Kampmann is still treating this fight as if it will get him a title shot. Factor that as well as this marks Daley’s first fight inside the UFC, and that spells a loss for Daley. Kampmann will continue his winning streak, and show that he has a superior ground game to Daley by submitting him after the halfway point in the second round.
Koscheck vs. Trigg
AD: Trigg can beat Koscheck if he can pull Koscheck into a striking game. Koscheck is the better wrestler, but lately he has been trying to prove to the fans and the UFC that he is a boxer. If Koscheck goes away from his strength in wrestling, Trigg has a shot to pull off a huge upset, check out the Paulo Thiago fight.
BT: Koscheck has been trying to shed his “villain” image for some time now and now has the perfect opponent in front of him to do so. Many argue that Koscheck is one of the best wrestlers in mixed martial arts and Trigg doesn’t have near as good of a pedigree in wrestling as Koscheck. Koscheck should look to just take this fight to the ground and work his ground game to get the victory.
AD Prediction: This will not be a warm welcome for Trigg, as he realizes he was cut from the UFC a while ago for a reason. He is a very good fighter, but he can no longer hang with the top guys of the UFC’s welterweight division. While in the UFC ,Trigg had his problems with the division’s top wrestlers in Hughes and GSP, and Koscheck’s wrestling ability is right up there with those guys. As long as Koscheck knows that the easy way to win this fight is by taking it to the ground, he should be victorious. Expect “Kos” to smother “Twinkle Toes” with effective ground and pound, which will earn himself a unanimous three round decision.
BT Prediction: I see this fight earning the “Boring Fight Of The Night” award. Koscheck will not let Trigg turn this into a striking match and will instead quickly shoot for a takedown and hold him there. Even if the referee does stand them up, Koscheck will quickly take Trigg down over and over earning him points on the judges score cards leading to a unanimous and boring decision for Koscheck.
Griffin vs. Franca
AD: Franca is looking to make it back up to title contender status as he goes into this matchup with Griffin. Franca has the one-punch knockout power that could make the difference in this fight. The scary thing for Franca’s opponents is the fact that you can never count him out of the fight as long as he still has that over hand right.
BT: Griffin has some of the best wrestling out of all of the lightweight fighters. This has been proven in his fights against Aurelio and Guida. He also has the distinct advantage of training at Extreme Couture and he will be given a game plan that is solid. Griffin will look to actually end this fight instead of trying to get the judges to award him the victory.
AD Prediction: While Franca’s Jiu Jitsu is better than Griffins, that’s about the only advantage he has in this fight. Griffin is the quicker, more effective wrestler, and he is the cleaner striker. This bout should be exciting, with both fighters having their moments, but look for Griffin to use his kickboxing and wrestling effectively to edge out a decision over Franca.
BT Prediction: Griffin is going to want to keep this fight standing to avoid Franca’s ground game and he will be able to do that due to his superior wrestling ability. Franca will get sloppy and make a mistake that Griffin will capitalize on and quickly finish the fight. For Griffin’s sake, I hope he is able to finish this fight and I think he will do so in the third round.
Escudero vs. Miller
AD: Miller has a clear Jiu Jitsu advantage in this matchup. His length should pose threats to the Ultimate Fighter winner while the two are on the mat. If he can utilize his huge reach advantage and weather the ground and pound storm on bottom, Miller could win a decision or submit Efrain from his back.
BT: Escudero is currently riding an eleven-fight win streak including a win over Phillipe Nover to win season eight of “The Ultimate Fighter”. Escudero who isn’t known for his stand up game will look to use his striking to his advantage to punish Miller.
AD Prediction: This fight could definitely go either way. Efrain showed very solid wrestling during his time on the show, and won the finale with his improved standup and takedown ability. Cole Miller has been improving every time in the octagon and has some very impressive submission victories over credible opposition. I see this fight being taken to the ground by Escudero, and we will see if he can control Miller with ground and pound, or if Miller will employ his jiu jitsu skills successfully. Considering Efrain had some trouble making weight for this fight, and the fact that Miller has fought tougher opposition, I am leaning towards Miller being victories via some type of choke late in the fight.
BT Prediction: This fight is going to go to the guy who brings a better jiu jitsu game. I don’t see either fighter really wanting to stand and bang considering how good they both are on the ground. I think Miller will use his size and reach advantage over Escudero to dictate where the fight goes. Escudero is going to get frustrated with Miller and make a small enough mistake for Miller to lock in a submission.
McFedries vs. Drwal
AD: Drwal could win this fight with McFedries if he can avoid the huge bombs that his opponent will be launching at him.
BT: McFedries will probably be one of the hardest hitting guys Drwal could fight. McFedries should use this to his advantage and fake some overhand punches to get in close to Drwal and punish him from a clinch.
AD Prediction: This bout will definitely end in a knockout. It’s almost a guarantee. Both guys like to bang, and they bang hard. Whoever lands the cleanest shot first, will be the winner. Like all of McFedries fights, they are impossible to predict a winner. This paragraph probably took me longer to type than this fight will take on TV. Drwal by knockout, first round.
BT Prediction: Like Adam said, this fight is ending in a knock out. Drwal has the better UFC record, but is just one loss away from being a .500 fighter inside the octagon. McFedries does have the power advantage, but I think Drwal will be the one with his hand raised, while McFedries takes a nap.