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UFC 164: Henderson vs Pettis Predictions

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UFC 164 goes down this coming weekend on August 31st, 2013 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, featuring a main event of UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson defending his title against Anthony Pettis and a co-main event that sees the returning Josh Barnett take on Frank Mir in the heavyweight division.

We also have a new Insider debuting this week, with Paul Bruens joining the crew, so without further ado here are our MMAInsider.net staff picks.  Feel free to share your picks in the comments!

Want to compete with the MMAInsider.net crew?  Move on over to MMAFantasyFever.com and go head to head with us.

Lightweight Title Bout – Benson Henderson (c) (19-2) vs Anthony Pettis (16-2)

DR: If this fight is half as entertaining as their first one in WEC then we are in for a treat as fight fans. There is little between both men wherever the fight takes place with both men almost equally talented standing as they are on the mat. If Benson holds any edge it’s probably in the wrestling department, as well as in high level experience as Paul pointed out, with Benson having faced the likes of Frankie Edgar (16-4-1) and Gilbert Melendez (21-3) recently, two men who are among the best in the world. However, if Pettis has an edge then it could be in the mental side of things, given that he already holds a win over the champion. That doesn’t always mean a lot in rematches, but it may just be that Benson feels he has something extra to prove in this bout, which could detract him a touch from his gameplan. I don’t think I’ve picked against a Duke Roufus fighter on the card, Duke meanwhile feels Pettis has Henderson’s number, so I’m not going to change that here. Perhaps picking with heart rather than head but – Pettis via Decision

CG: Anthony Pettis is a finisher through and through.  His try anything, throw anything, and make sure it’s flashy style makes him potentially the most exciting fighter in mixed martial arts today.  He shot to instant stardom when he landed the ‘Showtime Kick’ on Henderson in their first fight to ultimately steal the WEC Lightweight Championship from ‘Bendo’.  Both men have made amazing strides since the first bout with Pettis having sported a 3-1 record with two impressive finishes over Joe Lauzon and Donald Cerrone, both finishes started with his amazing kicks I should note.  On the other hand Benson has gone on a tear since losing his title to Pettis that night, as he has a perfect 7-0 record since that time.  The one glaring difference is how he is winning those fights.  Closely.  Barely even.  Some would argue he lost a couple of those close fights.  Like it or not he is the reigning UFC Lightweight Champion and has logged three successful defenses of that title.  As with anything, though, there always seems to be someone who has your “number,” and I happen to think Pettis has Henderson’s.  I expect to see an even more improved Pettis enter the cage on Saturday night, in front of his hometown crowd no less, and walk out as the new UFC Lightweight Champion.  Look for the challenger to go to work with that crazy flashy style and never allow the Champion to settle in and adjust to the attacks heading his way.  ‘Bendo’ is tough as nails so I don’t think this will be a walk in the park in anyway, but Pettis takes this with a hard fought decision. – Pettis via Decision

CP: I have to start these predictions off with a bit of a disclaimer.  I am a Wisconsinite and as such I will have a built in bias for all the Wisconsin fighters that are on this card.  That doesn’t mean I won’t explain why all the Wisconsin fighters on this card are going to win at home, because they are, but it does help to know that there is a small bit of bias  Lets start off with why Pettis is going to win against Henderson.  First, he’s already won against Henderson once.  Second is the way these two fighters have been winning their previous fights.  Pettis has been showing constant improvement, finishes, and a creativity and multitude of skills in his wins.  Henderson has been showing the same ranging jab, the same kicks to the leg and calves, and the same takedown game throughout his title defenses.  Pettis has faced this game, and won against it already and its going to take nothing short of a whole new fighter in Henderson to keep his belt on Saturday – Pettis via Decision

PB: When Henderson and Pettis fought the first time it was a close decision loss for Henderson that cost him his WEC lightweight title. While Pettis hasn’t been fighting slouches since his fight with Henderson the competition is hardly able to compare. Pettis’ wins over Jeremy Stephans, Joe Lauzon, and Donald Cerrone have been impressive. But they don’t compare to Henderson’s wins over  Gilbert Melendez, Nate Diaz, and two wins over Frankie Edgar. I think the rise in competition will allow Henderson to win another close fight between the two, most likely splitting the judges. –  Henderson via Decision

MMAInsider.net picks Anthony Pettis 3-1

 

Heavyweight Bout – Josh Barnett (32-6) vs Frank Mir (16-7)

DR: I doubt many people are as excited to see Josh Barnett return to the UFC as much as me and can’t wait for ‘The Warmaster’ to make his first appearance for the promotion in over eleven years. If this was a pure BJJ fight then it would be a close one to call, as both men are talented pure grapplers. However, Barnett in my opinion is by far the more well-rounded fighter. He’s a better boxer, possesses good wrestling and can also deal out some nasty ground and pound. Whether this fight is contested standing, clinched against the cage, or on the mat, it’s Barnett who I see edging out the victory in this one it’s what is likely to be an entertaining bout between two experienced heavyweights. You can’t completely rule out Mir, who’s always capable of pulling something off on the mat while also possessing some good power in his striking, however I feel Barnett has the mental edge and is simply a ‘tougher’ fighter which will see him through here, setting him on the path to reclaim a title he never lost, at least not inside the octagon anyway. – Barnett via Decision

CG: Frank Mir really did have all the potential in the world.  This was, of course, prior to his motorcycle accident that put him on the shelf for close to 20 months.  Since that time he is a somewhat respectable 8-6 inside the UFC’s Octagon, and has shown flashes of the potential he once promised.  His one true flaw inside the cage is having far to much faith in his stand up.  Almost every time he gets comfortable on the feet he gets knocked out cold.  The lone time that  comes to mind of him being able to recover from such an event was in the second ‘Big Nog’ fight, when after Nogueira hurt him standing he made a tactical error dropping for the choke, and that ultimately allowed Mir to destroy Nogueira’s arm.  He takes on another former UFC Heavyweight Champion on the night in Josh Barnett.  Barnett was enjoying a four plus year long, eight fight winning streak prior to meeting Daniel Cormier in the Strikeforce Grand Prix Heavyweight Final.  He lost to ‘DC’ in that scrap, but has since bounced back with a dominant performance over Nandor Gueimino at the final Strikeforce event this past January.  He makes his return to the UFC over eleven years later, after having been stripped of his UFC Heavyweight Championship due to a failed drug test.  All that being said I’m picking ‘The Warmaster’ to make a successful return to the cage, handing Mir his third straight loss and almost certainly into retirement. – Barnett via (T)KO

CP: Every time I see Frank Mir in the stand up he looks mechanical and stiff.  When he decided to bulk up to stop being the under-weighted heavyweight he lost a lot of his speed that made his striking a lot more effective.  In the grappling realm, he’s shown good skills on the ground, but hasn’t really shown the ability to get it there on his own, its always been following a knockdown, or being knocked down, which does not make for the best of strategies.  Factor all this in and its easy to see Barnett taking this one.  He’s going to be able to keep this fight on the feet and work the looser, better striking game.  If the fight does make its way to the ground, I would suspect its going to be after Barnett does some damage, which might give Mir an opportunity for a submission, but Barnett’s ground game is more than able to handle a less than perfect ground game of Mir.  Watch Barnett get a TKO in the later rounds or out class Mir to an unanimous decision. As for me… – Barnett via Decision

PB: Barnett and Mir have been wanting to get at each other for a while now it seems. But Barnett has definitely been the superior fighter recently. Even though both were dominated by Daniel Cormier in their fights with him, Barnett is still a more talented fighter overall. Barnett will be able to outstrike Mir at will while more than being able to hold his own on the ground with Mir, which will allow him to stave off any submission attempts that Mir may throw his way. Mir also has a tendency to gas out in a lot of his fights. He doesn’t always come in shape. I think Barnett will exploit Mir’s lack of cardio along with his better striking to shut Mir down effectively all fight leading to a TKO. – Barnett via (T)KO

MMAInsider.net picks Josh Barnett 4-0

 

Featherweight Bout – Clay Guida (30-13) vs Chad Mendes (14-1)

DR: If you check out the betting lines for UFC 164 then Chad Mendes is by far the biggest favourite on the card, which comes as a surprise to me, not necessarily because Mendes isn’t extremely talented, but because it’s hard to count someone like Guida out of a fight, considering he’s known for his gritty attitude and impressive cardio, which keeps him in the fight until the very end. However, other than setting a high pace, Guida’s biggest strength is his wrestling, something that he will find much harder to utilise against Chad Mendes, given that Mendes is a NCAA Division One All American wrestler himself. I believe Mendes is technically the better striker as well as being the more powerful. Although I see this being a much closer fight than many anticipate, Team Alpha Male have been on a role ever since Duane ‘Bang Ludwig (21-14) came on board and I see Mendes getting his hand raised here. – Mendes via Decision

CG: Chad Mendes is a featherweight wrecking machine.  His lone loss came at the hands of current featherweight kingpin, and UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo.  He sports a 3-0 record since that fight, with all those wins coming via first round knockout.  As I said the dude is a beast.  Add to that his camp over at Team Alpha Male, with all the amazing strides they have been making under Duane Ludwig, and there’s a good chance he’ll look even better come the Guida fight.  As has been mentioned by some of the others, Guida’s cardio and wrestling have been something he has held an advantage over his opponent when he has walked away the victor.  He won’t be able to enter the cage against Mendes making those claims, however.  Guida is as tough as they come, and has never been finished via strikes over his career.  He has suffered six submission, with four of them being due to the dreaded rear naked choke, and I’m leaning towards Mendes being able to push that to seven submission losses.  He has the wrestling to get Clay down, and also has a couple submission wins due to chokes which helps me lean a little further that way.  – Mendes via Submission

CP:  Guida has two things that have made his fights; his wrestling and his cardio.  Neither of these two things are going to help him against a fighter who has more of both.  This is a simple matching of skills: Mendes has more wrestling, Mendes has more cardio, Medes has more striking, Guida has more hair.  Guida has to have more of something but that isn’t going to help in a fight.  Give Guida credit, he always does come to fight and this should be fun to watch,  but Mendes is going to dominate this fight any which way it decides to go. – Mendes via Decision

PB: I think this is actually a much closer fight than people will give Guida credit for. Guida is an excellent grinder of a fighter, but his kryptonite has been larger fighters that can wrestle with him. The worst part of this fight for Guida is his willingness to take damage to give damage. Mendes is far enough ahead in striking to use this to his advantage. Mendes will let Guida’s over aggression at times get himself into trouble standing. He’ll probably rock Guida on a few occasions en route to a unanimous decision win. – Mendes via Decision

MMAInsider.net picks Chad Mendes 4-0

 

Heavyweight Bout – Ben Rothwell (32-9) vs Brandon Vera 12-6 (1nc))

DR: Brandon Vera has always been talented, and once heralded as one of the most promising fighters in the upper divisions, having fought at heavyweight and light heavyweight. While he perhaps hasn’t quite lived up to his true potential, as Paul pointed out, he’s been facing some of the best fighters in the world during his UFC career, having already fought the likes of Jon Jones (18-1), Randy Couture (19-11), Frank Mir (16-7), ‘Shogun’ Rua (21-8) and Fabricio Werdum (17-5-1). Rothwell is a tough dude who packs power and will certainly be a tough test in the opening round or so. He’s also had his fair share of tough opponents in the likes of Cain Velasquez (12-1) and Mark Hunt (9-8). However, again as Paul pointed out I think the key in this fight will be the athleticism of Brandon Vera, and although he’s not exactly known for his own conditioning, he will most likely be in better shape than Rothwell, which should allow him to outpoint the Wisconsin native. – Vera via Decision

CG: Big Ben might not have the greatest record in the UFC’s heavyweight division at 2-3, with two stoppage losses, but two of those losses came at the hands of current UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez and surging prospect Mark Hunt.  Nothing to hang your head about by any stretch.  Rothwell has fought some tough competition in the heavyweight division with wins over the likes of Gilbert Yvel, Ricco Rodriguez, Travis Fulton, Roy Nelson, and Krzysztof Soszynski to name a few.  He hooks ’em up against Brandon Vera, a fighter many believed to be one of the most promising prospects in the sport when he debuted in the UFC way back in 2005.  Vera, perhaps, bought into his own hype a little too much as he has never been able to accomplish what many thought he would, and become the UFC Heavyweight Champion.  Vera had even gone as far as making the claim that he would become a dual title holder and capture the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.  Lofty goals to say the least.  He enters this contest 1-3 and 1 no contest over his last five fights.  The NC was initially a decision loss to Thiago Silva, which resulted in his pink slip, until Silva was found to have falsified his urine sample.  This is set to be his return the the heavyweight division after having competed exclusively at light heavyweight for the last five years.  I do believe that at one time Vera had all the promise in the world, not unlike the above mentioned Frank Mir, but those days are long in the past.  I think Rothwell evens his UFC record to 3-3. – Rothwell via (T)KO

CP:  Another Wisconsinite, another fighter guaranteed to win.  Rothwell has had issues with conditioning, this is true, but he’s also faced fighter that are in his weight class.  Against the smaller fighter in Vera, those issues are going to be a lot less pronounced this time out.  He’s not going to be outworked or outmuscled in the wrestling, the striking is going to be pretty even and throw in home town advantage, expect a highly motivated Rothwell to take home a TKO decision as soon as he can get it. – Rothwell via (T)KO

PB: Vera is quite a bit more athletic than Rothwell, but he doesn’t have the resolve that Rothwell has in terms of chin and overall toughness. Vera hasn’t had a great stretch of fights recently, but he’s been fighting for the most part nothing but top fighters. Rothwell hasn’t fought the greatest of fighters lately and has a slightly better record to show for it. Neither fighter has been particularly active as of the last few years. I think the key to this fight is in Vera’s conditioning. If he’s in great shape then he’ll be able to outpace Rothwell with his superior athleticism which should lead to a unanimous decision win over the tough veteran that is Rothwell. – Vera via Decision

MMAInsider.net picks Even at 2-2

 

Featherweight Bout – Erik Koch (13-2) vs Dustin Poirier (13-3)

DR: This is definitely a close fight to call between two exciting featherweights. Poirier is definitely talented on the mat, while I feel Koch is the more dynamic striker, while also being a talented grappler himself. I expect this to be a close back and forth affair which might well be decided by whether or not Koch can do enough standing to outweigh Poirier enjoying plenty of top control. I’m just leaning towards Koch to just get the edge in a close fight. – Koch via Decision

CG: I was looking forward to this tilt when it was announced for the UFC 143 card, but Koch was forced to withdraw at the time due to injury.  Koch is a Roufusport product, alongside training partner Anthony Pettis, and has the striking abilities one expects coming from that camp.  He is 5-2 under the Zuffa banner, with three first round finishes, and his two loses are at the hands of current division top contenders Chad Mendes and Ricardo Lamas.  Poirier sports a 6-3 record for Zuffa, and has also been fighting a who’s who of the featherweight division during his time with the company.  He started his tenure with the UFC going a perfect 4-0 with two submission wins before losing via submission to Chang Sung Jung in an absolute war that took ‘Fight of the Night’ and ‘Fight of the Year’ for 2012.  He then traded a win over Jonathan Brookins for a loss against the surging Cub Swanson.  I see this fight being an early contender for ‘Fight of the Night’ and I must admit I’m struggling to select my pick as I type this.  Both men are well rounded fighters and have proven to be able to secure the win anywhere the fight goes, but I find myself thinking Koch has a slight edge in each area.  I think he bounces back from the Lamas loss in this bout and gets back on track to a shot at the featherweight title. – Koch via Decision

CP: This is the only Wisconsinite I have a little worry about as he’s facing stiff competition against Poirier.  I think Koch has the advantage in the striking and Poirier has the advantage on the ground.  I believe that both fighters know this and have been working adamantly on their less dominant skills.  Throw in the wildcard of home town advantage and I (biasedly) think Koch will be pulling off the decision. – Koch via Decision

PB: Both Koch and Poirier are vastly talented fighters that haven’t been able to quite put it together for a large stretch at a time. Both fighters will be competitive where ever the fight happens to take place. I expect it to be a close fight that Poirier will get the slight edge in what probably ends up as a split decision.  – Poirier via Decision

MMAInsider.net picks Erik Koch 3-1

 

Lightweight Bout – Gleison Tibau (27-9) vs Jamie Varner (21-7-1 (2nc))

DR: Varner via Decision

CG: Varner via Decision

JS: Tibau via Decision

CP: Varner via (T)KO

PB: Tibau via Decision

MMAInsider.net picks  Jamie Varner 3-2

 

Flyweight Bout – Tim Elliott (9-3-1) vs Louis Gaudinot (6-2)

DR: Elliott via Decision

CG: Elliott via Decision

JS: Elliott via Decision

CP: Elliott via Decision

PB: Elliot via Decision

MMAInsider.net picks Tim Elliott 5-0

 

Welterweight Bout – Pascal Krauss (11-1) vs Hyun Gyu Lim (11-3-1)

DR: Krauss via Decision

CG: Krauss via Submission

JS: Krauss via Submission

CP: Krauss via (T)KO (biased) 

PB: Krauss via Submission

MMAInsider.net picks Pascal Krausss 5-0

 

Bantamweight Bout – Chico Camus (12-4) vs Kyung Ho Kang (11-6 (1nc))

DR: Kang via Decision

CG: Camus via Decision

JS: Camus via Decision

CP: Camus via Decision (biased)

PB: Kang via Submission

MMAInsider.net picks Chico Camus 3-2

 

Heavyweight Bout – Nikita Krylov (15-1) vs Soa Palelei (18-3)

DR: Krylov via (T)KO

CG: Palelei via (T)KO

JS: Palelei via (T)KO

CP: Krylov via (T)KO

PB: Krylov via Submission

MMAInsider.net picks Nikita Krylov 3-2

 

Lightweight Bout – Ryan Couture (6-2) vs Al Iaquinta (5-2-1)

DR: Iaquinta via Decision

CG: Couture via Decision

JS: Iaquinta via Decision

CP:Couture via Decision

PB: Couture via Decision

MMAInsider.net picks Al Iaquinta 3-2

 

Middleweight Bout – Magnus Cedenblad (10-4) vs Jared Hamman (13-5)

DR: Hamman via (T)KO

CG: Cedenblad via (T)KO

JS: Hamman via (T)KO

CP:Cedenblad via (T)KO

PB: Hamman via (T)KO

MMAInsider.net picks  Jared Hamman 3-2

 

Current scores after 8 events:

Chuck Grace:  – 64/94 (68%)

Dave Reid:  – 59/94 (63%)

Dane Ford:  – 58/94 (62%)

Jordan Smith:  – 54/94 (57%)

Chris Pohlman: – 43/69 (62%)

Douglas Keast: – 11/23 (48%)

Paul Bruens: – 0/0

 

Remember if you want to compete with the MMAInsider.net crew then head on over to MMAFantasyFever.com and go head to head with us!

 

About Dave Reid

Dave is an avid MMA fan and the content officer for MMAInsider.net If you would like to get in touch with him you can email him at dreid@mmainsider.net or follow him on twitter @davereiduk

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1 Comment

  1. Gary Manilow

    August 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Henderson Decision,
    Barnett TKO
    Mendes Decision
    Rothwell KO
    Koch Decision

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