UFC ’96 Predictions

First published in the Lethbridge College Endeavour, March 4, 2009
With Sean Young

Previous Picks (UFC 94)
Scott: 3 of 5 right (60%)
Sean: 2 of 5 right (40%)

Gray Maynard vs. Jim Miller
A product of Randy Couture’s Xtreme camp, “The Bully” Maynard, is undefeated in his eight MMA bouts. Accused of being a lay-and-pray fighter by many fans after three consecutive unanimous decision wins, Maynard needs to finish the fight with flare if he wants to move up the 155lb ranks. Miller (13-0-1) is coming off a unanimous decision win over Matt Wiman at the “Fight for the Troops” card last December.

Sean’s pick: I’ll take Maynard. He has good wrestling and occasional KO power.
Scott’s pick:
Who’s Sean taking? I’ll take the other guy.

Matt Hamill vs. Mark Munoz
“The Hammer” rebounded from his first KO loss at UFC 88, with a second round KO over Reese Andy last December at UFC 92. “The Ultimate Fighter 3” standout’s only other loss was a controversial split-decision to UK star Michael Bisping. Munoz is coming off two impressive TKO victories in the WEC and will look to demonstrate why he is nicknamed “The Philippine Wrecking Machine” in his big league debut.

Sean’s pick: Munoz has a Thai-clinch and good wrestling so I’ll take him.
Scott’s pick:
For sure Hamill. He’s getting better each fight and his nickname isn’t nearly as stupid.

Pete Sell vs. Matt Brown
After dropping four straight UFC fights at middleweight, Sell found much needed success in his debut at 170lbs with a unanimous decision victory over Josh Burkman last October. “The Immortal” Brown avenged a robbery decision loss to Dong Hyun Kim with a sweet arm-lock submission victory over Ryan Thomas at UFC 91 last November.

Sean’s pick: Brown has the momentum and skills to get it done.
Scott’s pick:
Th is fight proves how awful this card really is. I want to go against Sean but I can’t. I’ll take Brown too.

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Shane Carwin
Losing to Randy Couture at UFC 74 and then Fabricio Werdum at UFC 80 knocked “Napao” Gonzaga down the Heavyweight ladder a few rungs. But, Gonzaga put his name back in the title contender hat with his one-minute whack-a-skull routine on Josh Hendricks at UFC 91.

With a perfect 10-0 record, and a massive 6 ‘3’, 262lb frame, Carwin is being touted by many fans and analysts at the answer to Brock Lesnar’s size and athleticism. But, the big man must prove he can handle top-level competition like Gonzaga, before any prophencies can be redeemed.

Sean’s pick: Gabe Gonzaga. Carwin has yet to face a beast of this nature.
Scott’s pick:
Ah, back to reality. Carwin will win again and Sean only takes these guys because he thinks their name sounds tough.

Quinton Jackson vs. Keith Jardine
A first-round KO victory at UFC 92 last December, which made Wanderlei Silva resemble a freshly laid slab of marble, put to rest any doubts that a “Grand Theft Auto” style car chase with police and changing camps to England would affect Rampage’s performance in the cage. The end of 2006 marks the last time Jardine was able to put up back to back wins, but “The Dean of Mean” has faced nothing but top level competition and holds victories over former champions Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin, and most recently Brandon Vera at UFC 89 last October.

Sean’s pick: Rampage all the way. You can never count on Jardine to win but expect Page to be wearing the belt by the end of this year.
Scott’s pick:
I really like Jardine because he trains with some of my favourite fighters but Jackson is going to hurt him and hurt him a lot. Rampage guaranteed.

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