It’s that time again, and we have a stacked main card scheduled for UFC 131 in Vancouver. But before we get to the main attraction, we have a lot of solid fights in the under card as well. Let’s take a look at each fight, and see what we think about every matchup here at BJJ.ORG.
Darren Elkins vs. Michihiro Omigawa
After going 8-1 in Sengoku and Dream, Omigawa made his return to the octagon with a unanimous decision loss to Chad Mendes. Michihiro will be looking to get his first ever win under the UFC banner so look for quick heavy hands and solid takedown defense. Darren Elkins, 11-2, will be looking to go 2-1 in the UFC after splitting his first two bouts in the octagon. Not much is known of Elkins’ weaknesses, but his strengths are easily quick hands and excellent submissions.
Pick: Watch Elkins let Omigawa chose where he wants to take the fight, then try to pounce. But expect a desperate Omigawa to go the distance and pull out a split decision victory.
Aaron Rosa vs Joey Beltran
Two big guys ready to bang! Aaron Rosa is making his promotion debut at 16-3 and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The San Antonio, Texas native has a four fight win streak coming into this bout and will be looking for a convincing finish. Joey Beltran hasn’t been impressive with a 2-2 record in the UFC. He has lost two tough decisions in a row and is going to be looking to prove he belongs in the octagon tomorrow night with his heavy hands.
Pick: Tough matchup, but I see Beltran testing Rosa’s chin for the better part of three rounds. Rosa will have some unexpected kicks, and if he can soften up the Mexicutioner and get this fight to the ground it’s all over for Beltran. Second round submission victory for Rosa.
Dustin Poirier vs. Jason Young
Jason Young will be looking to make a spectacular UFC debut, but Dustin Poirier has plans of his own as he looks to go 2-0 in the octagon. Look for Poirier to go for broke with his standup and try to make it an early night. Also look for Jason Young to do what he can to stay standing.
Pick: Poirier will be making it a short night with a TKO victory in the first.
Nick Ring vs. James Head
The Ultimate Fighter veteran, Nick Ring, was far from impressive in his unanimous decision victory in his UFC debut. But expect him to do anything possible to not taint his 11-0 record tomorrow night. Head will be making his UFC debut and he has his hands full. Nick Ring is an excellent wrestler with some hard kicks, and Head will looking for the early TKO with his heavy hands.
Pick: If Nick Ring can survive the early first round storm, expect him to go to the ground as he pleases and finish with a solid submission in late round 2 or early round 3.
Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Igor Pokrajac
Poland vs Croatia! I don’t see anything here to expect anything short of a quick knock out win for the “Polish Experiment.” Soszynski is going to bring some heavy hands to Pokrajac and find the soft spot on his chin.
Pick: Soszynski ends this one early in round one with a TKO victory.
Chris Weidman vs. Jesse Bongfeldt
Weidman is still young in his pro career at 5-0, and will be jumping into some what deeper waters with the seasoned 15-4-1 Canadian Bongfeldt. Bongfeldt has only one fight going the distance, with a draw vs. Rafael Natal. Weidman is coming off a solid unanimous decision of UFC veteran Alission Sakara, and will be looking to prove his skills tomorrow night.
Pick: Bongfeldt will be looking to take this fight to the ground early on, but expect Weidman to keep it standing and making his way to a tough unanimous decision.
Yves Edwards vs. Sam Stout
Yves Edwards is so much more than a veteran, he’s a fighter and a warrior. He sports a 40-16-1 record, 8-4 in the UFC, and is always ready for a challenge. But sam Stout is no walk in the park either, with a 16-6-1 record and solid stand up. It’s going to be a great fight with a solid standing boxing match, until Yves Edwards brings it to the ground.
Pick: It’s so hard to pick against Yves Edwards, especially when he looks like he’s ready to scrap. Look for Edwards to expose a week ground game from Stout and steal a win with a late third round submission win.
Donald Cerrone vs. Vagner Rocha
Rocha is stepping up to the plate and looking to bring a challenge to the Cowboy Cerrone. This will be an interesting fight as both are incredible on the ground, especially Cerrone with a dominating 12 of 14 wins coming by way of submission. Will Cerrone’s experience help him be victorious, or will we see a shocking upset come Saturday night?
Pick: If Donald Cerrone doesn’t get it to the ground and find a submission by round two, expect an easy decision win for the Cowboy.
Demian Maia vs. Mark Munoz
If we see the good side of Maia, expect fight of the night out of this matchup. Demian is 8-2 inside the octagon with his only losses coming from champion Anderson Silva and the always solid Nate Marquardt, and he will be facing the knockout expert, Mark Munoz. Munoz, 10-2, has half his wins coming from KO or TKO, leaving it no mystery that he wants to keep it standing. But will his takedown defense be enough to stop a jiu-jitsu ace such as Maia?
Pick: Another tough fight to analyze, but it looks as though Demian Maia will be taking this one to the ground with several submission attempts. Maia by rear naked choke in the third.
John Olav Einemo vs. Dave Herman
Despite a solid main event and co-main event, this fight may be the most interesting of the night. Einemo is nothing short of a pro when it comes to ground game, and expect him to look for any holes in Hermans game to bring him to his back. Herman, 20-2, is the exact opposite as 14 of his career victories are by KO or TKO. With a solid background in wrestling, Herman will be using all of his strength to keep Einemo on his feet.
Pick: These two fighter will be making their promotion debuts, but only one is coming out with their first UFC win. Expect Dave Herman to use his lengthy experience and heavy hands to win this fight, most likely late in round two by TKO.
Kenny Florian vs. Diego Nunes
It’s hard to not like Kenny Florian in a fight, but it’s also hard to imagine him doing well against someone as solid as Diego Nunes, in a new weight class. Florian is coming off a hard loss to current contender Gray Maynard, and is looking to start fresh in this featherweight matchup, while Diego Nunes is looking to make it 2-0 in the UFC.
Pick: If this match goes to the ground, expect an epic battle, possibly ending with a submission win from Florian. If it stays on the feet we may be looking at a unanimous decision for Nunes. Here’s to hoping for a Florian victory!
Junior Dos Santos vs. Shane Carwin
This fight is expected to be a slug fest ending with someone out cold, but beware of one enemy to Carwin; his cardio. Sure, he is a little slim compared to Carwin we saw against Lesnar, but did he really ahve the time to build his cardio after surgery on short notice for this fight? We’ve seen Shane Carwin past round one once so far, and it wasn’t a good experience for him then, so don’t expect it to be now.
Pick: Carwin will be searching for that first round TKO, but, if he’s smart, he will be conservative and save some gas for round two at least. Dos Santos will put on a boxing clinic the first round, showing us great striking and defensive skills, but expect him to take it to the ground in rounds 2 and possibly three for a TKO or submission victory.
So there you have it, our picks for tomorrow’s UFC 131 from Vancouver. Follow us on Twitter for updates and be sure to leave comments and let us know how you think we did!