After one night of fights, another night begins, and our main event should be an interesting one. Roy Nelson will meet Matt Mitrione whom is replacing Shane Carwin due to an injury. Mitrione is 5-1, and all those fights are in the UFC which is very rare for any fighter. On the top of my head the only other one who has achieved such, is Matt Riddle. Mitrione is going to need to put forth a great performance though to beat Nelson who is as durable as they come. Mitrione already had one step up in competition in Kongo, and failed miserably to capitalize anything in that fight. Nelson is a very complete fighter, and one of only 2 men to go the distance with Junior Dos Santos. The man has an iron chin, an extra padding in that gut. Nelson can take this fight anywhere he wants to, but I’d think he is going to keep this one standing, and take Mitrione to the cage and beat him up in the clinch. I really don’t see Mitrione having much of a chance here, as Nelson is better anywhere the fight goes. Nelson via decision.
Now, I’ll be honest here I didn’t watch an episode of this season, which is rare because I normally like TUF. It’s just been very uninteresting lately, so I just didn’t make it a priority to watch. But, I do know Mike Ricci from his Ringside MMA fights, as well as his short lived Bellator career. That short lived Bellator career though, isn’t to say he is bad or anything, he just ran into the future champion Pat Curran. He certainly is a gifted fighter though, and he has some heavy hands to boot. As for Colton Smith, I know he is a Army Ranger, and he pretty good wrestler. The only thing he doesn’t really have enough here is experience, and Ricci has a good amount. Ricci also has fought some notable names as well, and has some decent wins including a win over Jordan Mein. I honestly think Ricci is going to KO him, and maybe I don’t know enough about Smith to say he has no chance, but Ricci is gifted, and we will see him be crowned as the welterweight TUF Finale 16 winner.
Another battle of heavyweights is on the card, which should be a really good one. Two kickboxers will meet, and I don’t see this one going to the distance. Shane Del Rosario is coming off his first professional loss, and will look to get back on track. One of the more talented prospects to come over from Strikeforce, with a serious Muay Thai kickboxing background, and he is very good on the ground to boot. This is definitely what I’d call Kryptonite for most heavyweights. His opponent is the very popular Pat Barry, who’d I’d have to believe needs a win here in the worst way. Barry in his last 4 fights is 1-3, so he might be on the cutting block, although his fights are exactly what the UFC and fans love. To be honest, I think this one will start standing, and Del Rosario at some point is going to take Barry down, and exploit is non existent ground game. Barry has to come out aggressive and fight on the inside, but I’m not sure he is going to come out like that. I just don’t see Barry winning this one because once it hits the ground, I’d just consider it over. Del Rosario by submission.
This next fight is such a fun one, and I expect someone’s lights to go out. Jamie Varner and Melvin Guillard will go toe to toe, and I expect this to be an all out war slugfest. Varner after returning to the UFC, and knocking out the heavily hyped prospect Edson Barboza put forth an excellent fight against Joe Lauzon, but came up short when Lauzon strapped on a triangle choke to end it. Varner looks to rebound, and although he like to stand and bang, he can threaten a submission in this fight. Guillard who is regarded as one of the most talented lightweights has hit a rough patch in his career just shortly after an all time high. So, in other words, his career has been a roller coaster lately. Guillard is one of the most athletic lightweights, and he packs a punch to boot on the feet, but his ground game has cost him just about every fight. Varner having never been knocked out, I really like his chances to knock out Guillard early. I’ve just seen a resurgence from Varner, and his stand up looks great. I expect him to unload on Guillard and finish him early.
I’m not going to over analyze our first fight of the main card, but I really like Dustin Poirier here. He is exceptional anywhere this fight goes, and Jonathan Brookins hasn’t quiet lived up to being a TUF winner. Brookins is a nice wrestler with a smother top game, but I don’t think his striking game is all there yet. He just hasn’t had much success lately, but that is in part to the quality of his opponents. I’d say this is the best opponent he will have fought, not discrediting Koch but Poirier is a contender in the featherweight division. Poirier is going to roll in this fight en route to a decision win.