Kenny Florian vs Takanori Gomi – Lightweight
“I Finish Fights” Florian versus “The Fireball Kid”. Sounds fun. It should be too. Both fighters are exciting and agressive and having the two together should make for an entertaining main event. Florian is 7-1 in his last 8 fights, with 6 victories by way of submission or TKO, earning himself the finishes fights moniker. His only loss in that time was to the Lightweight God BJ Penn. That’s impressive. Gomi, on the other hand, is surprisingly two years younger but started fighting professionally around 5 years before Florian. “The Fireball Kid” is a very respectable 31-5 for his career but has lost two of his last four fights in Japan. I believe Takanori Gomi still has enough in him to make for an exciting fight but in the end it’s just going to bring out the best in Kenny Florian and usher him right back into title contention with maybe only one more fight before a rematch with Penn. I see this ending late in the second with Florian unleashing some furious “hell bows” which will open up Gomi for the RNC. Florian to def Gomi via Submission (Choke) in Round 2.
Roy Nelson vs Stefan Struve – Heavyweight
Roy “Big Country” Nelson may have come to the UFC via “The Ultimate Fighter” but he is a veteran of the cage, fighting previously for the IFL, Bodog and Elite XC. His record is a solid 14-4 and his losses are to the likes of current UFC heavyweight Ben Rothwell and former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski. Stefan Struve comes in at 19-3 with 14 submission wins. He just recently won a poor decision against Paul Buentello to make his record in the UFC 3-1, the only loss via TKO to the absolutely unstoppable Junior dos Santos. Nelson and Struve both come equipped with quality grappling games. Their respective body styles make for an adapted skill set, “The Skyscraper” being dangerous with his length and “Big Country” with his girth. The big difference maker in this showdown is Nelson’s KO power which he just previously used on TUF 10 teammate Brendan Schaub in December. Look for a finish in the first and a stunning knockout as Nelson goes 2-0 in the UFC and finally gets his dues. Nelson to def Struve via KO in Round 1.
Nate Quarry vs Jorge Rivera – Middleweight
These dudes come to fight and are both known to let it all go and just scrap! Nate Quarry’s last fight against Tim Creuder was most certainly the definition of a “barn burner”. Rivera should bring it just the same and create a battle with Quarry worthy of either Fight of the Night or KO of the Night honors, or even possibly both. Rivera has a history of either KO’ing people or getting KO’ed due to his agressive style and willingness to brawl. Quarry has shown a good chin and definitely took a lot of facial damaging from Tim Credeur, so I’m thinking they will be trading back and forth, blow for blow. Will someone tire first and get caught or will both fighters stay strong and last a tough decision? This was where I got stuck for a bit. I’m going to go with my gut and call a Quarry TKO in the middle portion of the third. Tough call. Quarry to def Rivera via TKO in Round 3.
Ross Pearson vs Dennis Siver – Lightweight
Pearson pulled the upset over the heavy favored Andre Winner on TUF 9 to earn his UFC contract and has since beaten Aaron Riley in November. Dennis Siver is riding a 4 fight win streak with 2 TKO victories and the other 2 by submission. Siver’s experience will be a large advantage in this fight however Pearson’s strength should close the gap. They may not have the most recognizable names in the UFC but I think they’ll get some people talking after tomorrow night. I expect a very exciting performance from these two that will last all three rounds. I think Siver gets the edge with a late fury to decide the split decision. Siver to def Pearson via Decision (Split)