UFC 99 Picks And Predictions

UFC 99 Picks And Predictions

UFC 99 Picks And Predictions
by T.O. Whenham

It took the UFC 99 events before they crossed the pond to mainland Europe. UFC 99: The Comeback takes place in Cologne, Germany on June 13. The Germans haven't seemed to be particularly warm in their welcome. Minors have been banned from the event and government and public interest groups have been far from supportive of the group. It's as if the organization is back facing the same attitudes they faced back home years ago - the perception that the sport is just human cockfighting.

Assuming they can get the event off despite the protests, this should be an interesting card. The main event isn't great, but the return to the UFC of Cro Cop is certainly worth a look. Here's a preview and some predictions, with odds from Bodog:

Rich Franklin (-145) vs. Wanderlei Silva (+115) - I'm not at all convinced that this is a main event caliber fight, but it should be a good one nonetheless. Both guys are very tough, and both have made a long career out of making their opponents submit. They will stand toe to toe, and they will pound on each other relentlessly. Silva is probably the better striker here, but he's also more susceptible to a good punch. On the other hand, Silva is a muay thai fighter, and Franklin has been vulnerable to a may thai clinch throughout his career. Franklin will have to stay far enough away from Silva to avoid contact and his punches, but close enough to wear Silva down and to land his punches. Silva is getting older and starting to break down, so if Franklin can work the balance well enough to dictate the fight then he has a clear edge - more of one than the price indicates. That makes him a bet worth looking at.

Pick: Rich Franklin.

Cain Velasquez (-180) vs. Cheick Kongo (+145) - This is the first big test for Velasquez, and it is very important - if the undefeated fighter puts on a good showing here then he could move into the upper tiers of the heavyweight division. Kongo was a late replacement after Heath Herring had to back out due to injury. It won't be a easy test, but if Velasquez is as good as he is supposed to be then it is one he should be able to pass with flying colors. Kongo is a better striker, so if he is gong to win he'll have to do it while the fighters are on their feet. Once the fight hits the ground then Velasquez has a clear edge, and will be able to score points at a far greater clip than his opponent.

Pick: Cain Velasquez.

Mike Swick (-215) vs. Ben Saunders (+175) - Saunders has never lost, but he has never fought a fighter like Swick, either. It's hard to know how he will respond and if he is up to the challenge of this fight. The best way to evaluate a fight like this to to look at the favorite. Swick is the real deal. He's fast and powerful, and he's very hard to get on the ground. The ground is where Saunders has his biggest edge, so this isn't a great matchup for him. That makes Swick a legitimate favorite.

Pick: Mike Swick.

Marcus Davis (-215) vs. Dan Hardy (+175) - Davis has a clear edge on the ground, but he might be tempted to stay on his feet and try to match Hardy blow for blow. I'm not sure that that would be a good idea. Hardy is tough and determined, and he won't go down without a fight. Davis is still the more likely winner here, but his advantage isn't as big as the price would indicate. That makes Hardy a nice value play.

Pick: Dan Hardy.

Spencer Fisher (-210) vs. Caol Uno (+170) -
Uno has been in the UFC forever, and he's trying to return to respectability starting with this fight. Fisher would be a nice win for him if he were able to pull it off, but I'm not convinced that he will. The problem is the matchup. Fisher measures up well with Uno on the ground, and he has a huge advantage when the fighters are on their feet.

Pick: Spencer Fisher.

Mirko Cro Cop (-500) vs. Mostapha Al Turk (+300) - Cro Cop came into the UFC with high expectations last time around, but he left after going just 1-2. He's back again, which is a bit of a surprise, and the UFC obviously wants him to succeed. They have put him in an easy spot here, and he'd have to have really lost a step or three to not come out with a win.

Pick: Mirko Cro Cop.

Terry Etim (-350) vs. Justin Buchholz (+275) - Etim has an edge in experience, but it's not overwhelming. I certainly don't think that that edge and his skills are enough to warrant this price. Buchholz is an underdog, but a win would not be a shock - especially if he can lands his potent strikes. That makes Buchholz a worthwhile gamble at the price.

Pick: Justin Buchholz.

Dennis Siver (-170) vs. Dale Hartt (+140) - Neither of these fighters is particularly impressive, but Siver has a clear edge - he's German, so he will definitely have the crowd on his side. That should be enough to get him over the top here.

Pick: Dennis Siver.

Paul Taylor (-500) vs. Peter Sobotta (+300) - I think Taylor is slightly overpriced here, but Sobotta is making his UFC debut and I never like trusting fighters in that position. Sobotta is probably fighting a bit over his head, and is being rushed into this spot only because he is German.

Pick: Paul Taylor.

Paul Kelly (-500) vs. Rolando Delgado (+300) - Kelly is a striker who packs a real punch. Delgado is a grappler in the classic style. Kelly's skill surpasses Delgado's, and that gives him a clear edge.

Pick: Paul Kelly.

Stefan Struve (-130) vs. Denis Stojnic (even) - Both guys lost their first UFC fight last time out, and the loser here will likely be cut. Struve is a decent grappler, and I like his chances of getting the fight to the ground and taking control.

Pick: Stefan Struve.

John Hathaway (-155) vs. Rick Story (+125) - Hathaway is an undefeated striker with a habit of stopping his opponents. Story is a grappler making his UFC debut. Hathaway just has too much going for him.

Pick: John Hathaway.

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Re: UFC 99 Picks And Predictions

UFC 99: The Comeback preview and picks
By Robert Rousseau

UFC 99: The Comeback crosses the pond to Colonge, Germany where Rich Franklin faces Wanderlei Silva in the card’s main event. Check out the preview and prediction for that bout as well at UFC 99’s other top matchups.

Rich Franklin (26-4) vs. Wanderlei Silva (32-9-1)

On the ground it would appear that Franklin (-135) has the edge. There was a time when on his feet, no one held an edge over Silva (+105). But he's taken a lot of abuse in recent fights and Franklin is a very smart and dangerous striker. The threat of Franklin taking this fight to the ground - giving Silva something else to worry about- will give Franklin an edge on his feet. Connecting with more strikes will eventually allow him to finish things off on the canvas.

Pick: Rich Franklin wins via TKO in Round 2.

Cheick Kongo (24-4-1) vs. Cain Velasquez (5-0)

Kongo's (+165) ground skills and takedown defense have improved a lot. But with Velasquez (-205), he still may find it difficult to stay on his feet. Since Kongo isn't much of a submission threat, expect Velasquez to do just enough on his feet to keep the bout close. Eventually, that will lead to a takedown and ground and pound.

Pick: Cain Velasquez wins via decision.

Mike Swick (13-2) vs. Ben Saunders (7-0-2)

Both guys have strong striking skills and lots of reach. Swick's (-240) vast experience against top flight competition will be the difference.

Pick: Mike Swick wins via decision.

Marcus Davis (21-5) vs. Dan Hardy (21-6)

There's some bad blood here, making this an interesting encounter. Both guys have good chins and like to strike. But the difference is Davis' (-225) world-class striking skills, particularly in the area of boxing. He has better technical skills on his feet and that will be the difference.

Pick: Marcus Davis wins via decision.

Spencer Fisher (23-4) vs. Caol Uno (25-11-4)

It's hard to find a more compelling matchup amongst guys under championship radar. Uno (+170) is a huge submission threat who is crafty and well rounded. Fisher (-210) may be the better standup fighter and is stronger. His better wrestling will allow him to dictate where the fight goes, and that will be the difference.

Pick: Spencer Fisher wins via decision.

Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic (24-6-2) vs. Mostapha Al Turk (6-4)

Lately, it's been hard to call Cro Cop's (-400) fights. You never know which guy will show up. Still, you have to believe that Turk (+300) doesn't have a chance unless he gets things to the ground. This could finally be Filipovic's coming-out party in the UFC.

Pick: Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic wins via TKO in Round 1.

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