UFC 102 Prelim Picks

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to pay-per-view this Saturday, Aug. 29 with UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira, the first UFC pay per view event to take place from Portland, Ore.

While the pay-per-view event will feature five fights, the undercard has six fights that will take place prior to the start of the PPV. Here are some bets to consider for the undercard.

Bet the UFC 102

Mark Munoz -210 over Nick Catone

Munoz has an embarrassing knockout loss to Matt Hamill in his UFC debut at UFC 96, and has since dropped down to middleweight, where his skills should translate well. His wrestling background gives him and edge at this weight class, as he will be the bigger fighter in most of his fights and be able to get his opponents to the ground and utilize his size. Prior to his UFC debut, he was 5-0, and Nick Catone is a wrestler in his own right, but again, the size issue will work against him. Catone does have a UFC win to his credit, but Munoz seems to be a potential star in the future.

Ed Herman -140 over Aaron Simpson

Herman is a “gate keeper” at 185 pounds for the UFC. Herman has some nice wins to his credit, but every time he faces a top 10 opponent, he comes up short. After losing two-straight to Demian Maia and Alan Belcher, Herman bounced back with a decision win over David Loiseau at UFC 97. Herman needs a win Saturday to keep his UFC career alive and possibly get a marquee fight in the future. Simpson is early in his MMA career with just five fights. Simpson does have a first round TKO win in the UFC, but he hasn’t faced someone like Herman, who has been through wars in the past. Simpson has had four of his fights end quickly, and once Herman gets through the first round, Simpson’s conditioning will be tested and that is where I see Herman capitalizing by scoring takedowns and making a tired Simpson fight off his back.

The Sure Thing:

Gabriel Gonzaga -400 over Chris Tuchscherer

A bet on Gonzaga doesn’t have much to gain, but this is a fight Gonzaga has to win to remain in the UFC. Still a contender in the heavyweight division, Gonzaga is hungry to get back to the fighter that flat-lined Mirko CroCop just a few years ago. Gonzaga has lost three of his last five, but all were to top 10 heavyweights. In his other fights, he has quickly disposed of his opponents with hard strikes and superior submission skills. Tuchscherer has an impressive 17-1 record, but is a UFC rookie and appears to be a sacrificial lamb for the hungry Brazilian.

The Potential Long Shot Winner:

Justin McCully +195 over Mike Russow

Making your UFC debut is always a tough thing for fighters. The nerves are greater and the anticipating is higher. There have been many fighters that have choked in their first UFC fight and Russow is entering the octagon for the first time on Saturday against McCully, a three-fight UFC veteran. McCully is 2-1 in the UFC with wins over Antoni Hardonk and Eddie Sanchez. McCully isn’t a submission fighter like Russow, but the McCully can bully Russow and score takedowns to control the fight and earn the decision win.

UFC 102 Information

Date: Saturday, Aug. 29

Location: Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Ore.

Time: Main card airs at 10 p.m. ET

TV Coverage: Pay-Per-View

Bet the UFC 102

Posted: 8/28/09 5:02PM ET

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