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New Year’s Eve Weekend Prediction Marathon

This holiday weekend no fewer than 31 fights are scheduled to take place on major shows. While I don’t have time to do full previews of UFC 79, the finals of the IFL World Grand Prix, Yarennoka!, and K-1 HERO’s Premium Dynamite!, I still decided to sit down and furnish predictions for just about every single advertised fight on the four cards. It was a Herculian task, no doubt, but I want to test myself and see what kind of record I can compile.

I was going to just do predictions for the UFC, IFL, and Yarennoka but then I imagined getting an instant message from Jordan Breen saying “A real man would have also predicted the K-1 fights.” So I figured, what the hell, I’ll just throw those predictions in too. The goal is to finish with a 23-8 record. Can I do it? I have no idea but it will be fun trying to see if I can.

UFC 79: Nemesis

Georges St. Pierre vs. Matt Hughes for interim UFC welterweight title

I’ve thought long and hard and can’t come up with a reason as to why anyone would think the outcome of the third fight will be any different than the second. A short training camp might not help GSP but it won’t be enough to put Hughes over the top.

Prediction: St. Pierre via fourth round TKO.

Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva

This won’t go past the first round. If Silva comes out wanting to brawl, this will be Liddell’s fight. However, I think he knows how much is at stake and will fight a more technical fight, just as he did against Mirko Cro Cop in the openweight GP in ’06. Silva just has more ways to win.

Prediction: Silva via TKO at 4:11 of round one.

Ryoto Machida vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

I’m amazed that people are counting Sokoudjou out. They counted him out vs. Rogerio, which was understandable. Then they counted him out vs. Arona. Which is also understandable. Machida is good but Arona has a similar defensive style and we know how that one worked out.

Prediction: Sokoudjou via first round TKO.

Melvin Guillard vs. Rich Clementi

Guillard has a ton of potential, but potential only means you haven’t done it yet. Clementi is much more professional in his approach to fighting so there’s no way I can back Guillard in a fight like this.

Prediction: Clementi via unanimous decision.

Soa Palelei vs. Eddie Sanchez

Palelei is a heavyweight prospect that the UFC is going to look to build up for when they debut in Australia later this year. Sanchez is becoming the UFC’s heavyweight version of The Brooklyn Brawler; a guy who you can respect but not expect to win.

Prediction: Palelei via second round submission.

Luis Cane vs. James Irvin

Cane is the second of two heavyweight prospects that will be debuting at UFC 79. He’s a perfect 7-0 with none of the fights going the distance. I get the feeling Joe Silva has unearthed another diamond in the rough. While I like Irvin’s style, I just think Cane has the higher upside and is the more technical fighter.

Prediction: Cane via first round submission.


  • phyteguru says:

    Sam, you and I literally have almost EVERY SINGLE fight picked the same on all of those cards. Apparently we know what we’re talking about.

  • dizzle says:

    I have for my fantasy picks.

    Hughes 2nd round ArmBar

    Liddell 3rd decision

    Sokoudjou first round Stopage

    Guillard Decision

    Irvin first round Choke

    Sanchez 2nd roudn submission Rear Naked Choke

  • c-ing_red says:

    Machida and Arona have similiar defensive styles? Machida has much better stand up than Arona. He won’t get caught that easy.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    C-Ing, they have similar styles in that they are defensive counter fighters.

  • Jay K. says:


    Thanks for the summary. Reading bits like this helps me learn more about the fighters outside of the ufc/wec. Your summation of the Fedor fight was priceless!

    Happy New Year,

    Jay K.

  • Marc says:

    “they have similar styles in that they are defensive counter fighters.”

    I don’t agree with this. Arona is a grappling first kind of guy. His striking sucks, therefore he usually just wings punches to set up a takedown. LYOTO is a technically proficient, incredibly accurate striker. If Soko trys to bullrush him, he’ll get greeted with nasty straight punches and go down.

    Whether or not they have “similar defensive styles” as you put it is moot, because Machida is 100 times the striker Arona is.


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