UFC on Fox: Diaz vs. Miller Preview & Predictions
(Column I wrote for gerweck.net)
UFC attempts to make their “third time’s the charm” event on the Fox network. Pay-Per-View headliners take a backseat as the objective is to create new stars with talent who present a better chance of producing an exciting fight that will leave the eyes of channel surfers glued to the action in the octagon.
Pat “HD” Barry (7-4) vs. Lavar Johnson (16-5): Both fighters bring with them aggression and ridiculous punching power fueled by an insatiable appetite for knockouts. Johnson has a chance to catch the Duke Roufus pupil if he can turn it into a wildfire fight, but he doesn’t possess the stand up pedigree of a Cheick Kongo or Stefan Struve to confuse Barry, who’s K-1 striking repertoire will be the difference maker.
Prediction: Pat Barry via KO in Round 2
Alan Belcher (14-3) vs. Rousimar Palhares (17-6): Both are riding a three fight win streak and this win will put them right in line for a title shot. Palhares has been making waves with his vicious leg locks. Belcher has good stand up but has been plagued with injuries over the last two years. The physicality of Palhares along with his leg kicks will provide the hard fought opening he needs in order to finish the fight.
Prediction: Rousimar Palhares via TKO in Round 3
Josh Koscheck (17-5) vs. Johny Hendricks (12-1): Hendricks shocked the world when he knocked out Jon Fitch in 12 seconds at UFC 141. Basically, he is Koscheck 2.0 with better striking, wrestling and two national championships to his credit. Koscheck also has a national championship and his experience should play a factor but he seldom listens to his corner. Plus, Koscheck has been saying the dreaded “I just want to put on a show” line which means moneyweight paychecks take precedent over welterweight title aspirations and that could be the wrong play against the hungry Hendricks.
Prediction: Johny Hendricks via decision
Nate Diaz (15-7) vs. Jim Miller (21-3): Love ’em or hate ’em, the Diaz brothers captivate the attention of MMA fans everywhere. These same people have watched Nate come into his own as a fighter over the past couple of years. With the promise of a title shot, should he win, this bout will prove if he is the real deal or just another contender. There is one major problem that neither Diaz brother has been able to completely solve: wrestling, their kryptonite. Jim Miller will look to exploit this by setting up takedowns with punches. Miller’s conditioning will help him in the later rounds and he has shown the ability to come back from the jaws of defeat, unlike Diaz. Nate always looks good early with an onslaught of punches that prompts fighters to shoot for the takedown and that is when the Gracie jiu-jitsu black belt is at his most dangerous. This has all the makings for a fight of the year candidate and a winner is almost too close to call.
Prediction : Nate Diaz via razor – close decision.