UFC on Fox 3: Diaz vs. Miller will be airing this Saturday, May 5th, live from East Rutherford, NJ.
The Nation got 4 of 6 right on his UFC 145 Predictions and is now 16 of 23 overall. For the record, even though the Nation got the Schaub-Rothwell result wrong, I did say Schaub’s inability to take a big punch could be a factor.
Pat Barry (7-4) vs. Lavar Johnson (16-5) – This should be a fun fight to watch. And this should be a short one also, with someone getting his lights knocked out. Barry has won 6 of his 7 fights by KO, while Johnson has 14 of 16 fights via the same route. Barry has some professional kickboxing experience under his belt, which gives him the technical edge in striking. In terms of pure punching power though, I might give the edge to Johnson. The size difference could be a factor also, as Johnson will have 5 inches and maybe 10-15 lbs. on Barry. Prediction: Johnson by 1st round KO.
Rousimar Palhares (14-3) vs. Alan “The Talent” Belcher (17-6) – Palhares is a submission specialist, with probably the most vicious heel hook in the business. Belcher has more well rounded skills, and has about a 6-inch height advantage. In spite of that though, Palhares should have the strength advantage. Palhares is a beast on the ground, and once it goes down there, I can see Palhares’ superior submission skills getting him the win. Prediction: Palhares by 2nd round submission.
Josh Koscheck (17-5) vs. Johny Hendricks (12-1) – Both Koscheck and Hendricks are great athletes with a great wrestling background. Not that many MMA fighters have better amateur wrestling credentials than Koscheck; Hendricks, however, is one of them. Hendricks won 2 NCAA Division I National Wrestling championships to Koscheck’s 1, and lost in the finals during his attempt for his 3rd straight title (he was 56-0 during the season until that point). In spite of that though, don’t be surprised if Hendricks ends this on the feet, as he has 7 KO’s in 12 wins, compared to only 5 KO’s in 17 wins for Kos. In fact, Hendricks knocked out Jon Fitch in 12 seconds last time he fought; an amazing fact considering Fitch’s toughness and winning streak until that point. I think both’s wrestling skills will neutralize each other’s and this ends up staying upright, at which point Hendricks’ punching power will make the difference. Prediction: Hendricks by 2nd round KO.
The Main Event: Nate Diaz (15-7) vs. Jim Miller (21-3) – This should be a great fight. Both fighters have great chins, great gas tanks, and will push the pace till the cows come home. Nate should have the advantage in the stand-up, although Miller’s ability to push things could give Nate trouble. On the ground, both are Black Belts in BJJ and have won their fair share of fights by submission (10 for Nate, 12 for Miller). Their ground skills will probably negate each other’s though, and I doubt we’ll see a submission victory for either. Both are tough as they come, although Miller’s losses have come against Benson Henderson, Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard – respectively, the current UFC lightweight champion, the man Henderson beat for the title, and the man who came within a hair of beating Edgar for the title twice, and has only lost once in his career. In short, it takes an elite fighter to beat Miller. Is Nate elite? He’s moving his way up there, but I’m not sure if he’s there yet. It’ll still be a hell of a fight though. Prediction: Miller by decision