The UFC heads to Orlando, Florida for the eleventh installment on FOX, for UFC on FOX 11.
In the main event, heavyweights Travis Browne and Fabricio Werdum square off in a number one contender bout for Cain Velasquez’s heavyweight championship. A women’s bantamweight fight co-headlines the night, as former number one contenders Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche square off inside the Octagon.
Rounding out the FOX main card are Donald Cerrone vs. Edson Barboza in a lightweight tilt, as well as Brad Tavares and Yoel Romero in middleweight action.
As always the staff at MMASucka.com will make their predictions be heard. As you can see from our overall running scores, some of us are much better than others. But without further ado, check out the MMASucka Staff Predictions.
Below are the scores after our UFC 171: Hendricks vs. Lawler card.
Justin – 23-12
Allen – 22-8
Jeremy – 21-14
Suraj – 15-7
Callum – 8-5
Thinesh – 6-2
Fabricio Werdum vs. Travis Browne
Jeremy: Werdum was expected to get a title shot after a big submission victory against Big Nog last June and a three-fight winning streak, however with an injury to the champ Cain Velasquez he had to take another match. In comes Travis Browne who is also riding a three-fight winning streak of his own with all of them coming by first round knockout. If Browne is able to keep this fight on the feet, which could be difficult against Werdum, then this could be his for the taking. Twelve of Browne’s sixteen victories have come by knockout, so if he is able to finish this one, expect it to be on the feet. Werdum on the other hand is a submission ace, so if it goes to the ground then you will only have a split second before “Hapa” taps. It’s a tough fight to call, as it’s heavyweight action, but if I had to choose… My pick is Travis Browne via Round 2 TKO.
Callum: This is a very difficult fight to predict, and it all hinges on who you think is more likely to be able to implement their game plan. If it stays on the feet Werdum will have to avoid the undeniable power of Browne, but if it goes to the ground Werdum has proven he is able of submitting the very best fighters in the game. For me, Werdum’s experience will come into play here. He has fought the likes of Bigfoot Silva, Arlovski and Overeem and managed to avoid falling foul of the stand up and I like him to get the victory. Browne has never been submitted before, but he has also never fought anyone with the submission skills of Werdum. Tough, but I’ll go for Fabricio Werdum via unanimous decision.
Thinesh: A thrilling heavyweight match-up on paper that’s bound to produce some fireworks. Both fighters are on three-fight winning skids too. Browne’s heavy hands are key here, and will be something Werdum has to content with. He may have the edge in the technical aspect of the striking game, but I think it’s a long shot that he outpoints the American. Werdum’s best chance of winning this fight is on the canvas. It’d be foolish to bet against Werdum’s world class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. But I’m going to stick with Browne’s fortunes on his feet, which has taken a brutal turn for the better of late. And oh, just so you know, I think there’s absolutely no chance of this fight going the full five rounds. Travis Browne via Round 2 TKO.
Justin: The last time Fabricio Werdum fought a guy whose striking he could not deal with, we got one of the worst fights of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. I’m not suggesting that we’re going to see “Vai Cavalo” butt-scooting his way through his bout with Travis Browne, but I do expect him to be a little tentative. Browne has a lot of power, and his signature, takedown-defending “Hellbows” have already finished two upper-level UFC heavyweights in Gabriel Gonzaga and Josh Barnett. It’s going to be a gritty fight, but I expect Browne to take it in a late stoppage. Travis Browne via Round 4 TKO.
Allen: While I want to look at this fight stylistically, my memory keeps reminding me that I’ve picked against Travis Browne in his past three fights. One intriguing subplot to this fight is that Fabricio Werdum has been training with Lyoto Machida to work on his striking, while Browne has been training with Frank Mir to work on his Jiu-Jitsu. Both fighters are showing that they will be prepared to counter their opponent’s biggest strength. That’s what makes me even more excited for this fight, besides it being a fresh matchup featuring two well-rounded heavyweights. Browne’s grappling has always been underrated, it has been his clinch defense that has been a minor flaw. Then again, Alistair Overeem has an overbearing clinch so I may be harsh in criticizing that. Besides Werdum’s ground game, the way he uses knees inside the clinch is his most dangerous asset. There are so many different variables to look at, but I’m leaning towards Browne. After seeing how Josh Barnett struggled to close the distance, it’ll be hard for Werdum to lock in the clinch. Browne is too rangy and has shown how devastating he can be with his knees, let alone his elbows that are on his highlight reel. Werdum is prone to slowing down in latter rounds as well, which doesn’t bode well against an athlete like Browne. Travis Browne via Round 3 TKO
Miesha Tate vs. Liz Carmouche
Jeremy: Tate is coming off her first back-to-back losses in her professional MMA career, so if that isn’t motivation to win, I don’t know what is. Losing to Cat Zingano in a ‘Fight of the Night’ performance, only to get a title shot off of it was outstanding, however she wound up losing to Ronda Rousey at UFC 168 by what else — arm bar. Carmouche is also coming off a loss, she came up on the short end of the judges scorecards at UFC Fight for the Troops 3 against current title challenger Alexis Davis. Both are going to be looking to rebound and stake their claim as potential number one contenders. This fight is another tough one to call, with me literally tossing a coin. My pick is Miesha Tate via Unanimous Decision.
Callum: I really like Liz Carmouche here – she looked very good against Ronda Rousey (arguably threatening her more than Tate did in either fight) and blew through the very underrated Jessica Andrade. The Alexis Davis fight didn’t go her way but I think she poses a big threat to Tate. Miesha Tate is probably the second most female fighter in the world at this point, but she really needs a win to start justifying it. She managed to prolong the second Rousey fight but I didn’t see anything new in her game other than improved submission defense – that won’t help her against the hard hitting Carmouche. Liz Carmouche via unanimous decision.
Thinesh: A tough fight to call. I like both combatants because, well, they’re obviously talented. First off, it’d be interesting to note how Carmouche deals with Tate’s wrestling prowess. I think it won’t come off as a surprise if the 27-year-old hunts for takedowns from the get-go, attempts for control before sinking in a submission. Tate’s done that multiple times in the past, and it’s been effective. Carmouche, on the other hand, is the better striker in this match-up. She will be looking to make this an all out striking affair, but I think she will succumb to Tate’s takedowns. I’m sticking my neck out here and reckoning a victory for Tate via 2nd round submission.
Justin: Unlike Thinesh, I don’t think this is a tough fight to call. Meisha Tate has some of the worst Fight IQ in the UFC these days, as evidenced in her fights with Liz Carmouche and Ronda Rousey. I expect a repeat performance, since Carmouche seems to improve with every fight. Tate may take a round, but I see “Girl-rilla” taking the decision here. Liz Carmouche via Unanimous Decision.
Allen: This is the toughest fight for me to pick on the card. Miesha Tate is in the same category as Donald Cerrone, where you really don’t know what to expect from them in a negative way. While they are unpredictable, their fight IQ is very questionable. Tate’s tendency to get into brawls, particularly against Rousey was foolish. We know that Rousey wants to get control of her opponent, before throwing them down. Carmouche is susceptible to being hit and Tate has proven she has power. While I do expect to see him brawling, Tate is stronger and has shown she can impose her will in the past. Carmouche still seems to be a bit undersized to me at 135. Miesha Tate via unanimous decision
Donald Cerrone vs. Edson Barboza
Jeremy: The number nine ranked Cerrone will look to climb the lightweight ladder against the number eleven ranked Barboza. “Cowboy” is coming off two bonus victories, as he earned “Submission of the Night” honors against Evan Dunham at UFC 167 and “Knockout of the Night” honors against Adriano Martins at UFC on FOX 10. Barboza is riding a three-fight winning streak, most recently a “Fight of the Night” performance against Danny Castillo at UFC on FOX 9. Both men are dangerous strikers with knockout power in their punches and kicks. My pick is Donald Cerrone via Unanimous Decision.
Callum: These two are undoubtedly going to go in and try and knock each other out. Cerrone in particular doesn’t like to wait around in fights, and I could see this turning into the best one round fight we see this year. Donald Cerrone by round 1 KO.
Thinesh: Now, we can go on about how these guys are masterful strikers in MMA, the best stand-up fighters at 155-lbs and all that, but, it so happens that ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone has the tendency of having his occasional ‘off-nights’. He looked great in his previous two appearances, but he just wasn’t the same in his bouts against Noons, Dos Anjos, etc. If Cerrone turns up on fight night, we can guarantee a blockbuster contest. Or a possible ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate. Else, I can see Barboza using his strikes to full effect for a decision. Either way, I’m staying on the safe side and reckoning a split decision in Barboza’s favor.
Justin: Can I just say that we as the fans win here? No? Okay, this is a tough one, seeing as both Barboza and Cerrone are such dynamic fighters. “Cowboy” has been showing up energized lately, and while nobody’s asked about his financial status coming into the fight, I have a feeling he may be wanting a bonus cheque to pay for a new boat this summer. Donald Cerrone via Unanimous Decision.
Allen: It’s always a challenge for me to pick a Donald Cerrone fight. After that abysmal performance against Rafael Dos Anjos, I’m not sure what to expect from him. He’s won his last two fights in convincing fashion and has been aggressive in those fights early on. If he continues to get off to a fast start, it’ll bode well for his chances. Most of his losses have come from slow starts. I’m expecting to see some world class Muay Thai on display, with some jaw-dropping leg kicks. Eventually Cerrone will have to rely on his wrestling, especially if he starts to catch some of Barboza’s leg kicks. It’s great to see Barboza move out of his comfort zone and dedicate time into working on his wrestling with Frankie Edgar in New Jersey. He knows that most fighters will look to take him down compared to standing-and-trading punches and kicks. That should obviously help him, but in the end Cerrone will be too overpowering and land more significant strikes. Donald Cerrone via Unanimous Decision
Brad Tavares vs. Yoel Romero
Jeremy: One of the quietest winning streaks in the UFC is Brad Tavares. He is currently on a five-fight winning streak with almost all of his wins coming in the underdog role. Most recently he beat Lorenz Larkin via Unanimous Decision at UFC Fight Night 35. Romero is 3-0 inside the UFC Octagon, with all three coming via either knockout or TKO. He had a “Fight of the Night” performance against Derek Brunson also at UFC Fight Night 35 where he won a come from behind victory. It’s hard to pick against Tavares, as the Hawaiian’s have done so well as of late, so I won’t be. My pick is Brad Tavares via Unanimous Decision.
Callum: This fight is a really intriguing match up – one of the division’s young up and comers Brandon Tavares, against the unlikely rise of Yoel Romero. In Romero’s 8 fights all have ended by knockout, and Brandon Tavares will be all too aware of that. We saw in Tavares’s victory over Lorenz Larkin his ability to implement his game plan and, unless he gets caught by Romero, Tavares will dominate his way to a decision. Brad Tavares via unanimous decision.
Thinesh: A stellar match-up between two of the division’s hottest commodities. Romero throws his punches with bad intentions and we all know what happens if he connects. But I can see Tavares to going for takedowns and chain wrestling his way for a lopsided decision win. Brad Tavares via Unanimous Decision.
Justin: I know I beat this into the ground, but Yoel Romero is tied with Sara McMann as the second highest-ranking Olympian currently active in the UFC – winning a silver medal for Cuba in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Yet with all that wrestling pedigree, he has become a “give-no-Fs” striker in the cage. He goes out there to entertain, and sometimes it can cost him, as it nearly did against Derek Brunson. Brad Tavares has the skills to exploit this, but I don’t think he has the skills to finish the bout just yet. Brad Tavares via Split Decision.
Allen: Brad Tavares hasn’t gotten enough credit for putting on quality technical performances. His leg kicks are lethal and knows how to utilize his range advantage. He seems to be getting better after every fight, but I’m not sure how his grappling is going to hold up in this bout. We saw in his only loss to Aaron Simpson how he struggles to escape in dealing with getting pressured. While that fight was a few years ago, it was the last time that Tavares fought such a high level wrestler. Now he’s facing a physical specimen with Olympic credentials. Romero is still a project and tends to get reckless with his striking, but he’s very explosive and can impose his will. Tavares has yet to really show that he has knockout power that can stun anyone. I can’t see him surviving 15 minutes with Romero. Yoel Romero via third round TKO