UFC On Fuel TV 8: Silva Vs Stann is just hours away, and fans and gamblers alike are searching for fight picks. Earlier in the week we broke down the undercard, and you can check out the main card breakdown as the UFC returns to the land of the rising sun tonight on Fuel. most of your PRIDE favorites who are now in the UFC will be fighting, and you won’t want to miss their return to the arena it all went down in.
Mizuto Hirota vs. Rani Yahya
While Hirota last few losses have come from top shelf lightweights, he doesn’t seem to perform as well against dare I say lesser opponents. He should be finishing guys like Katsunori Kikuno and Seichi Ikemoto if you are going to use that as a stat in his favor. Hirota has a way of getting caught in odd submissions, and most of the time he gets out of them, but I see Yahya grabbing one he can’t escape from.
Yahya submission, Round 1
Hector Lombard vs. Yushin Okami
Okami is a larger middleweight with solid wrestling who has started training with Chael Sonnen. In other words, its always improving. Lombard is a top middleweight who is still trying to figure out what it takes to win the top five of the division. He came over from Bellator with a lot of earned hype, and has yet to really show it. A knockout win over Palhares at UFC On FX is a step in the right direction, but unless he finishes Okami, he will fall short of the hype again. Okami has more than enough wrestling skills to close the distance and out grapple Lombard, and I see the fight going that way.
Diego Sanchez vs. Takanori Gomi
I had the advantage of waiting till after weigh ins to breakdown this fight, and this is one of those cases where I think Sanchez missing weight is a telling sign. Sanchez had a terrible weight cut when he fought Joe Stevenson, and it showed in the fight. Sanchez missed weight by two pounds, and lost $24,000 of his purse to Gomi and went on twitter to talk trash about him. Sanchez is rattled heading into the fight, and I think Gomi has what it takes to frustrate him and destabilize him even more. I think Diego will make it a fight, but I think Gomi edges out the split decision.
Gomi via Decision
Mark Hunt vs. Stefan Struve
The one thing that has been improving in the game of Struve is his ability to use his reach. For a long time he wasn’t good at it, but the pendulum is swinging the other way in his last few fights. That is something Hunt has always had to deal with in his career, he is always the smaller fighter. While getting by on grit and natural toughness goes a long way in the UFC, especially in the heavyweight division, it will only get you so far when you start fighting upper echelon fighters. Both of these guys are in that grey area between the top tier heavyweights and that drop where talent takes a step down. All of these reasons are why this fight is hard to pick. I see Struve frustrating Hunt early, and I see the fight going more his way as the seconds tick by.
Struve Unanimous Decision
Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann
It’s peculiar both fighters decided to fight at light heavyweight. However, I don’t think there is much to it other than they didn’t want to cut weight halfway around the world in Japan. Before coming to the UFC, Stann was running the light heavyweight division in the WEC and Silva’s historical run in PRIDE needs zero introduction. Stann will likely be using a strike and bike game plan, and staying on the outside landing leg kicks early in the fight. If Stann can decrease the speed or impact of Silva’s left hand his chances of survival increase by the minute. I can’t imagine Stann making a dumb mistake in this fight and eating a power shot from Silva, and I think Stann gets the TKO win in another high light fight for Wanderlei Silva in Japan.
Stan via TKO, Round 2