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31st Jan 2015

UFC 183: SportsJOE picks the winners so you don’t have to

Don't be scared, homie


The main event at UFC 183 sees one of the greatest of all time go up against a fan favourite, but who will be victorious in Vegas?

Their records have never been tighter…

Darragh “The Quizmaster” Murphy: 28-15

“Bourbon” Ben Kiely: 27-16

Anderson Silva (33-6) v Nick Diaz (26-9, 1NC)

DM: We thought he had reached unbeatable status but then he was beaten twice. Anderson Silva tops the greatest of all time list in most fight fans’ eyes but you’d have to wonder how many stellar performances are left in his toolbox.

His comeback from that dreadful leg-break could have come under easier circumstances as Nick Diaz has the beating of most men on his day.

Silva is a 1/5 favourite which I think is waaay too much for a 39-year-old coming off of consecutive losses for the first time in his illustrious career.

Having said that, I think the fact that Nick Diaz is fighting at middleweight for the first time works in Silva’s favour as he will massively outsize the Stockton fighter on the night.

After wondering for years how Silva could be beaten, Chris Weidman showed the perfect antidote for Silva’s skill-set but I don’t think Diaz has anything resembling the power of the current middleweight champion.

I see Silva winning this fight wherever it goes but don’t expect him to throw anything too flashy in his comeback. Anderson Silva by decision

BK: The outcome of this fight completely depends on the former middleweight champ. Silva’s coming into this bout after recovering from a horror injury against Chris Weidman at UFC 168. Little is known how he is going to react to that kind of injury. If he has kept his confidence in his kicking game, then Diaz is in trouble.

Some have also called the Spider’s ability to eat a punch into question after Weidman’s brutal KO in their first bout. If his chin has deteriorated in any way, then Diaz will be more than happy to pick him a part with his vicious combos.

Diaz is notorious for his lack of head movement inside the Octagon and his willingness to stand and bang with anyone. However, employing this game plan against a proven killer like Silva would be a critical mistake. I think Diaz’s granite chin will hold up and his sheer stubbornness will see him through to the final bell, but he’ll take some punishment on the way.

If Silva is at his best, it should be a relatively easy night’s work for the Brazilian. Anderson Silva by decision

anderson vitor

Tyron Woodley (14-3) v Kelvin Gastelum (10-0)

DM: I think the weight-cut has already beaten Kelvin Gastelum. The undefeated 23-year-old came in a whopping 10 pounds over weight for this fight and he looked like a ghost on the scales last night.

While some might argue that the weight advantage will be beneficial to Gastelum, it looks like he had absolutely drained himself ahead of the weigh-ins while Tyron Woodley couldn’t have looked in better shape.

Before the weigh-ins, I was on the fence for this bout but I’m very definitively plumping for a textbook Woodley KO to derail the ascent of the TUF vet. Tyron Woodley via KO (round 1)

BK: The promos for this fight have amused me greatly. For some reason, the UFC keep portraying Gastelum as an underdog, as if  beating Woodley would be somehow upsetting the odds. This completely contradicts the fact that Mini Cain is the slight favourite to win this fight, and with good reason too.

There’s no denying Woodley’s power. On his day, he can put any man to sleep with his cinder-block like hands. He’s the number three-ranked welterweight in the UFC for a reason. He’s an absolute murderer inside the cage.

However, if his bout against Rory MacDonald showed anything, it was that he doesn’t like fighting fighters who like to impose their physicality on him and smother him with pressure. I think that’s exactly what the young, undefeated Gastelum is going to do on the night, if he can stay away from Woodley’s brutal haymakers.Kelvin Gastelum by decision

Joe Lauzon (24-9) v Al Iaquinta (10-3-1)

DM: Whatever happens, twil be entertaining. But I’ve learned a long time ago that you never bet against Joe Lauzon.

He’s the come-forward, never-say-die fighter that everybody is rooting for and I’m one of his biggest fans.

Fair enough, Iaquinta is an absolute beast on the feet and shows much better technique than the gritty striking of J-Lau but all three of Iaquinta’s losses have come by way of submission while Lauzon’s has 18 submission wins to his name.

I anticipate there being a lot blood which will just make it easier for Lauzon to slide his forearm under the chin of the Serra-Longo fighter for a RNC finish. Joe Lauzon via submission (round 3)

BK: Iaquinta has showed some promise in his UFC career so far.

However, I think he’s going to be out of his depth against perpetual performance bonus winner Lauzon. Although his TKO victory over Ross Pearson in his last trip to the Octagon was impressive, his striking and more importantly his stand up defence looked a bit too raw for my liking in that bout.

Lauzon’s superior experience should allow him to dominate the fight and walk away with the victory. Knowing J-Lau, he’ll probably get a lucrative performance bonus for his troubles as well. Joe Lauzon via submission (Round 2) UFC Fight Night: Lauzon v Johnson

Tim Boetsch (18-7) v Thales Leites (24-4)

DM: Probably the biggest pick ’em on the card due to the fact that both guys are so well matched. Leites is on fire at the minute, riding a seven fight win streak which includes some decent scalps like Francis Carmont and Tom Watson.

Meanwhile “The Barbarian” has been in indifferent form of late, going 2-3 in his last five outings but I think Boetsch’s experience against higher calibre fighters will see him through as the American has wins over top guys like CB Dollaway, Hector Lombard and Yushin Okami.

I think Leites is the more talented fighter, hands down, but there are few men with bigger hearts than Tim Boetsch so I’m going for a typical grinding decision from “The Barbarian.” Tim Boetsch by decision.

BK: For me, this is an extremely tough fight to call. On the one hand, you have Leites, who’s been consistently improving with each fight in the promotion. However, he has yet to defeat anyone of note.

In the other corner, you’ve got Boetsch, who seems to be on a resurgence since rejoining the UFC. The Barbarian holds victories over Brad Tavares, CB Dolloway and, lest we forget, Hector Lombard.

However, Boetsch’s movement is stiff and he is streets behind the Brazilian in terms of athleticism. Leites should be able to utilise his aggression to take advantage of Boetsch’s weaknesses and get the win. Leites via TKO (Round 2)

Jordan Mein (29-9) v Thiago Alves (20-9)

DM: So difficult to predict that I almost just left this off completely. In recent years both fighters have only lost to elite-level guys.

When formulating my picks, I thought Alves must be 35 at the youngest considering he’s been around the fight game for so long but the man is still only 31. What’s making me pick against Alves is his tendency to win one, then lose one. He hasn’t put together back-to-back victories since 2008 after all.

I think Mein is actually taking a step-down in competition after TKOing Mike Pyle in August. I believe the Canadian’s hands are better than Alves’. Mein will use his length to stay out of the range of Alves’ vicious leg-kicks and I think he’ll finish it on the feet. Jordan Mein via TKO (round 2)

BK: What a great fight to kick off the main card proceedings. Both these fighters like a good scrap and this fight should stay standing for the most part.

While Mein’s striking is sharp, Alves has arguable the more rounded striking game. I can see his kicks wearing the young Canadian down over three rounds. It is likely to be a close fight, but I give the edge to the Brazilian. Alves via decision

Jordan Mein