Matt Wiman (left) | J. Sherwood/Sherdog.com
Following Friday’s preliminary picks, Sherdog.com staff put their reputations on the line with bold predictions of the UFC “Fight for the Troops 2” main card:
Melvin Guillard vs. Evan Dunham
Tony Loiseleur: Guillard has that fantastic combination of speed, power, and stamina that would ideally make him one of the best, but he's failed to crack into the very top of the 155-pound division. I think Dunham is a better fighter in terms of skills, but I believe how he wins will come down to him exploiting Guillard's weaknesses. I'm expecting the standup to be pretty even until Dunham gets Guillard to the floor, where he'll work "the Young Assassin" over with punches until locking up another guillotine.
Tomasz Marciniak: Guillard's striking speed and power may pose more than a few problems for Dunham, who still gets hit quite a lot in his fights. However, I think the Oregonian will be persistent in his takedown attempts and eventually will manage to entangle Guillard on the ground. Once there, Duhnam's grappling should be good enough to get a submission victory.
Todd Martin: It will be interesting to see how much Dunham looks to engage in the standup game before attempting to take the fight to the ground. I think he can fight competitively with Guillard on his feet, but he may decide to avoid the danger of Guillard’s power right from the beginning and get the fight to where he has a clear advantage. Either way, the fight is likely to end by Dunham submitting Guillard.
Jordan Breen: It's interesting how the tiniest of margins create hype. People are generally intrigued by a Dunham-Guillard fight, especially for a replacement bout, after Kenny Florian injured his knee. Yet, I felt Guillard lost to Jeremy Stephens and to Gleison Tibau. Had those decisions gone the other way, he'd be 2-3 in his last five bouts, and people would universally think this was a lame fight. Guillard has been much more patient and exacting since starting to work under Greg Jackson, but he's really not landing a ton of strikes. Dunham's improved, rangy striking will let him land on the feet, and should he be able to put Guillard on the floor, he can potentially cash in on a submission when Guillard initiates the scramble to get back up, as he's so apt to do.
Matt Mitrione vs. Tim Hague
Freddie DeFreitas: For the first time since his meeting with Marcus Jones at “The Ultimate Fighter 10” Finale, Matt Mitrione will face an opponent who holds a significant size advantage over him in the Canadian Hague. Look for Mitrione to survive the early pressure from Hague and push the fight into the later rounds. It’ll be a long grueling affair with Mitrione walking away the victor by decision.
Lutfi Sariahmed: Tim Hague was 1-3 during his first stint in the UFC. He has since beat Zak Jensen and Travis Wiuff. He wasn't brought back because he was that impressive in his two bouts away from the Octagon; in my opinion, Hague was brought in to aid in Mitrione's development. With only three fights to his MMA name, the Roufusport heavyweight needs reps just as much as anything else. It's not about moving Mitrione up the ladder yet. He's working to get to that point. Hague is in place to help Mitrione refine his game.
Tristen Critchfield: Hague hasn’t been overwhelming in his previous Octagon appearances, and Mitrione has improved with every fight. Hague does have the experience edge on Mitrione, however, and if he can avoid the TUF 10 veteran’s bombs, he can pull a mild upset. Hague by TKO in the third round.
Rob King: I am expecting a short return for Hague to the UFC here as Mitrione has a ton of potential. This appears to be a showcase fight for Mitrione before he is bumped up into the next echelon of heavyweight competition. Hague is a big guy who can brawl, but so can Mitrione. Former NFL player Mitrione via stoppage in the second.
Mark Hominick vs. George Roop
Brian Knapp: Hard to go against Hominick, given his experience, skill set and what's at stake for him -- a potential crack at Jose Aldo. "The Machine" takes a unanimous decision.
Loiseleur: Hominick is a better and more disciplined striker than Roop. I don't think that Hominick finishes this tough opponent, but I do see him picking Roop apart over three rounds, limp-legging out of desperate takedown attempts, and generally just putting a beating on him to take the decision.
Marciniak: Roop is rangy, but I don't know if he has the discipline to sit back behind his jab for 15 minutes. Hominick has the striking technique to punch through Roop's guard and land power shots on the American. I don't think he knocks him out as “All-Violence first team” Eddie Wineland couldn't do it to a desiccated Roop at 135 but Hominick should get the judges nod.
Martin: Roop’s head kick knockout of the “Korean Zombie” was the clear highlight of an undistinguished UFC/WEC career. Hominick won’t give him the angles to land such a clean shot. He’ll use movement to dominate the standup and I think he has the edge on the ground as well.
Patrick Barry vs. Joey Beltran
Breen: It's hard to overlook the fact that Barry is a small heavyweight who still has massive deficiencies on the ground. Fortunately for him, Joey Beltran is more of a blown-up light heavyweight as well, and though he's got some takedowns, he's not the kind of guy that is going to put on a real submission clinic. Then again, I suppose no one would've expected that from Hague or Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic either. Regardless, almost every "Mexecutioner" fight has some toe-to-toe, and we've seen what Barry does when opponents try to fight schoolyard-style with him. Get hype.
DeFreitas: Barry feels he has a lot to prove following the loss to “Cro Cop,” and Beltran is the perfect matchup for the Duke Roufus protégé to help erase the memory of UFC 115. With only a single submission win as a professional, Beltran presents limited danger to Barry in the area in which he is weakest. Look for a reinvigorated Barry to chop away at the legs of “The Mexicutioner” early taking away his mobility before going in for the kill -- Barry by KO in round two.
Sariahmed: Interesting matchup because the normal holes everyone pokes into their respective games really fly out the window here. Barry's height isn't a detriment against a smaller heavyweight in Beltran. This should be the perfect bout for Barry to bounce back in using his kickboxing to keep Beltran at a advantageous distance and avoid a bad scrap. But if Beltran gets in close and dictates where the fight goes, I wonder how Barry handles it. This is like the Hague-Mitrione fight for me. Barry should win this fight (emphasis on “should”). The fights against Cro Cop and Hague though don't make this as sure of a bet as it could've been.
Critchfield: If this fight remains upright, then Barry will have the edge. Beltran’s best bet is to use takedowns and tire the K-1 veteran out as the bout advances into its later stages. The thinking here is that Barry’s kicks will make takedowns that much more difficult for Beltran, and “HD” will score a TKO in the second round.
Cole Miller vs. Matt Wiman
King: Wiman has won Fight of the Night in his three of his last five fights, and Miller has won Submission of the Night in three of his last five; so it's likely some sort of bonus will be handed out here. Wiman's stand-up has caught up to his wrestling and is very well-rounded. Miller's gameplan is submissions; his opponents know it’s coming, but can’t stop it. Wiman won’t be able to either. Miller via submission late.
Loiseleur: I enjoy watching Wiman fight, but whenever he steps into the cage, it's always a gamble as to which Wiman we're going to see. Are we going to see the Wiman we saw against Thiago Tavares or Mac Danzig? I'm hoping so, because that Wiman is thrilling to watch, but it's not exactly an eventuality I'd feel confident betting on. Cole Miller looks like the safer pick here, so I'm leaning toward him for the decision.
Marciniak: Miller must be real happy to not get another "boring wrestler" for an opponent. Wiman is dynamic, but I don't see him having the requisite power or submissions to finish Miller, and the American Top Team product is dangerous for the entire 15 minutes. I see Miller catching Wiman in a late round submission.
Martin: This has all the makings of a fun, action-packed fight with two guys who are tough wherever the clash goes. I think the difference is going to be Wiman’s pressure. Standing and on the ground, I think he’ll keep the fight close to avoid Miller’s striking and prevent him from setting up submissions. He’ll frustrate Miller and walk away with the decision win.
Brian Knapp 6-5
Todd Martin 6-5
Tristen Critchfield 6-5
Joseph Myers 6-5
Tomasz Marciniak 6-5
Guilherme Pinheiro 6-5
Rob King 5-6
Lutfi Sariahmed 5-6
Jordan Breen 4-7
Tony Loiseleur 4-7
Freddie DeFreitas 3-8