Sherdog Pick’Em Trends: UFC 143 Prelims

By Sherdog.com Staff Feb 2, 2012
At 23, Dustin Poirier finds himself within earshot of challenging for featherweight gold. A winner of four consecutive fights, he remains unbeaten at 145 pounds in a division ruled by pound-for-pound ace Jose Aldo.

Poirier (11-1, 3-0 UFC) will enter his preliminary matchup with Max Holloway at UFC 143 as a prohibitive favorite on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, as an overwhelming 96 percent of players in the Sherdog MMA Pick’Em fantasy game foresee the bout concluding with his hand raised. No other fighter on the card carries more than a 90-percent majority.

A Tim Credeur protégé, Poirier (Pictured) will enter the cage on a four-fight winning streak. He last appeared at UFC on Fox 1 in November, when he submitted Pablo Garza with a second-round brabo choke at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Poirier has flashed a dynamic offensive game in his 12 professional bouts, with four wins by submission and five others by knockout or technical knockout. He has finished five opponents in less than 90 seconds.

The undefeated Holloway, a replacement for the injured Ricardo Lamas, has spent his entire career on the Hawaiian Islands. The 20-year-old newcomer has not fought since July, when he captured a decision from Eddie Rincon under the Unorthodox Industries Championships banner.

Other Sherdog MMA Pick’Em trends for the UFC 143 prelims:

• A strong 78 percent of users expect “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 alum Matt Riddle to defeat once-beaten Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts representative Henry Martinez in a welterweight duel. Martinez was brought in as a replacement for the injured Jorge Lopez;

• By a 68-percent majority, players favor Edwin Figueroa to topple “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 semifinalist Alex Caceres in their three-round bantamweight affair. Figueroa bounced back from his first career loss -- a unanimous decision to Michael McDonald -- and defeated Jason Reinhardt by second-round technical knockout at UFC Live 5 in August;

• Despite submission defeats in four of his last five fights, Matt Brown will enter his welterweight encounter with Chris Cope as the man to beat, according to a staggering 87 percent of participants;

• A vast majority of users (79 percent) project Stephen Thompson as the victor in his welterweight tilt with fellow Octagon rookie Daniel Stittgen. A South Carolina-based Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Thompson has yet to taste defeat as a professional;

Rafael Natal’s tenure in the UFC thus far has been spotty at best, with a win, a loss and a draw. The 29-year-old will enter his middleweight match with Michael Kuiper as a heavy favorite, according to 79 percent of players. A 22-year-old Dutch import who holds the rank of black belt in judo, Kuiper has won all 11 of his fights.

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