Today I am doing to break down UFC 134's preliminary fights.
Yves Jabouin(15-7) vs Ian Loveland(14-8): This is a tough fight for me to predict. Both fighters are coming in off losses. Jabouin to Pablo Garza via Flying Triangle Choke and Loveland lost in his last fight by unanimous decision to Joseph Benavidez. Looking at there past records, it appears both men like to stand and trade. Jabouin has 15 victories to his credit, 11 has been via TKO/KO. Looking at Loveland's record, 4 of his last 5 victories have been by TKO/KO. So it looks like we should see a slug fest in this matchup. My prediction is Ian Loveland via 1st round TKO.
Yuri Alcantara(25-3) vs Felipe Arantes(13-3): Both men look well rounded with a fairly even mix of wins via TKO/KO and submission. However, Alcantara's experience should play a huge factor. He has twice as many wins as Arantes and a 92% finish rate. I expect Arantes to respect Alcantara's submission game and keep the fight on the feet. My prediction is Alcantara winning via 1st round TKO.
Raphael Assuncao(16-4) vs Johnny Eduardo(25-8): This looks like a battle between 2 high level jiu jitsu practitioners. I expect Eduardo to take this fight to the ground as fast as he can. Then we will see a jiu jitsu display from both men. My prediction is Eduardo winning by 3rd round choke submission.
Paulo Thiago(13-3) vs David Mitchell(11-1): Both men are coming in off losses. Thiago is on a 2 fight skid losing decisions to Martin Kampmann and Diego Sanchez. Mitchell is coming off the first loss of his career in his UFC debut. Their records are very similar, but I believe the experience edge goes to Thiago who has fought in the UFC since February of 2009. Both men possess great ground games with a combined 17 submission wins between them. I expect Thiago to use his superior striking skills to dictated the fight. My prediction is Thiago via unanimous decision.
Rousimar Palhares(12-3) vs Dan Miller(13-5, 1 NC): I see this as a one-sided battle. Palhares, king of the heel hook is fighting Miller. Miller has lost 4 of his last 6 fights all by decision. Palhares has dominated everyone he has fought with the exception of his TKO loss to Marquardt when he decided to stop fighting and complain to the referee. Miller is a game fighter who will have a good game plan in place, but I believe Palhares one-track mind for the heel hook submission will keep him focused. My prediction is Palhares by 1st round heel hook.
Thiago Tavares(15-4-1) vs Spencer Fisher(24-7): This is a classic grappler vs striker matchup. Both men have not looked good recently and both are coming off losses. Tavares is a ground specialist and will want to get this fight down fast. Fisher is no slouch on the ground, but prefers to strike. I expect Fisher to keep the fight standing. My prediction is Fisher via unanimous decision.
These are my predictions for the UFC 134 prelim fights. Keep checking back because later this week I will break down the main card. Please feel free to leave comments.