After multiple changes to the UFC 149 card, the latest PPV takes place on Saturday night in Calgary. Hector Lombard makes his promotional debut and looks to establish his place in the Middleweight division and Uri
jah Faber looks to complete his championship belt collection by adding the UFC Bantamweight championship. Check out our picks below and make sure you add yours as well in the comments.
Welterweight Fight: Chris Clements vs. Matt Riddle
Brian: Here’s a fight between two competitors that need to make a name for themselves. Both fighters are talented, but have yet to have a real signature win that will launch them in the welterweight ladder. Riddle doesn’t have a vicious submission attack to run with, so Clements will be the aggressor and win this via TKO in the 2nd.
Brendan: Great fight to start the PPV. Matt Riddle is a pleasure to watch because this guy just loves what he does, he loves to get in the Octagon and attempt to out strike and out smile his opponents. I wouldn’t advise that against Clements, and in this fight I have a feeling Clements will get the better of Riddle in the standup. Look for Clements to score a 2nd round T/KO.
Jordan: Good way to start off the main card, both of these guys are capable on their feet and will be looking to keep this fight standing and strike. Clements has only been to decision once before and that was in his UFC debut a few months ago. Of Riddle’s 9 fights, 6 have gone the distance. This should be a good battle and I expect Clements to shine in his own country and pick up the unanimous decision victory.
Mark: I always wonder whether fighting in your own backyard is an advantage or a disadvantage. Such is the case for Chris Clements. He won his UFC debut a few months back and now opens the main card against a tough grinder in Matt Riddle. I give Clements the striking edge, but believe Riddle will use his superior wrestling to control the action here. I think the hometown crowd will add unnecessary pressure to Clements and so I see Riddle spoiling the homecoming. I like Matt Riddle by Unanimous Decision.
Welterweight Fight: Brian Ebersole vs. James Head
Brian: You have to go way back to find a loss on Brian Ebersole’s resume, and even that was to one of the middleweight division’s top 10 in Hector Lombard. Ebersole will earn his 51st MMA win via submission in the 1st,
Brendan: Ebersole is an animal taking this fight on just 3 weeks notice, and that said he has quite the ground game. I see Ebersole taking this fight to the ground and smothering Head into making a bad decision, opening up and getting submitted late in the fight. Ebersole by 3rd round RNC.
Jordan: Ebersole is a gamer, taking this fight on short notice, picking up the fight against head just a few weeks ago, coming off an impressive victory over TJ Waldburger. James Head is a good fighter and he has had a full camp, but I just don’t see him pulling out a victory against the veteran. I am taking Ebersole via 2nd round submission and extending his 11 fight win streak.
Mark: I’m starting to jump full force on the Brian Ebersole bandwagon. His wackiness aside, he’s taking fights on short notice which means he’s a gamer and he’s also on a 4 fight UFC win streak. He can strike with strikers and grapple with grapplers. Guess you learn that after 66 career fights. James Head is very well rounded, but I think the experience makes the difference in this fight. Give me Ebersole by Unanimous Decision.
Heavyweight Fight: Cheick Kongo vs. Shawn Jordan
Brian: Classic heavyweight bout: Big guys. Punching power. Somebody’s getting knocked out. I think it will be Kongo landing a few more significant strikes, but Jordan will be the one that lands the winner. Jordan by KO in the 2nd.
Brendan: Kongo hasn’t been the same aggressive beast since Mir took it to him and choked him unconscious, while the youngster Jordan hits hard and can take his share of abuse in order to find his way inside and take Kongo down and smother out a win. I see Jordan getting the better of the Frenchman and surprising with a 2nd round TKO.
Jordan: I was really excited when Cheick Kongo was going to fight Big Nog, but this is one of the matches that really suffered from injuries. Shawn Jordan steps in and has everything to gain with this fight and Kongo really doesn’t move any higher with a win. I have Kongo coming out looking a little sluggish, but eventually getting the unanimous decision.
Mark: I’m still not sure what to make of Cheick Kongo. He’ll look indestructible one minute and then the next he’ll look lost. Against the younger Jordan, he’ll have the technical advantage striking, but will he be able to use it? If Jordan is smart, he’ll pressure Kongo and get the fight to the mat where his size and athleticism will be in his favor. While this will be a stern test for the less experienced Jordan, I like him here in a mild upset. I’ll take Shawn Jordan by 1st shoulder lock.
Middleweight Fight: Hector Lombard vs. Tim Boetsch
Brian: This is what I call a much anticipated debut. Tim Boetsch is no slouch, and he will not be intimidated here, but I think he will be outclassed on the feet in terms of speed. Hector Lombard is like the Vitor Belfort of old. Quick, powerful, aggressive and athletic. I’ll be surprised if Boetsch makes it out of the first round. Lombard via KO in the 1st.
Brendan: I really like Boetsch and the way he fights, the problem is Lombard is just a better, stronger and faster version of him…I see Lombard earning a 1st round stoppage and calling out Bisping, Stann and Anderson Silva all at once.
Jordan: Welcome to the UFC to Hector Lombard, will the Octagon jitters make its way to Calgary on Saturday night? Lombard has had a bunch of fights, but this will be a big step up in competition from his Bellator and CFC days. I actually believe the hype on Lombard and believe that he will make an impact on the Middleweight division. I have Lombard getting the 1st round stoppage via KO and getting a fight with Weidman for a shot at the title.
Mark: To me, this is the toughest fight to call of the night. Lombard has knockout power and great grappling credentials, but fighters moving to the octagon for the first time always seem to underperform. Boetsch is a very tough fighter and I’ll be curious to see if he can avoid enough strikes standing to clinch and wrestle. Will that even be enough against a former Olympic judoka? I like Lombard a lot, but I think fighting in the octagon for the first time mixed with his head hunting style will fatigue him and allow Boetsch to take advantage late. I like the Barbarian to win via 3rd RD TKO in another upset.
Bantamweight Interim Championship Fight: Urijah Faber vs. Renan Barão
Brian:THIS is a good fight that will go to the scorecards. Barão picked apart Scott Jorgensen in his last fight but didn’t finish, while Faber came back from a loss to Dominick Cruz by choking out Brian Bowles. Faber wants the return bout with Cruz too much. He’ll win this on the cards in an excellent fight 48-47.
Brendan: Should be a great matchup of two incredibly gifted athletes and it will all come down to who makes the first mistake. Faber has a tendency to lead with his right hand from the orthodox stance which leaves him vulnerable to the counter left-hook; on the other hand, Barão has a strong lead left jab, but tends to leave himself exposed when putting together his combinations. Look for Faber to try and work his speed and footwork to keep Barão’s jab at bay, he will likely want to take this fight to the ground and get top position to try and smother out a decision. I see this one going this distance with Faber taking the Interim Title and finally achieving his dream of holding a UFC Belt.
Jordan: Barão has a very impressive streak coming into this fight, but I have to agree with Faber that he has never fought the caliber that he is going to face on Saturday night. I think Barão is at the upper echelon of the Bantamweight division, but I just don’t think it his time. This is an easy pick for Fight of the Night and as both of these competitors will be at their best. This will be a tough fight for Faber, but I have him crossing off the goal of becoming a UFC Champion of his list and holding the title via unanimous decision. This will set up a great rubber match between Faber and Cruz for the true undisputed champion. Exactly what the UFC would wish for.
Mark: Urijah Faber is one of the toughest, most durable fighters around. He’s extremely well rounded, incredibly fit, and has tons of experience in the bright lights. Barão, on the other hand is another Nova Uniao wunderkind who is riding an incredible 29 fight win streak. His strikes are crisp and he mixes them with his slick grappling in beautiful fashion. I have no doubt that Barão will one day be a UFC champion, but I don’t see him overcoming Faber’s speed Saturday night. This fight will be action packed and I expect it to go all 5 rounds, but I’ll take the California Kid getting the win by a narrow Split Decision.
Submission of the Night
Brian: Brian Ebersole
Brendan: Brian Ebersole
Jordan: Brian Ebersole
Mark: Anthony Perosh
Knock out of the Night
Brian: Hector Lombard
Brendan: Hector Lombard
Jordan: Hector Lombard
Mark: Tim Boetsch
Fight of the Night
Brian: Urijah Faber vs. Renan Barão
Brendan:Urijah Faber vs. Renan Barão
Jordan: Urijah Faber vs. Renan Barão
Mark: Urijah Faber vs. Renan Barão
Brian (89-69) – Co-host of the MMANonstop Podcast and author of the series “The Book On…” exclusively at 188.8.131.52/~bchurch, follow him attwitter.com/bchurchin
Brendan (86-72) – Examines the Top 5 fighters in each weight class and is featured exclusively on 184.108.40.206/~bchurch. Follow him attwitter.com/bchurchin48
Jordan (97-61) – Runs the MMANonstop twitter feed and co-host of the MMANonstop Podcast, follow him attwitter.com/nonstopmma
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Brendan is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu purple belt and boxing practitioner who has followed all things MMA since watching the first UFC event over 20 years ago. In addition to his professional career, Brendan is currently an MBA student at Montclair State University who enjoys spending time with his wife Meredith and their dog Cha'lie when he's not training.
Follow Brendan on Twitter @bchurchin48 and check out all his articles exclusively at MMANonstop.com.