Wow, a whole week without posting! It’s been pretty busy, I suppose. Anyway, with only hours to spare, here are my picks for UFC 103: Franklin vs. Belfort.
Franklin, Rd. 2 by T/KO
People have been talking up Belfort, but honestly Franklin’s just been through tougher battles. The Phenom is good, but I can’t see him breaking down Franklin’s methodical striking and staying power. Fighting in smaller shows for the last couple years and against lower caliber opponents might put him at a disadvantage to Rich, who’s fought five incredible opponents in a row, losing only to the current champion and former Pride champion. I see Belfort gassing out early in the second, then Franklin going to town with strikes from the clinch.
Dos Santos, Rd. 1 by T/KO
As much as I love CroCop, I feel like dos Santos is younger, stronger, and hungrier for UFC action. It’s his first big fight, and we’ve seen that he’s more than willing to stand and trade strikes. I see him rushing in and breaking CroCop’s range, keeping the pressure on him while Mirko tries to create space. Junior will either get the takedown and finish there, or will find an opening and knock the Croatian out standing.
Daley’s tough, but it’s his first outing in the UFC, and Kampmann is looking for a spectacular win to solidify his position as the number one contender for GSP’s belt. Kampmann might very well take the fight to the ground, where Daley seems to have some weaknesses in his game and where Martin has solid submission victories.
Koscheck, Rd. 3 by Unanimous Decision
I’ve never liked Koscheck much as a fighter, and his performances have been shaky over the last few fights. That said, Trigg’s been out of serious competition for the last couple of years, and has only been able to win decision victories over his last four opponents. I think he’ll be able to hold Koscheck back from doing serious damage, but I still see a dominant performance by Josh Koscheck.
Griffin, Rd. 3 by Unanimous Decision
Griffin is a tough competitor, even if he lacks finishing power. Another Couture camp fighter, I see him using a strong clinch and takedown game to keep Franca on his back, probably in half-guard ground-and-pound. Franca’s been out injured for a long time, whereas Griffin has been getting Fight of the Night honors almost regularly for a couple years now. Griffin will keep the pace high and Franca will fold under the pressure.