LowKick.com UFC 138: Leben vs. Munoz Staff PredictionsPosted on November 4, 2011, 06:41 PM by Anton Gurevich
Chris Leben vs. Mark Munoz
Top Prediction: PWM via Decision
Anton Gurevich: Chris Leben’s fight with Jake Rosholt should serve as food for thought in everything related to this match-up. Mark Munoz is currently one of the best wrestlers competing in MMA, combined with improved striking and a quite surprising ground game. Chris Leben also improved greatly, but I personally feel like he lacks the necessary well-roundness to defeat Munoz. My prediction is Munoz via Decision.
Joey Santosus: Chris Leben's take two to give one approach to stand-up will always make him a wildcard inside of the octagon. While his left hand hits like a ton of bricks, his eagerness to exchange has gotten him into trouble on multiple occasions, including his momentum crushing loss to Brian Stann back in January. Like "The Crippler," Munoz also packs fight-ending power in his hands, but the former NCAA Wrestling Champ rounds out his game with well-timed takedowns, smothering top control, and mind-numbing ground and pound. Leben's heavy-hands can change the course of a fight on a moment's notice, but five-rounds is simply too much time for Munoz to be denied. Mark Munoz via 3rd Rnd TKO.
Trent Reinsmith: If you want an exciting fight, match Chris Leben up with another striker that has little regard for his personal health. Mark Munoz is not that fighter, sure he can throw hands when needed, but it’s doubtful he’s going to choose to mix it up with Leben on his feet. I see Munoz using his wrestling skill to take Leben and down and keep him down and then use his ground and pound to end it. Munoz by 3rd round TKO.
Brad Pickett vs. Renan Barao
Top Prediction: Pickett via Decision
Anton Gurevich: I always admired Renan Barao, and currently consider him as one of the most talented up-and-comers in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Great striking, high level ground game and an impressive 26-1 record as a proof of his amazing talent. With a victory over Pickett, Barao will move one step closely to a shot at the UFC Bantamweight title, currently held by Top 5 P4P fighter on the planet Dominick Cruz. Renan Barao via Submission in Round 2.
Joey Santosus: Brad Pickett will make his octagon debut on home turf after posting a 3-1 mark in the WEC, while his opponent, Renan “Barao," debuted in May, defeating Cole Escovedo to extend his current unbeaten streak to an impressive 25-fights. The key here will likely be Pickett's wrestling and how well equipped the Brazilian is to deal with it. Though the Nova Uniao product will be a constant threat from his back, he'll lose valuable points if he is unable to successfully submit the Brit. With that said, expect Pickett to aggressively force exchanges while blending in occasional takedowns en-route to a comfortable victory. Brad Pickett via Decision.
Trent Reinsmith: Barao is on a bit of a run, with his last loss being his first fight, back in 2005. Since then he has put together a record of 26-1. Pickett has not been too shabby either, going 10-1 in his last 11 and 21-4 overall. With that being sad Barao has not faced a fighter of the calibre of Pickett, while Pickett has faced fighters some tough competition in the likes of Demetrious Johnson and Scott Jorgensen. Pickett by unanimous decision
Terry Etim vs Eddie Faaloloto
Top Prediction: Etim via TKO in Round 3
Anton Gurevich: I expect Terry Etim to dominate Faaloloto with his exceptional striking skills. Etim looked in excellent shape during open workouts, promising the Mixed Martial Arts fans in Birmingham, England an excellent show of some of the best striking UK has to offer. My prediction for this one is Etim via TKO in Round 2.
Joey Santosus: With a respectable 5-3 mark in the UFC, Terry Etim will return to the octagon for the first time in more than 18 months when he meets a much less experienced opponent in Eddie Faaloloto. Faalototo, who took a first-round drumming at the hands of Michael Johnson back in June, is just 2-2 in his professional career and transitioned to the UFC following a TKO loss to Anthony Njokuani in the WEC. With his only set of victories coming on the regional circuit, it's fair to say that the Hawaiian isn't quite ready for the big stage at this point in his career. Expect Etim to drag the fight to the mat and score an early "W" for the hometown crowd. Terry Etim via 2nd Rnd Submission.
Trent Reinsmith: Etim has been out of action since April 2010 due to a rib injury. In his return he gets a fighter, in Faaloloto that has gone 0-2 under the Zuffa banner, with those losses coming from KO and TKO. The good news for Faaloloto is that he probably won’t get knocked out by Etim, a fighter that has only 2 KO victories in his 14 wins. The bad news is that he will be stopped. Etim by first round submission.
Thiago Alves vs. Papy Abedi
Top Prediction: Alves via TKO in Round 1
Anton Gurevich: Despite Papy Abedi being relatively anonymous, I see this fight with Thiago Alves as a pretty even match-up. Alves failed to impress me in his most recent bouts, while Abedi is an unbeaten talent with reputation of a deadly KO artist. Still, Alves has the experience and an improved well-rounded game that will earn him a victory in this bout. Alves via Decision.
Joey Santosus: While Alves' recent 1-3 stint is less than impressive on paper, each of those losses came via decision against a trio of top Welterweights, including division Champion GSP. On Saturday, however, "The Pitbull" will face a UFC newcomer in Papy Abedi, who despite being undefeated in eight consecutive outings, has never faced an opponent nearly as dangerous as Alves. Though Abedi will likely look to fall back on his judo base after eating a few big shots early-on, he'll be biding time until Alves' shrugs him off and the beating ensues. Thiago Alves via 2nd Rnd TKO.
Trent Reinsmith: Abedi is riding a lot of hype into this, his UFC debut. The problem is he is coming into the organization to fight Thiago Alves, who is only a few fights removed from fighting both Jon Fitch and Georges St. Pierre. Alves seems to be close to laying his neck on the UFC chopping block, so expect him to be very motivated in this one. While I do think Alves will have his hands full I expect him to handle Abedi. Alves by unanimous decision.
Anthony Perosh vs. Cyrille Diabate
Top Prediction: Diabate via TKO in Round 3
Anton Gurevich: Last time I’ve seen Perosh inside the Octagon he was TKO’d by Mirko Cro Cop. Since then, The Hippo RNC’s Tim Blackledge and set himself on a winning ways inside the Octagon. However, Diabate is one of the most exciting pure strikers in the UFC, with an experience so necessary against someone like Perosh. I have Diabate via TKO victory in Round 2.
Joey Santosus: Anthony Perosh recently picked up his first octagon victory in four outings, two of which date all the way back to 2006. While the Aussie is undoubtedly a gamer, as evident in his short-notice battle with Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic last year, he'll likely be outmatched against Diabate. Look for the "Snake" to strike early, dropping Perosh in the opening-round before raining down blows to force the stoppage. Cyrille Diabate via 1st Rnd TKO.
Trent Reinsmith: This one is the old favorite, the striker versus grappler. Diabate is an accomplished kickboxer, while Perosh is a black belt in BJJ. Look for Diabate to keep this one standing and earn the win. Diabate by unanimous decision.