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UFC 108: Breakdown and Picks

Las Vegas serves home to the first UFC event of 2010 and, as always, our prediction’s panel is here with their thoughts on which fighters will come out on top Saturday night. Las Vegas Sun’s Brett Okamoto (39-27) is joined by Yahoo.com’s Kevin Iole (41-25) and ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield (36-30). Odds courtesy of The Venetian sports book, but subject to change.

Thiago Silva

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 6’1''
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 5-1
  • MMA record 14-1
  • Out of: Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Betting line: +170

Rashad Evans

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’11''
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 8-1-1
  • MMA record 18-1-1
  • Out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Betting line: -200

Light Heavyweight Bout

Main Event

Last fight: First round win by knockout over Keith Jardine at UFC 102.

Punch list: An emotional Silva stood over his last victim, Keith Jardine at UFC 102, and yelled that he was back. Some would argue that the talented Brazilian never left. He’s had only one loss in his professional career and has finished 13 of the 15 opponents he’s faced.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Evans

Cofield: Evans

Last fight: Second round loss by knockout to Lyoto Machida at UFC 98.

Punch list: Evans suffered the first loss of his career in a knockout loss to Lyoto Machida in May 2009. The former champ’s confidence shouldn’t be too low however. He’s a strong striker and his experience as a collegiate wrestler should give him the advantage over Silva on the ground.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Evans

Paul Daley

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’9''
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 22-8-2
  • Out of: Nottingham, England
  • Betting line: Even

Dustin Hazelett

  • Age: 23
  • Height: 6’1''
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 5-2
  • MMA record 14-4
  • Out of: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Betting line: -130

Welterweight Bout

Co-Main Event

Last fight: First round win by TKO over Martin Kampmann at UFC 103.

Punch list: Known for his dangerous standup skills, Daley wasted no time making an impression in the UFC by knocking out the highly respected Martin Kampmann in his 2009 debut. He’s now finished his last three opponents — all in the first round.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Hazelett

Cofield: Hazelett

Last fight: First round win by submission over Tamdan McCrory at UFC 91.

Punch list: A disappointed Hazelett watched UFC 106 from the sidelines after his scheduled opponent, Karo Parisyan, pulled out of the fight the day before weigh-ins. When the chance to step in for injured Carlos Condit came to Hazelett shortly after, he quickly accepted.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Daley

Sam Stout

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 5'9’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 3-4
  • MMA record 15-5-1
  • Out of: London, Ontario, Canada
  • Betting line: +210

Joe Lauzon

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 5’10’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 5-1
  • MMA record 17-4
  • Out of: Bridgewater, Mass.
  • Betting line: -270

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Matt Wiman at UFC 97.

Punch list: Early in his career, Stout put together an impressive 9-fight win streak, earning his way into the UFC. Unfortunately, he’s still looking to get in that kind of rhythm since, and has yet to win back-to-back fights in the organization.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Lauzon

Cofield: Lauzon

Last fight: Second round win by submission over Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night: Lauzon vs. Stephens.

Punch list: Lauzon is a scary Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu artist, with 14 of his 18 professional wins coming by way of submission. That said, Lauzon has also displayed knockout power — he finished Jens Pulver in 48 seconds in his 2006 UFC debut.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Lauzon

Duane Ludwig

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’10''
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 2-0
  • MMA record 27-9
  • Out of: Denver, Colo.
  • Betting line: +400

Jim Miller

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’8''
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 4-1
  • MMA record 15-2
  • Out of: Whippany, N.J.
  • Betting line: -600

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: First round win by knockout over Jonathan Goulet.

Punch list: Ludwig has fought only twice in the UFC, but he certainly doesn’t lack experience against top notch competition. In his nearly 10-year professional career, Ludwig has taken on the likes of B.J. Penn, Paul Daley, Josh Thomson, Tyson Griffin and Jens Pulver.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Miller

Cofield: Miller

Last fight: Second round win by TKO over Steve Lopez at UFC 103.

Punch list: Miller may need a reminder of who he’s facing by the time he gets in the octagon Saturday. While the entire UFC 108 card seems to be cursed by the injury bug, no other fighter has been affected more than Miller who originally was preparing for Rafaello Oliveira, then Sean Sherk and finally Duane Ludwig because of opponent changes.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Ludwig

Gilbert Yvel

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 6’2’’
  • Weight: 225
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 36-13-1, 1 NC
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: +300

Junior Dos Santos

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 6’4’’
  • Weight: 238
  • UFC record 3-0
  • MMA record 9-1
  • Out of: Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
  • Betting line: -400

Heavyweight Bout

Last fight: First round win by knockout over Pedro Rizzo at FFI – Ultimate Chaos.

Punch list: The controversial Yvel needs to be on his best behavior at UFC 108. The heavyweight was denied a fighting license in Nevada in 2007 due to an incident in which he punched a referee in a fight earlier in his career. He was granted a one-fight license by the NSAC in October.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Dos Santos

Cofield: Yvel

Last fight: Third round win by submission over Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 103.

Punch list: Dos Santos continues to display the power in his hands, finishing off Mirko Filipovic by TKO in the third round of his last fight. The Brazilian is a on a roll with three straight finishes in the UFC and would move himself closer to the division’s elite with a win over Yvel.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Dos Santos

Jacob Volkmann

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’9’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 9-1
  • Out of: White Bear Lake, Minn.
  • Betting line: +210

Martin Kampmann

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 6-2
  • MMA record 15-3
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: -270

Welterweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Paulo Thiago at UFC 106.

Punch list: Volkmann was unable to get much going against Paulo Thiago in his UFC debut. His greatest strengths liein his wrestling and grappling, but his flaws in standup were exposed in that fight.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Kampmann

Cofield: Kampmann

Last fight: First round loss by TKO to Paul Daley at UFC 103.

Punch list: For the second consecutive fight, Kampmann will meet a fighter in the Octagon different from the one he originally prepared for. Although he says his wrestling has improved, look for him to keep the fight standing where he believes he has the biggest advantage.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Kampmann

Dan Lauzon

  • Age: 21
  • Height: 5’10’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 12-2
  • Out of: Bridgewater, Mass.
  • Betting line: +150

Cole Miller

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 4-2
  • MMA record 15-4
  • Out of: Coconut Creek, Fla.
  • Betting line: -180

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: First round win by submission over Bobby Green at Affliction – Day of Reckoning.

Punch list: Lauzon became the youngest fighter to ever compete in the UFC when he made his debut at in 2006 as an 18-year-old. He’ll look to become the second Lauzon to defeat Miller, as his older brother Joe did in during TUF 5.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Miller

Cofield: Lauzon

Last fight: First round loss by TKO to Efrain Escudero at UFC 103.

Punch list: Miller is a slick Jiu-Jitsu artist from American Top Team. Out of his 15 professional wins, 10 of them have come by way of submission.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Lauzon

Steve Cantwell

  • Age: 23
  • Height: 6’2’’
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 4-3
  • MMA record 7-3
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: OFF

Vladimir Matyushenko

  • Age: 38
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 4-2
  • MMA record 23-4
  • Out of: Retchisa, Belarus
  • Betting line: OFF

CANCELED

Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Brian Stann at UFC Fight Night: Diaz vs. Guillard.

Punch list: Cantwell was pulled from the fight due to injury.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: N/A

Cofield: N/A

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Igor Pokrajac at UFC 103.

Punch list: Cantwell was pulled from the fight due to injury.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: N/A

Ryan Jensen

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 1-3
  • MMA record 15-4
  • Out of: Omaha, Neb.
  • Betting line: +250

Mark Munoz

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 6-1
  • Out of: Vallejo, Calif.
  • Betting line: -330

Middleweight Bout

Last fight: First round win by knockout over Steve Steinbeiss at UFC Fight Night: Diaz vs. Guillard.

Punch list: Jensen fought his first professional fight in 1997 and then didn’t compete again until five years later in 2002. He’s fought regularly since, including four fights in 2007 and 2008.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Jensen

Cofield: Jensen

Last fight: Split decision win over Nick Catone at UFC 102.

Punch list: After losing to Matt Hamill in March, Munoz received the opportunity to train with former PRIDE and UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. He’s been with the Brazilian ever since.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Munoz

Jake Ellenberger

  • Age: 24
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 21-5
  • Out of: Omaha, Neb.
  • Betting line: -135

Mike Pyle

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 18-6-1
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: +105

Welterweight Bout

Last fight: Split decision loss to Carlos Condit at UFC Fight Night: Diaz vs. Guillard.

Punch list: Some fans believed that Ellenberger won his UFC debut, as he knocked down Carlos Condit multiple times in the first round of their welterweight fight in September, 2009, before eventually losing by split decision.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Ellenberger

Cofield: Pyle

Last fight: Third round win by submission over Chris Wilson at UFC Fight Night: Diaz vs. Guillard.

Punch list: Pyle first learned the basics of Jiu-Jitsu by practicing on a grappling dummy he bought out of a magazine. He named it ‘Bob.’

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Pyle

John Gunderson

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’9’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 22-6
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: +190

Rafaello Oliveira

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 9-2
  • Out of: Whippany, N.J.
  • Betting line: -240

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: Third round win by submission over Steve Sharp at MMA Xplosion – Gunderson vs. Sharp.

Punch list: Gunderson began training at Xtreme Couture in 2007 and is now part of Team Tompkins, under trainer Shawn Tompkins. Gunderson accepted this fight on short notice after Sean Sherk was moved from the Oliviera fight.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Oliveira

Cofield: Gunderson

Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Nik Lentz at UFC 103.

Punch list: Oliveira’s first fight in the UFC went the distance, a rarity for the Brazilian. He has a very high finishing rate, as seven of his nine wins have been stopped.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Gunderson