Currently: 46° | Complete forecast | Log in

UFC 109: Breakdown and Picks

The UFC is back in Las Vegas for the second time this year 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 (44-32) is joined by Yahoo.com’s Kevin Iole (48-28) and ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield (39-37). Odds courtesy of The Venetian sports book, but subject to change.

Mark Coleman

  • Age: 45
  • Height: 6’1''
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 8-4
  • MMA record 16-9
  • Out of: Columbus, Ohio
  • Betting line: +350

Randy Couture

  • Age: 46
  • Height: 6’2''
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 14-7
  • MMA record 17-10
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: -500

Light Heavyweight Bout

Main Event

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Stephan Bonnar at UFC 100.

Punch list: Coleman credits a great training camp at Xtreme Couture for his surprisingly dominant performance over Stephan Bonnar at UFC 100. Coleman was so happy with the outcome that he came back to Las Vegas again to train for this fight, working with former Xtreme Couture trainer Shawn Tompkins.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Couture

Cofield: Couture

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Brandon Vera at UFC 105.

Punch list: Couture says that previous fights with fellow wrestlers are among the favorites of his career, citing fights with Mike Van Arsdale and Kevin Randleman as examples. He believes that when it comes to MMA, his Greco-Roman background should give him a slight edge over Coleman’s background in freestyle.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Couture

Chael Sonnen

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6’1''
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 6-3
  • MMA record 25-10-1
  • Out of: West Linn, Ore.
  • Betting line: +350

Nate Marquardt

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’0''
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 8-2
  • MMA record 32-8-2
  • Out of: Denver, Colo.
  • Betting line: -500

Middleweight Bout

Co-Main Event

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Yushin Okami at UFC 104.

Punch list: After impressive decision wins over the likes of Dan Miller and Yushin Okami, Sonnen has the opportunity of a lifetime Saturday against Marquardt. If the strong wrestler is able to get the upset, he’ll jump to the top of the middleweight ladder.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Marquardt

Cofield: Marquardt

Last fight: First round win by knockout over Demian Maia at UFC 102.

Punch list: Marquardt is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the UFC. If Sonnen can smother him with his wrestling skills it may get interesting, but as far as different ways to finish the fight, Marquardt holds a significant edge.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Marquardt

Paulo Thiago

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5'11’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 2-1
  • MMA record 12-1
  • Out of: Brasilia, Brazil
  • Betting line: +170

Mike Swick

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 9-2
  • MMA record 14-3
  • Out of: San Jose, Calif.
  • Betting line: -200

Welterweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Jacob Volkmann at UFC 106.

Punch list: Despite recording seven submission wins in his first eight professional fights, Thiago has yet to submit a fighter in the UFC. Doing so over a top notch opponent like Swick could catapult Thiago near the top of the division.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Swick

Cofield: Swick

Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Dan Hardy at UFC 105.

Punch list: After having to pull out of a September fight with Martin Kampmann in September, Swick is making up for lost time by taking his second fight in less than three months. Swick will likely look to keep the fight standing, where he should hold a slight advantage over Thiago’s striking abilities.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Swick

Dan Miller

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 6’1''
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 11-2
  • Out of: Whippany, N.J.
  • Betting line: +260

Demian Maia

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6’0''
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 5-1
  • MMA record 11-1
  • Out of: Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Betting line: -340

Middleweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Chael Sonnen at UFC 98.

Punch list: It’s been a long layoff for Miller, who had to withdraw from a fight scheduled in September due to an infection. Miller is a former IFL champ and had won nine straight fights without a loss before Sonnen took him down in May.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Maia

Cofield: Maia

Last fight: First round loss by knockout to Nate Marquardt at UFC 102.

Punch list: Maia came out looking to show his striking skills in his last and it didn’t pay off, as he was leveled by Marquardt in a first-round loss by knockout. Look for the Brazilian to get back to what he does best in this one, getting a fight to the ground and locking up a submission.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Maia

Frank Trigg

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 2-4
  • MMA record 19-7
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: +115

Matt Serra

  • Age: 35
  • Height: 5’6’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 6-6
  • MMA record 16-6
  • Out of: East Meadow, N.Y.
  • Betting line: -145

Welterweight Bout

Last fight: First round loss by TKO to Josh Koscheck at UFC 103.

Punch list: Trigg will say it himself — one more loss may get him a boot from the UFC, even though he’s signed on for two more after the Serra deal. That hasn’t stopped him from dreaming of one more title run before he hangs up his gloves and possibly gets into broadcasting in retirement.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Serra

Cofield: Serra

Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Matt Hughes at UFC 98.

Punch list: Serra hasn’t fought since May, but don’t think the former champ hasn’t stayed busy. He’s working on opening a brand new gym in Long Island and has also been lobbying to get MMA legalized in New York.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Serra

Justin Buchholz

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 1-3
  • MMA record 9-4
  • Out of: Sacramento, Calif.
  • Betting line: +220

Mac Danzig

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 2-4
  • MMA record 19-7-1
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: -300

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: First round loss by TKO to Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night: Diaz vs. Guillard.

Punch list: One thing about Buchholz is that he’s not here to score a few points and hang out for a decision. Through 12 professional fights, not a single one has even made it to the third round.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Danzig

Cofield: Danzig

Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Jim Miller at UFC 100.

Punch list: Winner of the sixth season of TUF, Danzig could be one loss away from getting dropped by the UFC. Danzig is riding a three-fight losing streak into Saturday and was a bloody mess following his most recent loss to Jim Miller in July.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Buchholz

Ronys Torres

  • Age: 24
  • Height: 5’7’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 18-1
  • Out of: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Betting line: +110

Melvin Guillard

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’9’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 5-4
  • MMA record 41-9-3
  • Out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Betting line: -140

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: First round win by submission over Eliene Silva at Jungle Fight 11.

Punch list: Barring yet another injury, it appears Torres will finally make his long-awaited UFC debut. Torres was supposed to fight on two previous UFC Fight Night cards, but had to pull out both times due to injury. Saturday will be his first fight since September 2008.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Guillard

Cofield: Guillard

Last fight: Second round loss by submission to Nate Diaz at UFC Fight Night: Diaz vs. Guillard.

Punch list: Following his last loss to Nate Diaz, Guillard has joined the highly respected camp of Greg Jackson in Albuquerque, N.M. Guillard is at his best on his feet and should look to avoid the submission game of Torres.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Guillard

Rob Emerson

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’9’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 2-2
  • MMA record 10-8
  • Out of: Irvine, Calif.
  • Betting line: +130

Phillipe Nover

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 5’9’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-2
  • MMA record 6-2-1
  • Out of: Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Betting line: -160

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 103.

Punch list: Emerson began his UFC career strong, defeating Keita Nakamura and Manvel Gamburyan in his first two fights. Things haven’t gone as well since, as he was choked out by Kurt Pellegrino and dropped a unanimous decision to Rafael dos Anjos in his two fights of 2009.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Nover

Cofield: Nover

Last fight: First round loss by TKO to Kyle Bradley at UFC 98.

Punch list: Expectations were high of Nover after he rolled through the eighth season of TUF, only losing in the finals to Efrain Escudero. Those expectations are mostly gone now however, after Nover dropped a fight to Bradley in May and had to pull out of his last fight when he fainted hours before he was supposed to compete.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Nover

Phil Davis

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 6’2’’
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 4-0
  • Out of: San Diego, Calif.
  • Betting line: -170

Brian Stann

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 7-2
  • MMA record 8-2
  • Out of: Scranton, Penn.
  • Betting line: +140

Light Heavyweight Bout

Last fight: First round win by submission over David Baggett at UCFC - Rumble on the Rivers.

Punch list: Davis won the NCAA wrestling championship in 2008 as a member on the Penn State team and has transitioned well into MMA. He fought three times last year and finished every one in the first round.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Davis

Cofield: Davis

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Rodney Wallace at TUF 10 Finale.

Punch list: For the second time in as many fights, Stann will welcome a fighter to the UFC. His most recent fight was against UFC newcomer Rodney Wallace and it went pretty well, as Stann avoided trouble and cruised to a decision win.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Davis

Chris Tuchscherer

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 260
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 17-2
  • Out of: Fargo, N.D.
  • Betting line: -150

Tim Hague

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 6’4’’
  • Weight: 265
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 10-2
  • Out of: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Betting line: +120

Heavyweight Bout

Last fight: First round loss by TKO to Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 102.

Punch list: Maybe Tuchscherer would have lost to Gonzaga anyway, but an accident groin kick from Gonzaga in the first round clearly took Tuchscherer out of his game. He’ll look to rebound on Saturday against Hague.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Tuchscherer

Cofield: Tuchscherer

Last fight: First round loss by knockout to Todd Duffee at UFC 102.

Punch list: After falling victim to the fastest knockout in UFC history in his last fight, Hague has quit his day job and focused solely on getting his fighting career back on the right track.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Tuchscherer

Rolles Gracie

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6’4’’
  • Weight: 240
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 3-0
  • Out of: New York, N.Y.
  • Betting line: -700

Joey Beltran

  • Age: 36
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 240
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 10-3
  • Out of: Carisbad, Calif.
  • Betting line: +450

Heavyweight Bout

Last fight: Second round win by TKO over Houston Alexander at New Year’s Revolution.

Punch list: Beltran stepped up as a late replacement to Mostapha Al Turk. The UFC didn’t officially announce the change until earlier this week. Beltran should be in good shape though, his last fight against Alexander was less than a month ago.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Gracie

Cofield: Gracie

Last fight: First round loss by TKO to Mirko Filipovic at UFC 99.

Punch list: Al Turk is winless in the UFC thus far, but there’s no question he’s been thrown immediately to the wolves. Al Turk has suffered back-to-back first-round knockout losses to Cheick Kongo and Mirko Filipovic since joining the UFC in 2008.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Gracie