Las Vegas Sun

July 31, 2014

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UFC 111: Breakdown and Picks

The Las Vegas Sun is in Newark, N.J., to keep you up to date on all 11 fights at the sold out UFC 111 event at Prudential Center on March 27. The prediction panel is also in town, with Yahoo.com’s Kevin Iole (61-34), ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield (48-47) and the Sun’s Brett Okamoto (55-40). Odds courtesy of The Venetian sports book, but subject to change.

Georges St. Pierre

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’11''
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 13-2
  • MMA record 19-2
  • Out of: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Betting line: -1300

Dan Hardy

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 6’0''
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 4-0
  • MMA record 23-6
  • Out of: Nottingham, UK
  • Betting line: +800

Welterweight Championship Bout

Main Event

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Thiago Alves at UFC 100.

Punch list: St. Pierre’s takedowns have always been nearly impossible defend, they may be even more so Saturday night as the champion has added muscle to his frame before this fight. St. Pierre is the all-around package and he’s going for his fourth consecutive title defense.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: St. Pierre by decision

Cofield: St. Pierre

Last fight: Unanimous decision over Mike Swick at UFC 105.

Punch list: Aye aye! Of course Hardy should expect a hostile environment Saturday fighting far away from his home country, but the British fighter has won over the hearts of some American fans due to his standup style of fighting and antics in and out of the cage. Hardy knows he’s a massive underdog headed into the fight but seems comfortable in the role and believes his striking will be too much for the champ to deal with.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: St. Pierre

Frank Mir

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’3''
  • Weight: 265
  • UFC record 11-4
  • MMA record 13-4
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: -140

Shane Carwin

  • Age: 35
  • Height: 6’5''
  • Weight: 265
  • UFC record 4-0
  • MMA record 11-0
  • Out of: Denver, Colo.
  • Betting line: +110

Heavyweight Interim Championship Bout

Co-Main Event

Last fight: First round win by submission over Cheick Kongo at UFC 107.

Punch list: Mir jumped up in weight before his last fight against Cheick Kongo, although he didn’t really get a good indication on whether it was beneficial or not when the fight ended so quickly. Mir will be comfortable wherever this fight goes, unless it goes back to the spot where Lesnar put it — with Mir on his back pinned up against the fence. The former champ says he’s worked in practice to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Carwin

Cofield: Mir

Last fight:First round win by knockout over Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 96.

Punch list: Carwin has burst onto the heavyweight picture since scoring three stoppage wins in his first three UFC fights. He’s a former collegiate wrestler with lots of power and what appears to be a good chin judging from his last fight with Gabriel Gonzaga. The one knock on Carwin is that he’s never had to fight past the first round so his cardio might be suspect, but when you never have to fight past the first round, is that really a bad thing?

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Mir

Ben Saunders

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 6’3’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 4-1
  • MMA record 8-1-2
  • Out of: Orlando, Fla.
  • Betting line: OFF

Jon Fitch

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6’0''
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 11-1
  • MMA record 24-3
  • Out of: San Jose, Calif.
  • Betting line: OFF

Welterweight Bout

Last fight: First round win by knockout over Marcus Davis at UFC 106.

Punch list: Although originally set to fight Jake Ellenberger Saturday, Saunders jumped at the opportunity to fight Jon Fitch instead. A win over Fitch would immediately catapult Saunders back into the upper tier of the division and all but erase a TKO loss to Mike Swick last June.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Fitch

Cofield: Fitch

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Mike Pierce at UFC 107.

Punch list: While this is a perfect opportunity for Ben Saunders, Fitch faces a big risk Saturday with not as much to gain had it been Thiago Alves in the octagon with him. While Saunders is considered a legitimate opponent, a win over Alves would have possibly turned Fitch into an immediate top contender. With the change in opponent, that may not still be the case.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Fitch

Jim Miller

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 5-1
  • MMA record 16-2
  • Out of: Whippany, N.J.
  • Betting line: -330

Mark Bocek

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 4-2
  • MMA record 8-2
  • Out of: Woodbridge, Ontario
  • Betting line: +250

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: First round win by submission over Duane Ludwig at UFC 108.

Punch list: Miller didn’t get much of a break in between fights, as he was just in the octagon in January against Duane Ludwig. The fact the show is in Miller’s home state of New Jersey probably had something to do with the wrestler wanting to get back in so early.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Miller

Cofield: Miller

Last fight: First round win by submission over Joe Brammer at TUF 10 Finale.

Punch list: Bocek lost two of his first three fights in the UFC but managed to avoid getting let go by turning around and submitting his next three opponents. He’s a dangerous Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu artist, as six of his professional wins have come by way of submission.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Miller

Nate Diaz

  • Age: 24
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 9-4
  • MMA record 11-5
  • Out of: Stockton, Calif.
  • Betting line: -400

Rory Markham

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’11’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 16-5
  • Out of: Bettendorf, Iowa
  • Betting line: +300

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: Split decision loss to Gray Maynard at UFC Fight Night: Maynard vs. Diaz.

Punch list: After dropping three of his last four fights in the lightweight division, including a split decision with Gray Maynard which he thought he won, Diaz is done with the 155-pound division for now and has made the move to 170.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Markham

Cofield: Diaz

Last fight: First round loss by knockout to Dan Hardy at UFC 95.

Punch list: Markham has been shown a lot in the promotions for UFC 111, but not in the way one wants. Markham suffered a nasty knockout loss to Dan Hardy last February but as it turns out, he probably shouldn’t have even been fighting that night. It was later revealed to Markham that he had unknowingly fought Hardy with a collapsed lung.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Diaz

Ricardo Almeida

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 4-3
  • MMA record 11-3
  • Out of: Hamilton, N.J.
  • Betting line: -160

Matt Brown

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 4-1
  • MMA record 13-7
  • Out of: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Betting line: +130

Middleweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Kendall Grove at UFC 101.

Punch list: Almeida left the UFC in 2002 after dropping two of his first three fights with the organization, but found plenty of success fighting in Japan, defeating Nate Marquardt for the Pancrase middleweight championship in 2003. Moving down to the welterweight division for the first time in his professional career, Almeida may prove to be a force at 170 pounds.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Almeida

Cofield: Brown

Last fight: Third round win by TKO over James Wilks at UFC 105.

Punch list: After defeating James Wilks, Brown announced on a radio show he would like his next opponent to be Renzo Gracie, an action some fans viewed as disrespectful and cocky. Brown didn’t get a Gracie but he definitely got an opponent with strong submission skills.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Almeida

Kurt Pellegrino

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 7-3
  • MMA record 20-4
  • Out of: Point Pleasant, N.J.
  • Betting line: -220

Fabricio Camoes

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’10’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-0-1
  • MMA record 10-4-1
  • Out of: San Diego, Calif.
  • Betting line: +180

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Josh Neer at UFC 101.

Punch list: Pellegrino is feeling better than ever after making some slight changes to his training camp after being somewhat disappointed with himself for not stopping Josh Neer in his last fight. His boxing has probably certainly improved, after Pellegrino brought in world class boxer Miguel Cotto to give him a few pointers.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Pellegrino

Cofield: Pellegrino

Last fight: Majority draw with Caol Uno at UFC 106.

Punch list: Camoes was on a roll with four straight first-round stoppages headed into his UFC debut. The submission fighter will be looking to get back on the winning track against Pellegrino, as his last fight ended in a draw.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Pellegrino

Rodney Wallace

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’9’’
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 9-1
  • Out of: Charlotte N.C.
  • Betting line: -180

Jared Hamman

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 6’3’’
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 11-2
  • Out of: Segundo, Calif.
  • Betting line: +150

Light Heavyweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Brian Stann at TUF 10 Finale.

Punch list: Wallace fights out of Charlotte, but he’ll fell right at home in New Jersey where he grew up until the age of 12. Since moving away, Wallace guesses he’s only been back to the area three times, but is expecting a lot of family to turn out for the fight.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Hamman

Cofield: Wallace

Last fight: First round loss by knockout to Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 105.

Punch list: Hamman’s debut in the UFC didn’t go as planned when he was knocked out by Alexander Gustafsson, but the fact it didn’t take long for the fight to be over shouldn’t be surprising. In his entire professional career, Hamman has never been in a fight that went the distance.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Wallace

Rousimar Palhares

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 19-2
  • Out of: Rio De Janeira, Brazil
  • Betting line: -250

Tomasz Drwal

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 17-2
  • Out of: Krakow, Poland
  • Betting line: +200

Middleweight Bout

Last fight: Second round win by submission over Lucio Linhares at UFC 107.

Punch list: Palhares dropped an unexpected heel hook on Lucio Linhares that shocked everyone in the arena, as many weren’t even sure the fight was over when his opponent tapped. It’s something his opponents should look for though: Palhares once went on a stretch where he posted three consecutive wins via a heel hook.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Palhares

Cofield: Drwal

Last fight: Second round win by submission over Drew McFedries at UFC 103.

Punch list: Since dropping his UFC debut to Thiago Silva in 2007, Drwal has quietly put together a three-fight win streak and is in position to make a strong run through the middleweight division.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Drwal

Matthew Riddle

  • Age: 24
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 3-1
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: -270

Greg Soto

  • Age: 23
  • Height: 5’11’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 7-0
  • Out of: Point Pleasant, N.J.
  • Betting line: +210

Welterweight Bout

Last fight: Third round loss by TKO to Nick Osipczak at UFC 105.

Punch list: Riddle said he hates to make excuses, but admitted he may have come down with H1N1 during the last weeks of his training camp prior to his last fight in England. The athletic Riddle is healthy once again and happy to be taking on Soto on U.S. soil.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Riddle

Cofield: Riddle

Last fight: Second round by submission over Ray Steinbeiss at Beatdown at 4 Bears 5.

Punch list: Soto received the chance to make his UFC debut in his home state when Ricardo Funch was forced to pull out against Riddle. Soto, a student of Kurt Pellegrino, has shown the ability to win in different ways, posting three wins by submission, one by TKO and one knockout.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Riddle

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