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April 18, 2014

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UFC 114: Breakdown and Picks

Saturday’s UFC 114 main event features one of the biggest rivalries in the organization — but it’s got nothing on the ongoing battle of our predictions panel. Follow along as the Sun’s Brett Okamoto, Yahoo.com’s Kevin Iole and ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield try to pick winners in all 11 fights, including the main event between Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Rashad Evans.

Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6’1''
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 5-1
  • MMA record 30-7
  • Out of: Memphis, Tenn.
  • Betting line: -125

Rashad Evans

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’11''
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 9-1-1
  • MMA record 19-1-1
  • Out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Betting line: -105

Light Heavyweight Bout

Main Event

Last fight: Unanimous Decision win over Keith Jardine at UFC 96.

Punch list: Jackson still has some issues with the UFC, but sitting one fight away from a title shot against a fighter who beat him in the past isn’t a bad spot to be standing. A win over Evans would give Rampage a chance at redemption against Mauricio Shogun Rua and consideration as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Jackson

Cofield: Jackson

Last fight: Unanimous Decision win over Thiago Silva at UFC 108.

Punch list: Evans went old school on Thiago Silva in his last fight, using his wrestling much more to his advantage then he had in previous fights. Saturday’s grudge match with Jackson should give us a good idea if Evans is planning to continue that strategy or go back to his kickboxing ways of 2009.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Evans

Michael Bisping

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6'2''
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 8-3
  • MMA record 19-3
  • Out of: Manchester, England
  • Betting line: -190

Dan Miller

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 6’1''
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 3-2
  • MMA record 11-3
  • Out of: Whippany, N.J.
  • Betting line: +160

Middleweight Bout

Co-Main Event

Last fight: Unanimous Decision loss to Wanderlei Silva at UFC 110.

Punch list: It seems like ages ago that Bisping was just one fight away from a title bout. The Brit is now 1-2 in his last three fights, suffering a knockout loss to Dan Henderson last July and a decision loss to Wanderlei Silva in February. He gets another good opportunity to turn things around against Miller however, fighting in the co-main event of what should be a very successful pay-per-view card.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Bisping

Cofield: Bisping

Last fight: Unanimous Decision loss to Demian Maia.

Punch list: Miller received a huge boost during his training for this fight. His young son Daniel, who was born earlier this year, has been fighting an undisclosed illness since birth but took positive strides recently towards recovery.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Bisping

Todd Duffee

  • Age: 24
  • Height: 6’3’’
  • Weight: 260
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 6-0
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: -360

Mike Russow

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 255
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 12-1
  • Out of: Chicago
  • Betting line: +280

Heavyweight Bout

Last fight: First round win by knockout over Tim Hague at UFC 102.

Punch list: Duffee had been training at American Top Team in Florida but decided to move to Las Vegas late last year. He now trains with Xtreme Couture and is planning to attend classes at UNLV. He’s had just one fight in the UFC and it went pretty well — he recorded the fastest knockout in company history over Tim Hague at UFC 102.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Duffee

Cofield: Duffee

Last fight: Unanimous Decision win over Justin McCully at UFC 102.

Punch list: Given what Duffee did in his last fight, there aren’t many predicting a win for Russow on May 29. If the fight goes to the ground however, the odds should tip in Russow’s favor. Out of his 12 professional wins, eight have come by submission — seven of which came in the first round.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Duffee

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 6’2''
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 18-3
  • Out of: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Betting line: -550

Jason Brilz

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 5’11''
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 18-2-1
  • Out of: Omaha, Neb.
  • Betting line: +275

Light Heavyweight Bout

Last fight: First round win by TKO over Luiz Cane at UFC 106.

Punch list: Nogueira made about as big a statement possible in his UFC debut last November, finishing off top prospect Luiz Cane by TKO in the very first round at UFC 106. With notable wins over opponents such as Vladimir Matyushenko, Alistair Overeem and Dan Henderson on his record, Nogueira isn’t in need of any experience and should move up the 205-pound ladder quickly if he continues to win.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Nogueira

Cofield: Nogueira

Last fight: Unanimous Decision win over Eric Schafer at UFC on VERSUS 1.

Punch list: Brilz was asked to step in for the injured Forrest Griffin and agreed to take the fight on a little less than four weeks’ notice. Brilz had ran off a 13-fight win streak before losing to Eliot Marshall at UFC 103.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Nogueira

Diego Sanchez

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’10’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 10-3
  • MMA record 23-3
  • Out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Betting line: -250

John Hathaway

  • Age: 22
  • Height: 6’2’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 3-0
  • MMA record 13-0
  • Out of: Brighton, Sussex, England
  • Betting line: +200

Welterweight Bout

Last fight: Fifth round loss by TKO to B.J. Penn at UFC 107.

Punch list: Sanchez is back from the disappointment of the loss he suffered in a lightweight title fight against B.J. Penn at UFC 107 and competing in the welterweight division for the first time since 2008. His only losses at that weight were against top contenders Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch and were both decisions.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Hathaway

Cofield: Sanchez

Last fight: Unanimous Decision win over Paul Taylor at UFC 105.

Punch list: The British fighter utilized an eight-week long training camp in preparation for Sanchez, including visits to Miami and Las Vegas. Although Hathaway isn’t a pure striker like some of his British counterparts, he’ll still be expected to be at a disadvantage if the fight goes to the ground.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Sanchez

Amir Sadollah

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’11’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 4-1
  • Out of: Richmond, Va.
  • Betting line: -130

Dong Hyun Kim

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 3-0
  • MMA record 12-0-1
  • Out of: Busan, Korea
  • Betting line: Even

Welterweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous Decision win over Brad Blackburn at UFCFN: Maynard vs. Diaz.

Punch list: Sadollah lost a little of the TUF 7 hype that surrounded him when he lost to Johny Hendricks less than a minute into their bout at UFC 101 last August. Back-to-back wins over Phil Baroni and Brad Blackburn have restored it however, and a win over Hyun Kim would only continue to lead to bigger fights for the Brooklyn native.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Sadollah

Cofield: Sadollah

Last fight: Unanimous Decision win over T.J. Grant at UFC 100.

Punch list: A knee injury forced Hyun Kim off a scheduled bout with Chris Lytle at UFC 110. The Korean fighter dropped a split decision to Karo Parisyan at UFC 94 which would have been his first loss, however the ruling was changed to a no contest after Parisyan tested positive for pain killers after the fight.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Hyun Kim

Efrain Escudero

  • Age: 24
  • Height: 5’9’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 2-1
  • MMA record 13-1
  • Out of: Tempe, Ariz.
  • Betting line: -600

Dan Lauzon

  • Age: 22
  • Height: 5’10’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-2
  • MMA record 12-3
  • Out of: East Bridgewater, Mass.
  • Betting line: +400

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: Third round loss by submission to Evan Dunham at UFCFN: Maynard vs. Diaz.

Punch list: Escudero appeared headed towards some time off after his initial refusal to tap to an armbar from Evan Dunham in his last fight resulted in what looked like a broken arm. Luckily for Escudero, the 24-year-old only suffered a sprained elbow and will be looking to put the sting of his first professional loss behind him.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Escudero

Cofield: Escudero

Last fight: First round loss by submission to Cole Miller at UF 108.

Punch list: There are some doubts as to how seriously Lauzon could have trained for this fight, given his recent feud with older brother and fellow UFC fighter, Joe. According to his older brother’s blog post, Dan had lacked commitment in his most recent camp, which led to the two parting ways.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Escudero

Melvin Guillard

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 5’9’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 6-4
  • MMA record 42-9-3
  • Out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Betting line: -400

Waylon Lowe

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’7’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 8-2
  • Out of: Philadelphia, Penn.
  • Betting line: +300

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous Decision win over Ronys Torres at UFC 109.

Punch list: Guillard sought out the help of trainer Greg Jackson prior to his last fight against Torres at UFC 109 and early indications are that he may flourish in his new home. Historically vulnerable to submission artists, Guillard went three rounds with the jiu-jitsu based Torres and took home a unanimous decision win.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Guillard

Cofield: Guillard

Last fight: First round win by knockout over Steve Berger at KOTC – Bad Boys 2.

Punch list: Lowe will be making his UFC debut Saturday, having stepped in for the injured Thiago Tavares. He was close to becoming a cast member on the ninth season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ but was submitted by Santino DeFranco in the show’s elimination round.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Guillard

Luiz Cane

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 6’2’’
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 3-2
  • MMA record 11-2-1
  • Out of: Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Betting line: -270

Cyrille Diabate

  • Age: 36
  • Height: 6’6”
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 16-6-3
  • Out of: Ruell Maimaison, France
  • Betting line: +210

Light Heavyweight Bout

Last fight: First round loss by TKO to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 106.

Punch list: According to Cane, the knockdown Nogueira scored in the first round of their fight in November was the first time he had ever been dropped in his life — including practice. The disappointment led, in part, to Cane’s decision to leave American Top Team to train with Florida’s Elite Mixed Fighters camp instead.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Cane

Cofield: Cane

Last fight: First round win by submission over Rob Smith at TPF 2 – Brawl in the Hall.

Punch list: Diabate has openly expressed his hope that Cane will choose to stand and trade with him. The French fighter is known almost entirely for his striking abilities but said he’s worked hard on his wrestling to prepare himself for this venture into the UFC.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Cane

Aaron Riley

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 2-4
  • MMA record 28-12-1
  • Out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Betting line: -130

Joe Brammer

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 7-1-1
  • Out of: Des Moines, Iowa
  • Betting line: Even

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: Second round loss by TKO to Ross Pearson at UFC 105.

Punch list: The 29-year-old Riley split his training camp between three separate gyms for this fight, evidence that he’s taking this weekend very seriously. There’s a decent chance he’s fighting for his future in the UFC, as he’s 2-4 all time in the organization — his two wins also came over opponents who have already been cut.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Riley

Cofield: Riley

Last fight: First round loss by submission to Mark Bocek at TUF 10 Finale.

Punch list: Like Riley, Brammer may also be fighting with his back against the wall. The young fighter accepted a fight with Mark Bocek last December on short notice and it showed as he was submitted in the very first round. With the advantage of a full training camp under his belt this time, Brammer is hoping things go a little differently.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Brammer

Jesse Forbes

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 6’2’’
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 0-3
  • MMA record 13-5
  • Out of: Tempe, Ariz.
  • Betting line: -115

Ryan Jensen

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 1-4
  • MMA record 15-5
  • Out of: Omaha, Neb.
  • Betting line: -115

Middleweight Bout

Last fight: Split Decision loss to Nick Catone at UFCFN: Maynard vs. Diaz.

Punch list: Forbes has been successful in other organizations but snakebitten in the UFC. He lost twice on the third season of TUF, again to Matt Hamill in the TUF 3 finale and most recently to Nick Catone in January.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Jensen

Cofield: Jensen

Last fight: First round loss by submission to Mark Munoz at UFC 108.

Punch list: Through 20 professional fights, Jensen has still yet to see the third round. In fact, all but two of his fights have been decided in the first round. He was cut from the UFC in 2007 after losing his first two fights to Thales Leites and Demian Maia and has gone 1-2 since returning in 2008.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Jensen

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