Las Vegas Sun

November 26, 2014

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UFC 116: Breakdown and Picks

Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar is back in action and so is the Las Vegas Sun’s prediction panel. Look below for info on all 22 fighters making up the UFC 116 card and see which of them Brett Okamoto, Yahoo.com’s Kevin Iole and ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield believe will come out on top.

Shane Carwin

  • Age: 35
  • Height: 6’2''
  • Weight: 265
  • UFC record 5-0
  • MMA record 12-0
  • Out of: Denver, Colo.
  • Betting line: +135

Brock Lesnar

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6’3''
  • Weight: 265
  • UFC record 3-1
  • MMA record 4-1
  • Out of: Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Betting line: -145

Heavyweight Championship Bout

Main Event

Last fight: Second round win by tKO over Frank Mir at UFC 100.

Punch list: For the first time in his career, Lesnar will face an opponent he doesn’t hold a significant size advantage against. The current champ says he isn’t too worried about it, especially after adding former Jacksonville Jaguars strength and conditioning coach Luke Richardson to his camp.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Carwin

Cofield: Lesnar

Last fight: First round win by knockout over Frank Mir at UFC 111.

Punch list: Following his first-round win over Frank Mir at UFC 111, Carwin joked he actually wanted it to go to the second round so he could stop answering questions about his stamina. Those questions will surely be asked again, however, as Carwin will have to deal with Lesnar’s top quality wrestling for a possible 25 minutes.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Carwin

Yoshihiro Akiyama

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 5’10’'
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 1-0
  • MMA record 13-1
  • Out of: Osaka, Japan
  • Betting line: -200

Chris Leben

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’11''
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 12-5
  • MMA record 20-6
  • Out of: Oahu, Hawaii.
  • Betting line: +170

Middleweight Bout

Co-Main Event

Last fight: Split decision win over Alan Belcher at UFC 100.

Punch list: It was reported Akiyama considered pulling out of the event when he learned that he would no longer be facing Wanderlei Silva in the night’s co-main event. The Japanese fighter complained of insufficient time to change his game plan and that replacement Chris Leben isn’t the big name opponent Silva would have been.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Akiyama

Cofield: Leben

Last fight: Second round win by TKO over Aaron Simpson at TUF11 Finale.

Punch list:Following a win over Aaron Simpson on June 19, Leben said he wanted some time off in between fights to better himself as a fighter. Although he probably had a little more time in mind than 14 days, he made the decision to step up for the UFC when Wanderlei Silva pulled out late.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Leben

Chris Lytle

  • Age: 35
  • Height: 5’11’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 10-9
  • MMA record 38-17-4
  • Out of: Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Betting line: -240

Matt Brown

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 4-2
  • MMA record 13-8
  • Out of: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Betting line: +190

Welterweight Bout

Last fight: First round win by submission over Brian Foster at UFC 110.

Punch list: Despite a long career in the UFC which dates all the way back to 2000, Lytle has never strung more than three wins together in a row. He’ll look to tie that personal best this weekend against Brown, who he’s already defeated once in his professional career.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Lytle

Cofield: Lytle

Last fight: Second round loss by submission to Ricardo Almeida at UFC 111.

Punch list: Brown says he was caught by surprise in his first fight against Lytle in 2007, when Lytle repeatedly looked for the takedown instead of standing with him. Not looking to make the same mistake in the rematch, Brown says his game has evolved and he’s ready this time for anywhere Lytle wants to take the fight.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Brown

Krzysztof Soszynski

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6’1''
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 4-1
  • MMA record 20-10-1
  • Out of: Temecula, Calif.
  • Betting line: -240

Stephan Bonnar

  • Age: 33
  • Height: 6’4''
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 5-6
  • MMA record 14-7
  • Out of: Las Vegas
  • Betting line: +190

Light Heavyweight Bout

Last fight: Third round win by TKO over Stephan Bonnar at UFC 110.

Punch list: Although Soszynski did say he felt cheated by the stoppage of his last fight with Bonnar, he’s also clearly he stated he thought he was winning the fight anyway and doesn’t believe a rematch will go any differently.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Soszynski

Cofield: Soszynski

Last fight: Third round loss by TKO to Krzysztof Soszynski at UFC 110.

Punch list: Bonnar appealed the result of his last fight with Soszynksi to the Combat Sports Authority of New South Wales, only to have the loss on his record upheld. It’s doubtful that result will bother Bonnar much if he’s able to avenge the loss in this weekend’s rematch.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Soszynski

Georges Sotiropoulos

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5’10’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 5-0
  • MMA record 12-2
  • Out of: Vancouver, Wash.
  • Betting line: -200

Kurt Pellegrino

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 155
  • UFC record 8-3
  • MMA record 21-4
  • Out of: Point Pleasant, N.J.
  • Betting line: +170

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Joe Stevenson at UFC 110.

Punch list: Sotiropolous is now a perfect five-for-five in the UFC and certainly on the cusp of a potential title shot. The Aussie fighter had a career day at UFC 110, defeating fan-favorite Joe Stevenson in front of his enthusiastic home crowd.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Sotiropoulos

Cofield: Sotiropoulos

Last fight: Second round win by submission over Fabricio Camoes at UFC 111.

Punch list: After watching Sotiropolous dismantle many of his previous opponents on the ground, Pellegrino sought out the help of Marcelo Garcia, a three-time ADCC grappling champion, in New York City.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Sotiropolous

Brendan Schaub

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 6’4’’
  • Weight: 245
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 6-1
  • Out of: Denver, Colo.
  • Betting line: -320

Chris Tuchscherer

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 260
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 18-2
  • Out of: Fargo, N.D.
  • Betting line: +240

Heavyweight Bout

Last fight: First round win by TKO over Chase Gormley at UFC on VS 1.

Punch list: Brendan Schaub rebounded from a disappointing loss to Roy Nelson in his UFC debut with a 47-second TKO win over Chase Gormley in front of his home crowd. He’ll have to deal with a capable wrestler in Tuchscherer this weekend, but should have plenty of experience dealing with that challenge after facing heavyweight interim champ Shane Carwin everyday in practice.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Schaub

Cofield: Schaub

Last fight: Majority decision win over Tim Hague at UFC 109.

Punch list: Tuchscherer looked good in the first two rounds of his last fight but fell into survival mode in the third to squeak out his first win in the UFC. The two-time Division-II All-American wrestler will look to not make it quite as close this weekend against Schaub.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Schaub

Seth Petruzelli

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 0-2
  • MMA record 14-5
  • Out of: Orlando, Fla.
  • Betting line: EVEN

Ricardo Romero

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 205
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 10-1
  • Out of: North Brunswick, N.J.
  • Betting line: -130

Light Heavyweight Bout

Last fight: First round win by submission over Ryan White at BAMMA 3.

Punch list: Petruzelli was thrust into the MMA spotlight when he posted a 14-second TKO win over Kimbo Slice in the now defunct EliteXC organization. Before that, however, Petruzelli went a disappointing 0-2 in the UFC and was cut before ever earning his first win. He’ll look to make good on a second opportunity with the organization this weekend.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Romero

Cofield: Petruzelli

Last fight: First round win by submission over Silmar Rodrigo at Ring of Combat 27.

Punch list: The recent signee of a four-fight deal, Romero trains at the AMA Fight club with the Miller brothers (Jim and Dan) and holds a win over current UFC fighter James McSweeney.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Petruzelli

Kendall Grove

  • Age: 27
  • Height: 6’6’’
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 6-4
  • MMA record 13-7
  • Out of: Maui, Hawaii
  • Betting line: +130

Goran Reljic

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 6’3’’
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 1-1
  • MMA record 8-1
  • Out of: Zadar, Croatia
  • Betting line: -160

Middleweight Bout

Last fight: Second round loss by TKO to Mark Munoz at UFC 112.

Punch list: Originally scheduled to air on Spike TV, Grove’s fight this weekend was demoted to the unaired prelim portion of the card after he criticized the network’s handling of the reality series, ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ He has since apologized — but remains on the bottom of the card.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Grove

Cofield: Grove

Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to C.B. Dolloway at UFC 110

Punch list: Reljic returned from back surgery earlier this year for his first fight in nearly two years. This weekend will be just his second fight as a 185-pounder, as he spent most of his career competing in the light heavyweight division.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Grove

Gerrald Harris

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 5’11’’
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 2-0
  • MMA record 15-2
  • Out of: Tulsa, Okla.
  • Betting line: -300

Dave Branch

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 185
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 6-0
  • Out of: Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Betting line: +220

Middleweight Bout

Last fight: First round win by TKO over Mario Miranda at UFCFN: Florian vs. Gomi.

Punch list: A former cast member on the seventh season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ Harris had to fight his way into the UFC after losing to Amir Sadollah on the show. Now that he’s here, he certainly isn’t wasting any time. Harris has already fought twice in 2010, winning both.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Harris

Cofield: Harris

Last fight: Second round by submission over Derrick Mehmen at Bellator Fighting Championships 15.

Punch list: The new-comer Branch has already made a name for himself on the Bellator Fighting Championships circuit. The Renzo Gracie student enters the UFC riding a streak of six consecutive stoppage wins.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Harris

Daniel Roberts

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’10’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 0-1
  • MMA record 9-1
  • Out of: Tulsa, Okla.
  • Betting line: -240

Forrest Petz

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 5’10’’
  • Weight: 170
  • UFC record 2-3
  • MMA record 24-7
  • Out of: Cleveland, Ohio
  • Betting line: +190

Welterweight Bout

Last fight: First round loss by knockout to John Howard at UFC on VS 1.

Punch list: Roberts had a rough welcome to the UFC earlier this year, suffering a devastating knockout loss to the heavy-handed John Howard in March. The former NAIA All-American wrestler will look to rebound in a big way this weekend.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Petz

Cofield: Roberts

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Ralph Johnson at Moosin.

Punch list: UFC fans are already somewhat familiar with Petz, who last fought for the organization in 2007. After getting the boot from the UFC, Petz lost two of his next three before ripping off four straight wins to earn a spot back on the UFC roster.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Petz

Jon Madsen

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 245
  • UFC record 2-0
  • MMA record 5-0
  • Out of: Granite City, Ill.
  • Betting line: -115

Karlos Vemola

  • Age: 24
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 227
  • UFC record 0-0
  • MMA record 7-0
  • Out of: London, England
  • Betting line: -115

Heavyweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Mostapha Al Turk at UFC 112.

Punch list: While much is being made over the wrestling credentials of the two main event fighters, Madsen is no slouch on the mat. The former two-time Division-II national champ prepared for this weekend’s fight with other top notch wrestlers, including Brock Lesnar.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Madsen

Cofield: Madsen

Last fight: First round win by knockout over Peter Yendall at Ultimate Challenge MMA.

Punch list: Vemola, or ‘The Terminator,’ fights out of London Shootfighters overseas and has the advantage of training alongside Mostapha Al Turk, who just fought Madsen in April.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Vemola

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