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October 30, 2014

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UFC 118: Breakdown and Picks

UFC president Dana White has waited a long time to bring an event to his second home in Boston, Mass. A rematch between lightweights Frankie Edgar and B.J. Penn is set to headline the first-ever UFC event in Beantown. Check out below for a list of all 10 matchups on the UFC 118 card, including predictions from the Las Vegas Sun’s Brett Okamoto, Yahoo.com’s Kevin Iole and ESPN Radio’s Steve Cofield.

Frankie Edgar

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’6''
  • Weight: 155
  • MMA record 12-1
  • Betting line: +300

B.J. Penn

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’9''
  • Weight: 155
  • MMA record 15-6-1
  • Betting line: -400

Lightweight Championship Bout

Main Event

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over B.J. Penn at UFC 112.

Punch list: Edgar used a lot of movement and a well-thought out strategy to take the belt from Penn in April. Even after that performance, however, ‘The Answer’ opened at a consistent 3-to-1 underdog to defeat Penn again.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Penn

Cofield: Penn

Last fight: Unanimous decision loss Frankie Edgar at UFC 112.

Punch list: Although Penn did lose to Edgar in his last fight, a win in this rematch will still mean he’s basically cleaned out the 155-pound division. Depending on what happens in the fight between Kenny Florian and Gray Maynard earlier in the night, Penn could potentially punch his ticket to the welterweight division with a win over Edgar.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Penn

Randy Couture

  • Age: 47
  • Height: 6’2’'
  • Weight: 220
  • MMA record 18-10
  • Betting line: -800

James Toney

  • Age: 41
  • Height: 5’10''
  • Weight: 240
  • MMA record 0-0
  • Betting line: +500

Heavyweight Bout

Co-Main Event

Last fight: Second round win by submission over Mark Coleman at UFC 109.

Punch list: Couture is back to the heavyweight division for this fight, but don’t expect him to stay there. His preference between the two classes is obvious, as he’s named light heavyweights Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Lyoto Machida as the two potential matchups that intrigue him most.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Couture

Cofield: Couture

Last fight: Toney will be making his professional mixed martial arts debut.

Punch list: Toney might not have a professional mixed martial arts record, but the man has an impressive 72-6-3 record inside the boxing ring. His most high profile fight came in 2003, when he forced Evander Holyfield to throw in the towel in the ninth round.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Couture

Demian Maia

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 185
  • MMA record 12-2
  • Betting line: -240

Mario Miranda

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 6’4’’
  • Weight: 185
  • MMA record 12-1
  • Betting line: +190

Middleweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 112.

Punch list: Maia makes his first return to the octagon since a frustrating loss against Anderson Silva in April. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist was slated to compete in September, but had his comeback postponed when Alan Belcher pulled out due to injury.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Maia

Cofield: Maia

Last fight: Second round win by TKO over David Loiseau at UFC 115.

Punch list: After a disappointing loss in his UFC debut against Gerald Harris in March, Miranda was relentless in a June win over David Loiseau. Miranda took Loiseau down at will before clearly hurting him with some vicious elbows from top position.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Maia

Kenny Florian

  • Age: 34
  • Height: 5’10''
  • Weight: 155
  • MMA record 15-4
  • Betting line: -155

Gray Maynard

  • Age: 31
  • Height: 5’8''
  • Weight: 155
  • MMA record 9-0
  • Betting line: +125

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: Third round win by submission over Takanori Gomi at UFC Fight Night 21.

Punch list: It was hard to tell exactly how Florian would respond after a three-year run to get back to the lightweight title ended in a lopsided loss to B.J. Penn last August. Florian has shown no lack of motivation since that fight however, looking fantastic in wins over Clay Guida and Takanori Gomi.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Florian

Cofield: Florian

Last fight: Split decision win over Nate Diaz at UFC Fight Night 20.

Punch list: A former collegiate wrestler at Michigan State University, Maynard has the tools to control a fight and break an opponent’s spirit with his takedowns. ‘The Bully’ has found stoppage wins hard to come by lately, the last fight he finished was more than three years ago, but a win over Florian will almost certainly place him next in line for a shot at the title.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Florian

Nate Diaz

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 170
  • MMA record 12-5
  • Betting line: -240

Marcus Davis

  • Age: 36
  • Height: 5’10’’
  • Weight: 170
  • MMA record 22-7
  • Betting line: +190

Welterweight Bout

Last fight: First round TKO win over Rory Markham at UFC 111.

Punch list: The recent signee of a new four-fight deal with the UFC, Diaz will look to build off his TKO win over Rory Markham in March. The fight was Diaz’s first at 170 pounds.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Diaz

Cofield: Diaz

Last fight: Second round win by TKO over Jonathan Goulet at UFC 113.

Punch list: Davis will be in familiar territory as this weekend, as he competed regularly in the New England area during his days as a professional boxer. Like many fighters who face Nate Diaz, he’ll face a reach disadvantage but is no doubt the harder puncher of the two.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Diaz

Joe Lauzon

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’10’’
  • Weight: 155
  • MMA record 17-5
  • Betting line: -400

Gabe Ruediger

  • Age: 32
  • Height: 5’10’’
  • Weight: 155
  • MMA record 17-5
  • Betting line: +300

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Sam Stout at UFC 108.

Punch list: As a native of Bridgewater, Mass., Lauzon was a near sure-thing to compete on the UFC 118 card. The jiu-jitsu ace dropped a unanimous decision to Sam Stout in his first fight back after a knee injury kept him from competing for more than a year.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Lauzon

Cofield: Lauzon

Last fight: First round win by TKO over Lenny Lovato at TPF 5.

Punch list: A shocking body punch from Melvin Guillard ruined Ruediger’s only trip to the UFC octagon in 2006. The former TUF 5 cast member earned his way back to the organization by winning six fights in less than two years.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Lauzon

Andre Winner

  • Age: 28
  • Height: 5’11’’
  • Weight: 155
  • MMA record 12-3-1
  • Betting line: -130

Nik Lentz

  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 155
  • MMA record 18-3-2
  • Betting line: Even

Lightweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Rafaello Oliveira at UFC Fight Night 21.

Punch list: Since falling short in the TUF 9 finale to Ross Pearson, Winner has won back-to-back fights against Rolando Delgado and Rafaello Oliveira. He currently trains out of Team Rough House, along with the only fighter to have beat him in the UFC, Ross Pearson.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Winner

Cofield: Winner

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Rob Emerson at UFC Fight Night 21.

Punch list: Although Lentz has shown the ability to stand with opponents, don’t be surprised if he looks to test the popular theory that Brits can’t wrestle and try to put Winner on his back.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Winner

Dan Miller

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 185
  • MMA record 11-4
  • Betting line: -330

John Salter

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 185
  • MMA record 5-1
  • Betting line: +250

Middleweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Michael Bisping at UFC 114.

Punch list: After winning his first three fights in the UFC, Miller had dropped his last three all by unanimous decision. Despite rumors he’d be out of work with a loss to Michael Bisping, Miller is still with the UFC and looking to turn things around against Salter.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Miller

Cofield: Miller

Last fight: First round win by TKO over Jason MacDonald at UFC 113.

Punch list: Salter had initially been training to take on Phil Baroni in his third UFC fight, but shouldn’t have too much trouble adapting his game plan to Miller. Through six pro fights, Salter has shown well rounded skills, scoring two submission wins and three TKO/KO.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Miller

Nick Osipczak

  • Age: 25
  • Height: 6’1’’
  • Weight: 170
  • MMA record 5-1
  • Betting line: -140

Greg Soto

  • Age: 24
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 170
  • MMA record 7-1
  • Betting line: +110

Welterweight Bout

Last fight: Split decision loss to Rick Story at UFC 112.

Punch list: Osipczak suffered the first setback of his pro career in a split decision loss to Rick Story in April, despite the fact many believed he had won the fight. After his fighting his last two fights overseas, the British fighter will look to make his return to the U.S. a successful one.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Osipczak

Cofield: Osipczak

Last fight: Third round loss by disqualification to Matthew Riddle at UFC 111.

Punch list: Soto had a disappointing UFC debut in March when he was disqualified for an illegal kick in the third round after being dominated throughout the fight by Matt Riddle. Regardless of that performance, the East Coast fighter should have the crowd on his side Saturday

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Osipczak

Mike Pierce

  • Age: 29
  • Height: 5’8’’
  • Weight: 170
  • MMA record 12-3
  • Betting line: -320

Amilcar Alves

  • Age: 30
  • Height: 6’0’’
  • Weight: 170
  • MMA record 11-1
  • Betting line: +240

Welterweight Bout

Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Julio Paulino at UFC on VERSUS: Vera vs. Jones

Punch list: Pierce has gone 2-1 since joining the UFC last year and fought fairly even with Jon Fitch in a unanimous decision loss last December. Pierce is a terrific wrestler with good submission defense.

Staff picks: Yahoo.com and ESPN Radio

Iole: Pierce

Cofield: Pierce

Last fight: First round win by knockout over Fernando Paulon at Platinum Fight Brazil 2.

Punch list: Alves has shown he can be a dangerous opponent off his back but look for him to keep the fighting standing if he can. The UFC newcomer is a judo black belt and strong grappler but his biggest advantage over Pierce will likely be in the standup.

Staff picks: Las Vegas Sun

Okamoto: Pierce

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