Mike Ricci (7-3, 0-1 UFC) vs. Colin Fletcher (8-2, 0-1 UFC):
The main card for UFC 158 on March 16, 2012 begins with a bout between Mike Ricci and Colin Fletcher. Neither fighter has a win in their UFC careers so both will fighting for a spot on the roster. The UFC is going to continue it’s downsizing after UFC 158 and an 0-2 record will not look appealing to Joe Silva. Both fighters have showed poor takedown defense in their UFC debuts but Fletcher was the only one who mounted any offense against his foe. Look for Fletcher to use his length to pepper Ricci from the outside. Fletcher by decision.
Nick Ring (13-1, 3-1 UFC) vs. Chris Camozzi (18-5, 5-2 UFC):
Nick Ring is coming off a terrible decision over Court McGee at UFC 149. On the other hand, Camozzi is on a three-fight win streak with his most impressive victory being Luiz Cane. I think Ring will try to bring the bout to the mat but Camozzi will be savvy enough to keep him away with his jab. He’ll be able to do just enough to outpoint Ring with his kicks and jabs. Camozzi by decision.
Jake Ellenberger (28-6, 7-2 UFC) vs. Nate Marquardt (32-11-2, 10-4 UFC):
Ellenberger has shown the ability to dominate opponents that he can take down with ease. Marquardt, on the other hand, is a guy who is incredibly difficult to finish. His only stoppage via strikes came against Anderson Silva. If Ellenberger is able to continue his calm, strategic style that he employed against Jay Hieron, he will be able to grind his way to a victory over Marquardt. He has to be careful not to get too excited in the opening rounds and go all out for the finish. If he does, Marquardt has the ability to make him pay like Martin Kampmann did. I think Ellenberger will do enough to stay calm and grind his way to a decision. Ellenberger via decision.
Carlos Condit (28-6, 5-2 UFC) vs. Johny Hendricks (14-1, 9-1 UFC):
Condit has not lost consecutive bouts since 2006. Meanwhile, Johny Hendricks is coming off a huge knockout victory over Martin Kampmann and “Bigg Rigg” has steamrolled his way through five straight UFC opponents. Condit is a very hard fighter to put away and I don’t see Hendricks being able to knock him out with one punch. Condit employed a masterful game plan against Nick Diaz that kept him at distance throughout the fight. Though he wasn’t able to do the same against Georges St. Pierre, Hendricks’ MMA wrestling is not at the same level as St. Pierre. Look for Condit to land powerful kicks that slow down the offensive wrestling of Hendricks. Condit will get taken down a few times, but he’ll get back up and punish Hendricks on the feet. Condit by decision.
Georges St. Pierre (23-2, 17-2) vs. Nick Diaz (26-8, 7-5 UFC):
St. Pierre showed no ill effects of his ACL reconstruction in his bout against Condit at UFC 154. He employed his time-tested game plan of takedowns and ground-and-pound. He’ll look to do the same against Nick Diaz, who is coming off a loss to the former interim champion. Diaz will try to punish the body and pepper the face of St. Pierre with punches. If St. Pierre freezes and succumbs to the pressure like BJ Penn did, he risks a stoppage from Diaz. I don’t think Diaz will be on his feet long enough to accumulate enough damage to stop St. Pierre. Much like his other title defenses, St. Pierre will take down Diaz and smother him for 5 rounds. Diaz is too tough to stop but it is possible St. Pierre can open up a cut that forces a doctors stoppage. Georges St. Pierre by doctor’s stoppage.
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