Gian Villante def Cody Donovan via 2nd Rd TKO 

The action at UFC 167 starts off in an explosive manner as Strikeforce stand-out, Gian Villante, scores his first UFC win by dropping and finish Cody Donovan. I predicted a first round stoppage for Villante, but he surprisingly ran into a bit of resistance from Donovan through-out the first round. He made quick adjustments in the second stanza however, and let his hands go to land a vicious counter-right that prompted the finish. 1-0 for my predictions to start things off.

Sergio Pettis def Will Campuzano via Unanimous Decision 

A fast-paced bantamweight bout results in the talented prospect, Sergio Pettis, picking up a unanimous decision victory against a veteran in Will Campuzano. I did have Pettis winning by decision, and this fight went pretty much exactly how I figured it would. Campuzano really tried to be the bully in this bout by scoring takedowns and establishing control, but Pettis was too game. Sergio managed several submission attempts, kept scrambling, and out-struck Campuzano to win two rounds out of three. 2-0 for me.

Jason High def Anthony Lapsley via Unanimous Decision

“The Kansas City Bandit” picks up a victory here over the talented newcomer as he out-grappled Lapsley for two of the three rounds. I was surprised at how little both fighters wanted to do on the feet; they were basically looking to take eachother down the whole fight. High, being the better wrestler, was able to mount Lapsley several times and overall get more offense going. Lapsley was fighting off rear naked chokes and other various submissions through-out the bout, but did manage to gain some lengthy top control in the second round. However, the veteran in Jason High came out victorious with his superior scrambling, wrestling, and grappling skills. Another pick I had correct, 3-0 now for me.

Erik Perez def Edwin Figueroa via Unanimous Decision 

What seemed to be a guaranteed slugfest didn’t really amount to the fight expected. While it was fast-paced, Perez and Figueroa fought a lot more on the ground than I thought. I had Perez storming Figueroa and winning in the first round, but it seemed Perez wasn’t quite as comfortable on the feet with Figueroa as I thought he’d be. Perez utilized takedowns and dominant positioning to stay ahead on points. While they did have some memorable exchanges where both fighters landed good punches, it was the takedowns of Perez that that gives him the decision. With the first four fights done, I have yet to fail on a pick.

Rick Story def Brian Ebersole via Unanimous Decision 

The awkward, but effective, Brian Ebersole couldn’t quite get the needed advantage in this fight, and fell to 30-27 decision against him. The heavy-handed Rick Story pushed forward behind his haymakers to amount the majority of his damage and keep Ebersole from getting comfortable. Ebersole’s chin held up, surprisingly, but he couldn’t really mount much offense. A couple sneaky kicks and elbows drew blood for Ebersole, but failed to really capitalize. Story wanted nothing to do with Ebersole on the ground, which is where I thought the majority of this fight would take place. I predicted Story to dominate with takedowns and top control, but avoiding Ebersole’s submission game. It could be said that the same type of battle was fought, but on the feet instead. Nevertheless, a decision for Story was indeed the pick I had, which makes me 5-0 so far on the prelims.

Thales Leites def Ed Herman via Unanimous Decision 

Dominant grappling for Thales Leites clean-sweeps Ed Herman on the scorecards to earn another successful UFC bout since his return. Some heated striking exchanges took me by surprise, as I thought surely this would be a grind fest with Herman the victim. However, Leites and Herman exchanged heavy shots for a  part of the fight, but the rest was indeed Leites ontop utlizing his grappling advantage. While Herman is a solid grappler himself, he was only able to avoid getting submitted, but couldn’t stop the inevitable; Leites from grinding him out. I predicted a late-fight submission for Leites, but the decision still satisfies my pick. I rise to 6-0 on the prelim card.

Donald Cerrone def Evan Dunham via 2nd Rd Submission 

Wow! What a fight this was! I knew coming in that Cerrone and Dunham were going to put on a wild contest, but I didn’t expect it to be as one-sided as this was. Right from the git-go, Cerrone’s knees bloodied and battered Evan Dunham for a lopsided first round. However, the end came by submission as Dunham became a little too over-aggressive during a scramble, and fell right into a triangle. I fully expected a back-and-forth bout resulting in Cerrone the victor by split decision, but Cerrone came out aggressive and ready to finish; that’s exactly what he did. I end the prelims flawlessly with a 7-0 record.