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UFC 131 Predictions

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by “The Entity” Tim Stroud

UFC 131 is set to take place on Saturday, June 11th at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC. The main event was supposed to pair The Ultimate Fighter coaches, Brock Lesnar and Junior dos Santos, for a chance to face Cain Velasquez for the UFC Heavyweight Championship.

Lesnar ended up pulling out of the fight with his second case of diverticulitis and Shane Carwin was called on to take his place against dos Santos. Carwin was originally scheduled to face Jon Olav Einemo that same night, so he was already getting prepared to fight. Carwin is very deserving of this opportunity, but the pay-per-view dollars might not be as strong with Lesnar out.

Here are  predictions for the main card fights.

Junior dos Santos vs. Shane Carwin

The dos Santos/Carwin fight is actually more intriguing than the dos Santos/Lesnar fight. Carwin is a much better striker and has a better chin than Lesnar. This will come in handy for Carwin, since dos Santos might be the best technical striker in the Heavyweight Division.

It’s very possible that dos Santos or Carwin will win by first round KO/TKO on Saturday. These two warriors have combined for 8 total wins by KO or TKO in their UFC careers. I see dos Santos bothering Carwin in the stand-up early in the first round and Carwin trying for the takedown. I see dos Santos having an easier time the longer the fight goes. It might be a toss up to start the fights, but I see dos Santos taking this one and reclaiming his spot against Velasquez.

Pick – Junior dos Santos

Kenny Florian vs. Diego Nunes

Florian, who is making his Featherweight debut, will face a tough kickboxer in Nunes. Nunes has an impressive 16-1 record, including a huge win over ex-WEC Featherweight Champion Mike Brown. Florian, who has been a top Lightweight contender for years, will need to be ready for the energy and hunger that Nunes will bring. Nunes is very well rounded and will come right at Florian from the start, but Florian’s experience will be too much. I see Florian taking his time and wearing down Nunes before he sinks in a submission win. This win should give Florian the right to face Jose Aldo for the Featherweight Championship later this year.

Pick – Kenny Florian

Jon Olav Einemo vs. Dave Herman

Einemo was originally scheduled to face Carwin, but got Herman after the fight card adjusted. Einemo is an impressive submission artist, but he hasn’t fought since November of 2006. Herman has 20 wins, with 14 coming by KO/TKO. This could be a very interesting fight. If Einemo isn’t rusty, he could easily pull off another submission win. But I think that his long time off will go against him and the younger fighter, Herman, will finish the fight.

Pick – Dave Herman

Demian Maia vs. Mark Munoz

This should be a very interesting style match-up with both guys being extremely technical on the ground. Maia is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu wizard with 8 of his 14 wins coming by submission. Munoz is an amazing wrestler, but has some power as well. Munoz is coming off a 54 second KO of C.B. Dollaway in March. Munoz will try to utilize his stand-up, but the fight will find its way to the ground. Maia will eventually use his superior BJJ to submit the powerful wrestler.

Pick – Demian Maia

Donald Cerrone vs. Vagner Rocha

Cerrone was a top Lightweight in the WEC before merging into the UFC. Cerrone then beat a tough Paul Kelly, in what was the Fight of the Night, in his UFC debut. Rocha has a 6-1 record, but has not faced anyone of Cerrone’s caliber. I think Cerrone should have no problem taking it to Rocha a winning in the first or second round.

Pick – Donald Cerrone

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