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UFC 98 Preview and Picks

by: JamieD On  Friday, May 22, 2009

ufc-octagon-girlsTotal Pro Sports -  On Saturday, May 23rd, UFC 98 will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Nevada.  The card does have some interesting matches and will conclude with a battle between light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans and challenger Lyoto Machida.  Also on tap is a long awaited match between bitter rivals Matt Hughes and Matt Serra.  Here is a closer look at some of the fights on tomorrow night’s card.  And in case you are wondering, the ladies in the pic are UFC Octagon girls Arianny and Edith Labelle.  As if you needed even more reasons to watch.

Rashad “Suga” Evans (+180) vs Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (-220) (for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship):

Once again, Rashad finds himself in the underdog position.  He is hoping that the end result is also the same.  So why are so many picking Machida to win?  It is believed that his “move in, strike, and move out” style will be a difficult one for Evans to handle, and Machida also presents a threat to Rashad’s strong wrestling.  With strong sumo, judo and BJJ skills, “The Dragon” will be tough to take down, and remains a threat while on his back.

The Pick: This belt has been a difficult one to keep over the past few years, switching hands several times, and i believe that tomorrow night will end up in similar fashion.  I’ll take Machida by TKO in the third.

Matt Hughes (-260) vs Matt “The Terror” Serra (+205)

Finally, these two fighters will get to resolve their many differences in the ring.  They were supposed to square off following “The Ultimate Fighter 4″ but an injury to Serra meant the perfect opening for George St. Pierre to reestablish himself as the top fighter in the division.  Now coming off losses and injuries, these fighters have both seen brighter times in their careers, and tomorrow’s fight may very well mark the end for one, or both of these combatants.

The Pick: This is a tough one, with both struggling from similar issues, but I’m going to go with Serra and the puncher’s chance on this one.  That punch will come in the second round.

Drew “The Massacre” McFedries (+160) vs Xavier “The Professor X” Foupa-Pokam (-175)

This will be a match the Drew McFedries will want to keep on his feet, much like any of his fights.  Problem here for Drew is he will be at a reach disadvantage to “Professor X”, who also has some notable kick-boxing skills.  If this match hits the ground, it is very likely McFedries will be taping shortly.

The Pick: Foupa-Pokam lost his UFC debut by unanimous decision to Denis Kang, but I expect the frenchman to come back strong in his second match, winning in the second by submission.

Dan Miller vs Chael Sonnen

In a battle between two mwn known more for their strong wrestling skills than great knockout abilities, I don’t expect this fight to produce any fireworks.  But then again, this is MMA, so anything can happen here.  Bottom line on this fight is these two fighters match up well with each other and should produce a good fight with some effective takedowns.

The Pick: Miller’s slight advantage both on their feet and on the ground should be enough to win him a unanimous decision.

Sean “Muscle Shark” Sherk (-300) vs Frank “The Answer” Edgar(+275)

This may be the fight of the night so make sure you catch it.  Two high powered, quick-fisted strikers will kick off the main card in what should be a fast tempo throughout the battle, however long it lasts.  While I expect a valiant effort from Frankie Edgar, it is unlikely he will be able to overcome the strength of Sean Sherk.

The Pick: Sherk can end this fight both on the ground or on his feet, but one way or the other I expect it to be by pounding away at Edgar.  I’ll take Sean in the second round by TKO.

Undercards:

Brock Larson (-325) vs. Chris Wilson (+250)

The Pick: Larson by TKO in the first

Pat Barry (-500) vs. Tim Hague (+300)

The Pick: In the major upset, Hague by KO in the second round.

Phillipe Nover (-345) vs. Kyle Bradley (+285)

The Pick: Nover by TKO in the first

Krzysztof Soszynski (+135) vs. Andre Gusmao (-150)

The Pick: Krzysztof by split decision

Yoshiyuki Yoshida (-500) vs. Brandon Wolff (+300)

The Pick: Yoshida by submission in the first

Dave Kaplan (+135) vs. George Roop (-165)

The Pick: Kaplan with the unanimous decision





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