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UFC Fight Night 108: Bleacher Report Main Card Staff Predictions

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    UFC Fight Night 108 is getting loads of buzz for all the wrong reasons. 

    Simply going down the list of names on this card is enough to pique the interest of hardcore MMA fans.

    Exciting veterans Joe Lauzon, Diego Sanchez and Eddie Wineland are all set for potentially enthralling scraps, and a total of six former title contenders will punch cards and faces on Saturday night. It isn’t just old favorites, either, as intriguing up-and-comers like Brandon Moreno, Cindy Dandois and Stevie Ray will all get the chance to build their resumes.

    So what’s the problem? Well, many are less than thrilled that the main event happens to be a contest between featherweight top-10 staple Cub Swanson and Conor McGregor’s buddy, Artem Lobov. While there is certainly a discussion to be had about a fighter with a 13-12-1 (1) record headlining a UFC event, this still shakes out to be solid card on the sheer volume of name-brand fighters.

    But while much of the MMA world goes back and forth over bout order, the Bleacher Report MMA predictions team is here to discuss the contests and who is going to win them.

Jake Ellenberger vs. Mike Perry

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    Craig Amos

    If there was any belief that Jake Ellenberger was “back” after his victory over Matt Brown, Jorge Masvidal put the optimism to rest. Mike Perry isn’t a future contender, but he has enough to dispatch a severely diminished version of the former challenger. He’ll end the fight early.

    Perry, TKO, Rd. 1

    Scott Harris

    I would like Jake Ellenberger to finish off this Mike Perry phenomenon. Bury him, Jake. Use the wrestling. Use those heavy counters. I think you can do this.

    Ellenberger, TKO, Rd. 2

    Nathan McCarter

    Is there anyone less deserving of their spot in the UFC than Mike Perry? Quite frankly, there’s almost too many incidents to name. Justin Golightly of MiddleEasy.com chronicled a few of his indiscretions. I’ll never pick Perry. The UFC should be ashamed it still employs him after his actions. Unconscionable.

    Ellenberger, KO, Rd. 1

    Steven Rondina

    I mean, I’m not a fan of Perry, either, but I’m not going to pick against him based on that. Ellenberger could certainly pull a knockout out of his hat, but he’s a bit too shopworn to get the nod from me over anybody but the greenest of talents.

    Perry, TKO, Rd. 2

Joe Lauzon vs. Stevie Ray

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    Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

    Amos

    Joe Lauzon remains competitive but is on the downslope of his career. Stevie Ray is just hitting his stride. It won’t be a blowout, but it won’t be close enough for the judges to hand an undeserved decision to Lauzon as they did in his recent “win” over Marcin Held.

    Ray, unanimous decision

    Harris

    This proves that the UFC thinks of Lauzon as a gatekeeper. That’s not a bad thing, at least not to my mind. Lauzon employs the spidery jiu-jitsu, but Ray evades by winning scrambles. The rising Scotsman will have more on the feet, though, and that tells the tale.

    Ray, unanimous decision

    McCarter

    Much like Diego Sanchez, Lauzon is shopworn. But I don’t think Ray is up to the task. Lauzon is still crafty and has a good ground game. Veteran savvy for the win.

    Lauzon, unanimous decision

    Rondina

    Joe Lauzon’s kryptonite is people who are left-handed. Oh, and Stevie Ray? Yeah, he’s a southpaw…

    Ray, unanimous decision

John Dodson vs. Eddie Wineland

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    Amos

    Eddie Wineland has rebounded nicely from consecutive losses, but John Dodson is on a different level than his recent victims. Primarily by virtue of a considerable speed advantage, Dodson earns a quick W here.

    Dodson, TKO, Rd. 1

    Harris

    Good God! I can’t believe either of these guys is still fighting. I don’t know why I feel that, but it’s how I feel, doggonit. Dodson will outclass Wineland in an uncompetitive battle. His athleticism and power boxing are just too much.

    Dodson, TKO, Rd. 1

    McCarter

    I really like this fight. Wineland loves a good scrap, but Dodson’s speed will be the big difference. Dodson pops in and out, tagging Wineland until he lands the big KO blow.

    Dodson, KO, Rd. 1

    Rondina

    I’m not really sure where Scott’s pessimism is coming from. This is a good fight, and while Wineland’s best days are behind him, Dodson is an amazing talent who isn’t too physically depleted. They should combine for a fun scrap that ends with Dodson’s hand raisedbut I don’t think this is going to end early.

    Dodson, unanimous decision

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima

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    Amos

    I’m no longer enamored with Ovince Saint Preux, and I’ve never been much enamored with Marcos Rogerio de Lima. The former at least has experience against top-tier competition, as well as some solid wins. As inconsistent as he’s been, Saint Preux is the pick here.

    Saint Preux, unanimous decision

    Harris

    I guess if the UFC wants to make this bout, then I have to make a pick. These are both physical marvels who don’t have the technique to back it up. I imagine some kind of clinch-fighting stalemate. Sound the mild-upset alarm.

    De Lima, unanimous decision

    McCarter

    Does OSP have anything left? He hit a wall and has looked pretty bad in recent fights. This will be a good test to see whether he can regain some of his momentum or whether he’s dead weight in a terribly shallow division. If you believe OSP has anything left, you’re picking him; if not, you’re on to De Lima. I have to think OSP has a little something left for a vocal, practically hometown, Nashville crowd.

    Saint Preux, TKO, Rd. 2

    Rondina

    I thought OSP was set to turn the proverbial corner after his losses to Jon Jones and Jimi Manuwa. Those were the kind of defeats a fighter can learn from, and I thought he would be better for them. Then his fight with Volkan Oezdemir happened and, yeah…I’m not going to pick him again anytime soon.

    De Lima, unanimous decision

Al Iaquinta vs. Diego Sanchez

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    Amos

    Al Iaquinta’s return from a two-year absence will remind spectators of just how skilled a fighter he is. Diego Sanchez is never a pushover, but Iaquinta already owns more impressive victories. So long as the rust doesn’t paralyze him and allow Sanchez to overwhelm early, it will be a successful night for the returning fighter.

    Iaquinta, unanimous decision

    Harris

    Ahhhh, the great Diego Sanchez. Who doesn’t love Diego Sanchez? I’ll tell you who: Al Iaquinta. Iaquinta’s going to play matador to the Sanchez bull, taking him down, landing counters and hitting jabs more or less at will.

    Iaquinta, unanimous decision

    McCarter

    Sanchez is shopworn while Iaquinta is returning from a long layoff. Give Al a round to get back into the groove, and then he stops Sanchez rather violently.

    Iaquinta, TKO, Rd. 2

    Rondina

    I’ll never feel comfortable picking against Diego Sanchez. The judges love him too much. I’ll take Iaquinta here, but I’m fully expecting the judges to award Sanchez yet another controversial split-decision win.

    Iaquinta, unanimous decision

Cub Swanson vs. Artem Lobov

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    Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

    Amos

    The question here is whether Artem Lobov is at a point in his career when he can compete with the upper echelon of the featherweight division. But if Dooho Choi wasn’t able to crack Cub Swanson, I’m guessing the answer will come back as a resounding “no.” Swanson takes it inside the distance.

    Swanson, TKO, Rd. 4

    Harris

    Forget this. This is not a legitimate matchup. Swanson is going to kick Lobov’s butt. We’ll see how far nepotism can take a fighter, and the answer is “to a main event.” Conor McGregor can’t help his teammate actually win. Good on Swanson for striking his way to an easy payday before striking his way out of it. Lobov is a slugger with no footwork, and that’s it.

    Swanson, TKO, Rd. 2

    McCarter

    The UFC has had some lackluster, and even outright bad, main events before. But this is flat-out embarrassing. Lobov has no business fighting a top-five featherweight, let alone headlining a card. It is amateur matchmaking at best.

    If Swanson fights monumentally stupidly and brawls for no good reason, there is a small chance Lobov could clip him. Swanson is hittable, and Lobov has power. But no. Swanson should style all over Lobov, who is a mid-tier featherweight at best.

    Swanson, TKO, Rd. 1

    Rondina

    I’m not as bearish on Lobov’s chances here as y’all are (he has made some big strides over the past year), but I’m certainly not going to make the case that he’s better than Swanson. I feel like Swanson’s days as an elite-level fighter are ticking away, but this is a textbook case of too much, too soon for McGregor’s BFF.

    Swanson, TKO, Rd. 3



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