Phil Baroni vs. Amir Sadollah
(170 lbs/77 kg)
-Terrible ground game
-Very little cardio
+Good Muay Thai
+Slick ground game
-May not have recovered from surgery
-Sub par wrestling
As surprising as I found Sadollah's KO loss to Hendricks, he still has to be considered tremendous favorite over Baroni, who will gas after the first round and who has suffered numerous KO losses to fighters of various quality. Everything Baroni can do, Sadollah can do better, I think.
Sadollah's surgery may haunt him, but I wouldn't expect him to still be suffering.
I'd say Baroni's best chance is just a lucky punch, really.
Sadollah, submission, Round 1.
Sadollah is at 1.45 and Baroni is at 2.80, but I can't justify putting cash on Baroni.
Luiz Cané vs. Antonio Rogério Nogueira
(205 lbs/93 kg)
+Great muay thai and boxing combos
+Very durable and can take punishment
+Black belt Jiu Jitsu
-Unused submission game
-May fade in later rounds
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
+Elite Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt
+High class boxer, having achieved several titles
-No kicks or knees in his arsenal
-Not the best wrestler
Nogueira is a great technical boxer who won gold in the South American Games in 2006 and bronze at the Pan American games of 2007. Cain wouldn't have the smae titles to his name, but he is still a very dangerous boxer/Thai boxer combination.
Both have solid jaws, so I would expect it to go for a while, and they both have cardio that will take them to Round 3, but Nogueira may have a slight advantage there.
Honestly, it's very difficult to call, as their skills stack up very close to each other.
As already said, tough to call, but I'll choose Cané by Split Decision.
Nogueira is at 1.69 and Cané at 2.15. I'd advise money on Cané here.
Josh Koscheck vs. Anthony Johnson
(170 lbs/77 kg)
+Significant KO power
+Strength, size and athleticism
-Striking could be refined
+Great wrestler, former NCAA Division I champion
+Great power behind strikes
+Very good ground and pound
+Great sub defense—brown belt Jiu Jitsu
-"Wrestler striking," powerful but combos are basic
People have been complaining about Koscheck wanting to stand and abandoning his wrestling roots. That's just stupid; Koscheck never abandoned his wrestling roots.
Yoshiyuki Yoshida was more dangerous on the ground than standing, same with Frank Trigg, and you can't blame him for assuming the same about Paulo Thiago, who was reknowned as a submission magician and not a good striker. Let's take a moment to recall his violent ground and pound over Lytle.
I do not see Johnson's strength and athleticism being a match for Koscheck's wrestling credentials. I think if he ends up on his back he'll be in trouble and will at least end up losing the round.
If it does stay standing, I'd give Johnson the edge, but not by as wide a margin as people might think.
Koscheck by TKO, Round 2, reasserting himself in the welterweight title chase.
Both are at 1.87, so I'll choose Koscheck.
Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz
(205 lbs/93 kg)
+Good technical kickboxing
+Good ground game
+Considerable size and reach
-Feather fists, very little power
-Not much wrestling
-Suffering two defeats prior to the fight
+Good ground and pound
-Rarely uses submissions aggressively
-Returning after surgery
Ortiz had a close decision win against Griffin last time around, but it was an extremely close call. Tito used his wrestling and ground and pound to win, losing the striking portion of the fight. I wouldn't expect a repeat of that—Griffin isn't the same brawler he was, and Tito just isn't in his prime.
Griffin is a more well rounded striker and has developed a very good ground game should he be taken down. The one issue is how badly his mental shape is after losing to Evans and Silva.
Tito's back surgery will put in jeopardy the cardio that is so often his advantage. It will also damage his entire game, and make his takedowns
Griffin by TKO Round 2, reminding everyone that he is still a good light heavyweight.
Surprisingly, both enter at 1.87, so I'd take Griffin and Sadollah together.