It will be pleasant to watch a UFC event that is not old or without having to fork over $39.95 for a pay per view. The fights they are putting on this week should help determine the next line of viable contenders for belts (long way to go though).
Here are my predictions (which hold about as much weight as the pollsters for the New Hampshire primary):
Mike Swick is going to make his debut at 170, but I think that he is going to find out that he will have a tough time in any division and that Josh Burkman will give him all that he can handle. Although Swick has the better hands and ground skills, I think Burkman will be stronger and will out muscle him for a ground and pound victory.
Predicted Winner: Burkman
The next matchup is between Drew McFedries and Patrick Cote. Although many people called Cote’s win over Kendall Grove a fluke when it happened, I think everyone forgot about his nullification of Tito Ortiz. Although he didn’t win that bout, I think he will have the stand-up edge as well as UFC experience edge over McFedries.
Predicted Winner: Cote
Although Alvin Robinson was able to beat Jorge Gurgel, I think he was in too deep with Kenny Florian. I believe his matchup with Nick Diaz is meant to be a build-up fight for Diaz. The reach advantage Diaz holds over Robinson will be too much and I think he will outclass the BJJ brown belt, Robinson, on the ground.
Predicted Winner: Diaz
Concerning the matchup of Thiago Tavares and Michihiro Omigawa, I believe it will be an easy victory for Tavares. I believe that Omigawa is the classic case of a strong primary sport star (Judo) being thrown too early in to the mix of MMA. His 4-5-0 record indicates that he probably is not much of a striker and relies on his Judo skills for wins.
Predicted Winner: Tavares
One more note: We may finally get to see Corey Hill in action, but it will depend upon the pace of the other fights. Hill could be devastating if he found the right camp. Further, Joe Silva gave him an opponent who is 5ft 6in, so he will most likely be able to pick apart his opponent and sprawl and brawl to a victory. I would venture that they want to keep Hill around so he won’t be fighting a monster.
Predicted Winner: Hill