UFC 102 is almost upon us and the time has once again come to make some picks.
As always, MMA FanHouse has made some solid predictions, some of which are difficult to disagree with. For example, Michael David Smith has his money on Jake Rosholt picking up his first UFC win over Chris Leben. A John Smith product out of Oklahoma State’s wrestling program, Rosholt is tough as nails and has the marbles to take it to a veteran like Leben, but just for the sake of argument let me point out a few things that might influence this fight going in another direction.
As I said, the three-time NCAA champion is among the best wrestlers around and John Smith don’t raise no wimps, but it takes more than wrestling and grit to make it in this business. It’s important to note that Rosholt is still relatively new to the MMA game. He’s only got six pro fights under his belt and one in the UFC (a loss to Dan Miller). He’s never really faced a striker like Leben, who doesn’t mind getting hit and has the power to end someone’s night with one punch. That type of match-up doesn’t bode well for wrestlers, who have traditionally taken a little longer to adjust to the striking aspect, so it will be interesting to see how Rosholt reacts to Leben’s relentless attack.
As long as he doesn’t freak out, Leben should leave plenty of openings for some pretty fierce double-leg takedowns and, on the mat, it’s Jake’s world. I’m still going to pick Rosholt as the winner here, but a momentary lapse of concentration can put him at a disastrous 0-2 in the UFC.
It’s going to be difficult for me to argue the rest of his picks. The only one that’s really up in the air is the headlining bout between Randy Couture and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and I’ve already came out with my pick on the fight. So head over and check out what FanHouse thinks about the rest of the main card at UFC 102, hitting pay-per-view at 10pm this Saturday.