UFC on Fox 11: B/R Staff Main Card Predictions

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2014

UFC on Fox 11: B/R Staff Main Card Predictions

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    David Becker

    UFC on Fox 11 is coming at you with wicked speed, building off The Ultimate Fighter Nations finale.

    The main event, which has potential contenders Travis Browne and Fabricio Werdum squaring off, makes a ton of sense. The winner of this fight will challenge Cain Velasquez for the grandest prize in MMA.

    As always, Bleacher Report has assembled its team of predictors to give you some insight on the main card and whom to pick. As always, those men are Scott Harris, Craig Amos, Sean Smith, James MacDonald and me, Riley Kontek.

    Let's not wait any longer. Here are our predictions for this card.

History

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Well, folks, the top is a crowded place right now. After strong 4-1 showings at The Ultimate Fighter Nations finale, Craig Amos and me, Riley Kontek, are tied at the top of the leaderboard with previous leader James MacDonald.

    It is going to be a competitive race to the top, my friends. The way these predictions keep going, this thing can be neck and neck to the finish of 2014.

    Sean Smith still sits at the bottom of the rankings, but things can change quickly. Here are the updated records.

     

    Riley Kontek: 41-15

    James MacDonald: 41-15

    Craig Amos: 41-15

    Scott Harris: 37-19

    Sean Smith: 35-21

Brad Tavares vs. Yoel Romero

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Kontek

    A pair of rapidly rising middleweights will kick things off; both men are on a big winning streak. On the feet, Tavares is likely the more technical striker, although Romero easily has more power. Romero's wrestling will be the X-factor here, even though Tavares will be a tough out for Romero. Look for a balanced attack from the Cuban Olympic medalist to continue his winning ways.

    Romero, Unanimous Decision

     

    Amos

    Romero is the MMA god of power, and he hammers with devastating ferocity even in the third round of his matches. That means Tavares will have to be wary and keep his guard up until the final bell. I trust the American to do that, though, so I suspect that Romero's unblemished UFC record is about to be sullied with a defeat.

    Tavares, Unanimous Decision

     

    Smith

    With his long reach and solid takedown defense, Tavares has rarely been tested on the ground. One would think a former Olympic wrestling silver medalist like Romero would be the one to test him. However, Romero has scored zero takedowns while giving up five inside the Octagon. The Cuban has fallen in love with scoring knockouts, and his abandonment of wrestling will cost him against Tavares.

    Tavares, Unanimous Decision

     

    Harris

    Romero is kind of unique to MMA in that he's a 36-year-old prospect. He has some nice tools with his wrestling and what not, but Tavares is too polished and rounded to let him off the hook as Derek Brunson did. Maybe now Tavares will finally snag that Top 10 opponent.

    Tavares, Unanimous Decision

     

    MacDonald

    This is another good fight. Romero has impressed in recent outings despite largely abandoning his Olympic-calibre wrestling. He may need it against Tavares, though. If Romero turns this into a kickboxing match, as I expect him to, he’s unlikely to come out on top.

    Tavares, Unanimous Decision

Donald Cerrone vs. Edson Barboza

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Kontek

    Get ready for fireworks; this is a fight that fans have been waiting on for a while. Both Barboza and Cerrone are strikers with knockout power and fantastic technique. That being said, Cerrone is definitely more well-rounded. He has wrestling and submissions, whereas Barboza is more dependent on his stand-up. Plus, it seems like Cerrone has rediscovered his passion for fighting. He will force Barboza to tap at some point when the fight hits the mat.

    Cerrone, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    Amos

    We could be in for a flourishing artistic display in this fight, as both men are partial to exchanging on the feet and are armed to the teeth with weapons. Barboza has the power edge and maybe the technique edge as well, though that's closer, but Cerrone carries an ace up his sleeve, which is his grappling. Should the fight find its way to the canvas, "Cowboy" will exercise a significant advantage and may even end the bout from there.

    Cerrone, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    Smith

    Offensively, Barboza is one of the most dangerous strikers in the lightweight division. After being stopped by Jamie Varner and nearly beaten by Danny Castillo, he has some holes to fill defensively. Cerrone has the striking to exploit those holes and the ground game to mix his attacks up as needed against the Brazilian. 

    Cerrone, Unanimous Decision

     

    Harris

    Prediction! This one will contain some striking exchanges. Forewarned is forearmed. I think Barboza has too many weapons; he'll go low with the leg kicks then go up high when "Cowboy" opens up. New guy "in the mix" at the top of the lightweight division.

    Barboza, TKO, Rd. 2

     

    MacDonald

    This may be the most compelling fight on the entire card. It’s hard to imagine how this pairing could fail to impress. I don’t anticipate either man trying to take the fight to the floor. Barboza is more technically sound on the feet and is the superior boxer, but his chin may be a little suspect. Still, I’m taking the Brazilian on points in a competitive fight.

    Barboza, Unanimous Decision

Miesha Tate vs. Liz Carmouche

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Kontek

    Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche are wrestlers. That might offset and make this into a striking battle. I think Carmouche is a tad overrated and was badly exposed on the feet in her latest outing against Alexis Davis. Tate showed against Ronda Rousey that she can throw a little bit while standing. Tate outwrestled Marloes Coenen in the past, so she is likely better in that department too (Carmouche did too but got tapped out).

    Tate, Unanimous Decision

     

    Amos

    Tate has had a rough go of it lately, dropping three of four while failing to demonstrate that she is even close to Ronda Rousey's level. Yet like Carmouche, she remains a fixture in the division's second tier, so this one should be competitive. I do think that Tate is a bit more versatile, and her latest failure against Rousey could be an eye-opener as to how much improvement she really needs to make. I think she'll come out and grab a much-needed victory this Saturday night.

    Tate, Unanimous Decision

     

    Smith

    Tate has more to lose than Carmouche in this matchup. I don't think she'd be cut with a third loss in a row, but it would be damaging to her already slim title hopes. Besides the extra motivation, she is the slightly stronger wrestler and is better offensively and defensively with submissions. 

    Tate, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    Harris

    I like Carmouche's pure strength, particularly as it relates to takedowns. She also has good punching power. But if Tate can resist the urge to brawl, she should be fine. And I think she will. To use one of the cliches I love so very much, Tate will just want this one more.

    Tate, Unanimous Decision

     

    MacDonald

    This is a big fight for both women, given that they are each coming off a loss. Indeed, Tate has been finished in her last two bouts. Carmouche, on the other hand, was comprehensively outpointed by Alexis Davis last time out. I expect a competitive fight, but Carmouche will edge out Tate for the win.

    Carmouche, Unanimous Decision

Travis Browne vs. Fabricio Werdum

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Kontek

    Who gets to fight Cain Velasquez next? Let's find out! It's rare that I make my upset pick of the night in the main event, but I am definitely going to do it here. Browne is dangerous when guys go for the takedown, as seen against Josh Barnett and Gabriel Gonzaga. He is going to be superior to Werdum on the feet, and his size will help with that. This is five rounds, so these guys will need to pace themselves.

    Browne, TKO, Rd. 2

     

    Amos 

    Two men of varying styles enter the Octagon for a meaningful heavyweight affair. Not long ago, this would have been strictly a striker vs. grappler pairing, but Werdum has been so good on the feet lately that calling it that seems unfair. Still, I don't rate him an equal to Browne in the stand-up department, so his best chance remains taking it to the floor, and whether or not he's able to do that will dictate the outcome of the match.

    Browne, KO, Rd. 2

     

    Smith

    Werdum’s striking has been improving, but his success in this matchup will depend on getting Browne to the ground. Browne has never been taken down inside the Octagon, though, and he’s arguably faced better wrestlers than Werdum. "Vai Cavalo" isn’t easy to finish, having only been stopped by Junior dos Santos, but Browne will make a statement on Saturday.

    Browne, TKO, Rd. 1

     

    Harris

    This one is making a vacillator out of me. Werdum has the jiu-jitsu and the muay thai, but Browne has those thunderous fists. Werdum doesn't have great takedowns, but Browne doesn't have great takedown defense. I'll stick with Werdum—first, because that's the easier thing to do, and second, because I think his stand-up is closer to Browne's stand-up than Browne's ground game is to Werdum's ground game. 

    Werdum, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    MacDonald

    Most seem to think that this is Browne’s striking versus Werdum’s grappling, but the latter has improved almost beyond recognition on the feet. Whether or not the Brazilian gets the fight to the ground, I expect him to be competitive. That being said, I do see Browne earning a TKO late.

    Browne, TKO, Rd. 4