UFC Fight Night 47: Bleacher Report Staff Main Card Picks

Craig AmosFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2014

UFC Fight Night 47: Bleacher Report Staff Main Card Picks

0 of 7

    USA TODAY Sports

    This Saturday, August 16, UFC Fight Night 47 will signify the beginning of a whirlwind seven-week period for the UFC, with a grand total of 11 events planned for that stretch. So take a deep breath, focus and brace yourself for a marathon.

    Saturday's 10-fight event begins at 8 p.m. ET, with a quartet of prelims on Fox Sports 2. From there, the action will move to Fox Sports 1 for the six-fight main card.

    Highlighting the show is a light heavyweight tilt between The Ultimate Fighter winner Ryan Bader and rising star Ovince Saint Preux. The co-main event of the evening will feature lightweight standouts Gray Maynard and Ross Pearson.

    As per usual, the Bleacher Report crew has you covered with our main card predictions. It's Scott "Hakoda" Harris, Riley "King Bumi" Kontek, James "Momo" MacDonald, Sean "Sokka" Smith and yours truly, Craig "The Avatar" Amos, back with our UFC Fight Night 47 picks.

2014 Staff Records

1 of 7

    USA TODAY Sports

    Poor Mr. Kontek. He has so much to lose, sitting there all alone in the top spot. He knows, deep down, that his lead is slipping away and he will soon find himself staring up at a new, more powerful leader. He is desperate, on edge and shaking with fear. The inevitable slip will bring pain, yes, but it will also bring relief. 

    This is the event where I make my move. I can feel it—it is my destiny. It will be the turning point in 2014 for our staff predictions, and we will look back to August and remember the day I took and held the lead. Forever.

    And Scott, Sean and James are here too.

    This is how our stats look thus far in 2014:

    • Riley Kontek: 90-44-1
    • Craig Amos: 89-45-1
    • James MacDonald: 84-50-1
    • Scott Harris: 82-52-1
    • Sean Smith: 80-54-1

    Now it's time to move on to the picks for Saturday's show.

Thiago Tavares vs. Robbie Peralta

2 of 7

    Eric Jamison/Associated Press

    Sean Smith

    This matchup comes down to Thiago Tavares’ weight cut more than anything. Robbie Peralta has the power to hurt Tavares, but he’s going to have a tough time keeping this fight standing. As long as Tavares isn’t drained by his first trip to 145 pounds, he should be able to take care of business on the ground.

    Tavares, Submission, Rd. 1

     

    Scott Harris

    Tavares is too wily and experienced of a veteran to let something like a weight cut slow him down. Maybe it affects him, but my guess is he wouldn't put himself in a compromising position. He'll save that proclivity for Peralta, who won't be able to swim in Tavares' deep grappling waters.

    Tavares, Submission, Rd. 2

     

    James MacDonald

    This is very much a striker vs. grappler contest in terms of the skill differential. I’m curious to see how Tavares looks at 145 pounds and whether the weight cut takes anything out of him. If his ability to perform doesn’t suffer, he should be able to impose his superior grappling on Peralta and lock in a submission.

    Tavares, Submission, Rd. 3

     

    Riley Kontek

    Quite frankly, I am surprised Thiago Tavares hasn't pulled out of this fight yet. His debut at featherweight has been delayed more than flights in snowstorms. If he does make it to the cage, all he has to worry about are Peralta's heavy hands. If he uses his aggression to time Peralta's punches and get in on takedowns, he will put him on his back all night and make it a rough one for him.

    Tavares, Unanimous decision

     

    Craig Amos

    If not for a hiccup against Akira Corassani in spring of 2013, Peralta would currently have a 5-0 UFC record, but as it stands in reality, he's 4-1. I think he'll get win No. 5 on Saturday though, landing a fight-ending shot somewhere near the end of the second round.

    Peralta, TKO, Rd. 2

Shawn Jordan vs. Jack May

3 of 7

    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Sean Smith

    It’s hard to imagine this bout reaching the scorecards. Jack May was knocked out in the opening round of his UFC debut in April, while Shawn Jordan has not seen a third round in his past four outings and only reached the second round once in those appearances. Given his consecutive knockout losses, Jordan is probably going to want to take this fight to the ground, so May will have one chance to land a knockout blow. If he fails, Jordan is going to muscle the kickboxer to the ground and pummel him with ground-and-pound.

    Jordan, TKO, Rd. 1

     

    Scott Harris

    Sound the upset alarms. Is May a world-beater? No, he is not. But neither is Jordan. May's pro-level kickboxing will bring all sorts of problems to Jordan's doorstep, and Jordan won't have the wrestling or defense to answer.

    May, TKO, Rd. 1

     

    James MacDonald

    This is a pick ‘em fight for the simple reason that if either man lands a clean shot, the bout could be over in the blink of an eye. Jordan will probably look to fight with a little more caution this time around. I expect him to get May to the ground and eventually earn a TKO with his superior grappling.

    Jordan, TKO, Rd. 2

     

    Riley Kontek

    A lot of people are high on Shawn Jordan. He's a big, athletic cat known for his gridiron-to-cage transition. His chin has been touched before. That's where Jack May steps in. He is a kickboxer who works his ground with catch wrestler Josh Barnett. He will use his big size and length advantage to keep Jordan at bay before striking with the death blow. Upset city, my friends.

    May, TKO, Rd. 1

     

    Craig Amos

    Since people started thinking he may actually have a bright future, Jordan has done nothing but disappoint. Saturday's matchup represents his last chance, but I do believe he'll make good on it and stay afloat for a bit longer.

    Jordan, KO, Rd. 1

Seth Baczynski vs. Alan Jouban

4 of 7

    Reinhold Matay/Associated Press

    Sean Smith

    Alan Jouban is going to be tested right away when he makes his UFC debut against Seth Baczynski this weekend. Although The Polish Pistola has been struggling recently, with losses in three of his past four appearances, he is a proven UFC veteran. Baczynski has five wins inside the Octagon, including a victory over Top Five welterweight Matt Brown. Jouban could go on to have a solid UFC career, but his inexperience at the highest level will hurt him in this matchup.

    Baczynski, Unanimous decision

     

    Scott Harris

    Here's your performance-bonus dark horse, right here. Jouban's game is predicated entirely on muay thai; Baczynski likes to dirty it up and brawl. I think there will be some fun exchanges here, both in space and in the clinch. Baczynski's slightly better (if not exactly mundial-level) ground game will be the fulcrum that tips the action for the more experienced welterweight.

    Baczynski, Unanimous decision

     

    James MacDonald

    In terms of importance, this fight shouldn’t be on the main card. However, the potential for violence makes it a solid addition. This fight should be largely contested on the feet. Jouban is the more technical striker, but Baczynski can hang with him if he makes the fight ugly. Still, I’m leaning toward technique in this one.

    Jouban, Unanimous decision

     

    Riley Kontek

    Alan Jouban is a good-looking prospect. However, he gets a stiff test in his UFC debut in Seth Baczynski, who is good at making opponents look bad. Look at what he did to Neil Magny and Matt Brown. He will clinch, take down and frustrate a game Jouban. Rinse, lather, repeat.

    Baczynski, Unanimous decision

     

    Craig Amos

    Baczynski had me real excited back in 2011-12, but he's ever since he's run aground and stalled out in a big way. It seems like he's ripe for the picking for UFC newcomer Jouban, but I have faith in his resilience and believe he'll get a much needed W.

    Baczynski, Unanimous decision

Tim Boetsch vs. Brad Tavares

5 of 7

    USA TODAY Sports

    Sean Smith

    Tim Boetsch has stalled since reaching contender status with 2012 victories over Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard. Currently unranked in the middleweight division, Brad Tavares is an adversary that Boetsch will need to beat to keep his title hopes going. If forced to stand with Tavares, Boetsch will be in trouble, but the Hawaiian’s defensive wrestling is lacking, so The Barbarian should get back on track with this matchup.

    Boetsch, Unanimous decision

     

    Scott Harris

    Tavares needs to stay clear of Boetsch's big paws if he's going to win this. He doesn't want to find himself pinned to the fence eating hockey uppercuts or wrapped in the clutches of the big man's heavy side control. Tavares is a smart fighter and will understand this key principle. He'll outsmart and outwork Boetsch for the W.

    Tavares, Unanimous decision

     

    James MacDonald

    I’ll keep saying it: Tavares is much better than he is given credit for. Boetsch needs to drag this fight to the floor if he wants to win, but Tavares’ defensive wrestling is better than many think. Look for the Hawaiian to grind out a decision on the feet.

    Tavares, Unanimous decision

     

    Riley Kontek

    Tim Boetsch is fighting in his home state of Maine in front of a crowd of his peers. That's a lot of pressure. Additionally, he has a hungry Hawaiian in his way who is looking to avenge his first UFC loss—that's a big cross to carry. Tavares is more well-rounded and will outpoint Boetsch on the feet.

    Tavares, Unanimous decision

     

    Craig Amos

    Boetsch is a grinder, but Tavares is the more talented fighter. Given that Tavares is well-equipped to fend off wrestling attacksYoel Romero's not withstandinghe should be able to keep his distance and rack up points, scoring a lopsided decision victory.

    Tavares, Unanimous decision

Gray Maynard vs. Ross Pearson

6 of 7

    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Sean Smith

    Following knockout losses to TJ Grant and Nate Diaz, Gray Maynard has a good chance to get back on track against Ross Pearson. In order to do so, The Bully will probably need to recommit to his wrestling, which he has abandoned somewhat in an apparent effort to become a more entertaining fighter.

    Pearson’s wrestling is underrated, but it’s not strong enough to shut down the former lightweight title challenger’s takedowns. If Maynard comes in with the right game plan and keeps his tight striking defense when he is standing, he should return to the win column on Saturday.

    Maynard, Unanimous decision

     

    Scott Harris

    Has anyone lost his UFC fastball faster than Gray Maynard? His wrestling could get this done, but he long ago lost the benefit of the doubt. Pearson will stay on the perimeter, keep his hands tight and eventually land something stiff on that not-to-stiff chin of Maynard.

    Pearson, TKO, Rd. 2

     

    James MacDonald

    Maynard’s best days would appear to be behind him. His one real shot in this fight is getting Pearson to the ground. The Brit has decent takedown defence, but it’s hard to say whether it will hold up against a wrestler of Maynard’s calibre. One concern I have for The Bully is his waning punch resistance. I can see Pearson connecting at some point and earning the stoppage.

    Pearson, TKO, Rd. 3

     

    Riley Kontek

    Gray Maynard's chin has seen better days. However, he still possesses some pretty darn good wrestling. Ross Pearson will light him up on the feet if Gray is content to stand. However, he is smart and knows he needs a win. He uses strategy to outpoint the Brit here.

    Maynard, Unanimous decision

     

    Craig Amos

    The career trajectory of Gray Maynard does not instill much confidence. Not long ago he was expected to be a champion; now it looks as though one more knockout and it's all she wrote. I have a bad feeling that the end is nigh.

    Pearson, TKO, Rd. 2

Ryan Bader vs. Ovince Saint Preux

7 of 7

    USA TODAY Sports

    Sean Smith

    While Saint Preux has been on a roll, Bader is a big step up in competition from OSP's first four UFC opponents. The Strikeforce veteran has not faced a wrestler like Bader, so he’ll likely have a tough time dictating where this fight goes. There’s a good chance Saint Preux won’t get a chance to test Bader’s chin, as he’ll be taken down early and often by the All-American wrestler.

    Bader, Unanimous decision

     

    Scott Harris

    Anyone who read my complete guide to this card knows that I agree with Bader being the safe play, and also, that I'm not one to play it safe, baby. Bader will, rightly, try to take OSP down. But I also believe Bader knows he's in a main event and knows what fans, UFC brass and bonus check writers want to see. So there will be some stand-up windows. They will be short, but I believe OSP will capitalize with something wild and emphatic.

    Saint Preux, TKO, Rd. 1

     

    James MacDonald

    This a very tough fight to call. Saint Preux has looked terrific recently, but he hasn’t faced anyone close to Bader’s calibre yet. If OSP can keep the fight standing, I would expect him to outclass the more mechanical Bader. And that’s exactly how I anticipate this fight playing out.

    Saint Preux, TKO, Rd. 2

     

    Riley Kontek

    Ovince Saint Preux is superathletic and on a tear since entering the UFC. However, the former Tennessee Volunteer is running into a better wrestler and similarly athletic Ryan Bader. Bader can mash on the feet and will take OSP down on command. He will get the finish late.

    Bader, TKO, Rd. 3

     

    Craig Amos

    Bader has been making better use of his wrestling lately, but this matchup spells trouble for him. Saint Preux has been excellent since joining the UFC, and if he gets the chance to open up on the feet, Bader may not last long.

    Saint Preux, TKO, Rd. 3