UFC 173 Preview – Barao Vs Dillashaw

UFC 173 previewAll year, we’re keeping track of our picks for most of the UFC main card fights. In addition to the FGB crew, included in our picks will be John LaRocca, president of Premier Wrestling, Heidi Fang from MMA Fight Corner, and Alex Goff from Online World Of Wrestling.

Here’s how we’re doing so far:

Duan: 26-6
GG: 25-7
John: 23-9
Jim: 23-9
Alex: 22-10
Heidi: 21-11
Alan: 18-14

Check out our UFC 173 preview:

Jamie Varner vs. James Krause

Duan: Jamie Varner
Alan: Jamie Varner
John: Jamie Varner
Heidi: James Krause
Alex: Jamie Varner
GG: Jamie Varner

Takeya Mizugaki vs. Francisco Rivera

Duan: Takeya Mizugaki
Alan: Takeya Mizugaki
John: Takeya Mizugaki
Heidi: Francisco Rivera
Alex: Takeya Mizugaki
GG: Takeya Mizugaki

Robbie Lawler vs. Jake Ellenberger

Heidi: Robbie Lawler via decision
In order to maintain his place as the number one contending welterweight in the division, Robbie Lawler must again show he can defend the takedown. For Ellenberger, taking the fight to the ground will likely be what can edge him out a victory. But he has also chosen to work with Edmond Tarverdyan, Ronda Rousey’s head coach, ahead of this fight and is looking to flaunt his own striking power. Lawler’s knockout power is in a class of its own and if he’s dusted himself off from a hard fought loss to Johny Hendricks for the title in two months time, I see him taking the win over Ellenberger.

GG: Robbie Lawler via decision
When I saw that Lawler took this fight so soon after a long war with Johny Hendricks, part of me wondered if it was too soon to take another fight against a grinder like Ellenberger. But Ellenberger himself is coming off a hamstring injury, so that evened it out on my end. We all know Lawler’s great story and how he’s turned himself from a slugger into a really good fighter. But which Jake Ellenberger shows up? Does the Ellenberger who didn’t press the issue at all against Rory MacDonald show up? Or does the one who was undefeated for two years (from 2010-2012) show up. I think this is going to be another war. I think Lawler outlasts him and gets another shot at Hendricks.

Duan: Robbie Lawler
Alan: Robbie Lawler
John: Robbie Lawler
Alex: Robbie Lawler
GG: Robbie Lawler

Dan Henderson vs. Daniel Cormier

Alan: Daniel Cormier by decision
Dan Henderson of 2014 really should not be fighting Daniel Cormier. It’s just not a fight which feels competitive at all. But it will be, because Hollywoood Dan knows no other way. These are two guys who come from great grappling backgrounds but spend most of their cage time on the feet striking. Cormier is very skilled, and has out-pointed the likes of Josh Barnett. Dan hits like a truck. Striking may be a dangerous tactic for DC here (even though he’s shown a great chin in his career so far) so perhaps it’s time he puts that wrestling pedigree to it’s fullest use and really attack Dan’s grappling game.

I see Dan giving a valiant showing for himself and gutting it out until the end, but ultimately coming up short.

John: Daniel Cormier via 3rd round TKO
Dan Henderson versus Daniel Cormier is a battle of mirror images, but one mirror is old and weathered and other is fresh and new. I see Cormier taking this one as he is better in all areas then Hendo. Hendo will always have a puncher’s chance, but I see Cormier being just too much for him.

GG: Daniel Cormier via decision
This fight shouldn’t intrigue me as much as it does, and I finally figured out why it does. It’s not Daniel Cormier who is well on his way to being one of the best fighters in MMA. It’s Dan Henderson. Henderson comes from a different era and he’s outlasted them all. How many more Dan Henderson fights are we going to be able to see? What makes the fight interesting is based on how Cormier comes out. If he fights a safer tactical fight like he did with Roy Nelson, I think he will win a very easy decision. But if he smells blood in the water, he may very well knock him out, which has only happened one time before thanks to a Vitor Belfort head kick.

Duan: Daniel Cormier
Heidi: Daniel Cormier
Alex: Daniel Cormier

Renan Barão vs. TJ Dillashaw

Duan: Renan Barão via 2nd round TKO
With long time leaders GSP and Anderson Silva out of the picture at least for the moment, Barão is right up there in the running with Jose Aldo and Jon Jones for UFC’s most dominant champion. This is a guy who hasn’t been beaten since his pro debut in 2005 and in that run he has put together seven straight victories inside the octagon. Those are some real wins too. We are talking about championship level fighters he’s beaten (and in most cases stopped) without ever even moving beyond second gear. This is someone capable of carrying the championship for a long time as long as he stays focused. Dillashaw is decent opposition: the trouble is Barão has already made better fighters look ordinary.

Alex: Renan Barão via 2nd round TKO
Team Alpha Male is the most dominant team of bride maids I’ve seen in MMA. The only thing I could compare it to would be the dynamic between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox prior to the 2004 World Series title. Team Alpha Male has a collection of highly-rated fighters but they’ve had no luck against the respective champions. Each of the champions at 125, 135, and 145 are undefeated in their weight class in the UFC and that happens to be where the members of Team Alpha Male compete. TJ Dillashaw, whose style I believe will give Barão a lot of problems, will find himself at the end of a losing effort this Saturday. Father time will catch up to Mr. Barão eventually, but due to contract negotiations I don’t think Father time will be in the building this Saturday.

Alan: Renan Barão
John: Renan Barão
Heidi: Renan Barão
GG: Renan Barão

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