Pinche’s Picks: UFC 173

UFC 173 in going down this Saturday in Las Vegas. Headlining the event will be Renan Barao defending his Bantamweight championship against TJ Dillashaw, with a co-main event featuring the Olympian Daniel Cormier taking on the living legend Dan Henderson. Now, if you paid any attention to the last edition of Pinche’s Picks you noticed I did ehh last time, but this time is completely different. You can bet your life savings on these picks. So here are my picks for the night. (MikeTheTruth.com is not responsible for the lost income, failed marriage, or gambling habits produced from the following picks.)

170lbs. David Michaud (7-0) vs Li Jingliang (8-2): This fight is the first in the UFC for both men, but it looks like it could be a fun fight to watch. Both fighters have impressive records and both also like to finish fights. For this fight I am going with the American, Michaud. Jingliang has been fighting in China, and I see Michaud giving him a warm welcome to the states.

145lbs. Sam Sicilia (12-4) vs Aaron Phillips (8-0): This is Phillips’ UFC debut, but he seems to have some powerful hands. His first three professional fights ended with a first round KO, but Siclia will be a step up in competition. Sicilia, a TUF season 15 vet, is currently 2-3 in the UFC, and is coming off of a submission loss to Cole Miller. Sicilia is definitely in a must win situation if he wishes to stay with the promotion. Unfortunately, I don’t see him being able to do it. I have to go with Phillips by way of third round TKO.

155lbs. Anthony Njokuani (16-7) vs Vinc Pichel (8-1): Njokuani is an excellent striker coming off of a devastating KO win over Roger Bowling. Only thing is, that fight was in April of 2013. He was injured preparing for a fight with Al Iaquinta in September of last year, so he may be dealing with a little ring rust. Pichel has shown he can strike as well. He is a TUF season 16 vet, and has gone 1-1 so far in The UFC. Prior to that, he was 7-0, all fights ending by KO/TKO in the first or second round. This is a tough fight to call, but I will go with Njokuani because of his experience. This will be a very exciting fight ending with a decision win for Njokuani.

155lbs. Al Iaquinta (8-2-1) vs Mitch Clarke (10-2): While Iaquinta is on a three fight win streak, Clarke is only 1-2 in the UFC, coming off of his first win. I feel like Saturday will not be Clarke’s night. I am going with Iaquinta via unanimous decision.

135lbs. Chris Holdsworth (5-0) vs Chico Camus (14-4): Chris Holdsworth is 1-0 in the UFC and hasn’t fought since November of 2013. Camus is coming off two wins in a row and hasn’t lost a fight since 2011. I don’t think Holdsworth’s undefeated record will stand after this fight. I have Camus winning this fight via split decision.

155lbs. Tony Ferguson (14-3) vs Katsunori Kikuno (22-5-2): Kikuo is out of China and this is his second UFC fight. He is on a six fight win streak and has 12 TKO finishes under his belt. However, I don’t see Ferguson losing to this guy. Ferguson has only two losses since 2009, and I don’t see this being his third. I think “El Cucuy” takes this one with a devastating first round KO.

155lbs. Michael Chiesa (10-1) vs Francisco Trinaldo (14-3): This is Trinaldo’s sixth fight in the UFC, but his first outside of Brazil. Chiesa is coming off of a second round submission victory over Colton Smith, which brings his total submission victories to eight. I have Chiesa using his long arms and legs to lock in a submission in the second round.

155lbs. Jaime Varner (21-9-1) vs James Krause (20-5): Not too long ago Jaime Varner was easily considered one of the best fighters in the world. In recent years, that has changed. Varner has seen most of his loses come within the past three years; losing his last two fights to Gleison Tibau and Abel Trujillo. Krause is coming off of a loss as well to Bobby Green, but prior to that was on an eight fight win streak. Thirteen out of his twenty victories have been submission, which is how I see Krause winning this fight in the second round.

135lbs. #6 Takeya Mizugaki (19-7-2) vs #10 Francisco Rivera (10-2): Mizugaki has been steadily climbing the bantamweight ranks with his four fight win streak. He has beat tough fighters like Erik Perez, Nam Phan, and Mr. Tate (Bryan Caraway). He is used to going the distance, winning most of his fights by decision. Rivera is the opposite, he has seven KO/TKO finishes in his career, knocking out George Roop in his last outing. The longer the fight goes, the more likely Mizugaki is to win, but that’s only if he can handle Rivera’s striking. This is another one that is close to call, but I will go with Rivera by first round knockout.

170lbs. #1 Robbie Lawler (22-10) vs #5 Jake Ellenberger: Lawler has been on a tear since making his way back to the UFC, losing a very close title fight to Hendricks in his last fight. Lawler seems to be fighting with more focus and dedication recently, making him more dangerous than ever. Ellenberger is no easy fight though. Although he lost his last fight to Rory MacDonald, he has built an 8-3 record in the UFC and a win over the number one contender would be huge for him. It will be easier said than done though. I have Lawler winning by third round TKO. Lawler’s brutal KO power will be too much for Ellenberger.

205lbs. #4 Daniel Cormier (14-0) vs #6 Dan Henderson (30-11): In my opinion, Daniel Cormier is one of the hardest working fighters in the UFC. I think his Olympic wrestling background has made him just as tough mentally as it has physically, and for this fight he will need every bit of that toughness. Everyone knows that Hendo is dangerous until the final, and is almost impossible to knockout. Does Cormier have what it takes to beat him? I think so, I just don’t think it will happen on Saturday. I think Cormier will put a beating on Hendo, but I see Hendo being able to sneak in a big punch that will drop Cormier and win him the fight. I’m going with Hendo by third round TKO.

135lbs. Champion Renan Barao (32-1) vs #4 TJ Dillashaw (10-2): Barao is a funny looking fellow, but he sure can fight. The last time he lost, I was just starting to buy beer legally and listening to a lot of Kanye West, boy was I a dumb kid. This is Dillashaw’s first title fight, and possibly his last with coach Duane Ludwig in his corner. He kind of got here by default since Barao has already beat most of the division, but still has a chance to win. I don’t think he will though. Barao will be too much for Dillashaw while he dominates him on his feet and stuffs all of his takedown attempts. Barao wins by fourth round submission and keeps the belt.

So who do you guys have winning at UFC 173?

Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkilloTX

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