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January-16-2009,
UFC 93: Preview and Predictions...By Jay Graziani

UFC 93: Franklin vs. Henderson
Saturday, January 17th, 3 PM ET live (10 PM replay) on PPV
O2, Dublin
Weigh-in: Friday, January 16th, 11 AM ET, live on UFC.com
Current odds from Bookmaker.com

Dennis Siver (12-6-0) vs. Nate Mohr (8-5-0)
Current Odds: Siver -155; Mohr +125

While Siver has a decent number of fights under his belt, he's a paltry 1-3 against the higher level competition of the UFC. Mohr also hasn't had much success in the UFC, going 1-2 and losing his only PPV appearance, a first round defeat by Manny Gamburyan. Both come from kickboxing backgrounds, so expect this to stay standing, where Mohr's reach and speed may give him the a slight edge. Prediction: Mohr, 2nd round TKO.

Tom "The Tank" Egan (3-0-0) vs. John "The Hitman" Hathaway (9-0-0)
Current Odds: Egan +200; Hathaway -250

Egan's a local recruit with a sparse, but unblemished, record in small promotions. Hathaway at least has 2-1/2 years of experience behind him, yet he hasn't really been challenged. At just 41 years of age combined and with no real credentials to either's credit, this fight is impossible to call. Prediction: Egan, 1st round TKO.

Tomasz "Gorilla" Drwal (14-2-0) vs. Ivan "Il Terribile" Serati (10-2-0)
Current Odds: Drwal -275; Serati +215

Drwal fell to Thiago Silva in his UFC debut as a 5-to-2 underdog. He kept the fight standing, but was unable to go punch for punch with Silva. While he is highly acclaimed in Europe, he has yet to find similar attention in the U.S. Serati has fought his way up through the Italian MMA scene to make his UFC debut here. He is a powerful former boxer with 7 of his 10 wins coming by stoppage less than 1 minute into the first round. Drwal is the all-around better fighter, but Serati has KO power and Drwal had trouble staying away from Silva's strikes. Prediction: Serati, 1st round TKO.

Eric "Red" Schafer (10-3-2) vs. Antonio "Samuray" Mendes (15-3-0)
Current Odds: Schafer -145; Mendes +115

Schafer has a 2-2 record in the UFC, with losses to Stephan Bonnar and Michael Bisping, though he rebounded with a first round submission win over Houston Alexander in September. Schafer has a strong submission and grappling background and will look to take this to the ground early against a strong striker. Mendes was submitted via the strikes of Thiago Silva in his UFC debut. His kicks and knees should be the key to this fight, if he can keep it standing. Prediction: Mendes, 3rd round TKO.

Martin "The Hitman" Kampmann (13-2-0) vs. Alexandre "Baixinho" Barros (13-5-0)
Current Odds: Kampmann -455; Barros +375

Kampmann had been on a roll, winning his first 4 UFC bouts, including 3 in the 1st round. That came to an end when he took a beating from Nate Marquardt en route to a 1st round TKO loss in September. Kampmann has now moved down to welterweight, where his size may be an advantage. He will have a height and reach advantage over Barros, a Brazilian product who is making his UFC debut. Barros has 3 more fights than Kampmann, a career that spans all the way back to 1999. He hasn't fought many opponents of note, with the exception of a loss to Matt Hughes in 2000. Kampmann's experience and size advantage should propel him back into contender status. Prediction: Kampmann, 2nd round TKO.

Marcus "The Irish Hand Grenade" Davis (15-4-0) vs. Chris "Lights Out" Lytle (26-16-5)
Current Odds: Davis -145; Lytle +115

David underperformed in has last fight, though he's won 7 of his last 8 in the Octagon. The only mar is a decision loss to a very tough opponent, Mike Swick. Lytle, while experienced, really struggled in his last fight where he stole a controversial decision win despite being a 7-to-2 favorite. He lost two of three prior to that, so despite the widely-trumpeted fact that he has never been knocked out or submitted, he still has lost his fair share of fights and taken his share of beatings. Unless Lytle's standup has improved greatly from his last flop, expect Davis's superior boxing to pick him apart. Prediction: Davis, 3rd round TKO.

Jeremy Horn (80-18-5) vs. Rousimar "Toquinho" Palhares (8-2-0)
Current Odds: Horn +310; Palhares -380

Once a feared jiu-jitsu expert, Horn is on his way out. He's lost 4 of his last 6 overall, including 2 straight UFC losses, both surprisingly by submission. Palhares is coming off a respectable decision loss to Dan Henderson that ended a streak of 6 straight first round victories. Palhares may be able to one-up Horn in his specialty, the jiu-jitsu department, though Horn's much longer limbs give him a bit of a physical edge. Palhares may be green, but Horn's just playing the gatekeeper role here. Nonetheless, this will likely be a chess game between two submission experts, so I'll take the bonus bucks with the underdog. Prediction: Horn by decision.

Alan "The Talent" Belcher (13-5-0) vs. Denis Kang (31-10-1)
Current Odds: Belcher +215; Kang -275

Belcher edged out a decision win against Ed Herman to bounce back from a surprisingly loss to Jason Day, a fight in which he was a 4-to-1 favorite. He's an unimpressive 4-3 in the UFC. Kang, a PRIDE veteran, is making his UFC debut and was once ranked among the top fighters in the world. He's fallen off a bit lately, losing 3 of his last 6, but his experience will prove too much for Belcher who has yet to prove himself. Prediction: Kang, 1st round TKO.

Mark "The Hammer" Coleman (15-8-0) vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (16-3-0)
Current Odds: Coleman +335; Rua -415

While Mark Coleman is a true legend of the sport, the fact that he is still fighting is either laughable or pathetic, depending on your perspective. He has lost his last 3 in the Octagon; granted, the most recent of those losses was over a decade ago. Despite beginning his career in 1996, he has fought less than two dozen times, most recently in 2006, and ended his career on a 3-4 run. Not ironically, his last win was against Rua, though it was due to a freak elbow dislocation in the first round. Rust could be a concern, as Rua's knee injury has kept him from fighting since his September 2007 loss to Forrest Griffin, a shocking upset. Coleman shouldn't even be in the ring and Rua is more talented and out for revenge, making for what should be a very lopsided fight. Prediction: Rua, 1st round TKO.

Rich "Ace" Franklin (24-3-0) vs. Dan "Hendo" Henderson (23-7-0)
Current Odds: Franklin -105; Henderson -125

This is a battle of two all-star veterans, both of whom are on the decline and shouldn't be headlining a pay-per-view at the moment. Nonetheless this should be an interesting match-up in styles and strategies. Franklin has won 12 of his last 14 dating back to 2004, and both of those losses were to Anderson Silva. The only other fighter to defeat him in his storied career is Lyoto Machida. Henderson is only 1-2 since coming to the UFC, but those losses were to elite opponents in Quinton Jackson and Anderson Silva. This is only Franklin's second fight at Light Heavyweight, though he wasn't outmuscled by the ox known as Matt Hamill in his last fight. Henderson has held titles at both middleweight and light heavyweights, so he's comfortable jumping around weight classes as well. This is a close fight, but Franklin should be able to pepper Henderson with strikes from stand-up. Franklin's shown good ability to handle different fighting styles and his recent win over Matt Hamill should provide a model for this fight. Prediction: Franklin by decision.

Picks: 2008: 26-27, -8.95 units; Best Bets: 8-9 -3.90 units; (Lifetime: 51-58 -11.05; Best Bets 14-15 -4.50)
Antonio Mendes +115
Marcus Davis -145 (Best Bet)
Mauricio Rua -400
Rich Franklin -105

Opinions: 2008: 37-33 +15.70 units; (Lifetime: 68-55 +17.95)
Nate Mohr +125
Tom Egan +200
Ivan Serati +215
Martin Kampmann -455
Jeremy Horn +310
Denis Kang -275

01-16-09
Jay Graziani
MajorWager.com
graziani@majorwager.com

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