This UFC 111 picks and predictions preview done by a friend of mine (Garett Powers) who is a MMA junkie and very close with Team Rascal in Japan:
UFC 111, GSP vs Dan Hardy:
On March 27th the UFC's Welterweight title will be on the line. The current Champion, Georges St. Pierre will be defending his title against Dan "The Outlaw" Hardy. Other fights on the card include Frank Mir vs Shane Carwin and a replacement match with John Fitch against Ben Saunders. UFC 111 is not the most stacked card of the year but definitely will be worth every cent you put on it.
The first fight you may want to look at is John Fitch vs Ben Saunders. This is actually a very good match-up for Fitch and if he stays the course he has been while destroying everyone in the UFC except GSP then I'd suggest you look for him to win a 3 round unanimous decision. Ben Saunders hasn't really done much besides beat unproven fighters himself and although his standup has looked good in his recent bouts; John Fitch has a chin like the Terminator and his wrestling will take this fight to the ground fast. Saunders' ground game is still unproven but Fitch's wrestling neutralize anything Sanders can do off his back. Also note that Fitch is a Guerilla Jiu Jitsu Black Belt and if Saunders somehow manages to get Fitch on his back Fitch will either work the sweep or stall for a standup resulting in nothing for Saunders.
Prediction: Fitch, Unanimous Decision
Next on the card is Frank Mir vs Shane Carwin. This fight is for the Interim Heavyweight Title. What makes this match hard to decide is if Carwin is indeed a legitimate challenge to the UFC's Heavyweight division. Sure Carwin is 11-0 but his only name win is Grabiel Gonzaga in a fight where he threw a right and managed to daze Gonzaga after Gonzaga was ready to finish the Division II Collegiate wrestler. Carwin's stand up hasn't proven technical just powerful and against a guy like Frank Mir who has shown vast improvements in his stand up in each of his last 3 fights, I feel as if power won't be enough to put Frank down. Frank Mir is too smart to just throw bombs against Carwin and that's the only time Carwin can land those fists is in the heat of a brawl. The downside is last fight Mir knocked down Cheick Kongo and choked out Kongo within the first two minutes of their last fight. Cheick Kongo is a good striker, however we didn't get to see the full improvement we were expecting.
Another thing to look at is the ground game. Mir is definitely the better fighter off of his back and Carwin's submission and position game is suspect due to the fact we've never had to see him against a guy with the technical and physical abilities of MMA flourished Jiu Jitsu. Gabriel Gonzaga had him against the cage where Carwin managed to just sit up and climb up the fence to his feet. Even though Gonzaga is a more accomplished Jiu Jitsu player we can't take that fight into deep consideration due to the fact he didn't have any position that was extremely favorable for him at the time.
Thirdly, conditioning and size. Frank Mir is now well over the 265 weight limit and also has been past the first round. Carwin has not. Even though Carwin walks around the 250's we haven't seen him against bigger guys. We have seen Frank Mir vs Tim Sylvia and Brock Lesnar. We know Frank Mir can withstand a barrage and still get the submission. It's a very tough fight for Carwin to win and Frank Mir might be living his Dungeons and Dragons fantasy inside the Octagon this weekend as he beat Mir by submission in the second round.
Prediction: Frank Mir, Submission Round 2
The main event on the card is probably the easiest to break down. Look at GSP's last opponent, Thiago Alves. Thiago is better in every aspect of MMA than Dan Hardy is. Dan Hardy has the knack of knocking people out silly, but so did Thiago. Thiago was a faster, stronger, more fit, more technical, and yes even smarter athlete than Hardy. This match won't even be close. Expect GSP to take Hardy down every round and just slowly break Hardy's will and ground and pound for 5 rounds. GSP isn't gonna finish him on March 27th but he sure as hell is gonna prove that there is little competition for him left at Welterweight.
Prediction: GSP, Unanimous Decision
GSP - UD
Mir - Submission Round 2
Fitch - UD
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