Monday, May 14, 2012 | 2 a.m.
Guarantees about a fight not going the distance are commonplace in the UFC’s heavier weight classes.
The gloats are much less frequent among fighters in the smaller divisions, where a higher percentage of bouts reach the judges’ scorecards. But the 145-pound division has a matchup that looks destined for a stoppage this week.
“The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (12-3 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and Dustin Poirier (12-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) are both predicting definitive results heading into their UFC on FUEL TV 3 main event Tuesday in Fairfax, Va.
“We can both knock each other out, both submit each other,” Poirier said through the UFC. “We’re both very dangerous. From pretty much any position we’re put in, we can finish a fight.”
In 24 combined victories between Jung and Poirier, they’ve stopped 20 opponents. Jung registered the second-fastest knockout in UFC history when he stunned Mark Hominick with an uppercut eight seconds into their UFC 140 bout his last time out.
“We both fight in a similar fashion,” Jung said, “so it’s going to be a case of who can do it better.”
It’s classic UFC matchmaking, as the fighters are two of their division’s most promising prospects and have comparable skill sets. The 23-year old Poirier is a -350 (risking $3.50 to win $1) favorite, with the 25-year old Jung coming back at +265 (risking $1 to win $2.65).
Pick: Poirier by submission
Read below for a breakdown, odds and picks for the rest of the card, which airs on FUEL TV at 5 Tuesday night preceded by a preliminary slate streaming on facebook.
Lightweight bout: Donald Cerrone (17-4 MMA, 4-1 UFC) vs. Jeremy Stephens (20-7 MMA, 7-6 UFC)
Line: Cerrone -260, Stephens +210
Matchup: Cerrone’s torrid six-fight winning streak came to an end in December as he dropped a decision to Nate Diaz as a heavy favorite at UFC 141. Diaz out-landed “Cowboy” on the feet. Stephens doesn’t set the same pace or have the stamina of Diaz, but Cerrone will need to look out for his power.
Pick: Cerrone by decision
Welterweight bout: Amir Sadollah (5-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) vs. Jorge Lopez (11-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC)
Line: Sadollah -200, Lopez +160
Matchup: Two local fighters face off here, as Sadollah has been a mainstay at Xtreme Couture Gym ever since winning the seventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter”. Lopez works with UFC middleweight Wanderlei Silva at Wand Fight Team. Lopez had a considerable amount of hype before it cooled after a loss to Justin Edwards in his UFC debut.
Pick: Lopez by TKO
Bantamweight bout: Yves Jabouin (17-7 MMA, 2-1 UFC) vs. Jeff Hougland (10-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC)
Line: Jabouin -275, Hougland +215
Matchup: Jabouin has been fortunate to pull out two straight decisions by narrowly out-striking opponents. The Montreal-based fighter, who trains with the likes of Georges St. Pierre and Rory MacDonald at Tristar Gym, should have an advantage on the feet. But Hougland is a better grappler.
Pick: Jabouin by TKO
Light heavyweight bout: Igor Pokrajac (24-8 MMA, 3-3 UFC) vs. Fabio Maldonado (18-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC)
Line: Pokrajac +140, Maldonado -170
Matchup: Maldonado has missed nearly a year because of injury. The Brazilian boxer might meet his match with Pokrajac, a native of Croatia who prefers to stand and trade punches with opponents. The two fighters have combined for 25 knockout victories in their careers.
Pick: Maldonado by decision
Middleweight bout: Jason MacDonald (25-15 MMA, 6-7 UFC) vs. Tom Lawlor (7-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC)
Line: MacDonald +175, Lawlor -215
Matchup: The 36-year old MacDonald, who first fought in the UFC in 2006, is talking retirement ahead of this event. Lawlor, 28, hopes he’s just getting started, though a 1-3 run since the start of 2010 can’t spell strong job security for “The Ultimate Fighter” season eight veteran.
Pick: Lawlor by decision
Lightweight bout: Cody McKenzie (12-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) vs. Marcus LeVesseur (21-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
Line: McKenzie -155, LeVesseur +125
Matchup: McKenzie has spent time training with the Diaz brothers ahead of this bout. The Diaz brothers have always struggled with wrestlers, however, and LeVesseur was a four-time Division III national champion in college. An original matchup with Aaron Riley, which was scrapped to injury, may have suited McKenzie’s style better.
Pick: LeVesseur by decision
Middleweight bout: Brad Tavares (7-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) vs. Dongi Yang (10-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC)
Line: Tavares -200, Yang +170
Matchup: “The Ox” Yang trains alongside “The Korean Zombie” in Pohang, South Korea. He’s a masterful judo and taekwondo practitioner, but hasn’t found success against strong American fighters with wrestling and boxing backgrounds. Tavares’ power is his greatest strength.
Pick: Tavares by knockout
Lightweight bout: T.J. Grant (17-5 MMA, 4-3 UFC) vs. Carlo Prater (30-10-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC)
Line: Grant -400, Prater +300
Matchup: Both fighters notched controversial wins in their last fights. Prater was stopped in less than 30 seconds, but won via disqualification because the referee ruled Erick Silva punched him in the back of the head. The referee also stopped Grant’s fight against Shane Roller, who shrieked in pain during the third-round but did not physically tap out to an armbar.
Pick: Prater by decision
Lightweight bout: Rafael dos Anjos (15-6 MMA, 4-4 UFC) vs. Kamal Shalorus (7-2-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC)
Line: dos Anjos -255, Shalorus +195
Matchup: Hard to believe Shalorus, an Iranian, was undefeated before dropping his first two bouts in the octagon. Opponents have stopped him two straight times in the third round. Dos Anjos, a Brazilian, is only 1-2 in his last three UFC fights.
Pick: dos Anjos by TKO
Bantamweight bout: Jeff Curran (33-14-1 MMA, 0-2 UFC) vs. Johnny Eduardo (25-9 MMA, 0-1 UFC)
Line: Curran -150, Eduardo +120
Matchup: Loser in this one runs the risk of the UFC terminating their contract afterwards. Neither Curran nor Eduardo put up much of a fight in their lone octagon performance in 2011, both dropping unanimous decisions.
Pick: Eduardo by decision
Bantamweight bout: Alex Soto (6-1-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) vs. Francisco Rivera (5-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC)
Pick: Soto +160, Rivera -210
Matchup: “Cisco” Rivera has knocked out two straight opponents in less than two minutes combined since getting cut by the UFC last June. He got the call to fight Soto, a full-time dolphin trainer, on short notice after an injury forced Azamat Gashimov off the card.
Pick: Soto by TKO