This week I match wits with Shonie Carter, a longtime MMA veteran who recently announced he was hanging up the gloves (more on that soon). "Mr. International" has forgotten more about the fight game than most people will ever know, but can he predict the future?
Find out below, as Shonie and I go head-to-head with our UFC 123 picks.
Lyoto Machida vs. "Rampage" Jackson
Shonie's pick: Machida by decision. "Regrettably, I'm going to go against the black guy," Carter lamented. He added that Jackson needs a knockout to win, and he could get it if he shows up in the cage as "Rampage" and not B.A. Baracus, but he still likes Machida's chances to win on the scorecards.
My pick: Machida by decision. Stylistically, I think he presents a horrible match-up for Jackson, who is at his best when he fights someone who'll come straight at him. Machida's too smart for that.
B.J. Penn vs. Matt Hughes
Shonie's pick: Penn via submission. When I pressed for more details, he added, "rear naked choke, 2:37 of round two." It's possible he was making fun of me.
My pick: Penn via decision. I think he'll out-strike Hughes and shut down the takedowns, but I don't know if I can see him putting Country Breakfast away inside of three rounds.
Gerald Harris vs. Maiquel Falcao
Shonie's pick: "Gerald by TKO, late second or early third." The knockout slam apparently made a big impression on Carter. That, and he had never heard of Falcao.
My pick: Harris by decision. Who knows, Falcao could turn out to be a total monster. Until we see some evidence of that though, my money's on the wrestler.
Phil Davis vs. Tim Boetsch
Shonie's pick: "Boetsch, 3:37 of the first round. TKO by monkey bomb." I have no idea what that means.
My pick: Davis by TKO. I think he puts Boetsch on his back and elbows him in the face until either the ref or Boetsch asks him to stop. A win and an exciting finish is worth a sore elbow.
George Sotiropoulos vs. Joe Lauzon
Shonie's pick: "That's a coin toss," he said, then proceeded to literally do the old 'eeny, meeny, miny, moe' thing until he arrived at Sotiropoulos by decision.
My pick: While I disagree with Shonie's method of arriving at a conclusion, I can't argue with the result. I'm taking Sotiropoulos too, but I think he can pull off a late submission.
Matt Brown vs. Brian Foster
Shonie's pick: "I'm going to take Brown because I don't know who the hell Foster is."
My pick: I do know who Foster is and I know he's not to be taken lightly. I think he and Brown will tear one another's faces up, but in the end it will be Foster still standing after a late TKO.
Mark Munoz vs. Aaron Simpson
Shonie's pick: Simpson via decision. "This'll be a boring match," Carter predicted. "I'll be on the dance floor ordering drinks during that one."
My pick: Munoz via decision. I can't argue with Shonie's assessment of the excitement level in this fight, but I think Munoz is the all-around better fighter.
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