It won't be a problem this time around, as I go head-to-head with UFC light heavyweight Jason Brilz for UFC 127 predictions and we find plenty to disagree on.
The last time we saw Brilz in the Octagon, no one thought he had much of a chance to defeat Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Then he gave Little Nog all he could handle before (in this reporter's opinion) getting robbed via a baffling split decision at UFC 114. Now he's back for another high-profile match-up, and we're going to do our best to keep it out of the hands of the judges. Let the prognosticating begin!
B.J. Penn vs. Jon Fitch
Jason Brilz: Penn by submission, third round. Said Brilz, "I think he might be starting to flip the switch. Plus, I picked against him [in his last fight], and that didn't go so well."
Ben Fowlkes: Fitch by decision. I don't pick against Penn lightly, but I think Fitch's size advantage and superior wrestling will nullify his offense.
Jorge Rivera vs. Michael Bisping
Brilz: Rivera by knockout in the second. "I think he got in his head. I think Bisping is going to come out mad, and I think Rivera's just enjoying it now."
Fowlkes: Rivera by TKO. I didn't expect Jason to agree with me, since I'm not totally positive I agree with me, but I suspect Bisping will try to prove something here and it will go horribly wrong for him.
George Sotiropoulos vs. Dennis Siver
Brilz: Sotiropoulos by decision. This pick did not come easy to Jason. "I like both those fighters. I could see Siver knocking him out or I could see George submitting him," he said. "But I'll go with George, but he probably won't be able to submit him."
Fowlkes: Sotiropoulos via submission. Siver will put up a blistering resistance, but Sotiropoulos will wear him down and finish him late.
Chris Lytle vs. Brian Ebersole
Brilz: "Lytle by pretty much anything he wants," Jason chuckled. "I think he'll probably submit him in the second."
Fowlkes: Lytle via TKO. I'm not so sure I see this one making it out of the first. Ebersole's been around, but he can't match Lytle's all-around game.
Kyle Noke vs. Chris Camozzi
Brilz: Noke via decision. When in doubt, Jason sides with the hometown boy. "He's from down there, so he'll have the crowd behind him," Brilz said.
Fowlkes: Noke via submission. Camozzi's a tough kid, but Noke's improved a lot since his time on TUF.
Ross Pearson vs. Spencer Fisher
Brilz: Pearson by decision. "I really like Spencer, but I think that lately he's been going downhill a little bit. I still don't think Pearson will be able to finish him though."
Fowlkes: Fisher by decision. It's hard to go against Pearson in this match-up, but I'm betting on Fisher's experience and sheer desperation for a big win to pull him through. This is going to go badly for me, isn't it?
Alexander Gustafsson vs. James Te-Huna
Brilz: Te-Huna via decision. Again, the force of the hometown crowd wins Brilz over. "I'm going to go with Te-Huna just because of the crowd," he said.
Fowlkes: Gustafsson via TKO. I think Phil Davis was right when he predicted an impressive win for Gustafsson. If Te-Huna can't get him down right away and keep him there, he's going to sleep.
Riki Fukuda vs. Nick Ring
Brilz: Fukuda via submission. Brilz is apparently not won over by "The Promise" Ring. "I'm going to have to take Riki by submission in the third," he explained.
Fowlkes: Ring via decision. Maybe I'm just trying to be contrary here for the sake of making things interesting, but maybe Ring is better than any of us realize. And maybe (hopefully) the time off for surgery won't make him too rusty.
Brilz picks Penn, Rivera, Sotiropoulos, Lytle, Noke, Pearson, Te-Huna, Fukuda.
Fowlkes picks Fitch, Rivera, Sotiropoulos, Lytle, Noke, Fisher, Gustafsson, Ring.