But looking at the main event for UFC 129 it occurred to me, there may be no one in the world who is more qualified to break this fight down than Miller, who fought both Jake Shields and Georges St. Pierre.
"It's true," Miller sighed when I approached him with the idea. "I guess I am uniquely qualified, since I have been decisioned by both gentlemen."
And just like that, it was on. Let there be no ties this time around...
Georges St. Pierre vs. Jake Shields
Mayhem: GSP by TKO. "We're going to see a better version of the Josh Koscheck fight," Miller said. "He's not going to over-commit with the punches, not going to get taken down. I hope he does get taken down, just so we can see what his abilities are from there. And if there's anything Jake does better than anyone, it's pretty much run across the cage on his knees in order to get a takedown. It'll be interesting to see what happens, but I foresee a lot of sprawls and a lot of jabs from St. Pierre. He might be able to finish the bout in three."
Fowlkes: GSP by decision. If Shields can take him down more than once in five rounds, I'll be surprised. I think St. Pierre keeps it standing and steadily picks Shields apart for the duration. No finish, but it will be clear who the winner is by the time twenty-five minutes is up.
Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick
Mayhem: Aldo via TKO. "Hominick isn't the right style to beat Aldo. I think Aldo matches up really well against him. [Aldo] is coming off an injury, and I don't know what his recovery ability is like, but if [Aldo]'s a hundred percent, I think he'll take that one."
Fowlkes: Aldo via TKO. As much as I hate to, I concur completely. Hominick's a tough guy, but if he tries to walk Aldo down like he has with past opponents, he's going to be in trouble. Aldo is faster, more well-rounded, and has superior power. I don't see it going more than two rounds.
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Jason Brilz
Mayhem: Nobody. In explaining his rationale for what is always a risky move in Fighter vs. Writer, Miller said, "I should be more qualified to talk about this fight because Vladdy was in our room for a little bit, but I don't know enough about his opponent. ...I didn't even see the [Brilz-Nogueira] fight, I'm embarrassed to say. Every once in a while I'll miss an event, and since the UFC has taken down all the illegal video sites, I don't get to catch up." So put Miller down for a non-pick, meaning he only scores if it's a draw, or gets scratched from the card. Amazingly (okay, infuriatingly), this approach has been successful for other fighters in the past.
Fowlkes: Brilz via decision. These guys are so evenly matched that it's a tough fight to pick, and mostly I just hope they don't spend the whole fight trading positions in the clinch. But in the end, I have to go with Brilz's durability and punching power.
Lyoto Machida vs. Randy Couture
Mayhem: Machida via decision. "I think Machida, after that last loss, is just really determined, so this is kind of a passing of the torch. Of course I want Randy to win. My heart wants it. But I feel like the footwork will be too much for him to deal with. One thing Machida does better than anyone is tag and run away."
Fowlkes: Couture via decision. You know what? Screw this. I'm not going to have this be one of those prediction contests where we agree on every single pick. I'm picking the ageless wonder to shock the world one last time by suffocating Machida in the clinch for three rounds. Also, did you guys see Steven Seagal getting in the background of all the photos with Machida at the weigh-ins? C'mon son. I can't support that.
Ben Henderson vs. Mark Bocek
Mayhem: Bocek via submission. "That little ginger's mean. He has the best jiu-jitsu in the division, and he might just go in there and pull off a shocker."
Fowlkes: Bocek via submission. Agree on all counts. Bocek is much better than many people realize, and I even like his chances to tap out (or choke out) the seemingly unsubmitable Henderson.
Nate Diaz vs. Rory MacDonald
Mayhem: MacDonald via decision. "If he's tough enough to hang with [Carlos] Condit, I'm going with him. And it's just not just because of my history with [Nick] Diaz; I actually like Nate. He's great. But I feel like anybody who could hang with Condit is a tough opponent."
Fowlkes: Diaz via decision. I hate to break with my own previous picks again, but I refuse to agree with Mayhem this much. Diaz is solid as long as he's not facing a wrestler with a one-track mind, plus MacDonald is coming off a ten-month injury layoff, so he might be rusty. There, see how easily I talked myself into that?
Tiebreaker: What will be the time of the shortest fight on the entire card?
Mayhem: 2:25 of round 1
Fowlkes: 3:47 of round 1
Mayhem picks: GSP, Aldo, Nobody, Machida, Bocek, MacDonald
Fowlkes picks: GSP, Aldo, Brilz, Couture, Bocek, Diaz