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UFC 113: Preview and Predictions

Six months after Lyoto Machida won a controversial decision over Shogun Rua, their long-awaited rematch is finally upon us at UFC 113, a very good card that also features Josh Koscheck fighting Paul Daley for the role of No. 1 welterweight contender, and the return to the Octagon of Kimbo Slice. We've got the full preview and predictions below.

What: UFC 113: Machida vs. Shogun 2

When: The non-televised undercard starts at 7PM ET Saturday and the pay-per-view card starts at 10.

Where: Bell Centre, Montreal

Predictions on the five pay-per-view fights:

Lyoto Machida vs. Shogun Rua
Before the last fight, people were talking about Machida like he was unbeatable, and talking about Shogun like he wasn't even a credible challenger for the light heavyweight title. I never bought that. I've been saying since Machida first won the light heavyweight title that Shogun was the best possible opponent the UFC could give him, and I still think that. But saying Shogun has the best chance of beating Machida is different from saying Shogun actually will beat Machida. I expect Machida to come into this fight in better shape than he was last time and win another decision, this one not controversial.
Pick: Machida

Josh Koscheck vs. Paul Daley
If Koscheck is smart, he's going to exploit his superior wrestling and Daley's suspect takedown defense to win this fight on the ground. If he's stupid, he's going to stand in front of Daley, trade punches, and probably get knocked out by one of Daley's big left hooks. I think Koscheck is smart, and he'll be rewarded for his intelligence with another shot against UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.
Pick: Koscheck

Kimbo Slice vs. Matt Mitrione
Counting The Ultimate Fighter, this is Kimbo's third fight in the Octagon, and I have to give the UFC credit for putting him in there with guys who had a real chance of beating him: First Roy Nelson, then Houston Alexander, and now Mitrione. EliteXC tried to give Kimbo guys he'd have an easy time beating (Bo Cantrell, Tank Abbott, James Thompson and Ken Shamrock), although that didn't work when Shamrock's last-minute replacement Seth Petruzelli knocked Kimbo out. Mitrione played nine NFL games as a New York Giants defensive tackle in 2002, and he's bigger, stronger and a better athlete than Kimbo. I've been wrong about Kimbo before (I thought he was going to lose to Alexander), but I just don't think he can handle Mitrione.
Pick: Mitrione

Patrick Cote vs. Alan Belcher
Cote will have his hometown fans on his side in Montreal, but he hasn't fought since he lost to Anderson Silva more than a year and a half ago, and I expect him to be rusty against Belcher, who had a very good year in 2009 and is, at age 26, one of the younger fighters to keep an eye on in the middleweight division.
Pick: Belcher

Jeremy Stephens vs. Sam Stout
Stout has won Fight of the Night four times in his UFC career and Stephens has won Knockout of the Night twice, so this is the kind of fight that's intended to provide fireworks. Stout is the favorite but I like Stephens to catch Stout with an uppercut and win by knockout.
Pick: Stephens

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