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Fighter vs. Writer: UFC 126 Picks

Last time on Fighter vs. Writer, Sean McCorkle suffered one of the most lopsided defeats in the history of the series. It was brutal, it was ugly, and -- I have to be honest -- it was not anywhere near as satisfying as I thought it would be.

So for UFC 126 I decided to challenge myself. I decided to go after bigger (although technically physically smaller) game. I decided to take on someone who would make picks on the basis of something other than his hatred for Clay Guida's brother.

Enter Kenny Florian. As an 'MMA Live' analyst and occasional color man on the UFC broadcasts, he's serious competition. But is he good enough? Find out below, as we go head to head with our UFC 126 picks.

Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort
Florian's pick: Silva via TKO. "This is a tough one, because Vitor really has all the capabilities to beat Anderson Silva," said Florian. "But I have to go with what history has shown, and Anderson's been the more consistent fighter over the course of his career."
Fowlkes' pick: Silva by TKO. I can't rule out the possibility that the challenger could land a bomb and rock Silva's world, but we've seen Belfort's confidence shrink when that doesn't happen early on. The champ will stay patient, stay active, and stay the champ.

Rich Franklin vs. Forrest Griffin
Florian: Franklin via decision. "I think he's going to be the smarter fighter out there, and I think Forrest doesn't really enjoy fighting southpaws so much. I think that will be the difference, maybe cause some problems for him, and there won't be enough time in a three-round fight for him to figure it out."
Fowlkes: Griffin via decision. I think Griffin's size and strength will be difficult for Franklin to handle, assuming he stays aggressive and puts the pressure on for all three rounds.

Jon Jones vs. Ryan Bader
Florian: Jones via TKO. Not only is Florian picking a TKO, he went so far as to specificy a first-round TKO. "Bader's a phenomenal wrestler and he's definitely heavy-handed, but I think Jon Jones has proven that although other guys might have better wrestling pedigrees, his ability to confuse his opponents makes all the difference. ...I think we're going to see the best Jon Jones we've ever seen."
Fowlkes: Jones via TKO. I don't know if he'll get it in the first round, since Bader is no joke. Still, I just don't think Bader has much to threaten Jones with. As he long as he doesn't get too flashy for his own good, "Bones" takes this.

Jake Ellenberger vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha
Florian: Ellenberger via TKO. Before I could even get to the 'ch' sound in Rocha, Florian had already made his pick. As he explained, "I think this guy's one of the most underrated guys in the welterweight division. He's one of the dark horses. He's going to end up being a force at welterweight."
Fowlkes: Ellenberger via decision. While I don't discount Rocha's submissions game, he's never faced anyone of Ellenberger's caliber. As long as Ellenberger doesn't get careless and jump into an armbar, this should be a relatively easy night of work for him.

Miguel Torres vs. Antonio Banuelos
Florian: Torres. "I've got to go with my boy Torres. His new training partners, new training environment, and the move up to Montreal has made the difference. I think we'll see a smarter, more patient Miguel Torres than we saw in his last fight, and his reach will be too much."
Fowlkes: Torres via TKO. I know Florian almost has to pick him, what with them being boys and all, but this is one of the easier calls on this card. Torres is far superior everywhere.

Donald Cerrone vs. Paul Kelly
Florian: Cerrone via decision. "I think he's the better fighter all the way around. Paul Kelly, if he turns it into a brawl he has a chance, but Cerrone is the more technical fighter, and he can brawl if he needs to."
Fowlkes: Cerrone via decision. I'm forced to agree with pretty much every aspect of Florian's assessment. Maybe he's got a future with this whole pre-fight analysis stuff.

Chad Mendes vs. Michihio Omigawa
Florian: Mendes via decision. "This is tough. Mendes is a good fighter, but Omigawa has really been doing well lately. Still, I guess I have to go with Mendes."
Fowlkes: Omigama via decision. What can I say? Sometimes you've got to take a risk. I think it's possible that people are discounting Omigawa's win streak and maybe feeling too easily impressed by Mendes. Or I could be shooting myself in the foot just for the sake of being contrary. Either way, I'm picking Omigawa to win in his triumphant UFC return.

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