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Fighter vs. Writer: UFC 130 Picks With Yves Edwards

In the last edition of Fighter vs. Writer, my underdog picks backfired big time, resulting in a humiliating defeat at the hands of "Mayhem" Miller.

This time, I tapped MMA veteran and Thug-Jitsu master Yves Edwards (whose musings you can follow on Twitter) for a head-to-head battle over UFC 130 in an attempt to change my luck.

Edwards is taking on Sam Stout at UFC 131 in Vancouver in June, so my hope was that he'd be too distracted to know or care who's in action tonight. Then he started going off on Roy Nelson's basketball skills before politely reminding me that he has a couple of teammates on tonight's card, and that's when I realized that maybe I was in trouble.

Too late to back out now. On with the predictions...

"Rampage" Jackson vs. Matt Hamill

Edwards: Hamill via decision. "I like 'Rampage' a lot, but I think Hamill takes this fight. I really do. I think he's just going to go in there and wrestle, and I think he'll out-wrestle 'Rampage.'"
Fowlkes: Jackson via decision. I can't rule out the possibility that Hamill will use takedowns and clinch control to win a Rashad Evans-esque decision here, but I think Jackson will be better able to keep this fight in the center of the cage and turn it into a boxing match.

Frank Mir vs. Roy Nelson

Edwards: Nelson via TKO. "Roy Nelson can dunk a basketball. That's unbelievable. I've got to go with him just on the strength of that."
Fowlkes: Nelson via TKO. I think his big right hand will be more of a factor than his dunking ability, but Yves has a point. That is pretty impressive.

Stefan Struve vs. Travis Browne

Edwards: Struve via TKO. "He's just going to win that by being a skyscraper. He's awkward for everyone, and I think he's now coming into his own. He's going to do well, and I think he's going to take this one."
Fowlkes: Struve via TKO. If he makes it through the first two minutes, this is Struve's fight all the way. His biggest problem is that he tends to start slow and take too much damage early. If he can get past that here, he'll pick Browne apart on the feet.

Thiago Alves vs. Rick Story

Edwards: Alves via decision. "I can't ever pick against my friends in a tough fight, so I have to go with 'Pitbull.' I think it'll go the distance, but he's going to bust up Story's legs with kicks. If he can't take 'Pitbull' down early, he's in a lot of trouble."
Fowlkes: Alves by TKO. I doubt Story will be able to get Alves down very often or keep him down for long if he does score a takedown. The more time he spends standing in front of "Pitbull," the greater the chance that he will get separated from his consciousness.

Brian Stann vs. Jorge Santiago

Edwards: Santiago via decision. "Another tough one with a friend. Stann is tough and he's been looking good lately, but Jorge has been fighting the best outside of the UFC. I think he'll come in with something to prove and win a decision."
Fowlkes: Stann via decision. I think Santiago's style plays right into Stann's strengths. It will most likely turn into a shootout – it's my pick for Fight of the Night, as a matter of fact – but I think Stann scores a clear victory.

Miguel Torres vs. Demetrious Johnson

Edwards: Johnson via decision. "I have to pick Johnson just on speed and momentum. He's fast, he's explosive, and he's got a lot of momentum. I genuinely like [Torres] – we've hung out on a couple occasions, done a couple things, work-wise – but 'Mighty Mouse,' he's found his weight class."
Fowlkes: Johnson via decision. Even though he's giving up about six inches in height to Torres, his ability to close the distance on takedowns in the blink of an eye will negate Torres' size.

Kendall Grove vs. Tim Boetsch

Edwards: Grove via TKO. "Boetsch is coming down to 185 [pounds] for the first time, so I have to go with Kendall just on that. Boetsch is a big dude, and that weight cut might be hard for him. I don't know if he's had a dry run at it or not, but that can be tough. I see Kendall being able to stop it late when Boetsch gets tired late in the third."
Fowlkes: Boetsch via decision. Yves makes a very good point about the effect of the weight cut, but my guess is that Boetsch didn't make the decision to drop down without first making sure that he could lose the weight and still have gas in the tank on fight night. At least, I hope.

Tiebreaker question: time of the fastest fight of the night?

Edwards: 3:00 of round 1
Fowlkes: 1:27 of round 1

Edwards picks: Hamill, Nelson, Struve, Alves, Santiago, Johnson, Grove
Fowlkes picks: Jackson, Nelson, Struve, Alves, Stann, Johnson, Boetsch

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