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Metamoris 5 predictions

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The fifth installment of the grappling superfight event kicks off from Long Beach, California on Saturday, with a legendary 'rematch' of two MMA icons headlining the event. Renzo Gracie looks to avenge his PRIDE 10 MMA loss against 'The Gracie Hunter' Kazushi Sakuraba while UFC welterweight Rory MacDonald will try his hand at this kind of competition for the first time. The event also features notable names like Garry Tonon and Keenan Cornelius.

Will Sakuraba notch one more win over the Gracie family or is Renzo ready to get redemption? I answer these questions and more with my predictions for Saturday's matches.

What: Metamoris 5

Where: Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, California

When: The live stream for all matches begins on Metamoris.com at 5 p.m. ET

Renzo Gracie vs. Kazushi Sakuraba

From everything I've heard - including my own teammates who visited Renzo's to train - he's an animal right now. He's training all the time against a huge variety of guys and looking good doing it. What's Sakuraba doing? The rumor is smoking two packs a day. The catch wrestling style of Sakuraba doesn't place as much of a premium on position to get submission, so anything is possible at any point. That said, Gracie is the all-around better grappler and probably has enough in the tank to force trouble for Sakuraba late in the match.

Pick: Gracie

Rory MacDonald vs. J.T. Torres

MacDonald will be much bigger, Torres will have much better jiu-jitsu. This reminds me somewhat of the Jon Fitch vs. Paulo Miyao match where Fitch, as good of a black belt that he is, spent a large portion of the contest defending. Miyao, outsized, couldn't do much more than he did. In addition, MacDonald isn't much of a huge risk taker. He doesn't live in a defensive shell, but he is cautious. Against someone with considerably greater skill, that's probably going to cause MacDonald to be very stingy with his offense.

Pick: Draw

Yuri Simoes vs. Keenan Cornelius

A rematch from this year's No Gi World Championships, a match which Simoes won. That was an incredible tournament for the Brazilian, but the reality is those two went at it for ten minutes and were struggling to score any points on the other. This will be a competitive match, but the most logical outcome is that it ends in a tie.

Pick: Draw

Vinny Magalhaes vs. Matheus Diniz

Diniz is part of the all-star brown belt team at Marcelo Garcia's in New York City. Even as a brown belt, I'd give him a good chance to succeed here, but the short notice and no gi format favors Vinny probably a bit too much. Diniz likes the things Garcia likes: x-guard, back attacks, butterfly sweeps, etc. He'll be more impressive as a brown belt than some might assume, but Vinny's simply too much.

Pick: Magalhaes

Garry Tonon vs. Zak Maxwell

Maxwell is crafty with armbars and oma platas, but this is a format where Tonon excels. He has an unending gas tank, takes huge risks, but carries incredible submission defense. The lack of the gi also tilts the balance towards Tonon, who I favor to not only define the match on his terms, but force a tap from Maxwell in the end.

Pick: Tonon