Desert Dog’s Picks for UFC 116:
- Stephan Bonnar (+190) over Krzysztof Soszynski (-210)
- Brendan Schaub (-300) over Chris Tuchscherer (+275)
- Goran Reljic (-160) over Kendall Grove (+145)
- Chris Leben (+170) over Yoshihiro Akiyama (-200)
- Chris Lytle (-195) over Matt Brown (+175)
- Ricardo Romero (-185) over Seth Petruzelli (+160)
- Gerald Harris (-260) over Dave Branch (+235)
- Daniel Roberts (-185) over Forrest Petz (+160)
- Karlos Vemola (-175) over Jon Madsen (+150)
Brock Lesnar (-130 at 5Dimes) vs. Shane Carwin (+110 at Bodog)
UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar (4-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) possesses one of the best wrestling pedigrees in the UFC and is extremely athletically gifted, exceptionally strong, uncannily fast, incredibly explosive, and unbelievably built.
He’s been tested by a top of the food chain BJJ fighter (Mir) and a top level tactician (Couture), but he has yet to face anyone with truly devastating power. He also hasn’t faced anyone close to his own size and power. Although the UFC constantly lies about Carwin’s actual height and weight, it’s unnecessary. Carwin’s big, strong and quick, no need to say he’s 6’5”, then 6"’3”, then 6’2”...etc. He’s still going to look like a baby if he ends up between Lesnar’s back flaps.
Lesnar's been away from the cage for almost a year after beating Frank Mir at UFC 100. Ring rust is certainly a concern.
Like Lesnar, Shane Carwin (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) is a tremendous physical specimen with strong athletic credentials, including an NCAA Division II wrestling championship, two national runner-up trophies in wrestling, and two-time All-American honors in football.
Carwin is now training with Greg Jackson's elite camp in New Mexico alongside elite standouts such as Georges St-Pierre, Rashad Evans and Nate Marquardt.
We've not seen Carwin's cardio tested. But as an NCAA heavyweight wrestling champion and overall elite athlete – not to mention training at altitude in his home state of Colorado – he should generally be expected to have excellent cardio.
So what’s the end game going to look like here? Lesnar has shown respect for each opponents weapons working toward control on the ground and I don’t see a lot Carwin can do to stop that...expect connecting with a bomb. Lesnar will win the clinch, the takedowns, ground control, and holds a significant speed advantage. Carwin has the one thing Lesnar has never tasted, one shot knock out power.
This is definitely a fight where anything could happen, but with the odds sitting at basically even I’m leaning toward the favorite for a single unit chalk bet.
Pick: Lesnar via TKO, Bet: 130 to win 100
George Sotiropoulos (-175 at Bodog) vs. Kurt Pellegrino (+160 BetUS)
Kurt Pellegrino holds a 15-4 MMA record and is 7-3 in the UFC. A decorated grappler, "Batman" is a multiple time NAGA and Grapplers Quest winner and holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu.
Pellegrino is on a four-fight win streak with victories over Thiago Tavares at UFC 88, Rob Emerson at UFC Fight Night 17, Josh Neer at UFC 101, and most recently, Fabricio Camoes at UFC 111. His notable career losses came to Drew Ficket, Joe Stevenson and most recently Nate Diaz at UFC Fight Night 13. Pellegrino made a number of changes after losing to Diaz, including signing a new agent and a whole new camp, and training with fellow UFC vet Kenny Florian and WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres.
Australian George Sotiropoulos (12-2 MMA, 5-0 UFC) is a grappler, holding a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu under fellow Australian John Will, who in turn was a student of Jean Jacques Machado. He carries a six-fight winning streak into the contest that goes back to April 2007.
Sotiropoulos competed on the sixth season of "The Ultimate Fighter" and fought for Team Serra. A former welterweight, he is fighting only his third bout at lightweight. He was successful in his lightweight debut and defeated Jason Dent via second-round submission at UFC 106.
Formerly training at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Sotiropoulos is now training at an Enson Inoue Purebred affiliate, Fisticuffs Gym, located in Washington. Sotiropoulos primarily made the move to follow his boxing coach, Leonard Gabriel.
The two fighters share a common opponent. Pellegrino lost a unanimous decision to Stevenson at UFC 74; Sotiropoulos defeated Stevenson by unanimous decision at UFC 110.
Sotiropoulos has the reach advantage and has much more technical striking. He also has several clear paths to victory; he can utilize his size and strength to outwrestle his opponent, use his jiu-jitsu skills to get a reversal or submission, or use his significant reach advantage to win the fight on the feet.
Pick: Sotiropolous via submission, Bet 340 to win 200