Fight Picks and Predictions for the UFC 107 Undercard: Struggling to Stay

By Nicholas Bailey (

While some horrible video-game award show preempted spiketv showing some of these fights prior to the Pay-Per-View kicking off, the likelihood of a lot of finishes on the main card means that we can hope to see some of them edited into the show.

The highlights of the undercard are Belcher vs. Gouveia, which should be a very entertaining scrap, a likely highlight-reel Palhares leglock, and what will probably turn into a gritty dogfight in Burns vs. Grant. All three should turn out to be must-see fights by the time the dust has settled on UFC 107.

Alan Belcher (+102) vs. Wilson Gouveia (-105)

This is one of those amusing fights where both fighters have A+ gifts offensively but are basket cases and liable to fall apart at any moment. Gouveia has problems keeping his gas up, and he doesn’t seem to be very durable. Belcher is a very tough guy, but he seems to have no fight IQ whatsoever. When Jason Day put him in rubber guard it was like Belcher’s entire brain melted out his ears, as he just sat there and took a great deal of punishment, only to stand up and completely fall apart on the feet. Similarly, his awful haircut is a strong indicator of a man that’s just not all there.

Gouveia has the offensive power of a p4p great. Everything he throws is powerful and dangerous, and on the ground the danger is not much less. What’s held him back from being at the very top tier is simply falling apart when he gets hit hard, something that did not go away when he cut down to 185lbs.

Gouveia has better striking fundamentals than Belcher, and a pronounced advantage on the ground, so Belcher will have to weather some serious storms if he’s to win. If he can absorb some of the hits and return fire, Gouveia won’t be able to go punch-for-punch, but if Gouveia gets a chance to really open up his offense, it’s very likely that we’ll see Belcher KO’d for the very first time. Gouveia by KO round 2.

This fight is a coin-flip. If Belcher becomes even more of an underdog by fight night, he might be a good play, but it could easily go either way.

Shane Nelson (+295) vs. Matt Wiman (-340)

Nelson has padded his record by picking off the absolute weakest former TUF fighter he could and being gifted a premature stoppage over Aaron Riley. In his rematch with Riley it became clear that Nelson isn’t ready for the big leagues in any respect.

Wiman is clearly a low-level fighter at this point, but he also has had flashes of brilliance. He can be a bit of a wildman in the cage, with an exciting, aggressive style. He should be a good deal larger and stronger than Nelson, and, despite only being an entry-level UFC fighter (if that) he has a much better skill-set than the limited Nelson, and should cruise to victory and beat Nelson up pretty badly along the way. Wiman by decision.

Ricardo Funch (+325) vs. Johny Hendricks (-365)

Hendricks was supposed to lose to Amir Sadollah, but some over-aggressive refereeing ensured him at least one more UFC fight. He has some power in his hands, but isn’t particularly big for 170, and is mostly a wrestler. Funch has very little experience against quality fighters, and, while he does have some offensive power, will most likely struggle against the most solid opposition he’s ever faced. Hendricks by decision.

Lucio Linhares (+275) vs. Rousimar Palhares (-340)

Palhares is tough, strong, and has a massively one-dimensional game. Fortunately Linhares doesn’t have the wrestling to stop Palhares’ pure-strength takedowns or the striking to threaten his rock-solid chin, so he will become the next in a long line of fighters to be near-instantly leglocked by the stumpy Palhares (get it: stumpy? no? Bah, go look up “toquinho”). Palahres by submission round 1.

Edgar Garcia (-265) vs. DaMarques Johnson (+215)

Garcia is inexperienced at this level of competition, but his performance against a very tough Brad Blackburn showed a maturity in his game that Johnson still lacks. Damarques fell massively short of the editing job he received on TUF, and the reality is that he is barely above .500 as a fighter and has displayed all kinds of defensive liabilities. Garcia has serious, serious power in his hands, so expect him to crack Johnson’s head wide open early in the fight. Garcia by KO round 1.

Kevin Burns (+107) vs. T.J. Grant (-130)

Kevin Burns can’t close his hands when he punches, and tends to try to lobotomize opponents by driving his fingers through their eyes. That’s not good, since it’s basically inevitable that at some point in MMA a fighter is going to take an eye gouge so bad that he loses the eye or goes blind, and Burns is only helping to make that a reality. Burn’s best asset is his chin and general durability. He doesn’t have much beyond a basic well-rounded skill-set and generally just has to rely on brawling and hoping for the best.

Grant is not a great fighter, but he’s UFC-caliber and has a reliable skill set: using his groundwork to threaten and score points or finish, and setting it up with good wrestling and scrambling ability. In this fight, he should be able to take Burns down when he needs to and work jiu-jitsu to control the fight. Burns has never been submitted, but TJ should come close if he can reliably get top position. T.J. Grant by decision.

When Grant opened as a bit of an underdog, I immediately made a play. I think he’s still being undervalued at -130.

My Plays:
2u on TJ Grant at (+105) to win 2.1u


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