UFC 134: The Figure Four Online MMA Staff Picks

Compiled by Josh NasonUFC 134

Those that know this website understand that while pro wrestling may have brought all the boys to the yard, MMA is helping keep ‘em here. With Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez’s live coverage of major events and the collection of audio from an assortment of talent, MMA is a major part of what we do at Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online.

As part of that commitment, we’re launching a new feature on the site. Prior to every major UFC or Strikeforce event, some of the top MMA contributors to the Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online family will pick their winners for the main card fights. We’ll compile them throughout the year and see if we are kings or FOOLS when the calendar turns.

Your superstars:

Mike Sawyer/Oliver CoppThis duo founded Tough Talk MMA Radio, an MMA-centric show that features plenty of chat and interviews with some power players in MMA. Recent Figure Four Daily guest Copp is a fixture at UFC events and Sawyer is simply the man when it comes to Vegas, aka the fight capital of the world.

Mike Coughlin – One of the earliest non Dave/Bryan audio contributors to the site, Coughlin hosts Five Star Radio, an MMA-only show that features plenty of road rage, in addition to some written content.

Todd Martin – A writer for the L.A. Times, Sherdog and the WWE RAW recapper on the site, Todd has a weekly appearance on Figure Four Daily, setting Bryan straight on a variety of wrestling and MMA subjects.

Mike Sempervive
The co-host of the always free and great Wresting Observer Live on Sunday afternoons, Sempervive also co-hosts the Adam and Mike Big Audio Nightmare which talks about, well, everything.

Josh Nason That would be me. Bryan and I interview a new MMA newsmaker every two weeks on Figure Four Daily and I also recap The Ultimate Fighter for the site. You can read me in FIGHT! Magazine as well.

With all of that said, here’s the staff picks for Saturday’s UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami. And away we go…

Middleweight Championship: Anderson Silva (champion) vs. Yushin Okami II

Silva is riding UFC record streaks for most consecutive title defenses (8) and consecutive wins (13). Okami has won three in a row but hasn’t fought since beating Nate Marquardt in November 2010. He also holds the distinction of being the last man to beat Silva…although it was via DQ due to an illegal upkick in January 2006.

Silva: Sempervive, Martin, Copp, Coughlin, Sawyer, Nason

No surprise with a clean sweep here. Does anyone think Okami has a shot? Me neither.

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Forrest Griffin II

Two former UFC Light Heavyweight titleholders hook it up once again, meeting for the first time since September 2007 when Griffin welcomed Rua to the UFC with a 3rd round submission loss. Rua last was seen getting his title ripped away by Jon Jones in March, while Griffin edged out a decision win over Rich Franklin in February.

Shogun: Sempervive, Sawyer, Nason
Griffin: Martin, Copp, Coughlin

Even split!

Brendan Schaub vs. Antonio “Big Nog” Nogueira

Schaub looks for his fifth straight win, while Nogueira returns from a long layoff after a 1st round KO defeat to Cain Velasquez in February 2010. Does the former PRIDE star and UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion have anything left in the tank?

Schaub: Sempervive, Martin, Coughlin, Sawyer, Nason
Nog: Copp

Apparently, Copp still believes in the legend of Nogueira. The rest of us have moved on.

Ross Pearson vs. Edson Barbosa

The undefeated Barbosa (8-0) has looked stellar thus far in his two UFC appearances, earning Fight Of The Night honors at March’s UFC 128 in a decision win over Anthony Njokuani. He’ll face TUF 9 champ Pearson who is 4-1 in his Octagon career, last beating Spencer Fisher by decision at February’s UFC 127.

Barbosa: Sempervive, Martin, Copp, Coughlin, Sawyer, Nason

Another clean sweep. We believe the hype.

Luiz Cane vs. Stanislav Nedkov

Cane was on the brink of being cut before TKOing Eliot Marshall at March’s UFC 128 but is just 1-2 in his last three. The undefeated Nedkov (11-0) makes his UFC debut but has been out of action since May 2010 – his only fight in the last two years.

Cane: Sempervive, Martin, Coughlin, Sawyer
Nedkov: Copp, Nason

The consensus is Cane, but Copp and yours truly believe that rest does a body good.

We’ll see how the group does Saturday night. Be sure to keep it locked here for Dave’s play-by-play coverage and listen for the full recap show with Dave/Bryan early Sunday morning.

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