UFC 135: The Figure Four Online MMA Staff Picks



UFC 135 MMA Staff PicksAssembled by Josh Nason

After months and months of smack talk, it's time for UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson to get down to it Saturday at UFC 135.

Denver, CO, will also see Hall-of-Famer Matt Hughes vs. Josh Koscheck, a heavyweight prospect battle and a Diaz brother!

Some of the top MMA personalities on Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online submit their picks for UFC and Strikeforce events, putting their knowledge on display for you dear readers.

Our blue-chippers with record to date through three events:

- Oliver Copp (7-8) and Mike Sawyer (8-7): Tough Talk | Site

- Mike Sempervive (10-5): Wrestling Observer Live | Big Audio Nightmare

- Todd Martin (11-4): weekly FFD guest | WWE RAW recapper | LA Times | Sherdog

- Yours truly (11-4): frequent guest on FFD | FIGHT! Magazine | WGAM MMA Show

Let's go, hoss.

Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones vs. Rampage Jackson

If you don't know anything about this fight, I'm surprised you're reading this. One interesting trend for Jackson: six of his last seven fights have gone the distance. Jones last went the distance at UFC 94 in January 2009. May mean something, may mean nothing.

Jones: Oliver, Nason, Todd, Sempervive, Sawyer

Rampage may be talking a good game and has a puncher's chance, but none of us are picking against the current champion and media darling.

Matt Hughes vs. Josh Koscheck

The 37-year-old Hughes is closer to the end of his career than the beginning, but still may have another trick up his Midwestern sleeve. He last got KO'd in 21 seconds at the hands of BJ Penn 10 months ago, while Koscheck hasn't been seen since getting his orbital bone obliterated by Georges St. Pierre last December. This is a ring rust special.

Koscheck: Oliver, Nason, Todd, Sempervive, Sawyer

Sadly, no one believes in the former UFC Welterweight champion. Perhaps if we knew what country song he's going to walk out to?

Travis Browne vs. Rob Broughton


The undefeated heavyweight Browne (11-0-1) gets a high-profile slot and will hope to show off hands that caused nine T/KOs in 11 wins. The English Broughton (15-5-1) has five straight wins, but hasn't competed since October 2010 at UFC 120.

Browne: Oliver, Nason, Todd, Sempervive, Sawyer

No surprise here. Browne is the buzz pick and Broughton is a relative unknown.

Nate Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi

A Diaz in the UFC! It's not Nick, but lil' brother Nate (13-5) who needs a win after two straight decision losses. Gomi (32-7-0-1) has found his UFC experience to be flat (1-2 in the Octagon) and was last seen getting submitted at UFC 125 by Clay Guida.

There's also the angle of Gomi and Nick doing battle at PRIDE 33. Can Nate get revenge?

Diaz: Oliver, Nason, Todd, Sempervive, Sawyer

Yes. He. Can.

Ben Rothwell vs. Mark Hunt


In a continuing trend of guys that have been off for a long time, Rothwell (31-7) returns to action for the first time since June 2010 and is 1-1 in his UFC career. The 37-year-old Rikishi look-alike is somehow still active after knocking out Chris Tuchscherer at February's UFC 127. Before that? Six straight 1st round losses.

Rothwell: Oliver, Nason, Todd, Sempervive, Sawyer

Is Hunt the best guy they could get to open a PPV with Rothwell? Really?

Follow along with all of the action here on the site Saturday with Dave's live play-by-play.

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