UFC 136: The Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online Staff Picks

UFC 136Compiled by Josh "The Real Memphis Heat" Nason

For the fourth straight Saturday night, the UFC is on the air and has one of its deepest cards in recent memory with UFC 136, live from Houston, TX, tonight.

We'll have running play-by-play here on the site, starting with the Facebook fights (5:45 pm EST), Spike card (8 pm EST) and pay-per-view (9 pm EST). While you're at it, open up a new tab and check out the thread on the world-famous BOARD~! if you're a subscriber. If you're not, shame on you.

For this week, we have a new contributor for picks joining the Fab Five of Figure Four Online (trademark pending). I think you've heard of this guy before.

- Oliver Copp (14-11) and Mike Sawyer (14-11) of Tough Talk: Site

- Mike Sempervive (18-7): Wrestling Observer Live | Big Audio Nightmare

- Todd Martin (18-7): weekly FFD guest | WWE RAW recapper | LA Times | Sherdog

- Yours truly (18-7): frequent guest on FFD | FIGHT! Magazine | WGAM MMA Show

- And for the official first time in this space, Dave Meltzer! I've also added Bryan Alvarez's picks from the preview show he did with Dave.

Go time!

Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard III

These two meet for the final time tonight, settling a rivalry that began to really mean something after their January 1st Fight of the Year candidate draw. Can they sell a fight? No chance. Will the action be worth paying for? Absolutely.

Based on recent history, this fight is all but guaranteed to go the distance. Of 27 combined career pro fights, 19 have gone to the judges (70%). Edgar (13-1-1) last won via finish in late 2009 with the still-unbeaten Maynard (10-0-1-1) last winning via finish in September 2007 -- a run of eight straight fights.

Edgar: Sempervive, Copp, Alvarez, Meltzer
Maynard: Nason, Sawyer, Martin

The staff is split! Whoever holds the title has the power!

Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo vs. Kenny Florian

Aldo (19-1) is one of the most talented fighters in the world and comes into this fight with a 12-fight win streak. He looks for the 4th defense of his title and a return to his nasty T/KO ways. This could be the end of the title shot road for Florian (14-5) who gets his third opportunity at a belt. Before a decision loss to Gray Maynard and decision win over Diego Nunes, Florian had won three of four with three submission wins.

Aldo: Nason, Sawyer, Martin, Sempervive, Copp, Alvarez, Meltzer

An unsurprising clean sweep for the Brazilian.

Brian Stann vs. Chael Sonnen

The unofficial/official No. 1 contender's match for Anderson Silva's 185-pound title hasn't got enough play this week, which is a shame. Stann (11-3) is 3-0 since dropping to middleweight with three finishes while Sonnen (25-11-1) has been on the shelf since his much-ballyhooed submission loss to Silva in August 2010. Regardless of age or ring rust, this fight should be awesome.

Stann: Nason, Alvarez
Sonnen: Sawyer, Martin, Sempervive, Copp, Meltzer

The best promo in the business has won over the majority with Chico and The Man standing by G.I. Joe.

Melvin Guillard vs. Joe Lauzon

Is Guillard the next in line for the winner of Maynard/Edgar? With a win here, it's hard to dispute it. A winner of five straight and eight of his last nine, Guillard (29-8-2-1) has been on a roll. Lauzon (20-6) is 2-2 in his last four and seems to always get major bumps in competition after wins over lesser competition. A win here puts him back in the upper echelon of the division.

Interesting fact: Lauzon has earned Fight of the Night three times while Guillard never has.

Guillard: Nason, Sawyer, Martin, Sempervive, Copp, Alvarez, Meltzer

The Young Assassin has stolen our hearts.

Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan II

Garcia (15-7-1) is the definition of inconsistent as he's 3-4-1 since 2009 with no streaks either way. This is a must-win for Phan (16-9) who has lost two in a row and four of his last five. The two fought at the Ultimate Fighter 12 finale with Garcia picking up a highly controversial decision win.

Garcia: Copp
Phan: Nason, Sawyer, Martin, Sempervive, Alvarez, Meltzer

Like a gunslinger in the West, Oliver Copp stands alone.

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