Compiled by Josh Nason
After a few weeks off, we are back in action with some UFC picks, the first of four straight weeks you'll see our selections in this space. Did you miss us?
This Saturday, UFC 137 emanates from Las Vegas, NV, with a welterweight tussle on top, a slew of heavyweights looking to make a statement and an early favorite for Fight Of The Night between two WEC alums.
Our panel this week with yearly totals to date:
- Dave Meltzer (4-1):
co-owner of the site | Yahoo MMA scribe
- Bryan Alvarez (5-5): co-owner of the site | UFO watcher
BJ Penn vs. Nick Diaz
The former UFC Lightweight/Welterweight Champion returns to main event action for the first time since dueling to a draw with Jon Fitch in February to battle the invading Diaz, he of the recent Strikeforce Welterweight Championship and press conference hating tour.
Whose striking will be better? Will jiujitsu take the day? Will this be a dull fight? A classic? Does Diaz' 10-fight win streak mean more than the quality of competition Penn has fought in his last 10? All that and more to be answered (we think) on Saturday.
Penn: Meltzer, Sawyer, Copp
Diaz: Nason, Sempervive, Alvarez, Martin
A near split with Big Dave and the Tough Talk boys going with the Hawaiian.
Roy Nelson vs. Mirko Cro Cop
Will the de facto co-main event truly be loser leaves UFC? You got to think so, even though it sounds like Cro Cop is going to hang 'em up either way. Nelson (15-6) is coming off decision losses to Junior dos Santos and Frank Mir, while Cro Cop (27-9-2-1) is coming off KO losses to Mir and Brendan Schaub.
Nelson: Nason, Sempervive, Alvarez, Meltzer, Martin, Sawyer, Copp
A clean sweep for "Big Country".
Matt Mitrione vs. Cheick Kongo
This one features a guy no one thought would get to this point in the undefeated Mitrione (5-0) against someone in Kongo (16-6-2) that has the capabilities to be main eventing all the time but hasn't come through when it matters most.
Former FFD guest Mitrione has won four of five by T/KO, while Kongo's last five wins have come via finish. Was the miracle win over Pat Barry a fluke or a sign of things to come?
Mitrione: Alvarez, Sawyer, Nason, Copp
Kongo: Sempervive, Meltzer, Martin
Another interesting split. Which thirtysomething can pull this one out?
Scott Jorgensen vs. Jeff Curran
This pick is a Nason-certified special as it's going to be a great battle at 135 pounds. Jorgensen (12-4) made a splash in his UFC debut with a first round KO in June as Curran (33-13-1) makes his return to ZuffaVille on a two-fight win streak. Curran has also vowed to retire if he doesn't win. Hair vs. Career match?
Jorgensen: Nason, Sempervive, Alvarez, Meltzer, Nason, Sawyer, Copp
The title contender gets the thumbs-up from our panel of judges.
Hatsu Hioki vs. George Roop
Pay-per-view worthy? Ehhhh. That's debatable but it finds its way onto the main card with a Japanese fighter making his debut against a .500 fighter in Roop at 145 pounds.
The 28-year-old Hioki (24-4-2) will attempt to break the curse of Japanese fighters competing in the UFC in making his U.S. debut Saturday night. Roop (12-7-1) is 4-4-1 in the Octagon and is coming off a June KO win over Josh Grispi. In his last two wins, he does have two KOs but Hioki has never been finished.
Hioki: Alvarez, Meltzer, Martin, Sawyer
Roop: Nason, Sempervive, Copp
Yet another split!
Follow Dave's play-by-play here on the site starting with the Facebook fights at approximately 5:45 PM EST, the Spike card at 8 PM EST and the pay-per-view kicking off at 9 PM EST.