UFC 138: The Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online Staff Picks

UFC 138Compiled by Josh Nason

One of the least-publicized UFC events in recent memory is Saturday in Birmingham, England, with UFC 138. Star-studded? Nah, but this could mark a starting point for some 2012 contenders…or it could be a dull card.

Our usual suspects:

- Mike Sempervive (26-9): Wrestling Observer Live | Big Audio Nightmare

- Todd Martin: (26-9): weekly FFD guest | WWE RAW recapper | LA Times | Sherdog

- Dave Meltzer (8-2): co-owner of the site | Yahoo MMA scribe

- Oliver Copp (19-16) and Mike Sawyer (20-15) of Tough Talk: Site | Show

- Yours truly (23-12): frequent guest on FFD | FIGHT! Magazine | WGAM MMA Show

Let's get into it!

Mark Munoz (11-2) vs. Chris Leben (22-7)

This kicks off the five-round non-main event series, an auspicious debut considering how much non-attention has been placed on this card. Munoz has won three in a row and last beat Demian Maia by decision in June, while Leben KO'd Wanderlei Silva in July and has wins in four of his last five.

Munoz: Sempervive, Meltzer, Martin, Copp
Leben: Nason, Sawyer

Munoz gets the nod from the majority while Sawyer and I believe in the real UFC zombie.

Brad Pickett (20-5) vs. Renan Barao (26-1-0-1)

For the first time in two years, Pickett returns to England to fight in front of his countrymen in the biggest fight of his career: his UFC debut and in a co-main event, no less. Barao isn't a household name with fight fans, but his 27-fight undefeated streak should be. He made his Octagon debut in May with a decision win over Cole Escovedo.

Pickett: Copp
Barao: Nason, Sempervive, Meltzer, Sawyer, Martin

Copp ain't buyin' no win streak.

Thiago Alves (18-8) vs. Papy Abedi (8-0)

The odd story of Alves continues as he initially didn't make weight…again. He's lost three of his last four and has gone to five straight decisions after a run of five straight finishes. Abedi is making his UFC debut and has finishes in seven of his eight bouts.

Alves: Sempervive, Meltzer, Sawyer, Martin
Abedi: Nason, Copp

The majority goes with the veteran while Copp and I believe in the youngster.

Terry Etim (14-3) vs. Eddie Faaloloto (2-2)

Etim has been on the shelf for nearly 17 months recovering from a rib injury and last was seen getting submitted by Rafael dos Anjos way back in April 2010. Before that point, Etim earned two straight Submission Of The Night bonuses. The inexperienced Faaloloto has lost two in a row, including his UFC debut to Michael Johnson in June.

Etim: Nason, Sempervive, Meltzer, Sawyer, Martin, Copp

Cyrille Diabate (17-7-1) vs. Anthony Perosh (11-6)

The kickboxing ace Diabate is 2-1 in the UFC, last picking up a decision win over Steve Cantwell in March. Perosh made his return to the UFC in February 2010 as a late injury replacement and lost to Mirko Cro Cop. He dropped to 205 and picked up a second-round submission win one year later over Tom Blackledge in the promotion's return to Australia.

Diabate: Nason, Sempervive, Meltzer, Sawyer, Martin, Copp

Both Etim and "The Snake" gets the universal nod of approval.

Remember that in the U.S., the Facebook fights air at approximately 1:30 PM EST but the main card is on tape delay at 8 PM EST. Throughout the rest of the world, the show airs live. Follow along with all the action throughout the day here on the site.

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