UFC on Fuel 8: Wrestling Observer Main Card Picks & Preview



UFC on Fuel 8

By Josh Nason

Another UFC card and it's a good one too. Too bad it's on Fuel though.

Our panel:

- Dave Meltzer (12-11): Wrestling Observer founder & writer

- Bryan Alvarez (12-7): Figure Four Weekly founder and writer

- Todd Martin (15-8): Weekly FFD guest | LA Times | Sherdog

- Mike Sempervive (12-11): Wrestling Observer Live | Big Audio Nightmare

- Mike Sawyer (14-9) of Tough Talk

- Josh Nason (17-6): Wrestling Observer web editor, social media guy

- Oliver Copp (12-11) of "Oliver Knows" fame

Wanderlei Silva (34-12-1-1) vs. Brian Stann (12-5): 205 pounds


In what could be his final fight and after a six-plus year absence, Silva returns to the place where he made his fighting name in the PRIDE ring. Since that last appearance, Silva lost more than he's won (3-6) and has become a feature fighter in the UFC.

He will fight the 32-year-old Stann, the popular military veteran that was last seen dropping a unanimous decision to Michael Bisping in September 2012. While Silva still has some pop, Stann hasn't lost via T/KO in more than four years. On the flip side, Stann has finishes in his last four victories and Silva has shown an increased propensity to lose via finish.

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

Mark Hunt (8-7) vs. Stefan Struve (25-5)

The improbable run of Hunt rolls into his former stomping grounds as the former K-1 star and Japanese MMA fighter comes home in the co-main event. On a three-fight win streak, Hunt has been out for a year due to various injuries. At 38 years old, that could be a tough barrier to get past.

Struve is coming into his own as a top contender, riding a four-fight win streak into Saturday. With finishes in his last six victories, Struve is not only winning but doing so convincingly. At just 25 years old, a win should put him one high-profile win away from a title shot.

Hunt: Sawyer, Copp
Struve: Martin, Alvarez, Meltzer, Sempervive, Nason

Diego Sanchez (23-5) vs. Takanori Gomi (34-8-0-1): 158-pound catchweight


In a recurring theme, Gomi again will perform where he made his name years ago, riding a two-fight win streak over average competition. Last seen edging out Mac Danzig by split decision in November, the 34-year-old steps up in competition level again -- a place where he's struggled thus far in the Octagon (Nate Diaz, Clay Guida).

Sanchez returns after a year-long absence and also heads back to 155-pounds for the first fight in several years. The problem? He weighed in at 158 pounds, so watching his physical condition as the bout wears on will be key. While he's just 2-3 in his last five, his last three were voted Fight Of The Night. Gatekeeper? Perhaps, but Sanchez is an entertaining one.

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

Yushin Okami (28-7) vs. Hector Lombard (32-3-1-1)

After being left for divisional dead following losses to Anderson Silva and Tim Boestch, Okami has picked up some steam with consecutive victories over Buddy Roberts and Alan Belcher. He gets another tough test in Lombard, who made his second UFC appearance much more impressive than his first one with a first round KO of Rousimar Palhares in December. We'll learn a lot about what's next for both men in this important middleweight fight.

Okami: Martin, Sawyer, Alvarez, Nason
Lombard: Copp, Meltzer, Sempervive

"Stun Gun" Kim (16-2-0-1) vs. Siyar Bahadurzada (21-4-1)

The 31-year-old Kim rebounded nicely from a bizarre loss to Demian Maia with a decision win over Paulo Thiago in November. He faces Bahadurzada, who has been off since debuting last April due to several injuries. He made his first UFC impression a great one with a 42 second KO of common foe Thiago. "The Killer" rides a seven fight win streak into Saturday.

Kim: Sawyer, Copp, Alvarez, Sempervive, Nason
Bahadurzada: Martin, Meltzer

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