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Old 02-19-2009, 11:34 AM
jakkups
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Default Pros Pick: Sanchez vs. Stevenson

Pros Pick: Sanchez vs. Stevenson

Quote:
Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez and Joe “Daddy” Stevenson climb into the cage Saturday in London for the main event of UFC 95.

Stevenson is coming off a loss to Kenny Florian and has dropped two of his last three. A loss at the hands of Sanchez will knock him even farther down the lightweight ladder, but a win could keep him in the hunt.

Sanchez will also be looking for a victory in what will be his lightweight debut. It’s a solid matchup between two winners of “The Ultimate Fighter,” and Sherdog.com spoke with dozens of fighters and trainers to see which pugilist the pros are picking:

Randy Couture: This is a great matchup. Both guys have had up and down performances. I give the nod to Joe Stevenson. His striking and wrestling skills are a notch better than Diego’s. I think that’ll be enough to put Joe on top. It has the potential to be the fight of the night if these two are on.

Kit Cope: This is one of the best matchups possible, provided that Diego doesn't think he's a boxer again. It could go one of two ways: a phenomenal, high-paced grappling match ending in a close decision for Diego or both men nullifying the takedown attempts of the other and Diego edging out Joe in an improved striking game.

Jaime Fletcher: Joe Stevenson is from (the Inland Empire in California) like me, so I’ll be rooting for him. I think Diego has the tools to beat Joe, and his conditioning is never a question. Also with him coming down from 170, he should have a size advantage as well. That being said, I think Diego will win, but Joe could pull out a sub. Front choke, baby, yeah!

Duke Roufus: Joe Daddy wins via a better-rounded game.

Travis Wiuff: I like Diego in this one. He’s had some rough losses, so I think that plus the change in weight classes will bring in a more improved Diego Sanchez. Never seen either fighter in a boring fight, so should be an exciting fight.

Joe Lambert: Joe (by) TKO.

Marvin Eastman: Sanchez by decision.

Pete Sell: Diego looked impressive (in) his last fight. He stepped his game up, and that was at 170. At 155 he will be bigger, so I got to go with Diego by knockout.

Scott Bieri: Damn. This is like school: It’s hard and I get the answers wrong.

Mike Dolce: This is a tough one for me since I'm really trying to protect my streak here. If you remember, I correctly picked Rampage to KO Wanderlei in the first round, Mir to upset Nogueira and even St. Pierre to TKO Penn in round four. Too bad I'm not a betting man! But for this fight at the O2 Arena, I'll be sitting cageside watching it all unfold and something tells me even with that close vantage point, I still may not be able to pick a clear winner. Both guys are ground wizards capable of show-stopping submissions at any moment. Each possesses an improving striking game, which I'd score as even. Diego gets the nod as the better wrestler and is typically more conditioned, but 155 is Stevenson's home and Sanchez is just popping down for a visit ... possibly a very costly one. This could be the deciding factor in the fight: Diego's “nightmarish” weight cut. Trust me, I used to weigh 280 pounds and now fight at 170, and I gotta tell you, once I lost 42 pounds in six weeks, made my weight, rehydrated up to 202 and fought like crap. I never got my legs under me and couldn't get going in the fight. There's a myriad of adverse physiological reactions going on when a human dehydrates himself to such a point, and no matter how well thought the plan, it really is a crapshoot. That being said, I'm going to give the edge to Stevenson by unanimous decision. He's used to the weight class and only has to fight Diego on February 21. Sanchez, on the other hand, has been battling the scale for the past six weeks and may not have enough left in the tank to give “Daddy” a “Nightmare” of a night.

Eddy Millis: I have Diego by submission.

Nick Thompson: Diego will outwork Stevenson. Stevenson will gas, and Diego will submit him (near) the end of (the second).

Shawn Tompkins: I think Diego is gonna be a beast at 155 pounds if he can handle the weight cut. Joe Stevenson is slick on the ground, but Sanchez has been there many times. I see this fight as a three-round decision for Diego Sanchez.

Cung Le: Diego wins but has to go the distance.

Mike Whitehead: Joe by decision! Go Joe Daddy!

Elvis Sinosic: Should be an interesting fight. Both guys have strong wrestling. Both have solid grappling skills. I think Diego has the better standup. Look for Diego to push standing. I think this will go to the ground and become a grappling match. Diego is better whether on top or off his back. Look for Diego to win this match, possibly even by decision.

Kevin Burns: I think Joe Daddy will be victorious in this fight. It’s the first time we’ll have a chance to see Diego deal with the weight cut. I see the fight going to the ground early.

Rick Roufus: I met Joe. He’s a great guy, but I think Diego’s too big and too strong. (Diego will) out-muscle him, out-strike him and he’s better on the ground with wrestling and he’ll be able to manhandle him. Diego by KO.

Patrick Cote: I’m going with Diego. He was fast and explosive at 170, (and) at 155 he will be a very, very tough opponent.

Gabe Ruediger: Not too sure. Diego looked good at 170 and Joe is a very tough competitor. Both have good wrestling and ground. I think this might be one of those fights where they nullify each other. I’ll go with Diego because I honestly don’t know.

Stephane Vigneault: I think Sanchez is scared of GSP and Thiago Alves, and that’s why he dropped down a weight class. But at 155, he is the kind of guy who can give a hard time to BJ Penn. A rematch with Florian, that is what I want (to see). (Diego) is gonna beat Stevenson by TKO or submission.

Tom Gavrilos: I have to give the edge to Diego on this. Joe is a very well-rounded fighter, a great fighter, but I feel he will be limited by his reach. If the fight goes to the ground, where reach is less of a factor, I still believe he will have trouble controlling and/or finishing Diego there. I look forward to this fight. It’s hard to stop Joe, as he can take a punch and has so much heart. Overall I have to choose Diego by decision in this one.

Jamie Varner: I agree (with Gavrilos).

Stav Economou: I'm going with Diego Sanchez on this one. I just don't see a way that Joe Stevenson could win. Sanchez will be too big and too strong for Joe Daddy to handle. Expect to see “The Nightmare” win a unanimous decision.

Michael Guymon: Very evenly matched guys on this fight. Great jiu-jitsu matchup for sure, but I see the standup being an issue. This is where Joe, I think, will edge this one out. But what the hell do I know? The last few picks I had got killed. Maybe I'm dyslexic.

Brad Blackburn: First off, I think that Joe Stevenson and Diego Sanchez are both really good fighters and this fight could go either way. I would give an edge to Diego because of his standup and being able to match or beat Joe on the ground. But like I always say, a fight’s a fight. Anything can happen.

Pros who picked Sanchez: 18
Pros who picked Stevenson: 7
Pros who couldn’t pick a winner: 1
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#2
Old 02-21-2009, 08:51 AM
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Default Yang

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