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UFC 106: Preview and Predictions...By Jay Graziani

UFC 106: Ortiz vs. Griffin 2
Saturday, November 21st, 10 PM ET, live on pay-per-view
Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas
Weigh-in: Friday, November 20th, 7 PM ET, live on
Current odds from

George Sotiropoulos (10-2-0) vs. Jason "Dynamite" Dent (19-9-0)
Current Odds: Sotiropoulos -450; Dent +370

Sotiropoulos is 3-0 since his TUF 6 run, including a recent submission win over George Roop in Sotiropoulos's lightweight debut. Dent's a recent graduate of TUF 9, falling to eventual champ Ross Pearson, but bouncing back to defeat Cameron Dollar in the season finale. Dent has an extensive fighting record spanning 6 years, but has struggled in tough spots and will struggle once again against the more talented Sotiropoulos. Prediction: Sotiropoulos by decision.

Caol Uno (25-12-4) vs. Fabricio Camoes (10-4-0)
Current Odds: Uno -240; Camoes +190

Thirteen-year veteran Uno is reeling of late, losing 3 of his last 4, including a decision loss to Spencer Fisher in his recent return to the Octagon after a nearly 6-year hiatus. Camoes makes his UFC debut in the midst of a 6-run win streak, including a recent appearance in Strikeforce. Despite being a newcomer to the Octagon, Camoes has a strong pedigree and is worth a look against a fading vet. Prediction: Camoes, 3rd round submission.

Brock Larson (26-3-0) vs. Brian Foster (12-4-0)
Current Odds: Larson -465; Foster +365

The red-hot Larson was derailed by a shocking decision loss to Mike Pierce in a fight which saw little in the way of action. Foster is also coming off a loss, in his case a 2nd round submission to Rick Story. Both fight from wrestling bases, and that's a tough game to beat Larson at, despite his uncharacteristically poor showing against Pierce. Prediction: Larson by decision.

Paulo Thiago (11-1-0) vs. Jacob Volkmann (9-0-0)
Current Odds: Thiago -240; Volkmann +190

Thiago was handed his sole loss when the judges ruled against him in a hard-fought battle against contender Jon Fitch. Volkmann, a submission specialist, has drawn a tough straw for his UFC debut, and his 9-0 record in tiny events is not going to be enough to prepare him to fight at this level. Look for Thiago to reclaim his top contender status with a decisive win. Prediction: Thiago, 1st round TKO.

Kendall "Da Spyder" Grove (10-6-0) vs. Jake Rosholt (6-1-0)
Current Odds: Grove +140; Rosholt -170

Grove was game in falling to Ricardo Almeida as a slight underdog, but despite the effort finds himself with only 2 wins in his last 5 bouts and his career on the ropes. Rosholt submitted Chris Leben to bring his UFC record to 1-1 despite sporting a 6-1 tally overall. Grove has been inconsistent, but has demonstrated he has the talent to compete in the division, and his ground skills should allow him to neutralize Rosholt's high-level wrestling ability. Prediction: Grove, 2nd round submission.

Ben "Killa B" Saunders (7-1-2) vs. Marcus "The Irish Hand Grenade" Davis (16-5-0)
Current Odds: Davis -205; Saunders +165

Both fighters are coming off recent losses, Saunders to Mike Swick and Davis to Dan Hardy. While Saunders' height and jiu-jitsu are a concern, Davis's striking, chin, and experience give him a solid edge. Prediction: Davis, 2nd round TKO.

Karo "The Heat" Parisyan (18-5-0) vs. Dustin Hazelett (12-4-0)

The once-promising career of Karo Parisyan has been derailed too many times to count, including a positive test for painkillers which saw his narrow split decision over Dong Hyun Kim overturned. Two days before the weigh-in, he pulled out of this fight for yet-undisclosed reasons, permanently ending his UFC career.

Luiz "Banha" Cane (10-1-0) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (17-3-0)
Current Odds: Cane +110; Nogueira -140

Cane has been victorious in 3 straight since losing his UFC debut. Nogueira, not be be confused with his twin brother who recently decisioned Randy Couture, is making his UFC debut after a storied career in PRIDE and, more recently, Affliction. Cane has struggled when facing top competition, and Nogueira has much more experience than he can handle. Prediction: Nogueira, 1st round submission.

Amir Sadollah (1-1-0) vs. Phil "New York Badass" Baroni (13-11-0)
Current Odds: Sadollah -220; Baroni +180

Sadollah was TKO'ed in less than 30 seconds in his second turn in the Octagon, despite his impressive championship run on TUF 7. While Sadollah has only two professional fights to his name, Baroni has been fighting for over 9 years and makes his first appearance in the Octagon since UFC 51 in 2005. While you have to wonder how much Baroni has in the tank after losing 4 of his last 7, Sadollah's lack of experience make betting on him hard to swallow at this point of his career, especially against a battle-worn veteran. Prediction: Baroni, 1st round TKO.

Josh "Kos" Koscheck (13-4-0) vs. Anthony "Rumble" Johnson (8-2-0)
Current Odds: Koscheck +100; Johnson -130

Koscheck fought a mere 2 months ago, needing only 85 seconds to KO Frank Trigg as a 4-to-1 favorite. He was recruited to be part of the co-main event after the medical withdrawl of Brock Lesnar devastated the card, and fights here on less than a month's notice. Knockout artist Johnson is fighting on even less rest, KO'ing Yoshiyuki Yoshida in 41 seconds less than a month ago. Both are striker-wrestlers, but Koscheck would be wise to keep this on the mat to neutralize Johnson's reach and power, and to capitalize on his great ground skills. Prediction: Koscheck, 2nd round TKO.

Tito "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" Ortiz (15-6-1) vs. Forrest Griffin (16-6-0)
Current Odds: Ortiz +100; Griffin -130

Ortiz hasn't fought since May of last year, and hasn't won a fight since October of 2006, posting a 0-2-1 record since. He was originally slated to fight Mark Coleman on the undercard; an injury to Coleman and an illness to Brock Lesnar now finds him facing Forrest Griffin in the headliner, a rematch of Ortiz's decision win three and a half years ago. Griffin hasn't had a great year, losing the Light Heavyweight title to Rashad Evans and then being utterly embarrassed by Anderson Silva in their August match. Ortiz and Griffin have nearly identical records, despite Ortiz having a 4 year headstart with his career. It's easy to forget that less than a year ago Griffin sat atop the lightweight division, and he's certainly improved since his loss to Ortiz in 2006. The big question will be Forrest's mental state after two straight knockouts, as any slips will be capitalized on by the veteran Ortiz. At this price, though, Griffin is being a bit underrated due to his recent poor performance. Prediction: Griffin, 3rd round TKO.

Picks (2009): 21-40 -34.10 units; Best Bets: 6-8 -4.75 units
Paulo Thiago -240 (Best Bet)
Kendall Grove +140
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira -140 (Best Bet)
Phil Baroni +180
Josh Koscheck +100

Opinions (2009): 41-41 -6.25 units
George Sotiropoulos -450
Fabricio Camoes +190
Brock Larson -465
Marcus Davis -205
Forrest Griffin -130

Jay Graziani

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