SI.com's UFC 131 Predictions
MMA analysts Ben Fowlkes, Tim Marchman, Steven Marrocco, Jeff Wagenheim and Jon Wertheim, along with SI.com's readers, provide their predictions for UFC 131 on Saturday in Vancouver.
Junior dos Santos (12-1-0) vs. Shane Carwin (12-1-0)
Fowlkes
If this fight happens at a distance, Dos Santos will pick Carwin apart in a hurry. But Carwin knows this, and he'll make it his mission to get in close. Carwin by TKO.
Marchman
Carwin has yet to prove that he can fight for more than four minutes, and I think Dos Santos will make him. Dos Santos by TKO.
Marrocco
The Brazilian has that glow around him right now. Provided he stays in the center of the cage and off his back, Dos Santos should win a chess match. Dos Santos by decision.
Wagenheim
Dos Santos has the hand speed to beat Carwin to the punch, but Shane has the resiliency to take one to give one. An even more hurtful one. Carwin by TKO.
Wertheim
Carwin -- the Brock Lesnar fill-in -- is bigger and stronger, but he's coming off injury. JDS is a better striker and athlete. Dos Santos by TKO.
Readers
In an SI.com poll, 51 percent of our readers said Carwin will beat Dos Santos.
Kenny Florian (15-5-0) vs. Diego Nunes (16-1-0)
Fowlkes
The biggest concern for Florian is the weight cut. Nunes is tough, but skill-for-skill, Florian is better, not to mention more experienced. Florian by decision.
Marchman
Florian surely knows his body better than anyone else, but I'm skeptical about a 35-year-old fighter dropping to what is now his fourth weight class. Nunes by decision.
Marrocco
Florian has more tools at his disposal and more high-level competition on his resume. A picture of a sandwich is all the motivation he'll need to maul Nunes. Florian by TKO.
Wagenheim
If Florian can handle the weight cut, he can handle whatever Nunes brings. Unless the Brazilian has learned to wrestle. Florian by submission.
Wertheim
K-Flo or K-Fly? New weight class for Florian, but BJJ skills remain. If the weight cut doesn't beat him, neither will Nunes. Florian by submission.
Readers
In an SI.com poll, 51 percent of our readers said Nunes will beat Florian.
John-Olav Einemo (7-1-0) vs. Dave Herman (20-2-0)
Fowlkes
Toss-up. Einemo hasn't fought in nearly five years. Herman just hasn't fought anyone good lately. I'll take the guy whose only loss is Fabricio Werdum. Einemo by submission.
Marchman
Einemo isnt young and hasn't fought MMA in years, but he is an elite grappler. Herman, for all his KOs, has been fighting guys like Don Frye and Sokoudjou. Einemo by decision.
Marrocco
Ah, injury shuffles. A 6-1 guy who hasn't fought in nearly five years against a 20-2 guy that fought this past December. I think I'll play it safe. Herman by TKO.
Wagenheim
Neither guy has fought in the UFC before, so there are a lot of X factors here. Another factor is XX -- the Roman numeral for Herman's win total. Herman by TKO.
Wertheim
Herman is a complete and experienced fighter without a glaring weakness. Hard to see how Einemo, a Norwegian who hasn't fought since 2006 wins this. Herman by TKO.
Readers
In an SI.com poll, 77 percent of our readers said Herman will beat Einemo.
Demian Maia (14-2-0) vs. Mark Munoz (10-2-0)
Fowlkes
Both think they can win standing, but someone will try to take it down. That someone will be Maia, but only after he's felt Munoz's power. Munoz by decision.
Marchman
This is in theory a wonderful matchup between a high end grappler and a high end wrestler. In practice, Munoz is not a high end MMA wrestler. Maia by submission.
Marrocco
I'd put a high-level wrestler over a jiu-jitsu guy any day of the week. Munoz is going to sprawl and brawl, and Maia will have a long night. Munoz by decision.
Wagenheim
Maia creates masterworks on the canvas, but can he take down a virtuoso wrestler? And Munoz is dangerous standing, so Demian might go down involuntarily. Munoz by TKO.
Wertheim
Interesting contrast: a submission expert and a wrestler. Like a venus fly trap, Maia can catch wrestlers, but Munoz is a star on the make. Munoz by decision.
Readers
In an SI.com poll, 59 percent of our readers said Maia will beat Munoz.
Donald Cerrone (14-3-0, 1 NC) vs. Vagner Rocha (6-1-0)
Fowlkes
Unless Rocha has gotten considerably better since the Strikeforce prelims last June, I don't see how he beats Cerrone. Cerrone by TKO.
Marchman
In Cerrones 732nd fight in the last calendar year, hes fighting a replacement who probably isnt ready to compete at this level. Cerrone by submission.
Marrocco
Cerrone is a lot savvier fighter since his loss to Ben Henderson, and he's going to eat Rocha for breakfast. Cerrone by TKO.
Wagenheim
Twelve of Cerrone's 14 wins have been by submission, but to lasso a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, "The Cowboy" might have to dig into his kickboxing roots. Cerrone by TKO.
Wertheim
Cerrone, an experienced WEC regular ought to handle, Rocha a little-known Brazilian filling in for Mac Danzig. Cerrone by decision.
Readers
In an SI.com poll, 75 percent of our readers said Cerrone will beat Rocha.
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