Josh Gross
Friday October 24th, 2008

Here's how I see UFC 90 in Chicago playing out on Saturday.

History suggests Cote shouldn't be much of a threat to the UFC middleweight champion. Barring a wayward punch, Silva's night against a shorter striker, who's not known for wrestling or submission work, should conclude with the champ's ninth consecutive finish. Expect the end to come from the outside. Cote's a veteran striker who should defend his way out of Silva's tangling Thai clinch. But that could leave him lunging to find the Brazilian's chin, leaving an opening to be countered. Prediction: Silva wins by KO in second round

An excellent fight -- and to think it was made just two weeks ago when Diego Sanchez tore cartilage in his ribs. Koscheck, the late replacement, has improved as much as anyone over the past three years, but not to the point where his transitions between striking, wrestling and submission come seamlessly. Alves, too, isn't as good as he's going to be. However, that won't stop him from winning the battle of young welterweights. Koscheck must strike to set up takedowns, otherwise he'll shoot double-legs that Alves can defend. Both men will have their moments, but Alves should find a few more and win on points. Prediction: Alves wins by decision

It's raw power versus experience. Looking at their records, Clementi owns a 39-fight edge. But that gulf shouldn't bother Maynard, a big, physical wrestler who's improved with each outing. Expect Maynard to pressure Clementi with takedowns. He won't hit all of them, but he'll land enough to control the fight. Clementi's best bet is snagging a submission, which he's more than capable of doing, especially against someone who hasn't been called upon to fend off serious choke and joint lock threats. Prediction: Maynard wins by decision

Werdum gets a break here. While he deserves to fight Randy Couture instead of Brock Lesnar, the Brazilian heavyweight finds himself in a tune-up fight that should make him appear impressive. Dos Santos, in his UFC and U.S. debut, hasn't distinguished himself against mixed opposition in Brazil. Werdum will make it look relatively easy, to the point that some might wonder why he couldn't put it away sooner. Prediction: Werdum wins by TKO in third round

If Silva stopping Cote isn't enough of a guarantee for you, then rest easy knowing this lightweight tilt will go the distance. Prior to losing to B.J. Penn, Sherk heard the closing bell three fights in a row. Griffin, meanwhile, has needed the full 15 minutes in five consecutive fights. What we have here is an incredibly even match, with two stout wrestlers (and underrated strikers) mixing it up. If there's an edge, it belongs to Griffin, who should threaten with submissions once or twice. It'll be those moments that sway judges in a tough one to call. Prediction: Griffin wins by decision

Thales Leites vs. Drew McFedries Prediction: Leites wins by submission in first round

Spencer Fisher vs Shannon Gugerty Prediction: Fisher wins by KO in third round

Dan Miller vs. Matt Horwich Prediction: Miller wins by decision

Marcus Aurelio vs. Hermes Franca Prediction: Aurelio wins by decision

Josh Burkman vs. Pete Sell Prediction: Burkman wins by TKO in second round

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