UFC 86 predictions

NEIL SPRINGER -- SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 11:09 PM ET

Quinton (Rampage) Jackson defends his UFC light-heavyweight title against Ultimate Fighter winner Forrest Griffin.

Also, Ricardo Almeida and Patrick Cote battle to determine the number one contender for Anderson Silva's middleweight belt.

Event card and predictions

Tyson Griffin (11-1-0) vs. Marcus Aurelio (16-5-0)

This has the makings of fight of the night. Griffin is a tough wrestler with excellent cardio. Aurelio is slick on the ground and holds a submission victory over Takanori Gomi.

Griffin should try to work his stand-up more as he won't necessarily want to go to the ground with Aurelio, who will no doubt be looking for a submission.

Really though, there are only two guarantees in life. The first is death; the second is Tyson Griffin will get the judges' nod.

Prediction: Griffin by decision.

Josh Koscheck (10-2-0) vs. Chris Lytle (25-15-5)

With every bout, Josh Koscheck matures as a fighter. At one point just a wrestler, he's developed some good stand-up skills and proved he has tons of heart and composure.

Chris Lytle is just about as tough as they come. And he's a very talented submission fighter with great boxing ability.

This should be a competitive fight, but I think Koscheck is destined to have a title shot in the near future.

Prediction: Koscheck by second round KO/TKO.

Joe Stevenson (28-8-0) vs. Gleison Tibau (15-5-0)

In his last match, a boring affair with Tyson Griffin, Tibau lost by unanimous decision. Needless to say his spot with the company could be at stake in this fight. Stevenson is coming off a serious beating at the hands of BJ Penn and needs to get back in the win column.

Stevenson has a ton of heart and isn't about to lay down for anyone. Tibau's got his hands full here.

Prediction: Stevenson via second round KO/TKO.

Patrick Cote (12-4-0) vs. Ricardo Almeida (9-2-0)

While both fighters are very talented, neither has earned the chance to be number one contender yet. It seems Dana White forgot all about Yushin Okami. Oh well, that's the way the cookie crumbles.

It's nice to see Patrick Cote finally come into his own in the UFC. For a while it looked like he was destined never to get over that hump.

While Cote was able to beat two dangerous strikers in Kendall Grove and Drew McFedries, he's had trouble with submission fighters in the past. He already knows what Almeida's game plan is, but preventing it is a whole different matter.

Prediction: Almeida by first round submission.

Quinton Jackson (28-6-0) vs. Forrest Griffin (15-4-0)

I know I said the same thing when Griffin fought Shogun, but I do not like his chances here. Jackson has dynamite in his hands and a rock-solid chin. While Griffin can take a shot, he does not posses the same knockout power and isn't nearly as sharp with his stand-up.

He's also been known to eat a lot of punches in his fights. If anyone is going to test his chin, it'll be Rampage.

Forrest's cardio is top-notch, but Rampage isn't too far behind – he had a 25-minute war with a very game Dan Henderson.

If Griffin can take him down, he might have a shot. He does have the edge in submissions.

But Rampage's wrestling ability is too good for that to happen. Conversely, if Griffin is taken down, he can expect to eat some nasty ground-and-pound.

Simply put, Jackson is stronger and nastier than Griffin can ever hope to be.

Prediction: Jackson by first round KO/TKO.

Click here for live coverage of UFC 86: Jackson vs. Griffin.


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