UFC 90 predictions

NEIL SPRINGER -- SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 9:42 PM ET

Another lamb goes to the slaughter as Canadian Patrick Cote steps up to challenge Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title.

It's no secret that 'The Spider' has been lonely at the top of the UFC's 185-pound division. Of those to challenge him for the crown, no one has made it past the second round in one piece.

Now with Yushin Okami out of the picture due to a hand injury, and the UFC in desperate need of a title contender, Cote gets the opportunity of a lifetime.

Too bad he won't get to enjoy it for long. Cote is tough, but Silva is simply on another level when it comes to submissions and striking.

Also on the show is Thiago Alves, hot off his win over Matt Hughes. Alves looks to keep the momentum going as he faces top welterweight Josh Koscheck.

PPV fight card and predictions

Sean Sherk (32-3-1) vs. Tyson Griffin (12-1-0)

Wow. If ever there was a fight destined to go to a decision, this is it.

Great things often happen when two fighters cancel each other out. Since they clearly respect one another's wrestling ability, we may see more of a stand-up battle tonight.

While neither mixed martial artist is known for his striking, this could be an opportunity for them to show what they've got. For either fighter to earn a decisive win -- and for the match to be even remotely exciting -- they'll need to let their hands go.

Prediction: This is a total toss up, but something tells me Tyson Griffin will get the judges' nod.

Fabricio Werdum (11-3-1) vs. Junior Dos Santos (6-1-0)

You have to feel for Fabricio Werdum. With the exception of his boring loss to top heavyweight Andrei Arlovski, he's looked great in the UFC, defeating both Gabriel Gonzaga and Brandon Vera in convincing fashion.

Unfortunately, Dana White and company have overlooked him as a challenger to Randy Couture and given the opportunity to an over-hyped former WWE wrestler, Brock Lesnar.

Don't get me wrong, Brock was impressive against Heath Herring, but he still looks like an amateur wrestler in the octagon, not a mixed martial artist. How many times did he have Herring's back and opt not to go for a rear-naked choke, instead maintaining positional control?

Not to mention, Lesnar is also only 1-1 in UFC competition. Meanwhile, Werdum is 2-1 in the octagon and has battled some of the best fighters in the world in PRIDE.

Fortunately, he only has to win this to earn his shot.

Prediction: Werdum via second-round submission.

Rich Clementi (32-12-1) vs. Gray Maynard (5-0-1)

Clementi has enjoyed an impressive run over the last year, winning his last six fights -- four of which were in the UFC. However, all good things must come to an end.

The simple truth here is that Maynard is a huge lightweight and his strength will pose too many problems for 'No Love.' Clementi may be able to catch him in a submission, but that will be difficult to say the least.

Prediction: Maynard by decision.

Josh Koscheck (11-2-0) vs. Thiago Alves (15-3-0)

This was originally supposed to be Diego Sanchez against Thiago Alves, but 'Nightmare' had to pull out due to torn rib cartilage. Hopefully we'll see that fight sometime down the road.

In the meantime, you couldn't ask for a better replacement than Koscheck, who, like Alves, is close to a welterweight title shot.

For Alves to win, he's got to keep Koscheck standing. If he can stay on his feet, he will overwhelm his opponent.

Koscheck, on the other hand, needs to secure the takedown and work his ground-and-pound. Not to be overlooked is the fact that he trains with Jon Fitch, who owns a TKO win over Alves.

Both guys are primed for big things in this sport, but in this fight, Koscheck will get him down and punish him on the ground.

Prediction: Koscheck by second round KO/TKO.

Anderson Silva (22-4-0) vs. Patrick Cote (13-4-0)

The sport has seen many shocking upsets over the years. After all, no one thought Matt Serra could ever defeat Georges St. Pierre.

Hell, even I didn't think Forrest Griffin had a chance against Quinton Jackson. Though I maintain 'The Ultimate Fighter' winner was lucky to have three blind mice at the judges table that evening, he still gave Rampage a hell of a fight.

It has been proven time and time again that anything can happen in MMA. However, this will not be one of those occasions.

If Silva doesn't knock Cote out, he will submit him.

Prediction: Silva by first round KO/TKO.

Click here for live coverage of UFC 90: Silva vs. Cote.


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