UFC 98 predictions

NEIL SPRINGER -- SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

Lyoto Machida challenges Rashad Evans for the UFC light-heavyweight title. Also, Matt Hughes and Matt Serra finally throw down.

Sean Sherk (33-3-1) vs. Frank Edgar (9-1-0)

Well, this fight certainly has 'decision' written all over it.

Both competitors have great wrestling and cardio, but you can probably give the edge to Sherk in both categories. The former UFC lightweight champion also has underrated striking abilities and is more powerful than Edgar.

Prediction: Sherk by decision.

Dan Miller (11-1-1) vs. Chael Sonnen (21-10-1)

Sonnen had a rough return to the octagon at UFC 95, getting submitted in the first round by Demian Maia. If he hopes to stay with the company, he'll need to impress tonight.

Unfortunately, he's got another tough test ahead of him in former IFL middleweight champion Dan Miller.

Miller is a talented submission fighter -- seven of his 11 wins have come by tap-out -- who stands a good chance of pulling off the upset if he can get the fight to the ground.

If Sonnen looks to stay in the UFC, he'll need to stuff any takedown attempts and put Miller away on his feet.

Prediction: What the hell, I'll call the upset. Miller by second-round submission.

Drew McFedries (7-5-0) vs. Xavier Foupa-Pokam (20-10-0)

Despite losing a unanimous decision to Denis Kang at UFC 97, Foupa-Pokam proved his striking is the real deal. Kang, a very good striker in his own right, was clearly having difficulties with Professor X's stand-up game and had no choice but to utilize his wrestling to get the judges' nod.

Tonight Foupa-Pokam faces a powerful opponent in McFedries. Though he may only need one punch to win, McFedries is clearly out-matched on his feet. Expect a violent finish to this one.

Prediction: Foupa-Pokam by first round KO/TKO.

Matt Hughes (42-7-0) vs. Matt Serra (9-5-0)

A year and a half later, we finally get the 'Battle of the Matts.' But after all that time, do fans still care?

Neither has been featured prominently in the current welterweight title scene and it's been over a year since they were coaches on The Ultimate Fighter. That's not to say this won't be an entertaining grudge match -- I'm sure their feelings toward one another haven't changed since TUF.

If this stays a stand-up war, give the edge to Serra. His boxing in very underrated and he has proven in the past to be a deceptively powerful striker.

However, if Hughes gets him down, he'll either ride out a decision or dish out the kind of beatdown he gave Royce Gracie.

Prediction: Hughes by decision

Rashad Evans (13-0-1) vs. Lyoto Machida (14-0-0)

Some people are no doubt expecting this to be a boring showdown -- including members of the UFC brass, I'm sure. Both men are known for being patient and elusive, not for swinging for the fences.

However, sizing the two up against each other, Machida appears to have Evans' number in every category except wrestling. However, Machida's speed will make it difficult for Evans to even secure a takedown.

Oddly enough, though, I have a hunch Machida will surprise Evans by coming out aggressive.

Prediction: Machida by third round KO/TKO


Photos