UFC 137: Stick with Nick

Nick Diaz

Nick Diaz

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:55 PM ET

It's a card plagued with name changes and the highest absentee rate of pre-fight events in UFC history.

But despite champ Georges St. Pierre being sidelined with an injury and Nick Diaz playing see-saw between the main and co-main events as part of the reprimand for playing hooky from press conferences, UFC 137 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas has some interesting matchups.

So here are the always dangerous Scrapyard predictions for Saturday's main card:

* Nick Diaz (25-7) vs. B.J. Penn (16-7-2) -- This has all the makings of a classic. Both guys are solid on the ground with a slight edge to Penn. Both guys can swing with a slight edge going to Diaz. The always-abrasive Diaz will likely try to get into Penn's head with trash talking and other general irritants. But Penn has been around long enough to not let that get him off his game plan. Cardio edge also goes to Diaz, who may have more to prove.

PREDICTION: Diaz by split decision.

* Cheick Kongo (16-6-2) vs. Matt Mitrione (5-0) -- One thing's for certain: No matter how many power shots Kongo lands, it will be hard to wipe the smile off Mitrione's face. The former NFLer may not have the stand-up pedigree of the hard-hitting Frenchman, but he relishes being in the cage and always seems to find a way to win. Look for Mitrione to take down Kongo and try to capitalize on his weak ground game. It could be a cumbersome affair, which would benefit Mitrione.

PREDICTION: Mitrione by decision.

* Mirko ( C ro Cop) Filipovic (27-9-2) vs. Roy Nelson (15-6) -- One of the hardest left kicks in the business against one of the toughest jaws. Filipovic--entering his last fight on his current UFC contract--is a walking-highlight reel. But none of those have come in the UFC. Nelson has become a fan favourite for his relentless style and beer-drinker physique. Nelson -- who also has knockout power --will be too much for the legendary Croatian.

PREDICTION: Nelson by second-round knockout.

* Hatsu Hioki (24-4-2) vs. George Roop (12-7-1) -- UFC newcomer Hioki comes in with a stellar record and victories over Mark Hominick and Jeff Curran. Roop is tough, but also overmatched.

PREDICTION: Hioki by second-round submission.

* Jeff Curran (33-13-1) vs. Scott Jorgensen (12-4)  --Curran has the experience, but Jorgensen has the edge on the ground. Jorgensen is a controlling wrestler and Curran -- despite his resiliency -- will be forced to spend too much time on defence.

PREDICTION: Jorgensen by decision.


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