The UFC events keep coming. Through UFC 96, the promotion will have put on six fight cards in 10 weeks. Cage Writer needed the quick rebound, UFC 94 was not kind to the wallet. Let's see what we can do for Saturday's Ultimate Fight Night 17 card.
UFN 17 ODDS (Venetian Resort Hotel Casino):
Cage Writer's official picks IN BOLD
JEREMY STEPHENS (+150) v. JOE LAUZON (-180) - LIGHTWEIGHT
This is a tough spot for Lauzon. He can't afford to slip up. A win over Hermes Franca would've launched him to the next level. Stephens can pull the upset. We saw at UFC 91 that the kid has power. I still question his ground game. Lauzon will make sure this one hits the mat at some point. His submissions are excellent and he's too disciplined to overlook Stephens or get away from his gameplan. There may be a little extra motivation with Stephens' being Franca's student. Franca and Lauzon have been really going at it on radio shows and message boards.
PICK: LAUZON -180
DENIS STOJNIC (+450) v. CAIN VELASQUEZ (-700) - HEAVYWEIGHT
This appears to be a tune up for Velasquez. Anytime you see a guy like Stojnic labeled a kickboxer, you have to be worried when he's facing a top level wrestler. Velasquez was a tremendous grappler at Arizona State and he's dominated his two UFC opponents, included former Purdue wrestler Jake O'Brien. That said, Stojnic does appear to be somewhat capable on the ground. I won't ever recommend laying seven dollars but Velasquez should win this fight.
PICK: VELASQUEZ -700
LUIGI FIORAVANTI (+200) v. ANTHONY JOHNSON (-250) - WELTERWEIGHT
This should be a slugfest and one of the many possible candidates for Fight of the Night. Fioravanti is an entertaining guy with heavy hands and he won't be afraid to stand and trade with Johnson. But we saw what happened when he did that with Diego Sanchez. He took the worst of it. Johnson is a real diamond in the rough. He's got a huge height advantage and that should make Fioravanti a sitting duck for his jab. This one ends with someone being stopped.
PICK: JOHNSON -250
MAC DANZIG (-115) v. JOSH NEER (-115) - LIGHTWEIGHT
This is a going to be a good one. Both guys are capable of taking the fight anywhere and both are in desperate need of a win after losing their last fight. Neer also has a recent DUI and police chase hanging over his head. Slight edge here to Danzig. He's got a good submission game but it won't be easy to finish Neer, he was a tough customer against Nate Diaz.
PICK: DANZIG -115
ROB EMERSON (+120) v. KURT PELLEGRINO (-150) - LIGHTWEIGHT
I still think Emerson is a little overrated and unreliable in terms of what kind of intensity he brings to the cage. He did get a big win against Manny Gamburyan but that may have been an isolated shot. Emerson poses some danger on the feet but don't expect it to stay there very long. Pellegrino is excellent on the ground. He'll get it there, break Emerson and finish the fight.
PICK: PELLEGRINO -150
JAKE ROSHOLT (+220) v. DAN MILLER (-300) - MIDDLEWEIGHT
We just haven't seen enough of Rosholt but we do know he's an excellent wrestler. He's part of the Oklahoma State crew that's made its way to Take Teamdown in Las Vegas. Miller is much more experienced and more well-rounded but he's prone to fighting at a slow pace. Rosholt has to watch out for submissions but we give him a shot if it's fought at a slow pace. Watch the conditioning too, Miller was a late addition with the injury to Alessio Sakara. Sakara was custom made for Rosholt's game, Miller not so much.
PICK: ROSHOLT +220