This season is stacked!
After all the weak links have been eliminated in the first round, this is shaping up to be a contest filled with very skilled fighters. Everybody left in the contest has a fair chance at winning the contest. This is my take on all of the fighters. Keep in mind that it is 5-3 Team Pulver, so two Pulver guys have to fight each other.
Joe Lauzon - The most impressive thus far. Easily the #1 fighter in the house. He will make it to the next round no matter who he fights. The easiest fight for him would be Corey or Brandon.
Matt Wiman - Looked very good in his fight with Marlon Sims. He also showed promise in his fight with Spencer Fisher at UFC 63. He is a strong contender. He best matches up against Corey, Nick and Brandon.
Gray Maynard - Although Gray has great wrestling skills, he should he needs a little work on his finishing. He is still a top contender, but he does have some holes. Untested standup. His best shot at making it into the next round is fighting Brandon or Corey.
Manny Gamburayan - Manny showed really good ground skills and aggression in his prelim against Noah. Manny's best way to make it into the next round would be a fight with Gray.
Nate Diaz - Nate is a good fighter, but at the same time, his well-rounded style makes him a wild horse. There is possibility that the stronger grapplers like Gray and Manny can give him problems, and the more powerful strikers like Brandon and Matt can give him problems. He did show good submissions and well-roundedness, and he has shown interest in fighting Joe, so the best fights for him would be Joe and Gray(possible sub).
Cole Miller - Cole is the wild card at this point. We don't know much about him except that he is well rounded, and he has good subs. The best matchups for Cole would be Brandon and Gray(sub).
Corey Hill - Despite all of the hype, Corey is one of the weaker links in the contest right now. However, his long reach and his height will pose problems for grapplers and wrestlers alike. He doesn't match up well with anyone from Team Penn, but he has shown himself as the leader of Team Pulver, so I doubt he will be the guy to fight his own teammate. In this case, I think that Gray is the best match up for him. Although Gray is the better wrestler, I can see Corey using him TD defense to keep the fight on the feet, and frustrate Gray with the jab. Altogether, the best fight for Corey is Brandon, for obvious reasons.
Brandon Melendez - Brandon is the weakest link at this point in the contest. All matchups pose problems for his one-dimensional game. Although they have shown signs of friendship, the best stylistic fight for Brandon would be Nate. Nate's power-lacking punches would be no match for Brandon's power, and Brandon has a chance of catching Nate or pounding out a decision.
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