Just thought I would add some of my thoughts for the event and open it up for some discussion tonight.
The only way I see Nog or Silva losing is if they show up looking old and slow. They have both been through a ton of brutual grueling fights over the years and they are both starting to show their age.
On paper I dont see how Mir can beat Nog. Nog has better striking, chin, endurance, ground game, and heart. Even if Nog does in fact look slow and old I think he will still be able to pull out a win. Mir will not force the action enough and imo simply does not have the ability to take advantage of Nogs weaknesses. Now an explosive powerful wrestler like Lesnar will in fact be able to exploit Nog.
If Silva comes out with his same intensity as in the past I think he will be too much for Rampage. As talented as Rampage is he has failed to pick up on some basic skills. He did not check the leg kicks of Forrest and he was not able adjust to the clinch work of Wanderlei in either of their fights. If this fight stays standing and Silva pressures Rampage I dont think Rampage will be able to withstand the pressure. His boxing is good but not good enough to keep Silva at a distance and he has yet to show he can fight his way out of the clinch.
His best chance is to use the cage to aid his wrestling, slow Silva down and keep him on the ground. It also helps that he cant be need or kicked in the head while down so he can afford to shoot more and not worry about not getting stuck underneath and getting pummeled.
Unfortunately for Silva if his age is showing he is facing a quality opponent who will take advantage of it. I think his best bet is to come out guns blazing and try to put Rampage away quickly. He will test Rampage to see if his clinch game has improved and if he lands a few knees I think Rampage will go into panic mode.
As for the main event I think it could be a pretty good fight but it also has the potential to be a five round snooze fest. Forrest is now inclinded to use his reach to kickbox from a distance without really putting himself in danger. Rashad is a counter fighter who can go several minutes without doing much. Evans has quicker more explosive hands so he needs to get inside and test Forrests chin. He has the wrestling advantage but he should only go for takedowns occasionally just to keep forrest off balance and unsure of what Evans is trying to do. I think if he strictly tries to wrestle the size of Forrest will eventually wear him down.
I do not think Forrest will really tire out Evans as Rashad picks his spots so he does not waste that much energy. The Forrest of old may have gotten into brawls but now he is more likely to remain patient picking away from the outside. I know forrest has good submission skills but I think Rashad has very good sub defense so he should be fine on top.
I see it starting off slow but somewhere in the second or third round Rashads hand speed and power will catch up to Forrest. He will drop Forrest and finish him with gnp.
My heart is telling me to go with the Jersey boy in Massenzio but my head is telling me Dollaway. The wrestling is pretty even so that kind of cancels out Massenzios edge in bjj as I dont see him being on top of Dollaway for too long. Leglace has told us that Massenzios boxingis better but honestly I have not seen it in any of the fights I have watched of his. He typically throws one punch before shooting in. I havent really seen him mix it up or throw combos etc. It will be interesting to see how he will react to Dollaways kicks and if he can catch them and go for the takedown.
The big problem for me is that Massenzio basically trains with third rate camps. He trains at his own place called team iron horse which is essentially a bunch of other jersey wrestlers who are trying to get into mma or worse just trying to stay in shape. Meanwhile Dollaway is training with a great camp grappling and sparring with other high level mma fighters and trainers.
I also question Massenzios strategy a bit as in his fight against Danillo Villefort he took the fight to the ground despite Villefort being an execellent bjj blackbelt. He clearly should have had the standup advantage but took it into villeforts world and paid the price. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts if he is losing the stand up or if he cant get the takedowns.
Al turk vs. Kongo is theonly fight I am thinking about laying a bet on. Kongo has poor takedown defense and no ground skills. He is a good striker and built like a god but he is a little stiff and not as explosive or athletic as his build would suggest. He is facing a guy who is soley a grappler who will look to get on top and pound away. Word is that Kongo has been working with some of the top wreslters in England so maybe his takedown defense has improved.
I dont know much about Al turks chin or cardio but he did have a win over Gary Turner who fought in K-1. He looks pretty strong and has a good base from the top position so if he can get on top of Kongo he could finish him.