TUF 12 Finale Predictions Josh Davis May 23, 2011 Events, Previews Stephan Bonnar (12-7) vs. Igor Pokrajac (22-7) In the main event at The Palms Casino on Saturday night is “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar vs. Igor “The Duke” Pokrajac. Both fighters are coming off much needed wins, and will look to get another W. Ultimate Fighter season one runner-up Stephan Bonnar is coming off two exciting fights against Krzysztof Soszynski, losing the first and coming back to win the second. Bonnar looked impressive in his last bout, using good striking and eventually ending the fight with punches on the ground. It appeared as if Bonnar could be fired, having 6 losses in the UFC, so the win over Soszynski was much needed, and will keep him in the octagon. Igor Pokrajac is in a similar position as Bonnar, and his last fight was crucial as well. Since coming into the UFC, Pokrajac was 0-2 but his victory over James Irvin in August earned him his first win in the UFC. The fight between Bonnar and Pokrajac on Saturday isn’t a big fight in the light heavyweight division, but should be a close fight. In every fight for Bonnar, he tries to make a war out of it. Bonnar needs to keep his style the same, on his feet throughout the fight and using the clinch to wear down his opponent. Pokrajac has a better ground game than Bonnar, and should be careful if he does decide to take it to the ground. In the end, I think this will be a hard fought battle with a decision victory for Stephan Bonnar. Jonathan Brookins (11-3) vs. Michael Johnson (8-4) After 11 exciting episodes, it all comes down to one night. Who will get the six-figure UFC contract, Jonathan Brookins or Michael Johnson? Both guys know each others’ styles very well, having both being selected by Georges St. Pierre for his team. Brookins blew by his first two opponents, 0 getting both wins by rear naked choke. In his semi-final fight, he took on fellow teammate Kyle Watson. Brookins looked very impressive in all areas. He showed he has skills both standing and on the mat, scoring many takedowns, and controlling Watson throughout the fight to earn a unanimous decision victory. GSP’s number one pick on the show was Michael Johnson. Johnson proved to be the most athletic guy on the show, and was highly praised by St. Pierre. After beating Aaron Wilkinson and Alex Caceres, Johnson was put into the semi-finals to fight team Koscheck’s Nam Phan. Both fighters put on a good show, but it was Johnson who earned a close split decision victory. Johnson’s takedowns in the fight are what secured him the victory. This fight between Brookins and Johnson should be very exciting. As for who is the next Ultimate Fighter? The MMA Corner goes with Jonathan Brookins. He is really impressive, and is a tough, all-around fighter. Johnson will put up a close fight, but will fall short to Brookins in a unanimous decision. Kendall Grove (12-7) vs. Demian Maia (13-2) In a middleweight bout, Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove will face Demian Maia. Both fighters are coming off decision victories; Grove defeating Goran Reljic and Maia defeating Mario Miranda. This fight should be on the ground the entire fight. Both guys are Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialists, and have 15 submission wins between them (Grove with 7 and Maia with 8). The key to this fight will be how Maia can handle the length of Da Spyder. Grove is 6’6 with a 79 inch reach, and will be difficult to control on the ground. Maia has proven to be a better Jiu-Jitsu fighter, and should have the edge in this fight if he finds a way to keep Grove controlled. Hopefully this will not be a boring fight. The potential is there to see crazy submission attempts, and also both guys showing their skills on the ground. Demian Maia should come away with this one, in a unanimous decision. Rick Story (11-3) vs. Johnny Hendricks (9-0) In a clash of two middleweight prospects, Rick Story will face undefeated Johnny Hendricks. Story looked very impressive in his last bout, and defeated Dustin Hazelett via TKO. Hendricks is a former All-American wrestler, and uses those skills to control his opponent in the octagon. When these two fight on Saturday; Story should have the advantage. He made Dustin Hazelett look bad in his previous fight; landing many punches and getting takedowns at will. Story should have the striking advantage against Hendricks and maybe the ground game as well. Hendricks may be a wrestler, but only has one submission in his MMA career. Story via 2nd round submission. Leonard Garcia (14-6-1) vs. Nam Phan (16-7) Ultimate Fighter semi-finalist Nam Phan will fight former WEC featherweight Leonard Garcia. Phan, who fought at 155 pounds on the show, will move down to his original 145 pounds. Nam was eliminated by Michael Johnson in the semis, but showed he is a skilled fighter. He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and also has good hands. He will be put up against a very tough fighter in Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia. Garcia made his mark in his fight against Chan Sung Jung in the WEC. It has been called by many the fight of the year, a three round war, ending in a split decision victory for Garcia. I think that in this fight, Phan will be a tough challenge for Garcia. He may underestimate him, and may possibly get beaten. Phan is an all-around fighter, and has many ways to beat you. Prediction: Nam Phan via 3rd round submission.