The UFC is branching out all over the place and this is their first show in North Carolina. I am happy to see them hitting so many other cities and states and letting the UFC brand really move outside the typical Las Vegas area. Fortunately, they are coming to BOSTON in the fall if all goes as planned, which will be great. That should be when I fight next, hopefully. Here are my picks for a couple of the fights tonight.

Florian vs Gomi – First of all, huge props to the UFC on making this fight happen. There was a time when Gomi was considered the top Lightweight in the world and was one of my personal favorites to watch. I thought he brought an exciting mix with great takedowns and grappling… with insane hands. He is a southpaw and would bomb on people with hands and knees while using his wrestling to keep it standing. Here is some video evidence for you that may be unfamiliar…

That being said… Kenny Florian is a monster himself. While Gomi likes to slug it out with power shots from his hands, Kenny likes to pick people apart with his jab and kicks. When they do close the distance, he uses elbows really well on the inside. Kenny has great Jiu-Jitsu and is always working on his wrestling.

This is going to be the first time Gomi has fought in a cage which is much different than a ring. There are pros and cons to each… but how he adapts to the cage will definitely influence the fight. Gomi also has to adjust to elbows in the same way… as well as making 155 for the first time, because his fights in pride were at 160 pounds.

My Prediction? Florian by Decision. Kenny is a top tier fighter and would be a rough welcoming for Gomi on his own… nevermind the cage, elbows, weight and traveling from Japan all the way to North Carolina.

Roy Nelson vs Stefan Struve – Stefan is 11 inches taller and 30 pounds lighter than Roy Nelson. Stefan is a kickboxer while Roy is a wrestler and has SICK Jiu-Jitsu… nevermind the fact he is shaped like a cinnabon… which I am sure he appreciates. (There is an awesome cribs style video on the homepage that you need to check out.) I think the opening seconds are going to decide the pace of the fight… but I am going with BIG COUNTRY Roy Nelson by submission.

Nate Quarry vs Jorge Rivera – Jorge is my boy and he has a tough fight against Nate “The Rock” Quarry. I think both guys are very similar in that they would like to fight it out on their feet… but they are both well versed in wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu as well. I think the style difference will be that Nate uses more traditional boxing while Jorge has good hands but also complements them with a great clinch game, elbows, knees and kicks. I think someone is going to get knocked the F’ out… and I think it’s going to be Nate. I am picking Jorge by KO/TKO.

I want to hear your picks. What are your thoughts on these fights and the rest of the card?