Friday, December 30, 2011

Lesnar vs. Overeem Analysis and Opinion

UFC 141 is upon us, and up for grabs tonight is the #1 heavyweight contender spot when former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar faces behemoth Dutch kickboxer and current Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.

What We Know

Although tonight's main event is ostensibly intended to produce a challenger for current champ Junior Dos Santos, it has largely been marketed on the "freak show" angle with far more attention being given to the size of the two fighters than their respective fighting styles.

Alistair Overeem matches Lesnar's size and strength, and as the world's top heavyweight kickboxer seems to have an immense advantage against as tentative striker as Lesnar. Overeem showcased his athleticism and powerful sprawl against Fabricio Werdum, easily shrugging off all takedown attempts from the Brazilian.

Critics of Overeem, however, are quick to point out the distinction between grappling takedowns, which more akin to dragging opponents to the ground - and more explosive folkstyle wrestling takedowns, which rely on driving through takedowns to control the opponent's center of gravity.

At six-foot-five and a lean 260 pounds, Overeem's He-Man action figure physique is as intimidating as any the sport has ever seen. Overeem builds upon that psychological advantage with a style that is noticeably more aggressive in the opening moments of the fight, and few of his opponents are able to weather the devastating combination of kicks, punches and knees.

Those who do last more than one round with Overeem expend a lot of energy getting out of harm's way; Fabricio Werdum, who survived three rounds with the champion, found himself too exhausted to mount any real counter-offense and essentially provided Overeem with three rounds of target practice.

What the Tapes Don't Show

Lesnar, while not considered a well-rounded mixed martial artist, is as pure a fighting athlete as anyone in the game. His simple style of
controlling the pace and nature of the fight is informed by his experience as a Division-1 NCAA champion wrestler; Brock uses outstanding wrestling instincts and superior strength and conditioning to physically overwhelm his opponents. Lesnar's game plan is simple: run people over, take them out of their comfort zones and into his world, and keep them there.

It's also worthy of note that Lesnar, a former professional wrestler who seems comfortable in the role of the heel, is a bully of a finisher who seems energized by momentum. If Lesnar takes Overeem down and is able to draw blood, the hammer fists will start raining down with conviction. As Frank Mir and Randy Couture both know, there's not much chance of escape once one enters Brock Lesnar's comfort zone.

Lesnar's killer instinct contrasts strongly with Overeem's most recent outing, a lackluster title defense which showed flashes of striking brilliance but left audiences bored with Overeem's inability or unwillingness to finish the seemingly outmatched Werdum.

After losing his title rather painfully to a game Cain Velasquez, Lesnar suffered a second bout with diverticulitis which required surgery. Though he appeared strong and healthy at yesterday's weigh-ins, Lesnar will need to overcome the ring rust which seems to hamper fighters who spend long periods away from competition.

One time heavyweight up-and-comers Todd Duffee and Brett Rogers can both testify that Alistair Overeem will likely not give Lesnar very long to decide whether or not he's ready for action.

UFC 141 Picks

I don't really have time to do a full breakdown/prediction thread, so I thought I'd throw out a few of my picks.

Lesnar vs Overeem: I am picking Lesnar due mainly because I have been calling Overeem a paper champion for months now. If Lesnar wins, I can solidify my argument that Overeem is overrated. If Overeem wins, I'll be eating some humble pie.




Diaz vs Cerrone: I am picking Cerrone. I think he's more well rounded and only seems to lose title fights.







Fitch vs Hendricks: As much as I'd love Hendricks to shock the world, I have to pick Fitch in this fight. His wrestling will win yet another boring decision.





Matyushenko vs Gustafsson: I'm picking Gustafsson because he's a beast. Matyushenko is a wily vet, but I don't think he can compete with Gustafsson's speed and athleticism.





Phan vs Hettes: I'm going with Phan, because his boxing is just so crisp.







So there are my main card picks. Who do you like?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, 2011 Edition

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, 2011 Edition.
Time for a look back at 2011.

The Good

Jon Jones
It's the obvious choice for best year ever. 4 fights, 4 finishes, a world title and 2 title defenses. I'd say that lands him in the good column.




Frankie Edgar
I'll admit, I'm an Edgar fan. And this year didn't disappoint. Two epic wars with Gray Maynard. And a great decisive KO victory.



Ben Henderson
After a disappointing end to 2010, Bendo bounced right back with 3 big wins over top competition. If he keeps this up, 2012 may be an even better year.



Donald Cerrone
Everyone is talking about Jon Jones, but Cerrone has also racked up 4 wins this year. Cerrone is a beast with no quit in him and just keeps rolling. If he wins on Friday against Nate Diaz, he'll have 5 wins in 2011. People better start paying attention to Cerrone.



Dominick Cruz
Cruz still doesn't get the respect he deserves, but a decisive victory over his nemesis Urijah Faber and then a one-sided victory over Demetrious Johnson capped off a good year for Cruz.



Chan Sung Jung
After a disappointing 2010, the Korean Zombie had a stellar 2011. The first ever twister submission in the UFC and a record tying fastest knock out of Mark Hominick.




Jose Aldo
Aldo had a pretty good year. He faced the best striker he's ever faced in his career and secured a decisive victory. He then followed that with a victory over a big name in Kenny Florian. Good year to say the least.



Nick Diaz
Nick had a great year, even if he can't buy a house. He submitted Cyborg Santos, knocked out Paul Daley and put a beating on BJ Penn that no one has ever done before. He's one fight away from being a UFC champion.



Anderson Silva
Not a bad year for the Spider. A front kick knock out of Vitor Belfort, and then he avenged the last loss of his career with a one-sided beatdown of Yushin Okami.




Junior dos Santos
Not a bad year for the new heavyweight champion of the world. He turned Shane Carwin's face into hamburger and then knocked out Cain Velasquez in 64 seconds to win the title.




Dan Henderson
Hendo had a great year. Won the Strikeforce title by knocking out Cavalcante, then he knocked out the legend, Fedor. Afterwards, he returned to the UFC and had a fight of the year candidate in a victory over Shogun.



Joe Lauzon
Last on the good list, J-Lau. He didn't rack up tons of wins, but Joe Lauzon always finds a way to shock the world. Not only did he outstrike Melvin Guillard, but then submitted him in 47 seconds.


The Bad

Rashad Evans
Rashad falls into the Bad category because he's sat on the sideline too long, then beat up a washed up Tito Ortiz and got injured again, missing another title shot opportunity.





Chael Sonnen
Chael lands in the bad because after a year suspension for elevated testosterone he earned a one-sided victory and then immediately started trolling for a title shot.



Jim Miller
After a monster 2010 Jim stood on the cusp of a title shot. All he had to do was beat Ben Henderson. Miller was completely outclassed, outworked and just plain looked like he didn't belong in the title picture.



Melvin Guillard
After a great 2010, and a great first half of 2011, Melvin was telling the world he deserved a title shot. Then he overlooked Joe Lauzon and got beat on the feet and then submitted in a mere 47 seconds.





The Ugly



Forrest Griffin
Ever since Anderson Silva ate his soul, Forrest has lacked the fire and desire to compete. And nothing was more evident than the one-sided beating and TKO loss he took to Shogun.






Kenny Florian
Kenny's had 3 title shots and lost all 3. Kenny's featherweight experiment bought him another title fight loss.




Dan Hardy
After calling out Anthony Johnson and Chris Lytle, and then losing to both puts Hardy in the Ugly category. To make matters worse, he pleaded for Lytle to stand and bang with him. Then after losing the stand up battle, he shot on Lytle and promptly got submitted. Ugly year, Outlaw.



Nate Marquardt
Ugly year for Nate the Great. He got popped for testosterone, cut by the UFC and hasn't fought since.





Fedor Emelianenko
A one-sided beat down from Bigfoot Silva, a brutal knock out loss to Hendo and then a decision victory over Jeff Monson. What an ugly year for the Last Emperor.





My look back on The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, 2011 Edition.

My MMA Christmas Wishlist

Being Christmas Eve, I thought I'd write to Santa and request a few MMA related presents.
Dear Santa,

For Christmas I was hoping you'd get me a 1 or more of these gifts. I've been really good this year Santa, and I feel like I should get my entire wishlist, but a couple will be nice.

1. Even though I don't like Brock Lesnar, please let him win against Overeem.
2. I want Jon Jones and Rashad Evans to get their timing straight and actually fight.
3. I want GSP to get healthy and destroy Nick Diaz.
4. I don't care who wins, but I want Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson to put on a war.
5. I'd like Anderson Silva to stop ducking Chael Sonnen.
6. I'd love to see Clay Guida actually get a title shot.
7. I want Kenny Florian to actually win a title.
8. I want Frank Mir and Josh Barnett to fight.
9. I want Gilbert Melendez come to the UFC.
10. I want Forrest Griffin to find his soul and fight like a man again.
11. I want Urijah Faber to beat Dominick Cruz.
12. I want Fedor to come to the UFC, Randy Couture to come out of retirement (again) and beat him.

So, there it is Santa, please make all my Christmas wishes come true.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shogun Robbed?



Over the course of the last few days, I've read several articles stating that Maurcio Shogun Rua was robbed in his fight with Dan Henderson at UFC 139. Many stating that he should have had a 10-8 final round and that would have resulted in a draw.

Now, I can understand the argument that Shogun completely dominated Henderson in the final round. But I contend that round 3 in which Henderson dropped Shogun and nearly finished him should have been scored as a 10-8 round for Henderson. So if fair-is-fair, then both should have had 10-8 rounds and this fight would have had the same outcome.

But I'm not an officially sanctioned judge, so all I have is the unfortunate fate as everyone else when the fight goes to the judges. Now, I do believe that we all got to witness a great fight and what appears to be a controversial outcome. However, do I think Shogun was robbed, no, I do not.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson - Something to Prove vs. Nothing to Lose

With the UFC's experimental FOX television debut safely behind us, commercial-free MMA action returns tonight headlined by one of the most anticipated main events of the year. Former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua faces off with Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson in a long-awaited meeting of the former PRIDE rivals.

What We Know

Mauricio Rua entered the UFC to high hopes, but his Octagon career has been an emotional roller coaster for fans. After dropping a closely contested title decision to former champion Lyoto Machida, Rua bounced back and won the belt in a rematch, only to be immediately sidelined with knee surgery.

Following a long recovery, Rua returned to defend his title only to have it summarily stripped away by Jon "Bones" Jones in a one-sided TKO loss which was not particularly competitive.

Rua's most recent outing, a brilliant first-round knockout of Griffin which avenged that inauspicious UFC debut, showed a return to form the Brazilian must maintain to get back into contention. A dominant victory over Dan Henderson might fast-track Shogun to another title shot.

At 41 years of age Henderson may not have time on his side, but his dramatic victory over the legendary Fedor Emelianenko proved he can still get the job done against younger and more aggressive opponents.

Stung early and knocked down early by Fedor's frenetic striking attack, the cagey veteran was able to reverse positions and deliver a blind-side uppercut that dropped Fedor and led to a first-round TKO.

Both Rua and Henderson have made names for themselves as strikers, though with markedly different styles. Rua uses speed, great boxing and devastating leg and body kicks to keep opponents on the defensive, while Henderson relies more on timing and power to land the big overhand right which has become his signature.

While Henderson's superb ability to close the distance and connect will likely factor into Rua's strategy entering this fight, he will probably be more focused on nullifying Henderson's distinct advantage as a wrestler. By using superior quickness and landing the same vicious leg kicks he used to dismantle Lyoto Machida, Rua may be able to wear down the veteran wrestler and chip away at his ability to shoot.

What the Tapes Don't Show

Superstitious fans will appreciate the fact that Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski, Brett Rogers, Fabricio Werdum, and Antonio Silva each fought Fedor Emelianenko and then immediately turned in dismal follow-up performances. Though it's improbably Henderson will fall completely flat in his return to the Octagon, turning in a strong performance against Rua will mean breaking the "Fedor Curse."

Had he decided to retire, Henderson's win over Emelianenko would have provided a definitive conclusion to a long and illustrious MMA career.

Rua, on the other hand, is just one fight removed from a lopsided beat-down at the hands of Jon Jones, and at 29 years old is only reaching the prime of his fighting career.

Like most fights, this one may be about unfinished business. All things being equal (or a wash, anyway,) the odds usually favor the fighter who has something left to prove.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

UFC on Fox 1 - Quick Picks

Life has got me behind this week, so instead of a full breakdown/prediction blog for this fight, I'm going to do some quick picks for UFC on Fox 1. Here we go...



Cain Velasquez vs Junior dos Santos
On paper, Cain should win this fight, but I believe cage rust may play a factor, my quick pick is Junior dos Santos to pull off the upset via 3rd round TKO.

Ben Henderson vs Clay Guida
The odds makers have Bendo as the favorite. For me this fight is so evenly matched that it's hard for me to make a decision. So, my quick pick will be that Clay Guida finally earns his title shot by beating Bendo via unanimous decision.

Dustin Poirier vs Pablo Garza
Another tough call to make, but Pablo Garza has now won his last 2 fights via something flying (flying knee and flying triangle). How can you not pick that. My quick pick is Garza via flying anything in the 2nd round.

Cub Swanson vs Ricardo Lamas
2 tough guys with solid stand up skills. Lots of banging and a quick pick for Ricardo Lamas via 1st round TKO.

Clay Harvison vs DaMaques Johnson
My gut tells me, quick pick for Clay Harvison via 3rd round TKO.

Norifumi Yamamoto vs Darren Uyenoyama
I say Japan is finally getting some wins, quick pick for Norifumi Yamamoto via 1st round TKO.

Mackens Semerzier vs Robert Peralta
This is a big step up in competition for Semerzier. I think this is too much too soon. My quick pick is for Peralta via 1st round TKO.

Alex Caceres vs Cole Escovedo
Another big step up in competition. Alex Caceres doesn't stand a chance in my opinion. My quick pick is Cole Escovedo via 1st round rear naked choke.

Mike Pierce vs Paul Bradley
This is a rematch for them from a battle in 2009. Mike Pierce won the decision that night and I think he'll succeed again. My quick pick is for Mike Pierce via unanimous decision.

Aaron Rosa vs Matt Lucas
My quick pick is another gut instinct, telling me Matt Lucas will win his UFC debut via 2nd round TKO.

There you have it, my UFC on Fox 1 quick picks. Looking forward to seeing UFC history being made on Saturday.

Brittney Palmer Returns to UFC

Today there was an announcement that Brittney Palmer will once again be gracing the octagon for the UFC. I thought this was a great excuse to post some pictures of Brittney for your enjoyment.




Monday, November 7, 2011

UFC 138 Recap - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

To start this blog off, I have to say I'm embarrassed. I bashed this card up-and-down for its lack of star power and in my opinion lack of decent fights. Wow, was I ever wrong. This card delivered some exciting fights and great finishes. This is the only card of 2011, so far, that has had a finish in all the main card fights. So let's do the UFC 138 Recap - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

THE GOOD

Mark Munoz
We have to start with Mark Munoz. He did in fact look like a "wrecking machine" on Saturday. He not only grounded Leben and took away his striking ability, but after that cut opened up, I think he actually broke Leben's will. Munoz's wrestling looked much better than usual and his ground-and-pound was just vicious.

After the fight, Munoz stated that he wanted a shot at the title. Now, I know he's riding a 4 fight win streak, but the win over Demian Maia is the only legitimate top 10 fighter he's beaten. It would be nice to see him avenge his split decision loss to Yushin Okami. However, Okami has slipped down the rankings after losing his title fight to Silva, so that doesn't make much sense to put the rematch together. I think a fight with the winner of Bisping and Miller would help establish a contender.

Renan "Barao" Pegado
Barao looked amazing in his fight with Brad Pickett. His striking was crisp and accurate and he took Pickett apart which lead to the 1st round rear naked choke finish. Pickett to his credit, came to fight and he threw big bombs the entire fight. Barao ate a couple of them and showed a good chin. But in the end, Pickett was too wild and Barao dropped him with his better, crisper, and more accurate striking.

After such a dominate performance, coupled with his 17 fight win streak, puts Barao on a short list to Dominick Cruz. I think his next fight should be with the loser of Faber and Bowles, because the winner is almost assured a shot at the title. Taking on the loser would solidify Barao as the number 1 contender at that point or put loser right back into the title hunt. 

Thiago Alves
Alves got the honor of welcoming Papy Abedi to the octagon. Abedi a highly touted prospect will definitely have a great career. But in this fight, he bit off more than he could chew in Alves. Alves actually looked a lot like the fighter he used to be and really let his hands and legs fly. After dropping Abedi with a nice crisp boxing, Alves mounts Abedi and starts raining bombs. Abedi gives up his back and Alves scores his first ever career rear naked choke victory.

Moving forward, Alves appears to be getting his career back on track with a big win. I have several match-ups that I think would be interesting. First, a rematch with Josh Koscheck would put him right back into the title picture and Koscheck may be open to this fight since he'd get a chance to avenge his loss to Alves. Second, for pure striking fun, I'd love to see Alves and Dan Hardy square off. That fight would be sure to end in a knock out. But as crazy as it sounds, I'd like Alves to rematch Matt Hughes. Hughes has stated he doesn't want to retire yet, and he is looking for fights that interest and motivate him. A chance to avenge his loss to Alves should get Hughes' juices flowing.

Terry Etim
Wow, what can be said about a flawless performance. I'll have to watch the fight again, but I don't think he even got touched in the fight. 17 seconds of crisp boxing and one nasty guillotine.

I guess all of my suggestions are rematches today. I think Etim should face off with Rafael dos Anjos, the last man to beat Etim.

THE BAD

Anthony Perosh
Even though Perosh had a dominant performance in beating Cyrille Diabate, he still needs major work on his stand up and takedown abilities. At this point in his career, and at the age of 39, I have to think it'll never happen. Perosh is a wizard on the ground, but if he can't hold his own in the striking department to set up takedowns, he'll continue to get destroyed by good strikers with solid takedown defense. With that said, kudos on a win.

Having a guy like Perosh on the roster can't be easy for matchmaker Joe Silva. He's a decent fighter but so low in the rankings. Who do you match him up with? Maybe someone like Nick Catone, or Eliot Marshall (I haven't heard if he's been cut or not by the UFC).

Chris Leben
Leben makes the bad list after a pretty poor performance. I know Leben is a zombie and takes punishment all day long, but that can't bode well for career longevity. Leben did land a few big shots and threw a lot of punches and elbows from the bottom, but never truly mounted an offense in the fight. Leben shows flashes of awesomeness in one fight, then he looks like a bum off the street in the next. Consistent performances seem to be Leben's crippler.

Moving forward, I would actually like to see Leben and Alan Belcher fight.

Papy Abedi
Abedi was aggressive, seemed to be following a decent game plan, but got caught by a better striker. I think Abedi has a promising future ahead of him, but jumping into the UFC against a top level opponent was a mistake.

Next for Abedi should be someone with a similar experience level. I think a match-up with Amir Sadollah would a good fight for both fighters.

THE UGLY

Brad Pickett
I know that Pickett was trying to make a big statement by trying to knockout Barao. But the statement he made was that throwing haymakers like Leonard Garcia has the same results, a loss. Pickett just threw bombs and Barao dissected him. Needless to say, working on some boxing, made a jab and some straight punches. Throwing nothing but huge hooks didn't work out too well.

Going forward to Pickett, a fight with Eddie Wineland would make the most sense. Both are on losing skids now, and both are still very relevant in the bantamweight picture.

Cyrille Diabate
Zero ground skills score Diabate the Ugly list. So afraid of being taking down in the fight, he never got off with his striking. And when Perosh did finally get it to the ground, Perosh just worked him over at will. In the second round, Perosh mounted Diabate and just abused him like he was some sort of mannequin sparing dummy. Diabate had absolutely nothing to offer on the ground.

Going forward, Diabate needs to work on some ground skills. At a minimum, takedown defense and how to get back to his feet. Next up, (again, if he hasn't been cut) Eliot Marshall or maybe Ricardo Romero.

Wrap-Up
So, there you have it, my UFC 138 Recap - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. This event definitely surprised me with some big performances. Next up, UFC on FOX, next Saturday.

Friday, November 4, 2011

UFC 138 Weigh In Results

Here are the UFC 138 weigh in results. All fighters made weight, although Thiago Alves initially weighed in at 172 pounds and later re-weighed in at 171 pounds to make weight. Alves had better perform well tomorrow, this isn't the first hard time he's had making weight and he's record of late hasn't been good to say the least. If Alves gets stopped in this fight, I expect that he'll get his walking papers.

MAIN CARD
Mark Munoz (186) vs Chris Leben (186)
Renan Barao (136) vs Brad Pickett (134)
Papy Abedi (170) vs Thiago Alves (171) on second attempt
Edward Faaloloto (155) vs Terry Etim (156)
Anthony Perosh (205) vs Cyrille Diabate (206)

PRELIMS
Justin Edwards (170) vs John Maguire (170)
Jason Young (145) vs Michihiro Omigawa (145)
Phil De Fries (243) vs Rob Broughton (258)
Che Mills (169) vs Chris Cope (170)
Vaughan Lee (135) vs Chris Cariaso (135)

Be sure to check out my UFC 138 Prediction Blog.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

UFC 138 Main Card Predictions

Today I'm going to give you my UFC 138 Main Card Predictions. Now typically I will do my prelim predictions before doing the main card, but this UFC card is rather weak, so I won't be doing the prelim predictions for this event. Let's dive in.

Chris Leben vs Mark Munoz

In the UFC's first non-title 5 round fight, Chris Leben will take on Mark Munoz. A great matchup, but far from a headlining draw here. I actually feel bad that this is the main event for a non-fight night card. If this was a fight night card, this matchup headlining makes perfect sense. But for the first ever 5 round non-title fight, it begs to be something more. Last week's Penn/Diaz fight should have been a 5 rounder. That would have made sense, 2 men who were essentially battling for the number 1 contender status. But Leben and Munoz are still a couple wins away from being in serious title talk. Needless to say, I'm just scratching my head as to why the UFC made THIS fight, a 5 round fight.

Let's get to the breakdown. Leben is a solid striker with good jiu jitsu. Munoz is an average striker with great wrestling. Advantage Munoz. I expect Munoz to utilize his wrestling to put Leben on his back constantly. Leben fights well off his back, the evidence is his recent triangle choke submission over Akiyama. But Munoz's wrestling is way better than Akiyama's and Munoz won't gas out like Akiyama did. Leben is tough man to finish however, so I expect this to actually go all 5 rounds.

My prediction is Munoz by one-sided unanimous decision.

Brad Pickett vs Renan Barao

This is an intriguing matchup, but as the co-main event, I think this fight is weak. Pickett, who minus a decision loss to Scott Jorgensen would be knocking on the door to a title shot, takes on Barao, who hasn't lost in 26 straight fights and trains along side Jose Aldo. Barao was far from impressive in his UFC debut, back in May, winning a close decision. But a win is a win, and his 26 fight winning streak is still going strong.

Now if Pickett had fought at least once in the last year, I'd have no issue picking him to upset Barao. But I believe he'll have some cage rust going on and this will be his UFC debut, his last fight was in the WEC. I just don't think Pickett will not perform up to his full potential.

My prediction is that Barao will win another close decision.

Thiago Alves vs Papy Adebi

Alves gets to welcome Adebi to the octagon. Alves just has not looked like the same fighter since losing to GSP 4 fights ago. But taking on Adebi who is making his UFC debut and a notable step-up in competition makes me think Alves game get a win here. Adebi is no easy out however, and will make his UFC debut with an undefeated record of 8-0. Adebi has finished 7 of his 8 professional fights and appears to have a fairly well rounded game, although he prefers to strike.

Adebi has a slight height advantage and I believe he'll have a slight reach advantage. Alves who is the big name here, has fallen on hard times in the UFC and I believe he needs a big win to regain some confidence. However, I don't think he'll get it.

My prediction is that Adebi has a good UFC debut and takes the unanimous decision.

Terry Etim vs Eddie Faaloloto

The UFC is throwing Etim a bone here. Etim who is coming into this fight off of a loss to Rafael dos Anjos. Etim will take on Faaloloto, who is still an infant in his MMA career, sporting a 2-2 record and coming in on the heels of 2 straight losses. Etim should have a field day and pick how he wants to finish him at his leisure. 

My prediction is that Etim will take his time, and finish Faaloloto via rear naked choke in the 2nd round.

Cyrille Diabate vs Anthony Perosh

Diabate vs Persosh is a main card fight. This alone should tell you how weak this card is. Diabate has in my opinion fought better competition throughout his career and possesses a well rounded game. Diabate can finish this on the feet and has a good submission game. Perosh is primarily a ground fighter. I expect that Perosh will try in vain to get this fight down and get finished early.

My prediction is Diabate sinks in a guillotine late in the 1st round as Perosh shoots in on him.

So there are my UFC 138 Main Card Predictions. To say I'm disappointed in this card is an understatement. I'm just looking forward to November 12th, and the UFC on Fox.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Vitor Belfort versus Anthony Johnson

The UFC announced today that Anthony Johnson will move up to 185 pounds to take on Vitor Belfort at UFC 142 in Brazil. Here's a link to the article on MMA Junkie.

I think this is a good and bad move all in one. I think Johnson should be fighting at middleweight especially since he has such a hard time making weight at welterweight. But for your first move into a larger weight class I don't think he should take on a top middleweight like Vitor Belfort. I would prefer to see him take on a lower ranked fighter first before moving straight into the upper echelon.

However, I do think Johnson is capable of winning this fight. I'm already excited for UFC 142 now.

BJ Penn May Not Retire

BJ Penn released a short statement.
“I want to thank all the fans for their love and support. I have decided to take some time off to enjoy life, train and teach. I will keep you posted with what’s next.”
What does this mean? Is BJ considering another fight? BJ has publicly stated several times that he was considering retirement before the Jon Fitch fight. After he lost to Nick Diaz, I was not surprised to hear him say he was retiring. But this statement leaves a lot of questions.

As always, time will tell. But as a fan, I'm hoping BJ actually retires. Watching him not train properly and gas out in every big fight is frustrating. He's a legend and he should walk away now. If his heart and mind are not committed to training properly, all the talent in the world can't win you fights when you don't prepare.

Monday, October 31, 2011

UFC 137 Recap - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

UFC 137 Recap - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

So for starters, my main card predictions weren't too bad, I got most of the winners. But my prelim predictions was way off this time. Let's dive straight in to it.

The Good

Nick Diaz
The obvious big winner of the night was Nick Diaz. His one-sided beating of BJ Penn was good to say the least. BJ looked good in round 1 and took it to Nick actually busting him up a bit. But in true BJ Penn fashion, he didn't training properly and gassed in the 2nd round. Diaz took advantage and put a beating on Penn throughout the rest of the fight that I've never seen him take. BJ was just run over.

After the fight, Diaz, called out GSP, calling him scared. GSP talked to Dana White after the fight and asked to fight Diaz instead of Condit. GSP stated that Nick Diaz was the most disrespectful human ever and he would destroy him. Well, Nick you got your wish to fight Georges. But now you'll be facing a motivated champion to not only beat you, but to destroy you.

Roy Nelson
Roy Nelson looked good in this fight. He fought a motivated Mirko Cro Cop who wanted nothing more than to get one more win before retirement. Mirko fought hard, but Nelson was just too much. Roy stood with Cro Cop and ate some big shots, at that point he took the fight to the ground and that proved to be the difference. Nelson's ground game was too good for Mirko to negate. The stoppage came early in the 3rd round when Nelson had full back mount and was just hammering shots to Cro Cop's head.

Going forward, I'd like to see Nelson fight Cheick Kongo. Both men are on the cusp of being a contender and this fight would help separate the pack at heavyweight.

Donald Cerrone
Cerrone always comes to fight and Saturday was no exception. This was an exciting fight with both Cerrone and Siver just throwing kicks. It was a fun fight but Cerrone proved why he'll always be a contender with a beautiful kick that started low and shot high for a massive head kick that dropped Siver. Cerrone pounced and immediately took his back and sunk in a rear naked choke.

Moving forward for Cerrone several options. Wait for the Ben Henderson/Clay Guida fight and take on the loser. Or drop to featherweight like he's threatening to do to face Nam Phan. In the post fight press conference Cerrone was adamant that he wanted to keep fighting and fight as soon as possible. And to grant his wishes, the UFC just announced, Cerrone will face Nate Diaz at UFC 141 on December 30th. You've got to respect a warrior like Cerrone.


Bart Palaszewski
Bart finally made his UFC debut after losing his last WEC bout almost 11 months ago. And he looked good. Palaszewski fought Tyson Griffin, a man who after having a lot of initial success had lost 3 straight as a lightweight before dropping to featherweight in his last outing. Obviously the new weight class is difficult for Griffin who failed to make weight for the fight and then got KO'd by Palaszewski. For his UFC debut, you couldn't have asked for more. Palaszewski looked good, had crisp striking and made quick work of Griffin.

Moving forward, I'm thinking Palaszewski should face Erik Koch. It would be a good test to see where he stacks in the featherweight division.

The Bad

Cheick Kongo
Kongo won this fight, but he just didn't have that killer instinct he usually has. I think the fight with Pat Barry rocked him a bit mentally. Kongo was extremely tentative and didn't move forward until later in the fight. He actually allow the woefully inexperienced Mitrione to dictate the pace. Kudo's on the win, but it was lackluster to say the least.

Moving forward I'd like to see Roy Nelson and Cheick Kongo to lock horns. I think that fight could push one of them back into the title picture.

Ramsey Nijem
I'm putting Nijem into the bad category despite a one-sided performance against Daniel Downes. Nijem totally upset my prediction while he utilized his superior grappling and dominated Downes. But despite having multiple submission attempts, he could not put away Downes. Nijem is still a work in progress though, and if he shores up his striking and works on diversifying his submission game, he could turn into a real threat in the lightweight division.

Next for Nijem should be someone like Cody McKenzie, or maybe a step up in competition and face someone like Mark Bocek.

Brandon Vera
Vera got a crack at redemption and another shot at the UFC and he took that opportunity to get a much needed win. Now 2 things land Vera in the Bad category for me. First, he didn't utilize his superior striking abilities. Vera just doesn't have the killer in him anymore. Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg during the commentary questioned "When did Vera lose his killer instinct?" I will tell you, it was when he faced Tim Sylvia. Sylvia put a beating on him, derailed his title aspirations and Vera has never looked the same since. If Vera wants to make the most of his second chance in the UFC, he needs to find that killer again.

The second reason I land him in the Bad category is Vera has not improved his ground game at all in his time in the UFC. Evidence of that is Marshall's armbar that actually broke Vera's arm. That is bad for 2 reasons, the first is not being able to defend himself on the ground. The second, he's just one bad dude for not tapping and surviving to win the decision.

Next up for Vera, a cast, some rehabilitation and a long time off before his next fight.

Matt Mitrione
Well, Mitrione wanted a step up in competition and a good test, he got one. Unfortunately for Mitrione, his inexperience and lack of aggressiveness were his downfall. Mitrione just couldn't seem to find his range and never really got off during the fight. Kongo who literally allowed Mitrione to dictate the pace early finally took some initiative and forced the fight to the ground. Mitrione showed he still doesn't have a ground game yet.

Moving forward for Mitrione I would love to see him matchup with Brendan Schaub. Both are up-and-comers, both possess good hands and both have fallen in recent step-ups in competition.

The UGLY

Hatsu Hioki
Hioki came into this fight with George Roop as the number 3 ranked featherweight in the world. Roop who is a solid fighter was clearly the underdog. Roop made this a fight, he really took it to Hioki who didn't seem to know what to do against Roop. Hioki a submission specialist never really pushed to get the fight into his arena on the ground. In my opinion, Roop won this fight. I truly believe he was robbed by the judges.

Now if Hioki had won this fight in convincing fashion, I believe he would be next in line for a title shot. Instead, I think he needs to prove himself after such a horrendous performance. So next for Hioki I think should be a contender fight with someone like Diego Nunes or Mark Hominick.

Dennis Siver
Siver lands in the Ugly category for the first time for me. He is a great kickboxer and he had nothing for Cerrone. He looked flat and after being rocked by the head kick, he showed he doesn't have a ground game being easily submitted by Cerrone. For Siver, this is a major set back.

Going forward, I think a matchup with Melvin Guillard would benefit both fighters. Both men like to strike, both are coming off of losses and it would be an entertaining fight for the fans.

Tyson Griffin
Wow, what to say for Griffin. The man had great promise early in his career but has since really fallen on hard times. After 3 straight losses he dropped weight classes and earned a victory. In his second outing at featherweight, he did not make weight, and then he got run over by Bart Palaszewski. After Takanori Gomi knocked Griffin out, his chin has looked susceptible and Bart found the button to knock Tyson out again.

Griffin needs to re-evaluate his career. Not making weight is a cardinal sin of MMA. And then getting knocked out for the second time in his career isn't helping either. For a possible opponent, maybe someone like Mike Thomas Brown would be a good stylistic matchup.

BJ Penn
Last but never least, BJ Penn. I hope he is serious about retirement. BJ is a legend of the sport, only the 2nd man to ever win titles in 2 different weight divisions. And a well trained BJ can beat anyone in the world. But his constant inconsistency due to his lack of cardio training is hard to watch. He's a legend, and he'll be in the Hall of Fame one day. I think it's time to let your fight career go and focus on other things, you're legacy is cemented.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

BJ Penn and Nick Diaz Square Off

So, it appears Nick Diaz finally showed up to a press conference. Here's the photo proof of BJ Penn and Nick Diaz squaring off.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

UFC 137 Main Card Predictions

Here are my UFC 137 Main Card Predictions.

BJ Penn vs Nick Diaz

The new Main Event, BJ Penn versus Nick Diaz. This is one of the most talked about fights of the year. Nick Diaz making his way back to the UFC after a very successful reign as the Strikeforce welterweight champion. To welcome him back was initially going to be UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. But due to his crazy no-shows to consecutive press conferences, he was pulled from that fight and will now face 2 time champion BJ Penn. This will be a good test to see if Diaz was truly deserving of his title shot.

Penn and Diaz, in my opinion, are mirror images of each other. Both possess lethal striking skills and both have high level, world class Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I would love to see how this fight would pan out on the ground. But I have a feeling that the 2 men will stand and trade with one another.

Now the biggest X factor in this fight is always Penn's cardio. If Penn has trained properly, this fight could be a very entertaining event. If Penn gasses out, I could see Diaz stealing this fight in the later rounds.

However, in my opinion, Penn is the better fighter and he has most definitely faced the tougher competition in his career. This will be an uphill battle for Diaz. I expect that Penn's experience and cage savvy will be too much for Diaz, who will find himself in serious trouble in this fight.

My prediction is that Penn will rock Diaz with a big shot, Diaz will fold and Penn will jump on him and choke him out with a 2nd round rear naked choke.

Cheick Kongo vs Matt Mitrione

The wily veteran versus the up-and-comer. Kongo is coming into this fight on-the-heels of his hailmary knockout win over Pat Barry. Mitrione is undefeated at 5-0 and taking his first serious step up in competition. Now going into this fight, Mitrione and Kongo have talked about standing and trading. Mitrione definitely doesn't lack confidence. Knowing Kongo, he will try to utilize some offensive wrestling and work some ground-and-pound. I expect Mitrione to see that coming and utilize takedown defense and if he does go down, I think he'll be strong enough to get back to this feet.

So this fight boils down to who lands that big shot first. As we've seen, Kongo can come back if you don't finish him when the opportunity presents itself. Now I like Mitrione, and think he has a great future in this sport, but this fight is a big step in competition.

My prediction is that Kongo utilizes his experience and great striking and knocks Mitrione out in the 2nd round.

Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic vs Roy Nelson

Loser gets shown the door fight, in my opinion. Both men are entering this fight on a 2 fight losing skid. I believe that whoever loses will get cut by the UFC. That makes this fight prediction for me difficult because I like both fighters and hope they both find success.

The fight boils down to who lands the big shot first. Cro Cop has legendary power in his legs and Nelson has a big overhand right. On paper, Nelson's ground game is way above Cro Cop's abilities but Nelson rarely utilizes it, preferring to stand and trade with opponents. Nelson hasn't won by submission since 2006. We'll see if Nelson tries to take this fight to the ground.

If Nelson doesn't pressure Cro Cop and let's him pick his shots, Nelson could wake up from his coma, cut from the UFC. I believe Big Country Nelson is smart enough to know he can't just stand in front of Cro Cop and trade. I expect him to get this fight to the ground.

My prediction is Roy Nelson finally wears Cro Cop down and submits him late in the 3rd round via arm triangle.

Scott Jorgensen vs Jeff Curran

Jeff Curran is finally making his return to the UFC after 7 years. His only UFC appearance was a loss to Matt Serra at UFC 46. Curran is a veteran to say the least. He's fought in every major promotion on the planet at one time or another to include: UFC, WEC, Pride, Bellator, Strikeforce and KOTC. He's fought everywhere.

His opponent to welcome him back is Scott Jorgensen. Jorgensen is no easy opponent even though he doesn't have anything near the amount of experience Curran does. This fight will be determined on where it takes place. Jorgensen has ground skills, but prefers to stand and trade. Curran has a single knockout to his credit in 33 wins, in contrast to his 19 victories via submission. He definitely wants this fight on the ground where his jiu jitsu can dominate.

As much as I would like to see Curran get a win, I believe that Jorgensen is the better fighter. My prediction is Jorgensen to win via unanimous decision.

Hatsu Hioki vs George Roop

Hioki is on most top 10 featherweight lists, some even as high as number 2. I believe that if Hioki can finish Roop he could be a on short path to a title shot. Roop on the other hand is still a mid-pack fighter in the featherweight division. A win here would be tremendous for Roop's career. The key to this fight is where it takes place. Hioki is a submission fighter winning half of his 24 wins via submission. Roop does not want to end up on the ground with Hioki and will look to use his takedown defense and superior striking.

My prediction is that Hioki will be too much. He will get this fight to the ground and submit Roop in the 2nd round via armbar.

There are my UFC 137 Main Card Predictions. Also check out my UFC 137 Prelim Predictions here.

Viacom Buys Majority Stake of Bellator

Big news today about Viacom buying a majority stake of Bellator Fighting Championships. Bjorn Rebney will remain in charge of Bellator but this puts Bellator into a seriously stable financial future.
“It puts all of those cornerstones of ownership in place for us,” Rebney said. “Which is something that’s been so seriously lacking in the MMA space with so many different companies, including Strikeforce and the IFL and Affliction and all the different failures that have occurred.… It alleviates those issues.”
The face of Bellator, lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez stated
“They’ll have a ton of more money to negotiate with, as long as I keep doing well and do what I’m supposed to do, the future looks bright. I was with a lot of promotions that failed, that flopped, and this is actually working. Everything’s coming to fruition.”
Along with Viacom buying a majority stake of Bellator, they have negotiated a move to Spike TV in 2013. These moves now solidify Bellator as the number 2 mixed martial arts organization behind the UFC.

UFC 137 Prelim Predictions

Here are my UFC 137 Prelim Predictions.



Dennis Siver vs Donald Cerrone

What a great matchup. This fight will propel the winner into the top 10 and some bigger fights. Siver is riding a 4 fight win streak and Cerrone has quietly strung together a 5 fight win streak. I think this will be a tough fight for both men. Cerrone has an good ground game but I'm not sure he will be able to keep Siver down if he gets him there. On the feet, Siver is a great striker and should be able to nullify Cerrone's reach advantage. I expect this fight to be fought primarily on the feet and I expect this to be a close fight.

My prediction is Cerrone by split decision.

Tyson Griffin vs Bart Palaszewski

Palaszewski is a well rounded fighter that made his name in the WEC. Bart hasn't fought since losing his last fight in the WEC back in December of last year. Griffin has found some new life dropping to featherweight after he lost 3 straight fights at lightweight. In his first fight at featherweight back in June, he won a majority decision against Manny Gamburyan. Both men are good fighters with well rounded skills. But I think this fight will be primarily a standup fight. Palaszewski tends to lose when he fights better competition. Along with the 10 month layoff and making his UFC debut, I think this doesn't bode will for Palaszewski.

My prediction is Griffin by unanimous decision.

Brandon Vera vs Eliot Marshall

Striker versus grappler matchup. Vera will want to keep this fight on the feet to utilize his muay thai while Marshall will look to get this fight grounded. Now Vera is getting this fight after his last loss against Thaigo Silva was ruled a no contest due to failing his drug test after the fight. Vera had been cut by the UFC after his 3rd straight loss, so I expect him to come out guns blazing for this opportunity to stay in the UFC.

Marshall on the other side, finally made it back to the UFC after 3 fights outside the UFC in 2010. In his first fight back, he lost via TKI to Luiz Cane. I believe Vera's striking is better than Cane's so I expect Marshall to do anything he can to get Vera to the ground.

My prediction is Vera finds the win column finally with a unanimous decision.

Ramsey Nijem vs Daniel Downes

Ramsey the Ultimate Fighter13 finalist who last saw action in the finale getting knocked out by Tony Ferguson. In Downes, Ramsey will face another heavy handed striker. Both men are very well rounded considering the limited experience both men have. However, I believe the experience edge goes to Downes who has 4 more fights and has fought tougher competition.

My prediction is Downes will win via 2nd round TKO.

Chris Camozzi vs Francis Carmont

Camozzi will welcome Carmont to the UFC. Carmont is riding a 5 fight win streak into his UFC debut. Camozzi is 6-2 in his last 8 fights while fighting increasing competition. Both men are well rounded and I expect this fight to be fought everywhere possible. However, Carmont is making his UFC debut, fighting a UFC veteran, and this is his first trip to the US, I expect his nerves to be rattled.

My prediction is that the fight is will be tightly contested by Camozzi will find a way to earn the unanimous decision.

Dustin Jacoby vs Clifford Starks

2 men making their UFC debuts. Jacoby is 6-0 and Starks is 7-0. Jacoby almost went from pro-debut to UFC pay-per-view main card. But when Brad Tavares got injured he got dropped back to the under card. This is a good matchup of 2 good prospects. Both men have some ground game, but both men have the majority of their victories standing up. So I expect these 2 to bang. Jacoby is a killer having finished every opponent he has faced, 5 by TKO and 1 via submission. Starks has finished 4 of his 7 opponents. I don't expect this fight to see the judges.

My prediction is that Jacoby keeps his killer ways going and TKO's Starks in the 1st round.

These are my UFC 137 Prelim Predictions. Check out my UFC 137 Main Card Predictions here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Random Pics of Bones vs Rampage

This is several weeks late, but here are some pics from UFC 135's main event. Jone "Bones" Jones versus Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.

















And of course, a couple pics of the rings girls!