Saturday, January 28, 2012

UFC on Fox 2: Put up or Shut up

The UFC is certainly on a roll. Every card in recent memory has delivered and their transition to their new networks has worked out tremendously. UFC on FX was a complete success by any measure. There were slick submissions, devastating knockouts, and a bantamweight scrap that everyone could appreciate. Also, it was used as a lead in to the Diaz-Condit Primetime special which I encourage everyone to check out.

This weekend is a card that I have been looking forward to for a while, UFC on Fox 2. Their inaugural card on Fox featured only one minute of fighting in the hour time slot, thanks Junior dos Santos. This time around Dana White has put together a triple header that he hopes to entertain a group of new fans.

Every fight card has its own storyline. This one is clearly trash talk. No, not the hardcore punk band from Sacramento, but due to recent card changes, fighters' verbal sparring has taken the headlines. Rashad Evans has said some things that may have crossed the line, but clearly he does not respect his opponent in Phil Davis.

In the co-main event Michael Bisping has held his own against Chael Sonnen, the pound for pound trash talk champion. If these fights can come close to matching the verbal battles, we will certainly be memorable.

Prediction time
Josh Neer spoiled my perfect predictions with his win last week but progress is being made. This week' card only features three main card fights so it shouldn't be too hard to go 3-0, right?

Demian Maia versus Chris Weidman

When Weidman was announced as the last minute opponent for Maia I was excited. He was a fighter I picked as a break out guy in 2012 on my Split Decision, my weekly MMA show, but I was surprised to see him as the Vegas favorite.

Maia has only been stopped by Mark Munoz and Nate Marquardt, two guys with better striking and more power than Weidman. I see this as a ground battle that goes on and it is hard for me to believe Weidman is in enough shape to go three rounds and get the win.

Maia by Unanimous decision.

Chael Sonnen versus Michael Bisping

Sonnen is on a mission for a rematch with Anderson Silva. He was two minutes away from the belt before Silva pulled off one of the most memorable submissions ever and Sonnen will beat up anyone who gets in his way.  Saturday night that man is Michael Bisping, who is riding a 4 fight win streak.

Bisping is a huge underdog, at +325 he provides great value if you are into that whole gambling thing. While I feel that it is ridiculous there is no denying his weakness is Sonnen's greatest strength. On the feet, Bisping is superior but I doubt he will be able to keep it standing.

30-27 win for the biggest arms in the business Chael Sonnen.

Rashad Evans versus Phil Davis

Up until this past week when the words really started flying this main event was overshadowed by Sonnen-Bisping. Evans is the clear favorite in this fight and it seems like everyone is expecting him to win to set up the Jones-Evans title fight we have all been wanting.

Phil Davis is a great athlete, and despite what Evans thinks, Davis has great wrestling. But has his striking improved enough to be able to trade with Rashad to set up the takedowns? This is a huge opportunity for Davis and I will be interested to see how he reacts to the main stage.

Despite Davis' size and reach and advantage, much like Sonnen, Evans is too focused on a Jones title fight to lose this one.

Evans TKO round 3.

If you liked this article please leave a comment below and vote on the poll to the right.  Also, as stated above, I started a weekly podcast called Split Decision on with my friend Ryan Penney. Please follow myself and the show on Twitter.  We will recap all the fights and news in the MMA world while also interviewing fighters, promoters and trainers

Friday, January 20, 2012

UFC on FX 1 Storylines and Predictions

The UFC is back again with another card tonight. UFC on FX 1 marks the organization’s first venture on to the network.  After a successful 142 card and stealing headlines by a feud with the mother ship, this is a card that is more important than originally thought.
Many people are looking forward to next week’s card, especially given all the recent changes, but UFC on FX 1 has a few storylines that are worth keeping an eye on.

Jon Anik and Kenny Florian Debuting as the B Announcing Team.

When people turn into a UFC broadcast they expect to see Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg.  They have been working together since 2002 and have a chemistry that is hard to top in all of sports.

Luckily for the UFC, they found two guys with great chemistry as well. Florian and Anik are both Boston guys who have worked together previously on MMA Live.  I have been a fan of Anik since his days at ESPN hosting weekly MMA chats and he also has experience calling fights with the Bellator promotion.

Also w
ith Florian’s career possibly coming to an end I feel this is the right move to keep Florian within the organization. Having a former fighter on the call gives the team more credibility and avoids potential awkwardness that could have resulted with an active fighter taking the job.

Fighters Fighting for Their Job

Fighters don't want to meet
Dana's new  assistant.
There are a lot of past and future title contenders on it. But with all this talent under the roster there is little room for error and UFC on FX 1 is full of fighters who could be on the chopping block with a loss.

Daniel Roberts is a respectable 3-3 inside the Octagon but is riding a two fight losing streak. A loss to Charlie Brenneman will likely mean his walking papers as very few fighters survive three losses in a row.

Jorge Rivera and Eric Shaefer cap off the under card in a fight that as my old friend Vin Diesel likes to say is for "pink slips." Except in this case, neither fighter wants one. Schaefer loss his comeback fight against Aaron Simpson, while Rivera has lost been defeated in his last two trips in the Octagon. Luckily, I called up Mr. Diesel and he was willing to leave some advice for the two of them. 

Pat Barry and Christian Morecraft could also be in danger. Barry is a fan favorite whose fights always deliver but like I said above any fighter who loses three in a row is at risk.  Morecraft, meanwhile holds a 1-2 mark inside the Octagon and with the Strikeforce heavyweights coming over soon, he needs to impress to keep his job.

Future of the Sport on the Network

The fights scheduled on this card are great for free television, however I am most excited to see how the production goes for the event. The UFC’s debut on Fox featured 64 seconds of fighting in their hour time block.
A lot of money was invested in the company as part of their new network deal and this is a huge test. This card gives them a chance to get all the kinks out for the more important, UFC on Fox 2 card network and will also help them plan for the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter.

Prediction Time:

How do you bet against this guy?
UFC 142 wasn't the best card for predictions as I went 2-3. But in my defense I was robbed out of the Silva call and if I posted my predictions after the weigh in drama I would have picked Belfort instead of Johnson. But I am a man of honor, unlike someone, so I’ll stick with my record.

Barry 1st round TKO over Morecraft
Easton Unanimous decision over Papazian
Ludwig 3rd round KO over Neer
Miller Split decision over Guillard

If you liked this article please leave a comment below and vote on the poll to the right.  Also, I recently started a weekly podcast called Split Decision on with my friend Ryan Penney. Please follow the show on Twitter.  We talk about all the fights and news in the MMA world and plan on interviewing fighters, promoters and trainers.

Friday, January 13, 2012

UFC 142 Preview and Predictions


This past year was a great one for the UFC.  There were many highlights, the Maynard-Edgar wars, the official beginning of the Bones Jones era, the much publicized deals with Strikeforce and Fox and most importantly, Steven Segal revolutionizing the sport.

All that momentum leads to UFC 142, first event of the new year taking place tomorrow in Brazil. The card, as you would expect, features many Brazilians and is highlighted by Jose Aldo defending his featherweight title.  The bout line up isn’t the most exciting on paper, which usually means these fights are going to shock everyone and deliver.  Plus, with this many dynamic strikers and grapplers on the card there is sure to be at least one highlight that we will be talking about for the rest of the year.

On to the predictions…

Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim

This is a great fight to kick off the main card.  These two fighters always look for the finish and deliver exciting fights. It’s the prototypical match up of striker, Barboza, a muay thai black belt, and a grappler in Etim, four submission of the night bonuses.

The key in this fight is whether or not Etim with his weak wrestling will be able to ground the heavy handed striker.  This is my early pick for fight of the night. Etim has never been knocked out and won’t be this fight but will lose by unanimous decision.

Carlo Prater vs. Erick Silva

Prater who is his making his UFC debut is a late fill in for Siyar Bahadurzada.  He clearly owns the experience edge, 40 fights compared to 14, and even has a win early in his career against Carlos Condit.

Silva is a prospect that many people are excited to see what he becomes, especially coming off his 40 second knockout of Luis Ramos.

I think the veteran Prater is able to use his experience to hang around for a little bit, until Silva strikes with a second round knockout and people start the comparisons to one of his trainers, that other Silva.

Mike Massenzio vs. Rousimar Palhares

Palhares’ fights are always interesting because you never know what he’s going to do in them.  Whether he’s ending fights too soon or too late, they will leave people talking.

Massenzio is a junior college wrestling national champion and is also a black belt in jiu jitsu. Massenzio is capable of winning this fight but he has also had some pretty bad losses in his career (submitted by Brian Stann and TKOd by CB Dollaway.

The only question in this fight is which limb of Massenzio does Palhares want to walk away with it.  I think instead of his customary heel hook Palhares switches things off and ends in the first round with a guillotine.

Vitor Belfort vs. Anthony Johnson

My first thought when I saw the booking of this fight was that the winner of this fight is going to get the knockout of the night bonus.

Johnson, making his middleweight debut, has won it twice, most recently with a head kick knock out on Charlie Brenneman.

Vitor Belfort’s hands don’t need an introduction.  His last four wins have all been via knockout with three of them in the first round. 

This is a huge fight for both of them. Johnson it seemed had gotten his weight under control** and was moving up the 170 pound division with two straight wins but could not turn down this fight.  Belfort looked to be his old self in his last bout against Akiyama but needs to win this fight if ever hopes to fight Anderson again.

I think cardio plays a factor in this fight and I’ll take the younger, better wrestler Johnson with a third round knockout.

Champ Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes (for featherweight title)

The first title fight of 2012 could turn into 2010’stitle fight of the year.  Of course, Mendes assumes the role of Chael Sonnen, minus the trash talking and minus laundering.  Aldo has defeated wrestlers in the past but none as explosive as Mendes.

Jose Aldo was one of the fighters that made me fall in love with this sport. I loved the WEC days and Aldo personified them.  He had some vicious knockouts and threw flying knees like they were going out of style.  But something changed in him when he TKOd Mike brown for the belt. He fights a lot safer now and has looked vulnerable at times.

Mendes’ striking is what will decide how this fight goes. Obviously he does not want to stand and trade with Aldo but he needs if his always- improving striking can set up his take downs, he’ll be tough to beat. Unlike in 2010 I don’ the Brazilian will be able to pull off a submission and Mendes wins a unanimous decision 49-46.

Bonus prediction: Mendes’ win will be the first of three titles coming to the Team Alpha Male camp this year. I like Faber in the trilogy fight against Cruz and Benavidez to win the flyweight tournament.

We bring pies and take titles
**Edit: Written before Johnson's blown weight... Some things never change.