Saturday, February 25, 2012

UFC 144: A lot of Action, Even More Sexy

The UFC makes its return to pay-per-view this weekend with seven, yes, SEVEN main card fights.  This card has a combination of past Japanese greats as well as past and future stars, highlighted by a main event title fight.  All this leads to great action that hopefully won't cause seizures like other Japanese programing.

This is the first time in almost 12 years the UFC has made the trip to Japan.  The event takes place at Saitama Super Arena, a legendary home to great Pride battles of the past.  THe past few years has seen Japanese MMA take a step back as Pride disbanded and Dram cards have become more infrequent.  Hopefully, this trip to what some call the "Mecca of MMA" is a step in revitalizing the spott in Japan.

Prediction Time:
Last week: 5-1
Year: 12-6

Coming off a great UFC on Fuel where my predictions were made on the Facebook page of my MMA radio show, Split Decision, I look to continue my winning ways with a 7-0 night for UFC 144.

Anthony "Showtime" Pettis vs. Joe "J-Lau" Lauzon
The fact that this is the first fight on the main card is very surprising to me.  Lauzon is coming off a huge first round upset of Melvin Guillard and Pettis is one of the sport's rising stars.  This fight could end up being a #1 contender's fight depending on how the main event shakes out.

J-Lau has the experience edge but I don't think he has the dominating wrestling necessary to ground the unorthodox Pettis. The longer the fight goes, the more likely I see a Showtime victory.

Pettis Submission Round Three

Hatsu Hioki vs. Bart "Bartimus" PalaszewskiBoth of these fighters are coming off victorious UFC debuts. Hioki returns to Japan after a split decision win over the very technical George Roop, while Palaszewski comes into enemy teritory riding high after a first round knock out of Tyson Griffin.

A win over Bartimus most likely gives Hioki the next crack against champion Jose Aldo. Hioki took some shots against Roop and that is something he cannot afford to do against the much more powerful Palaszweski. With over 80 professional bouts between the two this is a fight that should entertain the fans.

Palazewski KO round 2

Yushin "Thunder" Okami vs. Tim "the Barbarian" Boetsch
When I first saw this fight I was surprised at how far down the ladder Okami had fallen after losing to Anderson Silva.  Obviously, they wanted him on the Japan card but in the MMA world few fighters are more disrespected than Okami. He constantly finds ways to win, and his only recent losses are to the top guys in the division Sonnen and Silva.

Boetch is 2-0 since dropping down to middleweight, but faces a huge a step up in competition here. Unfortunately, whenever he gets a chance to make a statement he ends up on the losing end.  Anything can happen in a MMA fight but I have a hard time seeing Boetsch winning this one.

Okami Decision 30-27

Yoshihiro "Sexyama" Akiyama vs Jake Shields

Can you handle all the Sexiness?
This is a hard one for me to gauge.  How do I pick between one of the greatest nicknames in the sport and the Cesar Gracie fighter? Sexyama is making his welterweight debut in front of a Japanese crowd where he'll be treated like a star. His Octagon career has not been nearly as impressive as his sexiness, going 1-3 in his four fights, with that one win in his debut even being questionable.

He faces a man on a rare losing as well. Jake Shields hadn't lost since 2004 before falling to GSP and then to Jake Ellenberger.  The former Elite XC and Strikeforce champ is determined to get back on his winning ways and his experience fighting in Japan will help him here.

Shields Submission Round 2

Mark Hunt vs. Cheick Kongo

Hunt returns to country where his journey started years ago looking to impress after his most recent fight bout gas fest against Ben Rothwell where even though he came out victorious it did not do much to boost his career.

Kongo is on a roll in his career. He is unbeaten in his last four fights, with notable wins over Pat Barry and Matt Mitrione.  A win here will likely get him in the top 10 of many MMA rankings.

Kongo Unanimous Decision 30-27
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Ryan "Darth" Bader

Rampage returns to the land where his jumbo chain and trademark howl made him a star.  Unfortunately he has questions about how seriously he took the fight and how healthy he is ater he showed up overweight.  A couple days ago, I was thinking we were going to see vintage Rampage, now I'm not so sure.

Bader is a fighter who I think overachieved early on in his UFC career.  He was a straight wrestler for much of his career and he was able to ride that to a fight with the much more versatile Jon Jones. I think his loss to Jones and Tito Ortiz may have helped Bader in the long run and he looked great in his first round KO of Jason Brilz. I expect Bader to use his trademark wrestling in this one to grind out his legendary opponent.

Bader Unanimous Decision 29-28
Frankie "The Answer" Edgar vs. Benson "Smooth" Henderson
The main event is one that I did not expect to see when the WEC was absorbed by the UFC. Henderson lost his title to Pettis in the finale, Donald Cerrone ready to make an instant impact and a number of UFC lightweights stood in front of Henderson.  But after three wins in the Octagon there is little doubt Smooth deserves this shot.

Henderson, like many lightweights, will have the height and reach advantage over the champion.  But unlike Edgar's previous opponents I think Henderson also has the speed and cardio to keep up with Edgar.

Earlier I talked about how Okami was disrespected by many, but thats nothing compared to the way people treat Edgar. Hes beaten two legends, Sherk and Penn (twice) and KOd the only man to only defeat him.  No matter how successful he is, people constantly say he belongs in the featherweight division.  His fights tend to be marathons, three of his last four fights have gone the full 25 minutes and he never gives up, getting comparisons to Rocky Balboa.

I should learn my lesson by now but I'm taking Henderson in this one.  He has shown he can go 25 minutes before (twice in WEC title fights) and seems unstoppable right now.

Henderson Unanimous Decision 49-46 48-47 48-47

Which will lead into Henderson-Pettis II...

Who Complains if we see one of these again?

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. The show airs 3 PM daily Monday-Friday.

Please follow myself and the show 
on Twitter.  We recap all the fights and news in the MMA world while also interviewing fighters, promoters and trainers

Monday, February 13, 2012

Heavyweight Rankings

Last week was the first time in forever that there was not a huge MMA show to get excited about.  It got me thinking about what I could do to stay active on this blog.

I decided to put together rankings for each division, starting with the heavyweights. Ultimately the only purpose they have is to act as a talking point. But rankings are fun just because of the debate they cause among fans. Let me know what you think and leave a comment below.


1. Junior Dos Santos
2. Alistair Overeem
3. Cain Velasquez
4. Frank Mir
5. Fabrico Werdum
6. Josh Barnett
7. Shane Carwin
8. Daniel Cormier
9. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira 
10. Brendan Schaub

Will Junior Dos Santos still be champion after going up
against #2 Alistair Overeem at UFC 146

Friday, February 3, 2012

UFC 143: Someone is Getting Slapped

The day that the mixed martial arts world has been waiting for since the beginning of time is here, Nick Diaz fighting for the (interim) welterweight championship of the world.  UFC 144 was originally headlined by Diaz and George St. Pierre in what would be one of my dream matches but Carlos Condit is more than an adequate fill-in.

If it’s possible I highly recommend watching the Primetime special on Diaz and Condit.  It provides an in depth look at two fighters outside the Octagon.  This main event needs to deliver, especially after a disappointing UFC on Fox 2 card that caused Dana White to skip the press conference.
Prediction Time:

Prediction Record:
Last week: 2-1 Year: 7-5
Herman has been in the UFC since his days on The Ultimate Fighter 3.  He is someone that always narrowly avoids being cut, compiling a 6-5 record that includes two separate back to back losses. After sustaining a knee injury in 2009 against Aaron Simpson, Herman has looked like a different fighter with back to back first round stoppages.

I saw Starks make his UFC debut in person at UFC 137 and I came away less than impressed. In his defense, he took the fight two weeks after his previous fight and it was his UFC debut. Starks’ best chance in this fight is ground Herman with relentless take downs and grind out a decision.

I like Herman’s determination and experience here as he hands Starks his first loss.

Herman by Submission round 1. 

Barão has been on an absolute tear since his pro debut in 2005 and will be looking to extend his unbeaten streak to 29. He is a training partner of Jose Aldo, last seen partying here, and has skills on the ground and on his feet. I also like the reach advantage Barão will have in this fight but the concern for Barão is that he hasn’t fought on nearly as many big fights as Jorgensen.

If it wasn’t for the main event, this match-up would be my guess for Fight of The Night. Jorgensen has been on a roll, going 7-1 in his last 8 fights with his only loss to current champion Dominick Cruz. Jorgensen has heavy hands, look at his KO from guard against Ken Stone, and tremendous wrestling.  He has been on a mainstay as a top 5 bantamweight for quite some time and will be looking to prove he is not a gatekeeper for the division.

I see Jorgensen trying to get this fight to the ground and leaving an opening that Barão takes advantage of.

Barão Submission round 2

This fight at first glance seems like a huge mismatch. I think that is a huge disservice to Mike Pierce. His only losses are to top contenders Jon Fitch and Johny Hendricks, two guys who he almost beat, nearly finishing Fitch and a close decision to Hendricks.

Koscheck bounced from his title to GSP with a first round KO against legend Matt Hughes. I think he has shaken off the effects from his eye injury and will be using this to get back to a title shot. My one concern was that Koscheck would take this fight too lightly but based on the fact that Pierce called him out I think Koascheck will be looking to prove a point.

Koscheck Unanimous Decision 30-27

Werdum hasn’t been in the octagon since a Junior dos Santos sent him to Strikeforce. He had success, going 3-1 including his 2010 upset of the year against Fedor Emalianenko. In his fight against Overeem, Werdum won some of the standup exchanges, but decided to pull guard every twenty second for some reason.

Roy Nelson is an interesting character in the MMA world.  He has a great ground game but his conditioning is definitely a question mark larger than his waistline. Nelson does have a chance to end this standing. Werdum was rocked by a right hand, something Nelson has a very good one of, against Fedor before pulling off the submission.

Ultimately this fight come downs to conditioning and I see Nelson wearing down after first.

Werdum Unanimous decision 29-28

Carlos Condit versus Nick Diaz

Whenever these two fighters step in the cage it is likely they are leaving the cage with a bonus. Now, you put them against each other, guaranteed fireworks.

Condit comes from one of the best camp's in MMA so you know he will be prepared for this one. He may not be  on Nick's level on the ground but he is a purple belt and has 13 submission wins so he's no slouch.  

His last three fights have been entertaining, featuring a come from behind victory against  "The next GSP" Rory MacDonald, and two highlight reel knockouts against Dan Hardy and Stun Gun. The last WEC champion definitely has earned this match up…

against the last Strikeforce champion Diaz. I try my best to stay neutral when writing these previews but I am not going to try to hide my Diaz fan-boyism My walls are full of 2-0-9 scribbles and may utter the phrase "Don't be scared, home" from time to time.

Diaz is a scrapper and goes to finish fights.  He fights by "Stockton rules" so you know he is not looking to win on points.  His boxing is tremendous, has an iron chin and is elite on the ground.  The problem with his fighting style is that he takes a lot of punishment in order to strike the way he likes. Diaz has to be concerned with Condit's finishing power.

This fight is going to be a barn burner and actually from an entertainment value I prefer this one to either one of them against GSP.

Diaz TKO 4th Round.
Hes coming for you George!
I would be an awful person if I did not wish a fond farewell to the gladiator man made famous by the UFC introductions. After many years of service the gladiator is now retired in favor of a brand new, highly expensive introduction. 
First the Internet people, now the Gladiator intro,
who's the next victim of Emperor Dana. 

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