Friday, May 25, 2012

UFC 146: Super Sized Edition

After a MMA-filled week that only encouraged my fear of zombies, the UFC is back this weekend with a heavy dose of the big guys.  The pay per view card features five heavyweight bouts, capped off by the championship fight between Junior Dos Santos and Frank Mir.

Fight fans should also check out the under card on FX as it features some big names of their own. Former WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner makes his return to the Zuffa brand against highlight machine, Edson Barboza. Also, two fan favorites in Jason “Mayhem” Miller and British import, Dan Hardy look to extend their UFC careers, while Diego Brandao will make his first appearance since winning The Ultimate Fighter.

Previews and Predictions
Last Week: 5-1
Year: 27-18

Skyscraper is an intriguing heavyweight fighter.  Not only is he 6’11 but hes only 24 years old.  He holds a 7-3 record in the Octagon but still has not earned a signature win. His ground game is his strong suit, especially when you take in account his division. The one issue in all his losses has been his chin, suffering three first round knockouts.

That’s great news for Lavar Johnson.  A man, who was nothing but average in his Strikeforce career but has been on a tear since joining the UFC.  Two first-round knock outs against Joey Beltran and Pat Barry earned “Big” the opportunity to replace the injured Mark Hunt on the card.

Struve takes more shots than he should in his fights which is why many people are taking Johnson to end this early. But after seeing Barry almost finish Johnson on the ground I expect Struve to get him down and finish the job.

Struve Submission Round Two

The next bout pits two undefeated heavyweight prospects against each other. This bout is overshadowed the most in my opinion but the winner of this fight will receive a big push in a division that is short on contenders.  Del Rosario is 11-0 and is coming off a first round submission of the previously mentioned Lavar Johnson in February 2011. 

He was on a roll and was scheduled to face Daniel Cormier before a car accident sidelined him for over a year.  If he does not get in the accident there’s a chance Del Rosario was the one winning the Grand Prix last weekend. 

Miočić is a former D-1 wrestler who has finished 7 of his 8 opponents with 6 of them by knockout.  Most recently he defeated Phil De Fries by knockout in only 43 seconds. 

This is going to be an exciting fight. Del Rosario has the edge on the ground but I think  Miočić with his wrestling advantage will be able to keep the fight standing.  Ultimately, the ring rust of del Rosario is the biggest thing in this fight.

Miočić TKO Round 3

Nelson is an enigma in the sport. His “unique” body type has earned him both fans and critics, including Dana White. “Big Country” is a gamer though; he will never quit in a fight and can thank his iron chin for that. He has lost three of four, however and will need a win to convince the big guy to keep him around.

Nelson has lucked out in drawing Herman this weekend.  Herman is a much safer opponent than Antonio Silva, his original opponent. This will be his third UFC fight; he is 1-1 in his Octagon career, most recently getting TKOd by Stefan Struve.

Herman doesn’t have the striking that Werdum, Mir or Dos Santos so I don’t expect him being able to finish Nelson. Also, Nelson has a huge edge on the ground with his black belt in BJJ.

Nelson Submission (Arm Bar) Round 3

Velasquez is a huge favorite in this fight and it is well deserved. He was on a roll, starting his career 9-0 and defeating Brock Lesnar to win the title.  Unfortunately, in that fight he suffered a torn rotator cuff and was sidelines for nearly 8 months.  That rust showed in his first defense where he was defeated by Junior Dos Santos.

Silva, another Strikeforce import, was coming off the win of his career against MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko. All that momentum was ended in September in the first round by Daniel Cormier, which seems to be the trend nowadays.

Velasquez is on a mission to get his belt back and holds the edge everywhere but submissions.  Expect heavy ground and pound while he looks to make an example of Bigfoot.

Velasquez TKO Round Two

I am very excited for this title fight and believe it is closer than the other title fights that have taken place in other divisions recently. Many people are not giving Mir a fair chance which is crazy considering the heavyweight title has changed hands the most in the past three years than any other belt.

Dos Santos has been a beast in his Octagon career.  He is 8-0, 14-1 overall and has defeated three of the heavyweights on this card. His boxing is the best in the division and when he hits someone, he hits them hard.

Frank Mir, a two-time heavyweight champion, is on a three fight win-streak.  He was originally scheduled to face Velasquez, a bout I would still love to see, but to some shenanigans he finds himself fighting for the title. He has been in the UFC for over 12 years and holds the record for most wins, 14, in the division.

Dos Santos has the striking edge but Mir has some deadly knees in the clinch game. If it goes to the ground I have no idea what to expect. Mir has taken his share of opponents’ limbs in the past (Exhibit A, Exhibit B)but experts say dos Santos isn't too worried about it.

As a fan, I really want to pick Mir. I have been a fan for a while but I just don’t see it happening.

Dos Santos TKO Round 3

New School vs Old School in the heavyweight title fight.
As an extra bonus I have included the picks of my co-host of Split Decision, RyanPenney.  Back in college, we met and I’d like to take credit for turning him into a MMA fan. 

We host a show on  that covers all the MMA news and plenty of nonsense too.  Hope you can like our facebook page, follow us on twitter and leave plenty of comments.  Make sure to vote on the poll to the right and enjoy the fights.

Stefan Struve vs. Lavar Johnson:  Johnson Rd 1 KO-KO of night-- Struve will win if this thing goes to the ground, but I think Struve gets caught and his chin get s destroyed. 

Stipe Miočić vs. Shane del Rosario
Miočić  RD 2 TKO--Stipe has tremendous power and is going to move up in this weight class thanks to this fight

Roy Nelson vs. Dave Herman: Nelson Unanimous Decision- Roy can lean on you and I am not impressed with the man formerly known as "pee-wee". Nelson is taking training more seriously and I think he doesn’t impress but gets a much needed win 30-27.

Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva
: Velasquez RD 3 TKO-FOTN- I am very excited to see what Big foot can do but I think Cain wins and gets a title shot rematch against Dos Santos.

Junior dos Santos vs. Frank Mir: dos Santos TKO RD 2- Mir was impressive and I am much less excited than I was for Allistair but this will do. I think Dos Santos can win if he keeps this standing. This goes to the ground=broken arm for Junior.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

UFC on Fuel TV 3: Zombie Hunting

This week the UFC brings fight fan’s a stacked card on a Tuesday instead of their usual weekend format.  I like this approach because as a fight fan/aspiring MMA journalist because it gives fans a fight outlet without having to give up a Friday or Saturday night.

UFC on Fuel 3 also serves as an appetizer to a MMA feast this weekend.  On Friday, Bellator 69 features their middleweight tournament finale as well as arguable the #1 pound for pound female fighter in the world in Megumi Fujii.  The next day Strikeforce will complete their Heavyweight Grand Prix finale after it started approximately thirty-five years ago.

On to the picks!

Previews and Predictions
Last Week: 2-2
Year: 22-17

The first fight on the main card pits two fan favorites against each other that may be fighting for their UFC careers. The Athlete is coming off a loss to Alan Belcher in September. In two stints within the organization he has a solid run but the black belt in jiu-jitsu always struggles against the elite competition.

Lawlor is known for his overthe top entrances and weigh in hijinks than his actual fights.  He won his first two UFC fights but has fallen on some hard luck, losing three of his last four fights. He has a wrestling based attack and focuses on putting a lot of pressure on his opponents.

Lawlor is going to try to take down and as long as he avoids the submission he should be able to grind out a win.  Also, I think MacDonald might not be totally focused because there are already rumblings about him wanting his retirement fight to happen at the upcoming Calgary card.

Lawlor Unanimous Decision

Fans may not know much about these two guys but they will after this card.  I see this fight becoming a slugfest between the two veterans.  Each one of them usually find themselves on the under card and will be using the television broadcast as a chance to get noticed.

Pokrajac is 3-1 in the UFC after dropping his first two fights and his coming off the best performance of his career where he knocked out Krzystof Soszynski in 35 seconds.

Maldonado trains with the Nogueira brothers so he definitely has skills on the ground if the fight ends up there. He is looking to bounce back from a decision loss to Kyle Kingsbury that some feel he should have won. 

Pokrajac TKO 2nd round

The next bout on the card pits two bantamweights trying to make names for themselves in the division.  Jabouuin has two split decision victories in the division after dropping down following a loss to Pablo Garza. Despite the decision wins lately he does pack power, with 11 of his 17 wins coming by knockout.

Hougland had a rough start to his career but has won nine in a row, including a decision win in his UFC debut last July. Unlike his opponent, Hougland is much more of a grappler with 7 of his 10 wins coming by submission.

This is the prototypical striker versus grappler that usually ends in an entertaining finish.

Yves Jabouin TKO Round 2

This fight of the night favorite pits two lightweights or are coming off losses to top contenders. Cerrone was on a roll in 2011 winning 6 in a row until he ran into Nate Diaz. Cowboy can win this fight wherever it goes and consistently delivers entertaining fights (bonuses in 3 of his last 4).

Stephens is coming off a loss to Anthony Pettis last October.  I am slightly biased against him because he did defeat a very attractive blogger’s brother back in June but the joke is on him because the doctor loved my brother and me.  

I think Cerrone is too well rounded for Stephens in this one but don’t discount Stephens power to end the fight in one punch.

Cerrone Submission Round Two

Sadollah is one of the few people who can say all of his professional bouts have taken place in the Octagon. Since winning season 7 of the Ultimate Fighter, Sadollah has not been to put together a lengthy win streak but he has never dropped two in a row.  His muay thai is top notch, has solid sambo and also has landed the most leg kicks in UFC history in a three round fight,

Lopez, is a 11-2, who lost his UFC debut to Justin Edwards back in September. Don’t expect him to take this fight for the ground, he much more of a striker with 5 knock outs on his record.

I’m going to take the UFC veteran in this one. Sadollah may not always look impressive but he finds a way to get the job done.

Sadollah Unanimous Decision

Chan Sung Jung, more affectionately known as the “Korean Zombie” has seen his stock rise in the last year.  In his WEC days he was only really known for his brawl with Leonard Garcia. His fights in the Octagon have proved him to be a contender in the featherweight division.  He pulled off the first ever twister in UFC history and then in his next bout he knocked out former #1 contender Mark Hominick in 7 seconds in enemy territory.

Poirier is a guy who has been on my radar since upsetting Josh Grispi at UFC 125.  That win is a part of his current five fight win streak.  Poirier is part of the new MMA fighter the experts always talk about, well-rounded in all facets of the sport. 

Both of these fighters are looking to earn the next title shot after Erik Koch.  This one will battle Cerrone-Stephens for fight of the night and I have been looking forward to this fight for a while.

Poirier TKO round 4

Who's tougher: The Diamond or the Zombie?
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Also, I started a weekly podcast called Split Decision on with my friend Ryan Penney. Feel free to leave your predictions on our facebook page. 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

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

UFC On Fox 3: Why Fight When You Can Vacation?

After the first two fight cards on Fox left fans wanting more, Dana White needed a strong performance out of his guys in New Jersey Saturday night. The four fights did that and more.

Pat Barry and Lavar Johnson put on a show in the opening bout and Alan Belcher put himself in the middleweight title picture with his eye-opening performance versus Rousimar Palhares.

The two headliners delivered as well.  Josh Koscheck and Johny Hendricks had a back and forth battle that went the distance resulting in a split decision victory for Hendricks.  Nate Diaz capped off the main event with an exclamation mark by being the first person to finish Jim Miller, almost taking out his tongue in the process.

At first glance there really is not much to be upset about. Has the production improved? Yes. Were the fights great? Yes. Did Nate Diaz save the UFC from a big FCCfine? Yes.

The problem I have is what came out at the press conference afterwards and is a troubling trend in the mixed martial arts world right now. Diaz and Hendricks both earned title shots with their victories. While I do not think either one in an unquestioned #1 contender I do not have a problem with either one receiving this status.

Unfortunately, their respective title shots are not happening any time soon. The champions in their division each have one more fight. In the lightweight division the unnecessary anticipated Henderson-Edgar rematch is not taking place until August. I have two problems with this.

The first is the delay for the rematch is on Edgar, not the champion Henderson. I respect Edgar for all he has done in the division but you can not hold up the belt for the challenger in my opinion. This sport is growing and needs its stars to fight. Since they are waiting so long with Edgar, this means as of now, we will not see Diaz until December.

Hendricks’ layoff will be much longer. Carlos Condit after earning the interim title in early February against Nick Diaz has decided to wait as well to face Georges St. Pierre. Not only does this make an interim title pointless but GSP is not likely going to be ready until November. Hendricks should not have the ability to wait on the sidelines until 2013 because he is afraid of losing his title shot.

The remedy for this long layoff dilemma is simple. The UFC needs to match up Nate Diaz against Anthony Pettis, a guy who has been promised two title shots previously, in the summer and have a clear number one contender at lightweight. Pettis is the only man in the organization to have defeated the champ, in case you somehow forgot this kick. And a matchup between him and Diaz would be guaranteed fireworks.

Johny Hendricks has multiple options.  I would not mind seeing a rematch with Koscheck.  I personally scored the fight 29-28 for Kos and would not mind seeing them face off again. Other match ups in the welterweight division include the Ellenberger-Kampmann winner or if Nick Diaz wins his battle against the NSAC and is released from his suspension.
The UFC needs to take care of this situation fast. The new deal with Fox has them putting on over 30 shows a year. They need to keep their guys active and not on the sidelines playing the waiting game. Dana White can give the contenders this message to convince them to fight...


What do you guys think?  Vote on the poll on the right or leave a comment below.

Friday, May 4, 2012

UFC on Fox: Take 3

This weekend marks the UFC’s third card on the FOX network.  When the deal was first signed in August of last year fight fans everywhere were overjoyed with thoughts of all-time classic fights on free television.

Instead of instant classics the two cards have produced a 59 minute-long talk show with a 60 second heavyweight title thrown in and a three fight decision-fest on the following card. While the ratings have been strong you can bet Dana White is hoping for some fireworks Saturday night, especially going up against these guys.
UFC 145 was not very kind to the prediction machine.  I continued to pick against Jon Jones for some reason and put trust in veterans Miguel Torres and Mark Hominick… Thanks for nothing guys.

Previews and Predictions
Last Week: 2-4
Year: 20-15

How do you cure the disease knows as Decisionitis? Simple answer, have these two slugging heavyweights kick off the main card. The always entertaining Pat Barry is coming off a devastating KO of Christian Morecraft where he showed an improved ground game as well. HD is right there with Junior Dos Santos as the most technical striker in the division and owns the most vicious leg kicks in the company.

Johnson announced his Octagon arrival with authority by doing something no man had ever done in knocking out Joey Beltran, with uppercuts straight out of a video game.  Before his UFC debut Johnson was on a two fight skid against average heavyweight competition in Strikeforce.

Do not blink during this fight because it can end at any second.  Both guys have heavy hands and likely won’t look to take it to the ground.

Barry KO 1st Round followed by  a celebration almost as cool as this.

Belcher put an exclamation mark on his comeback fro ma career threatening eye injury with a submission win over Jason MacDonald at UFC Fight Night 25 last September. After taking another break due to fatherhood “the Talent” looks to propel himself to title contention with his toughest fight to date. Belcher is well rounded and if not for a controversial decision loss to Yoshihiro Akiyama he would be on a 6 fight win streak.

Palhares is one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC.  Some people consider him dirty but I think he is just aggressive and fights to win at all costs. He is a heel hooking machine and despite the fact everyone knows he is going for it, they can not stop it. He has won 6 of his last 7 fights and is a guy no one wants to face in the division right now.

The winner of this fight will certainly “be in the mix”” as Dana White puts it. This was the hardest fight for me to predict on this card.  If Belcher fights smart I think he can certainly grind out a decision but if he gets too aggressive Belcher could be in the market for a new leg.

Belcher Unanimous Decision 29-28

Josh Koscheck has been in the UFC since his days on the first season of the Ultimate Fighter. On the show he was strictly a four-time All American wrestler with a very limited striking skill set. Over the years it has been fun to see him develop into one of the best welterweights in the sport.  His last fight against Mike Pierce was a disappointing decision win.  I believe Kos knows this is last chance to make a title run so he did not want to take any chances and risk falling to the middle of the division.

Johny Hendricks is also a four-time All American wrestler, however he posses more raw power than Koscheck. Hendricks who was often seen as another guy in the division is currently on a three fight winning streak, highlighted by a 12 second knockout over Jon Fitch. Now, he finds himself on the brink of a title shot with only one man standing in his way.

Koscheck is the more experienced fighter of the two and is in a good place mentally after switching camps. I have been a Hendricks doubter for awhile now and think this may be too much of a push after just one punch but he definitely can prove me wrong this weekend. Don’t expect a barn burner in this one, look for Koscheck to pick his spots and grind out a victory.

Koscheck Unanimous Decision 30-27

Now I know I can not hide my love of the Diaz brothers but I love the fact I get to watch one of them fight on free television.  My one concern is does the FCC feel the same way? The brash-Stockton native put on a clinic against Donald Cerrone in ways no one thought possible.  Diaz has looked great since his return to the lightweight division and can win a fight wherever it goes. His boxing, like his brother’s is dangerous and also has earned his black belt in jiu-jitsu from Cesar Gracie.

Jim Miller is one of the most underrated fighters on the planet. He saw his seven fight win streak snapped by champion Benson Henderson but bounced back with a submission victory over Melvin Guillard in January. Miller is a put bull who will look to take Diaz down and use ground and pound along with his own black belt skills to contain the dangerous 209er.

The five round-format favors Nate Diaz but Miller is not one to gas either. Diaz gets in the most trouble against strong wrestlers so this is a great test for him in order to earn a title shot. This is one that is likely to go in the late rounds because they both are smart fighters with great chins. I expect Diaz to out strike Miller in the same way he did Cowboy and take home the #1 contender spot in an entertaining fight of the night. 
Diaz Unanimous Decision 49-46
Future Lightweight Champion! 209 for life.
Credit: MMAlinker
If you liked this article please leave a comment below and vote on the poll to the right a
Also, I started a weekly podcast called Split Decision on with my friend Ryan Penney. Feel free to leave your predictions on our facebook page. 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.