Saturday, July 7, 2012

UFC 148: American Gangster vs. The King of Brazil

It is finally time for the one title match everyone has been anticipating. Fans have put up with suspensions, injuries and matches that resemble a track meet more than a fight just so we can see these Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva face off one more time. UFC 148 could have been one of the great cards of the year. But injuries have taken a toll, including taking away the anticipated rematch between Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz.
On the bright side, my amazing fight prediction was a perfect 4 for 4 on the night, time for that streak to continue.

Now, on to the picks..

Previews and Predictions

Last Card:
Year: 43-25

The first of six main card fights pits two rising bantamweights against each other. Easton is 2-0 in the UFC and looks to be a guy we could be talking about as a title contender sooner rather than later. After all, he is a teammate of the champion, Dominick Cruz. In his last fight he got more than he bargained for with injury replacement Jared Papazian. He is a black belt in jiu-jitsu as well as judo and if you watched his two Octagon fights you would see his striking is not too shabby either.

Menjivar was a name that some thought would take Cruz's spot and fight for the interim title against Faber. The brass chose Renan Barao but Menjivar still gets to fight on a pay per view main card. Since coming over from the WEC he is 3-0 including finishes over Charlie Valencia and John Albert. Menjivar has the clear experience advantage and has been in the cage against some of the best guys in the sport (St-Pierre, Lauzon, Serra).

I think this could be the fight of the night. The deciding factor for me is Easton's speed, as long as he doesn't get too impatient he should be able to control the Octagon.
Easton Decision (29-28)

The last time we saw Mendes he was on his back unconscious as Jose Aldo continued his featherweight dominance. It was the first loss of my #2 145 pounder's career. Everyone knows two things about Mendes, 1. he should come out to this song and do the dance and everything and 2. he is going to wrestle you to death. He was one of the best while wrestling at Cal-Poly and he has been able to take anyone he meets in the Octagon down until Jose Aldo (with a little help from the fence). Since he has not been in the cage since January I expect to see improvement in his striking game.

McKenzie got back on the winning track in his last fight against Marcus LeVesseur. It was his 12th submission win, with 11 of them coming by his famous McKenzietine. Part of me wonders how so many fighters allow them to fall victim to the same move. Trying to grapple with McKenzie is like laying on your back in the middle of wrestling ring, eventually you're going to feel the impact of the devastating leg drop or in this case McKenzie's grip choking you out.

Mendes is more athletic and has better top position than anyone McKenzie has faced to date. While most people would have a striking edge against “Money” there is nothing spectacular about McKenzie besides his guillotine and old facial hair. Add in the fact that this is McKenzie's first trip down to featherweight, Mendes is a clear favorite in this match.

Mendes Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 2

This is a bout that is thrown on the main card. The two welterweights aren't huge fan favorites and neither one has finished an opponent since 2009. That doesn't mean they are not talented fighters, however. Kim only has one loss in his career and that is to the UFC interim champ and my #2 guy Carlos Condit. He controls his fights with his judo and wrestling. It will be interesting to see how he uses these tools because he most likely doe not want to go to the ground with Maia.

Maia is making his welterweight debut after a decision loss to Chris Weidman. Maia is very dangerous on the ground, that finsih talked about above in 2009 was a submission win over #1 contender Chael Sonnen. Since that win Maia has not been able to get on an extended winning streak due to his one dimensional fight game.

Maia's striking is not the biggest concern for me, it is his gas tank. He looked awful against Weidman and could barely mount any offense in the fight. I expect the weight cut to take a toll on him and his already questionable cardio.

Kim TKO Round 3

When Rich Franklin pulled out of his bout against Cung Le to face Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147 it provided an opportunity for Patrick Cote to get back to the UFC for a third time. After a three fight losing streak in the Octagon Cote was cut in 2010. Since then he was won 4 straight fights, including two former UFC fighters. In his second stint in the organization Cote was one of the division's best, racking up 5 wins before losing to Anderson Silva in a championship fight. No one can question Cote's chin and if it wasn't for all his injuries who knew where he would be in his career.

Cung Le is a difficult fighter to break down. He is a very talented striker who came to MMA after an undefeated kickboxing career. The problem is that he does not see himself as a fighter. I am not going to hate on the guy for wanting to have a successful acting career, I just feel that it is very hard to be successful in the sport without focusing on it full-time. In his recent loss to Wanderlei Silva he looked good in the first round and almost finished the Axe Murderer.

If this goes in to the later rounds I think it favors Cote. Le's best chance in his fights are to finish them early but Cote has never truly been TKO outside the injury loss to Silva.
Cote TKO Round 3

The co-main event features a trilogy fight between two of the most important men in the history of the organization. Well no one may have been clamoring for this fight. It makes sense for where both guys are in their careers. Forrest is coming off a first round loss to Shogun Rua but had beaten two big names before that (Ortiz and Franklin). Griffin has not looked the same since losing the belt to Rashad Evans. He does not do anything outstanding but is the more well-rounded fighter of the two.

When looking at Tito Ortiz it is impossible for me to be rational. He as the guy who captured my interest in the sport. All his antics, the flames on the trunks, walking out with the two-sided flag, the clevert-shirts, he was the most bad-ass guy on my television. Ortiz said what he wanted and did not care who he offended. The sport may have evolved and left him in the dust but there is no doubt he deserves to be in the hall of fame. His ground and pound is legendary and I expect to see the best Ortiz, we have seen in awhile.

Ortiz Unanimous Decision (30-27)

The main event is the most anticipated fight of the year. Everyone remembers the first battle, where Sonnen dominated for 4.5 rounds before getting caught in a triangle. This has led to one of the best rivalries in the history of the sport.

When looking at the first fight there are so many variables to consider. How injured was Silva going into the fight? Did Sonnen's increased testosterone play a role in the controlling the Brazilian? Has Sonnen learned to stop a triangle?

All of these are very important questions and have to be considered for fight number two. I think Sonnen is a guy who does not necessarily deserve to be in this fight. His mouth has gotten him to the top of the division and he has not had many great performances, including a fight against Michael Bisping that judges could have gone either way on.

Sonnen fought his best possible fight in the first bout and could not finish the champion. There is no way he puts together a better performance than that. Silva, on the other hand, is now pissed off and you never want to piss off a spider.

People think this will make Silva over aggressive and ultimately get caught. The champion in his entire career has never looked over aggressive, even after getting beat up for 4.5 rounds he was still able to calmly lock on the triangle without issue. And I do not think Sonnen has the ability to “catch” Silva, he does not have the power or the willingness to stay on the feet for that to occur.

Silva Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 3

Dana White's reaction when they told them
how much money this fight is going to make.

If you liked this article please leave a comment below and vote on the poll to the right.  Also, I started a weekly podcast called Split Decision on with my friend Ryan Penney (his picks below). Feel free to leave your predictions on our facebook page. The show airs  daily Monday-Friday. 

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Lets be honest, one fight has most people excited: Silva/Sonnen II….. But this card is stacked. Not a single bad fight on paper(a few lopsided bouts, but not “bad”). With the constant trash talk from Chael, and the aggressive words from Silva, this card is starting to live up to the hype before either 185 pounder steps in to the octagon.

The rumors of Silva almost backing out are becoming louder, not to mention the words of anger from the Spiders mouth, make me believe he might be a little nervous about that shiny belt.

Now on to the predictions:

Mike Easton vs. Ivan Menjivar

Mike “the Hulk” Easton hasn’t lost since 2007, his one and only professional loss. Easton was a late replacement for Renan Barão. Ivan Menjivar is coming off a big win over TUF alum and friend of the show, Jon Albert. While Menjivar was originally expected to take on Barão, he doesn’t get much of a break with Easton . Menjivar knows his way around the octagon, and his veteran skill will make this fight interesting for about a round before Easton pulls away. I will take Easton round 2 TKO.

Chad “Money” Mendes vs. Cody McKenzie

Chad “Money” Mendes is coming off his first career loss, one that came at the hands of Jose Aldo…. Not a horrible fighter by any means (at least the shiny belt thinks so). Cody McKenzie bounced back after his two fight losing streak with a big win over Marcus LeVesseur. While McKenzie is coming off a win, and Mendes is coming off a loss, I think this fight is still pretty far in favor of the $$$$. Mendes needs to be aware of one thing and one thing only: Guillotine choke. McKenzie’s 11/13 wins are thanks to guillotine joke, so basically versatility isn’t a good word to describe McKenzie. I think Mendes beats on McKenzie for 3 rounds, and holds off an submission attempt. Mendes Unanimous Decision.

Dong Hyun Kim vs. Demian Maia

Dong Hyun Kim, or as I shall call him- Stun Gun (great nickname) has 1 loss in his UFC career (the other one was changed to NC.. long story) thanks to Carlos Condit. Not a bad loss, and one of his biggest wins came against Nate Diaz… again, an impressive UFC career to this point. Kims biggest test to date will be Demian Maia. Maia has had an impressive career, but is gatekeeper role at best now (after that “fight” against Silva) and if Kim wants to make a move in the middleweight division, he needs a win here. Maia is on the downside, and I think Kim puts him away impressively in round 1 via KO ( knees).

Patrick Cote vs. Cung Le

This card only gets better and better. I would have preferred Franklin/LE, but Cote has 4 wins in a row outside the Octagon, and is trying to get back in to the UFC with this fight. I feel bad for the Canadian, but I don’t give him a shot in hell. Le wins this with some highlight kick that makes me spill my beer on my fiancé…. Rest of the fights of the night will have to be watched through a scary glare coming my way.

Forrest Griffin vs. Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz

The final fight for Tito Ortiz is against another future HOFer, Forrest Griffin. Ortiz kept his career alive with a great upset over Ryan Bader, but quickly fell back in to the funk he was in with losses to Rashad Evans and little Nog. Griffin is on the tail end of his career as well, but might have one last run in him. But it will have to start with a win over Tito. The series is 1-1 between these two. I think Griffin gets the rubber match via Unanimous decision and FOTN.

Anderson “The Spider” Silva vs. Chael Sonnen

I will say it right now.. Silva is scared of Sonnen. He has been ducking Sonnen and he knows Sonnen will win this. Say what you will about Chael, he wants this title more than anything… ANYTHING. I don’t care what people say, Chael beat the Spider for 5 rounds and made one mistake and lost.

Sonnen will win this fight if it goes to the ground. Anderson will win this fight if it stays standing.

Here is what happens: Anderson comes out pissed. He will go after Sonnen and beat his ass for round 1. Round 2 Sonnen will bring this thing to the ground and frustrate Silva. Rounds 3-5 will be a back and forth test of wills. Blood will be shed. And in round 5, Sonnen will get ground position and KNOCK OUT ANDERSON SILVA.

His trash talk will be proven. They will share FOTN honors with Griffin/Ortiz and Silva will win KO of night.

Call me crazy but I buy in to the Chael Hype!

Enjoy the fights. We will talk about all this and more on Monday! 

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