Friday, July 20, 2012

UFC 149: Who's Number Two?

This weekend was supposed to be the third match between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber.  After splitting the first two matches then coaching opposite each other on the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter the end of this rivalry seemed imminent.

Of course, the UFC did not take into account one of the worst injury bugs ever to effect a card.  Originally, Erik Koch and Jose Aldo had their championship fight scheduled for UFC 149 and was going to be one of the rare times the lighter weights would main event a pay per view card. 

Not counting the main event, the UFC also botched the announcement of signing Bibaiano Fernandes, one of the top bantamweights in the world.  Instead he ended up signing with One FC and we are left with Francisco Rivera against Roland Delorme.

There is also a lot less sexiness on the card after Akiyama dropped out due to injury in training.  Also, a fight between former light heavyweight champion Shogun Rua and Thiago Silva was scrapped and eventually to UFC on Fox 4.

This past week my genius showed once again. If you count my bonus Strikeforce picks I finished 8-2.  Now too shabby if I say so myself.

Now on to the picks…

Last Card: 5-1Year: 51-29 

This is a surprising bout to kick off the main card in my opinion. It made more sense to me to put Court McGee and Nick Ring to kick off the show. However, this is a fight that should entertain the Calgary fans.

Clements debuted (11-4, 1-0 UFC) debuted wit ha split decision win over Keith Wisniewski at UFC 145. The Menace, who owns the fastest MMA KO in history at 3 seconds, looked wild in my opinion. His striking is far from technical but when he was able to avoid the clinch he was able to throw bombs.

Riddle (6-3. 6-3) is a life time UFC fighter. He debuted on TUF season 7 and has been in the Octagon ever since. His submission game has improved over this time and consistently puts up entertaining fights. Deep Waters has only finished one opponent in his career and has lost 2 of his last 3.

This is a case where I think fighting in front of his native fans will hinder Clements’ performance. I think he comes out looking to finish the fight early and Riddle survives long enough to get him down and stay on top.

Riddle Unanimous Decision (30-27)

I am very surprised to see Ebersole (50-14-1, 4-0) on this card. He defeated TJ Waldburger a month ago at the Guida-Maynard FX card. After the fight, he announced a desire drop to lightweight but instead he has an opportunity to move to 5-0 at welterweight before he moves to 155.Ebersole has not lost since 2007 (11 fights) with the only loss to Hector Lombard, the guy in the co-main event. The man fans call “The White Anderson Silva” has the experience and skills to win this fight wherever it goes.  My one concern is that there is little for him to gain here besides a paycheck and maybe a bonus. 

James Head (8-2, 1-1) looks to play spoiler in this welterweight match up. After a submission loss to Nick Ring in his debut, a drop to welterweight proved successful as Head submitted Papy Abedi in the first round. Head should prove to be less of a test than Waldburger on the ground for the veteran Ebersole.

Ebersole Submission (Arm Triangle) Round 2

Kongo (17-7-2, 10-5-1) should change his name to the Ultimate Heavyweight gate keeper. He beats Pat Barry, Matt Mitrione and Paul Buentello but loses to Frank Mir, Cain Velasquez and most recently, Mark Hunt. A four fight unbeaten streak was snapped with when he was KOd in the first by the already mentioned Hunt.  Kong is well-rounded and despite all the crap I give him when I discuss his fights is capable of putting away any fighter.

Jordan (13-3, 1-0) steps in for Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and is presented with a huge opportunity.  HE announced his arrival in March with a second round TKO over Oli Thompson.  An unknown to many, Jordan will look to take advantage of Kongo’s questionable chin and get another knockout. 

This fight is a toss up for me.  Both guys are strikers who have been Kod in the past.  In this fight I expect Kongo to use his wrestling to wear down the young Jordan, if he doesn’t Kongo could find himself on a Fuel card soon.

Jordan TKO Round 1

This is a fight that every single middleweight in the world should be watching.  Lombard (31-2-1, 0-0) is making his UFC debut and is #6 in my rankings. A impressive win likely pits him against Anderson Silva. There is a logjam in the division. Between Lombard, Weidman, Stann, Bisping and Belcher Joe Silva's job gets much easier with a KO win by Lightning. Lombard has done all he can outside the UFC to make a name for himself and now is his chance to step up and make the most of his opportunity.

The one man who can throw a wrench into everything is Tim Boetsch (15-4, 6-3). Thats no problem for him because he has been doing that since dropping down to middleweight. Three straight wins over Kendall Grove, Nick Ring and his massive comeback against Yushin Okami. Boetsch took a lot of shots in that fight and showed resiliency.

The problem is that the Barbarian has never faced anyone with the power of Lombard. If he gets hit anywhere near the number of times he did against Okami it is going to be lights out for him.Lombard KO Round 1

The interim bantamweight title is on the line for these two tough competitors. Barão (28-1, 3-0) is on an absolute warpath. He is unbeaten in his last 29 fights and has not been in trouble in any of them. Also, Barão is the favorite by oddsmakers despite being Faber's (26-5, 2-1) popularity.

Faber was the king of the WEC before it was taken over by the UFC. He was the face of the company and has had titles in every organization he has fought in. Faber does not surprise you much with his game either. He is an aggressive fighter with incredible cardio and one of the best guillotines in the sport.

Barão will need to adapt his training partner, Jose Aldo's, fighting style, to win this fight. Aldo picked Faber apart with leg kicks (proof) en route to a decision win. If Barão can utilize his length to avoid power shots he should be able to work his stand up game.

Faber's number one goal should be to survive the first two rounds. If he can win either of them its even better. Barão is unbeatable when the bell wing but last time we saw him against Scott Jorgensen he slowed down. The championship rounds will definitely be the California Kid's if it lasts that long.Faber Decision (48-47)
There can only be one champion...
unless you count that Cruz guy
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). Be easy on the kid he is still upset about Chael’s loss. 

Feel free to leave your predictions on our facebook page. The show airs  daily Monday-Friday. 

Chris “The Menace” Clements vs. Matt Riddle
First fight in the main card features the only syrup lover on the main card with Clements hailing from Ontario . The Menace (no Dennis) is 1-0 in the UFC with a decision victory his last time out. Clements has had his opponent changed a few times due to injuries, and now gets a new puzzle.. Or Riddle?(bad attempt at humor). Matt Riddle gets the call. Riddle is coming off a big win in his last fight against Henry Martinez in February. I see this fight being a bit boring….. I hope I am wrong, but I will give the Canadian (Clements) the edge in his native land via Decision.  
Brian Ebersole vs. James Head
I love hilarious facial hair… hilarious body hair makes me uncomfortable… mainly because I cant grow it in order to design it… Ebersole is a late replacement after injuries forced Claude Patrick out. Ebersole had decision victory less than a month ago, so his training camp wasn’t hurt too bad being shortened. Head got a big victory in Sweden over Papy Abedi to go 1-1 so far in the octagon. I think Ebersole looked great in his last fight, but didn’t put TJ away, and wont put Head away… which will hurt him and come round 3 Head will lock in a guillotine choke for the submission victory.
Cheick Kongo vs. Shawn Jordan
Who knows which Cheick will show up? This guy looks tough as hell and sometimes even fights that way.. other times he looks like he could careless. I am a big Shawn Jordan guy from what I have seen and I think he has a chance to at least have a say in title match ups, but wont get there himself (definition of a gatekeeper). I think Kongo gets rocked and Jordan beats the hell out of him to get a stoppage in round 2.
Hector Lombard vs. Tim Boetsch
Lombard doesn’t want Silva next… He wants Munoz(apparently the trash talk angered the newest UFC’er)He might not get his wish with a dominating performance though… I think if he impresses, he gets Silva next (Chris Weidman disagrees). Boetsch had a  great comeback victory last time out… was down on the scorecard, and came out and won it… Sadly, I don’t think this gets close to the 3rd round. Round 1 TKO for Lombard and a date with Weidman… winner gets the Spider!
Urijah Faber vs. Renan Barao
Urijah Faber had a tough test in Cruz…. I think he has an even tougher test with Renan Barao. Barao has a winning streak that most UFC fighters will never get near… Barao was going to get a title shot sooner rather than later, an injury sped things up…. I think Barao wins this thing if Urijah tries to get cute and finish him… Barao will struggle when this thing gets to the championship rounds. Barao’s cardio has been questioned, and I think that might be the one chance Faber has to win it. Sadly, I don’t think this thing sees the championship rounds. Barao catches that famous chin in round 2 and ends it with an armbar to get the interim belt.
That’s it for me. Enjoy the fights and tune in on Monday to Split Decision!

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