Well ladies and gentlemen some said that this day would never come. For a while it looked like we were doomed to a life of Pacquio-Mayweather style waiting for a Rousey-Cyborg fight to fill our MMA desires.
But after 42 days filled with injuries, angry phone calls, press conferences and ultimately the first cancellation in company history the UFC is back this weekend with UFC 152. The debate of who to blame over the cancellation of UFC 151 will continue for years. At least now fans will have some fights to watch while we argue if Jon Jones has gone full heel.
The one plus of having a show cancelled is that all of the following cards are strengthened by the rescheduled fights. This card already had the inaugural flyweight title on the line but you add the best fighter on the planet in the main event and the card becomes a must buy.
I did have to dust off my prognosticating helmet but have no fear it still works and is ready for another great showing.
Now on to the picks....
Last Card: 4-1
When the WEC merged with the UFC, there were many fighters people were excited to finally see in the Octagon; Cub Swanson (17-5 UFC, 2-1 UFC) was not one of them. In his last four fights in the organization he was 2-2 without a career defining moment, except losing to Jens Pulver and Jose Aldo in a combined 43 seconds. After losing his UFC debut to Ricardo Lamas he has bounced back with two straight knock out victories. The heavy handed featherweight looks to continue his streak against a man I've dubbed “Must see TV.”
Every time Charles Oliveira (16-2, 4-2) steps into the cage fans are guaranteed for a show. Even in losses against Jim Miller and Donald Cerrone I wasn't able to turn away from the screen. Those losses inspired “Do Bronx” to drop down to featherweight where he has looked awesome. His calf slicer on Eric Wisely remains one of the most painful images I have seen.
There is only one way Swanson wins this fight and it is with his cinder block hands. Oliveira's chin is far from sturdy but I feel Do Bronx is too dynamic fir the veteran. I expect Oliveira to get tagged a couple times and quickly realize the fight needs to go the ground where he will lock in a submission. reverse triangle guillotine arm bar.
Oliveira Submission (Reverse Triangle Guillotine Arm bar) Round 2
I will admit that I have been a Hamill (10-4, 9-4) fan says his days on TUF. Who could root against a guy like him, especially when he teamed up with Tito Ortiz? Hamill is the clear superior fighter in this matchup but he was sitting on his couch retired. He remains the only man to ever beat Jon Jones, and don't give me the whole it was by DQ excuse. A win is a win even if Mazzagatti was involved.
Roger Hollett (13-3, 0-0) comes into his UFC debut riding a five fight win streak. The only fight I have seen of him is his last one where he earned a split decision win over John Hawk on a Bellator prelim. His record along with his finishing potential (11/13) makes him interesting but the only real reason he has this fight is because he is Canadian. Taking the unknown guy is always rewarding in MMA from a gambling perspective, Hollett is no exception coming in at +310 but you won't find me taking the dog in this one.
Hamill TKO Round 2
Bisping (22-4, 12-4) has had a long, successful carer but if I ask you to name his best performance, what would you say? He has finished eight of his opponents but the most impressive was against a very unimpressive Jason Miller. Thats another issue with Bisping, even when he is dominant, the public opinion is that the other guy did not train hard or the referee made a mistake. The Brit is hungry for a title shot, something he has never received in his long UFC career, and the only way he gets back to a title eliminator, likely against the Weidman-Boetsch winner is if he finishes the All-American.
The former marine/ WEC champion has come a long way in his fighting career. The drop to middleweight is where Stann (12-4, 6-3) has found the most success. He had three straight wins before being submitted by Chael Sonnen. I see Stann in this fight a lot like I see Swanson in the opening bout. Stann needs to land one of his bombs if he hopes to win. The key to beating Bisping is to not allow him to stay on the outside.
Stann must be careful because if he utilizes that approach he opens himself up for a takedown. Bisping is one of the few Brits who has the ability to execute a takedown and finish the fight on the ground. I'm excited to see the strategy in this fight and still hold out hope that Stann will come out to this.Bisping Unanimous Decision (30-27)
The co-main even is occupied by what may be the fastest matchup in UFC history. Benavidez (16-2, 3-0) has been unstoppable in his MMA career. The only man who has been able to defeat him (twice) is the bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz. He pairs explosive wrestling with a slick guillotine to finish most of his opponents. His camp, Team Alpha Male, has never had a UFC champion despite having some of the biggest his names in the sport in the lighter weight classes. Many say the flyweight division was built for Benavidez and he proved that when he knocked out Yashuhiro Urushitani in second round in the opening round of the four-man tournament.
Johnson (15-2-1, 3-1-1) would love to continue the title drought at Team Alpha Male. Mighty Mouse is the fastest fighter in the UFC, most likely in the entire sport. While he has only finished one opponent in his last eight fights, his cardio is fantastic. This will be his third time making the weight cut and it was obvious to see how much better he looked in the second McCall fight.
In the four combined losses of the two fighters neither one has ever been finished. Johnson looked to be in trouble in the last round of the first McCall fight but I attribute that to problems with the first weight cut more than anything McCall did. When the fight starts I suggest getting a comfy seat because fans are in store for a 25 minute war that ultimately ends in a Team Alpha Male dance celebration.
Benavides Unanimous Decision (49-46)
Jon Jones (16-1, 10-1) has had a crazy month. He went from facing Dan Henderson to Chael Sonnen. HE was reportedly then set to face Lyota Machida before finally settling on Belfort. Public opinion has changed mightily on the light heavyweight champion, just ask one of his almost opponents. When all the drama came out, I supported his decision, why should the champion have to take a new opponent on short notice?
Whatever your opinion of Jones is, people have to admit hes borderline unstoppable. There is a reason he is such a huge favorite. His most recent victories are a who's who of the MMA world. His last four victories are all over former UFC champion sand only one went that distance.
The man tasked with the most difficult job on the planet is Vitor Belfort (21-9, 10-5). He has many things going against him in this fight. The most glaring being the fact is that he is not a light heavyweight fighter. Belfort will be giving up four inches of height and over ten inches of reach.
The Brazilian has been on roll lately. He has won seven of his last eight fights with the only loss being an Anderson Silva front kick. Luckily, Belfort recovered his head from the crowd and fought a Jon Jones sized fighter in Anthony Johnson.
Belfort has dynamite in his hands, the problem will be getting close enough to use them. Jones does not have an iron chin in my opinion, although it has not been tested that much besides a few shots from Rashad Evans. Watching Jones' fights he usually coasts through the first round. He finds his range and figures out how he wants to finish his opponent. Expect for the champ to do the same thing and for fans to quickly forget any drama from UFC 151.Jones TKO Round Three
|Nike couldn't hook up Jones with better shoes?|
As an extra bonus I have included the shorter, and error-filled picks of my co-host of Split Decision, Ryan Penney.
We host a show on http://www.sportsgeeksusa.com/ 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.
Wait... What is MMA? What is the ? It has been so long since we last saw a live card that Roy Nelson is now in shape... only kidding, he is still fat but has a great beard....
We start off with my candidate of FOTN with two of the most exciting "young-ins" in the featherweight division going toe-to-toe. Charles Oliveria and Cub Swanson matchup nicely and will give us fireworks early and often. I think Oliveria has more talent and is the favorite but sleeping on Swanson would be a poor strategy. Swanson has had two impressive victories in a row but i think that ends tonight..... Oliveira wins this by round 2 KO( head kick that makes ESPN top 10)
The only Canadian on the card, Hollett will try to earn his stripes against an always difficult Matt Hamill in the Light Heavyweight division. Hamill has lost two in a row, but lets not forget.. HE BEAT JON JONES(sort of.. i mean, not really.. but he did officially..... SO TAKE THAT!) Hamill has fought some of the best out there, and this will give Hollett a huge challenge. Hollett was the original matchup for Hamill, then was replaced and then stepped back in... did you follow that? Hollett is making his UFC debut against a savvy Vet and in his homeland, i think this proves to be too much for him. Hamill via 30-27 decision.
These two are both hoping to get a shot at the Spider.... Both have lost to Chael Sonnen... both looked great at weigh-ins... Now to how they're different... Bisping has won big fights, Stann hasnt had that defining win yet... This could possibly be it! I think this fight will go 1 round and will be a "throw'em" type fight. Weigh ins made me believe these two are looking to impress the boss man and one way to do that is one-punch KO. I am taking the upset and the American-CUE HULK HOGANS "I AM A REAL AMERICAN" WALK OUT! Stann via RD 1 TKO.... USA! USA! USA!
FINALLY... the flyweight tourney is done and we are going to get a champion in the "little guy" division. Benavidez hasn’t fought since March after he ran through Urushutani. Now he is going against Demetrious "mighty mouse" Johnson in a fight that should excite. I don’t think either fighter finishes the other, but i think Benavidez picks apart Johnson. He wins this 49-46 on all three score cards and becomes the first UFC flyweight champion.
AND NOW TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP BELT
Jon Jones (c)
This fight makes zero sense to most. Jon Jones has dominated many at 205.... Belfort has been decent in the middle weight division.. so, let’s just go ahead and move him up.. wait.. huh? I am a Chael Sonnen fan boy, but doesn’t that make more sense marketing wise to have Chael/Jon Jones? This fight lasts 2 rounds.. I assume it will be boring in the first before Bones overwhelms Belfort and wins via RD 2 TKO.... He gets a lot of boo's from the angry Maple Leafs fan still upset about the lockout.
That sit for my predications. Look for our review show tomorrow as we go over this event with our in-depth insight!