Friday, January 15, 2016

No More UFC Posts

Hello everyone,

I'm not posting about UFC anymore for one simple reason: I'm broke.  So I got a second job to help me get some savings, which means I no longer have time to obsess over my favorite sport.  As fun as it would be to write about MMA for a living, I know that, deep down in my heart, it isn't meant to be my career.  Unless you are extremely well-connected or become a technical writer for companies that sell smartphones, tablets, and other cool gadgets, your odds of making a decent living as a writer in NEARLY ANY field in my country are about as high as winning the Powerball.  That is especially true in anything to do with the entertainment industry, which includes sports.

My last name certainly isn't Rockefeller, but many opportunities I received in my life were handed to me on a silver platter.  Sadly, I didn't make the most of them because I assumed life would always be that easy.  As a result, I wasted my youth playing games and pursuing hobbies rather than focusing on my career.  Well, suffice it to say that I reached the last stop on the "gravy train" long ago.  God has gotten tired of asking me politely to leave the train car and is throwing me onto the platform with my baggage to show me some tough love.  To borrow wording from a friend of mine, I've had my fun.  The game is over.

In other words, it's time for me to work.              

Sunday, December 13, 2015

UFC 194: God Is Still Good

"God Is Still Good."

That's what Weidman in spite of his defeat, the only thing which I find more impressive than McGregor's 13-second victory over Jose Aldo.

After Record Knockout at UFC 194, Conor McGregor Takes over MMA World

McGregor's victory over Aldo at UFC 194 was impressive, but not as impressive as Weidman's unwavering faith in defeat.  Photo from Bleacherreport.

Here are my thoughts on each bout of UFC 194:

Holloway vs. Stephens:  The fight started slow, but had a strong ending in Round 3.  During the final round, Holloway took Stephens down and attempted 2 rear-naked chokes, with an arm-triangle attempt in between.  Stephens escaped and went on the offensive with a flurry, with Holloway striking back with a double flying knee.  It ended with Holloway counter-punching as Stephens swung for the fences.  Afterwards, Holloway thanked Jesus (along with many other people, but it's refreshing to see someone with gratitude nowadays).  He also called out McGregor and Aldo.  I personally believe Frankie Edgar deserves a title shot ahead of him due to his Round 1 KO of Chad Mendes.  Nonetheless, Holloway definitely proved he is right on his heels.   

Winner: Max "Blessed" Holloway by unanimous decision.

Maia vs. Nelson: Nelson put up a game effort against Maia.  That being said, the crafty Brazilian submission specialist constantly got the upper hand in the grappling exchanges by taking Nelson's back or getting in mount.  Does Maia deserve a title shot after this?  No.  A title eliminator?  Definitely.

Winner: Demian Maia by unanimous decision.

Souza vs. Romero: Round 1 was all Romero, who knocked Jacare down with a spinning hammerfist and hit him with so much ground-and-point that Jacare could barely walk back to his corner.  Round 3 was all Jacare, who swarmed Romero against the cage, took him down, and used ground-and-pound from Romero's half guard.  Round 2 was controversial, because of Romero's cage grab to defend Jacare's takedown, allowing him to wind up on top.  In my opinion, the fact that Goddard, my new favorite referee, stood them both up to take away Romero's advantage and gave him a stern warning for the fence-grab excluded the need for a point deduction.  For that reason, I had Round 2 even and consider the fight a draw.  The judges, however, saw it differently and Romero got the split decision.  That being said, the fact that both men proudly held up the Jesus flag makes me consider them both winners. 

Winner: Yoel "Soldier of God" Romero by split-decision.

Weidman vs. Rockhold: Even though I was rooting for Weidman, I felt that this fight should have been stopped during the end of Round 3.  After taking Weidman down when the former champ threw a spinning hook kick which bounced harmlessly off his back, Rockhold transitioned from a rear-naked choke attempt to mount.  After that, he gave Weidman a beatdown for nearly a minute while Herb Dean inexplicably did nothing to stop what could have led to permanent brain injury for the former champ.  In Round 4, the fight was finally stopped after Rockhold took Weidman down and slipped out of two guillotine attempts before resuming ground-and-pound from side control.  This was easily the most exciting fight of the main card and an upset which I didn't see coming.  Even Rockhold said "I can't believe it" during his post-fight interview, and later, "You just gotta believe in yourself.  Stay confident."

He also showed good sportmanship by giving Weidman a man-hug afterward.

Weidman was humble in defeat, saying "It's Luke's night.  God is still good.  I'll be back."

His dad got on the mic and said "Everybody thank you, and this is still my boy!"

Indeed, he is, and because of the way he handled himself, Weidman is now my new favorite UFC fighter.

Winner (and new UFC middleweight champion): Luke Rockhold.

Aldo vs. McGregor: All I remember is seeing Aldo fall face first onto the canvas.  That's how quick this fight was.  I just sat there, bewildered, telling my friends over and over that "I need to see the replay.  I need to see the replay."  The replay showed that the KO was legit.  McGregor dropped Aldo with a left hook.  Aldo connected with a right, but it was a split second too late and McGregor's chin was too strong.  After Aldo tumbled onto the canvas, McGregor swarmed with two hammerfists before the fight was stopped.

"Well done, McGregor." I said in front of my friends, refusing to clap because of what he said previously about beating up Jesus, but staying respectful nonetheless.

Even though I can't root for a champion who makes remarks like that, the fact that Jesus allowed McGregor to have such a spectacular victory anyway is proof that, as Weidman said, "God is still good."  As 2 Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (NIV).  In other words, Christ seems to have given McGregor a "divine pass" for now, which shows what an awesome God He is.  Not to mention that McGregor was respectful to Aldo after the fight, trying to cheer him up before Bruce Buffer officially announced his victory.  

"He's powerful and fast." McGregor said during the post-fight interview, "But precision beats power and timing beats speed and that's what you saw here."

This makes it possible that what McGregor said about Jesus (as blasphemous as it was) may have simply been part of his "Irish Muhammad Ali" on-camera schtick.  Although I don't know him personally, McGregor comes across as nicer, more respectful and down-to-earth when he's not promoting himself and his fights.  So even though I can't root for McGregor, I can still respect him, in the hopes that, one day, just like Holloway, Romero, Jacare, and Weidman, he will realize that his greatness comes from Christ, and chooses to follow Him, so that He can receive eternal life as well.          


Saturday, December 12, 2015

My UFC 194 Predictions

Holloway vs. Stephens: It's the raw skill of Max Holloway against the heart of Jeremy Stephens.  In my humble opinion, this will probably be the fight of the night.  While Stephens can definitely pull off a "Hail Mary" KO in the last round (like he did with that crazy "Tiger Knee" against Dennis Bermudez"), I believe that Holloway will be wise enough to keep his guard up.  He'll probably outland Stephens in a striking war to get the decision.

Winner: Max "Blessed" Holloway by decision.  

Maia vs. Nelson: Eight years ago, I would say Maia, because he's one of the best grapplers that the UFC has ever signed.  However, he is 38 now, and Gunnar Nelson, in addition to having decent BJJ himself, is 27.  If Maia can trick Nelson into making a mistake, I could see him getting the sub in Round 1.  However, if Nelson stays cautious, I believe that he will out-grapple an exhausted Maia in Rounds 2 and 3 to get the decision.

Winner: Gunnar "Gunni" Nelson by decision.

Souza vs. Romero: This is basically a "lion vs. shark" match.  The winner will be determined by whether the battle takes place on land (standup) or in the sea (groundfighting).  Jacare is the shark to Romero's lion, and I believe that, due to his Olympic wrestling background, Romero will get overconfident and take it to the ground.  If that happens, I see Jacare pulling off the submission to earn the title shot against the Weidman-Rockhold winner.

Winner: Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza by submission.

Weidman vs. Rockhold: Both men are lethal grapplers with deadly submissions, so I see this being settled on the feet.  In that case, Weidman comes across as the slightly better striker, so I see him edging out Rockhold on the judges' scorecards to win the decision after a five-round war.

Winner (and still UFC middleweight champion): Chris Weidman by decision.

McGregor vs. Aldo: After McGregor's blasphemous remarks about Jesus, I am definitely pulling for Aldo.  However, unless Christ decides to humble McGregor by taking away his striking talent, or Aldo decides to take his BJJ off the shelf, dust it off, and use it, this looks like another win for McGregor.  Aldo has been able to coast on his striking for most of his UFC fights.  That's not going to work on a guy who fights like an Irish ninja.

Winner (and new UFC featherweight champion): Conor "Notorious" McGregor by KO.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

UFC 193: The Preacher's Daughter Rises!

David has defeated Goliath!  I am still amazed by Holly Holm's performance.  Not only did she beat the pound-for-pound best WMMA fighter of all time, but she crushed her in two rounds!

Down Goes Rousey!  Holly Holm Pulls Off The Biggest Upset In MMA History At UFC 193.  Photo From Yahoo!Sports

Humble pie never tasted so good!  Here are my thoughts on each fight of this awesome PPV:

Struve vs. Rosholt: As expected, Rosholt beat Struve.  As expected, it was terrible.  Rosholt won by taking Struve down and lying in side control for most of the fight.  Rosholt would be better off changing his name to "The Big Slow", to quote the Rock.  In contrast, if all Struve has in his fighting prime is "hit-and-stop" striking, then he needs to retire before he gets himself seriously hurt.

Winner: Jared "Big Show" Rosholt (unanimous decision)

Hall vs. Whitaker: The New Zealand workhorse looked great in this fight.  He was aggressive from the opening bell and kept Hall on the defensive with boxing combos in the first two rounds.  Even though Whitaker lost momentum in the second when the ref mistook a straight left that caught Hall in the eye for an eyepoke, he quickly regained it.  Whitaker was particularly dominant in Round 3, swarming Hall at the start and causing "Prime Time" to cover up and turn his back.  Other than a failed spinning attack in Round 1 that led to him falling on his back, Hall didn't do very much.  Let's just say that I am off the "Prime Time" hype train for good after another timid performance.

Winner: Robert Whitaker (unanimous decision)

Hunt vs. Silva: "Super Samoan" proved me wrong with a first round knockout of "Bigfoot." All Hunt needed was a straight right that glanced off Bigfoot's head and another right on the ground to claim the victory in this rematch.  On top of that, he thanked Jesus for his win, which I really appreciate.  Will he challenge for gold again?  Doubtful.  But I would like to see him fight one more time before riding off into the sunset.

Winner: Mark "Super Samoan" Hunt (KO)

Jedrzejczyk vs. Letourneau: Instead of the lopsided beatdown I expected, we got a competitive kickboxing match in which Jedrzejczyk edged out Letourneau with 1-2 combos, intermittent flurries, and leg kicks.  In my opinion, this was the "Fight of the Night" and both women should be proud of the show that they put on.

Winner (and still UFC women's strawweight champion): Joanna Jedrzejczyk (unanimous decision)

Rousey vs. Holm: The Preacher's Daughter Rises! The headkick KO I wished for came true, and I still can't believe it!  Even before that, Holm completely outclassed Rousey, catching her with straight lefts and a couple of elbows while using her footwork to get out of the way whenever the champ went "raging bull" on her.  She also outmuscled her in the clinch, only getting taken down once and successfully defending the armbar before getting back up.  The beginning of the end was when, in Round 2, Holm ducked and slipped away when Rousey tried to rush her again, and "Rowdy" slipped, almost going face first into the cage.  Then, after Holm shoved Rousey off when the champ tried to clinch with her again-



A left headkick to Rousey's jaw sent the pound-for-pound best WMMA fighter crashing to the canvas.  The hammerfists afterwards were merely a formality.  "The Preacher's Daughter" not only rose to the occasion, she completely dominated.  Everyone at Buffalo Wild Wings went crazy as we witnessed the biggest upset in MMA history.

Winner (and NEW UFC women's bantamweight champion): Holly "The Preacher's Daughter" Holm (KO)  



Saturday, November 14, 2015

UFC 193: My Predictions

"Holm won't last a minute against Rousey!"

That's what most people seem to believe, based on what I have read on the internet.  I do believe that Holm is overmatched and was rushed into this title shot too soon.  Nonetheless, I'm not convinced that Holm will wind up on Rousey's "60-second armbar highlight reel."  The main reason is that Holm reminds me of another challenger who shocked the world against a P4P great: Alexander Gustafsson, who brutalized Jon Jones en route to losing a controversial decision. 

Just like Gustafsson, Holm took decisions in her 2 previous fights and is now facing a champion who has run through the top fighters in the division like a lightsaber through stormtrooper armor.  Just like Gustafsson, Holm leap-frogged over someone else (Tate, in her case) who had earned the shot because she was a fresh challenge for the champion.  Just like Gustafsson, everyone assumes that Holm will be manhandled because she is a boxer with an unproven ground game up against an expert grappler with deadly submissions.  But in spite of this, just like Gustafsson, Holm doesn't seem intimidated by the champion or demoralized by the nay-sayers. 

Which is why I believe that, just like Gustafsson, Holm will shock the world and give her division's champion the fight of their life.  I'm not saying that she will win.  However, I do believe that the bout will end in a brutal, hard-fought decision.

Here are my predictions for each match on the card:

Struve vs. Rosholt:  Yes, Struve did beat Minotauro in his last fight.  But considering that the match resembled a ballroom dancing lesson more than a fight, I can confidently say that it was unimpressive.  This bout is probably going to be another grinding snoozefest, but with the healthier "Big Show" getting the victory with a decision.

Winner: Jared "Big Show" Rosholt

Hall vs. Whitaker:  Hall appears to have finally overcome his "Too nice to hurt people" mental block and seems willing to actually finish his fights now.  If that is the case, Whitaker will be knocked out by a spinning back kick within less than a minute.  Then Hall will be ready for a title eliminator to see if he can provide an interesting challenge to Weidman as the Jamaican Anderson Silva.

Winner: Uriah "Prime Time" Hall

Hunt vs. Silva:  At 41 and after brutal finishes by Werdum and Miocic, Hunt's comeback story seems to be at an end.  Due to age, I believe that Bigfoot will get the finish by KO in Round 2.  I just hope that this rematch isn't ruined by another failed drug test on his part.

Winner: Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva

Jedrzejczyk vs. Letourneau:  Letourneau's upset of Maryna Moroz was impressive.  Unfortunately, that was mostly because she outwrestled her, and Jedrzejcyk has elite takedown offensive.  This fight is staying on the feet, which is Jedrzejcyk's world, and she'll prove it by punching Letourneau unconscious within two rounds to win a "Knockout of the Night" bonus.
Winner: Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Rousey vs. Holm: Holm doesn't seem to have the power to finish Rousey with her hands.  Not to mention that her chin is suspect after she got dropped by a punch from Pennington in Round 3 of her UFC debut.  However, I do believe she has the takedown defense, footwork, and technical striking to be the matador to Rousey's raging bull for the first 2 rounds of the fight.  Nonetheless, through sheer aggression, I believe that, after getting picked apart in Rounds 1 and 2, Ronda will hurt Holm with a strong shot early in Round 3.  Then the champ will probably have Holm backpedaling for the rest of the fight, winning the decision on aggression and octagon control.
Nonetheless, I am still hoping for a fluke headkick KO by Holm, because I don't support champions who commit adultery (see this article on MMA Fighting to find out what I'm talking about).  

Winner: Ronda "Rowdy" Rousey     



Sunday, October 4, 2015

UFC 192: Clash of The Light Heavyweight Titans!

Wow!  Contrary to popular belief, there are still great UFC light heavyweight fighters not named Jon Jones!  In the classic "boxer vs. wrestler matchup", Gustafsson and Cormier put on a "Fight of the Year" candidate.  Here are my thoughts on each match of the card:

Eye vs. Pena: Alright, maybe Pena isn't quite ready for Rousey yet.  Nonetheless, she proved that she is an elite female bantamweight by dominating Eye in Round 1 and Round 3 on the ground.  Not to mention that it's hard to fault "The Venezuelan Vixen" for not stopping an opponent who hasn't been finished since 2011.  Pena was only in trouble in Round 2, when Eye her down, took her back, and later got an arm-triangle.  Even then, she escaped and was back on top when Eye fouled her with a knee to the head (which definitely did NOT look accidental) and got a well-deserved point deduction.  While I would like Pena to get one more fight against a top-five bantamweight before she fights Rousey, that's unlikely.  The champ has mowed down everybody else, so Pena's the number 1 contender by default and will probably get the chance she requested to prove that she's Rousey's "Evander Holyfield" (unless Holm can pull the upset next month).

Winner: Julianna Pena (unanimous decision)  

Benavidez vs. Bagautinov: Benavidez had more diverse striking, using knees and headkicks as well as boxing combos.  Nonetheless, I felt Bagautinov won the last two Rounds because he was more aggressive.  On top of that, he got two takedowns and a suplex in Round 2.  The judges, however, saw it differently, which is why you should always finish your opponent in MMA.

Winner: Joseph Benavidez (unanimous decision)

Jordan vs. Magomedov: Apparently, experience isn't everything.  Even though Round 1 was even, the "Leopard" ran circles around "The Savage" for the rest of the fight with boxing 1-2 combos and roundhouse kicks to the head.  In the highlight of the fight, Magomedov did a spinning back kick in Round 3 which cut open Jordan's right eye.  Other than a takedown in Round 1, Jordan was simply too slow for Magomedov, and, in spite of his strength, was often outmuscled when he did clinch with him.

Winner: Ruslan Magomedov (unanimous decision)

Bader vs. Evans:  With two takedowns and by working his jab, Bader easily outpointed Evans and proved he is the one who most deserves a light heavyweight title shot (although he will probably be leapfrogged by Jon "Teflon Bones" Jones).  In contrast, Evans just made a couple of half-hearted takedown attempts and threw the occasional punch or kick which didn't do any damage.   In other words, the former light heavyweight champ's heart doesn't seem to be in it anymore and if that's the case, he would be better off retiring and becoming a full-time analyst.

Winner: Ryan Bader (unanimous decision)

Cormier vs. Gustafsson:  What do you get when you put a boxer and a wrestler in the cage?  World War III!  I personally would have given Gustafsson the nod, but it was a really close fight!  In this standup war, Gustafsson was the technician, working over Cormier's face and body with boxing combos and knee strikes, including one knee to the face which dropped "DC" in Round 3.  Only Cormier's heart and grit allowed him to survive.  In contrast, DC was more aggressive, hitting Gustafsson with uppercuts in the clinch and proving that he could box as well as wrestle.  On top of that, he did his most spectacular slam ever, hoisting the 6-foot-5 Swede into the air, flipping him upside down, and dumping him on his back.  Gustafsson, however, proved he could wrestle, too, by becoming the second man to ever take Cormier down and stuffing most of the champion's takedown attempts.  To be honest, this "Fight Of The Year" candidate was so awesome that both men were winners.

Winner (and still UFC light heavyweight champion): Daniel Cormier (split decision)   

Saturday, October 3, 2015

UFC 192: My Predictions

Finally, another stacked UFC PPV!  As much as I am disappointed by the loss of Hendricks vs. Woodley (which was scrapped due to a weight cut which ended with Hendricks going to the hospital), there are still enough other matches to keep this card solid.  Here are my predictions for each fight:

Eye vs. Pena:  Julianna Pena is a tenacious, powerful monster who has crushed everyone who has gotten in her way since she was on "The Ultimate Fighter."  I believe she is actually the greatest threat to Ronda Rousey at the moment, because, in addition to her ferocity, heart, and KO power, she has never failed a test for steroids (unlike a certain other "challenger" who's not even on UFC's roster).  In contrast, Jessica Eye seems to have peaked with her decision victory over Sarah Kaufman in October of 2013 (which was overturned due to a failed drug test for marijuana).  While she is a decent technical striker, she was manhandled for 2 out of 3 rounds in her match against Alexis Davis  and dominated in her fight against Miesha Tate.  In other words, she is currently in gatekeeper mode, and I believe that Pena will mow her down with ground-and-pound in Round 2 on the way to getting a title shot.

My prediction: Julianna Pena by TKO.

Benavidez vs. Bagautinov:  I have never seen Bagautinov fight, but I have seen Benavidez, who would be flyweight champion if it wasn't for the much faster "Mighty Mouse."  I see Benavidez staying at the top of the division by grinding out a decision victory with his wrestling.

My prediction: Joseph Benavidez by decision.

Jordan vs. Magomedov: I have to pick Jordan here, due to his UFC experience and that brutal headkick which took down Derrick Lewis in June.  I do not see this going the distance: Jordan will probably KO Magomedov in Round 2.

My prediction: Shawn Jordan by KO.

Bader vs. Evans: Three years ago, I would have gone with Evans.  However, the former champion has been on the shelf for 2 years due to injury and is 36, whereas Bader is 32 and on a 4-fight winning streak.  For that reason, I think "Darth" Bader is finally going to earn a title shot with a decision win over "Suga" in his comeback tour.

My prediction: Ryan Bader via decision.

Cormier vs. Gustafsson: After dominating Anthony "Rumble" Johnson, it is clear that "DC" is the best light heavyweight other than Jon Jones.  He arguably has the best wrestling technique in the UFC as well.  That being said, at 36, he is fighting on borrowed time.  Gustafsson, at 28, is in his prime, and spent three-and-a-half rounds brutalizing the guy who gave DC his first loss before getting robbed by the judges.  At the same time, we can't discount the fact that Gustafsson was violently knocked out by "Rumble" in one round, whereas DC popped right back up after getting hit with the same overhand right and managed to wear Johnson down with wrestling before submitting him in Round 3.  This fight comes down to strategy: if Gustafsson can use his boxing and footwork to keep DC at bay and drag him into the later rounds, then he will win by decision.  If DC can close the distance early and go "Zangief" on "The Mauler", then he will win by submission.  Personally, I believe that Gustafsson will be able to implement his game plan first and take the decision, albeit by the skin of his teeth, and set up a rematch to settle the score with Jon Jones (assuming "Bones" decides to come back to the UFC, of course).

My prediction: Gustafsson via decision.