Monday, December 31, 2012

Cain Brings The Pain At UFC 155!

UFC 155 wasn't the best PPV that I have ever seen, but it was still a decent card.  The last two matches, however, were awesome!  I regret not betting on Cain Velasquez to get my three dollars back, but since I only predicted the winners of two out of the five bouts, I think I will hold off on putting money on matches for now.  Here are my thoughts on each match:

Leben vs. Brunson: I didn't expect much from this fight and wasn't disappointed.  Brunson dominated Leben with better wrestling in Round 1 and gassed in Round 2, which I though was pretty even.  In Round 3, they traded back and forth, but Brunson managed to secure the decision with another takedown.  It's nice to see a Strikeforce guy do well in his UFC debut for a change, because the other two guys whom I've seen come over from Strikeforce got smashed in their first fights.  Antonio "Big Foot" Silva and Shane Del Rosario got crushed in their UFC debuts, so I'm a little skeptical every time a Strikeforce guy comes over.  That being said, Strikeforce also had Dan Henderson, Fabricio Werdum, and Nick Diaz, so they obviously did something right.  As much as I like Alistair Overeem, I'll withhold comment until I hear the results of his next post-fight drug test.

Okami vs. Belcher:  Belcher had early success in their standup exchanges in Round 1, but Okami was just too tough and too strong.  He controlled Belcher with better grappling throughout the rest of the match and easily powered out of "The Talent's" guillotine choke attempts.  It's clear that "Thunder" is going to stay a top-ranked middleweight for the next few years and that his loss to Boetsch was only a minor setback. 

Boetsch vs. Philippou: Boetsch was doing well in Round 1, but then he injured himself and it showed in Rounds 2 and 3 with inferior takedown attempts.  Getting cut open by an accidental headbutt didn't help things.  Philippou clearly took control in Rounds 2 and 3 with ground-and-pound to get a TKO.  I think that this win was due to luck more than anything.  That being said, Philippou showed a lot of class and respect to Boetsch after the match, so I hope that he gets a chance to fight a higher-ranked middleweight to prove me wrong.

Miller vs. Lauzon: Now I see why lightweight is considered by many to be the UFC's most stacked division.  Miller and Lauzon possibly put on the best match of the entire year!  Miller cut Lauzon open with a flurry of elbows and managed to keep control through most of the fight with better striking.  That being said, Lauzon refused to give up, attempted to slam Miller in Round 2 and getting a leg lock, which he was ultimately too tired to keep.  That didn't stop him from attempting two more submissions in Round 3, including another leg lock from a flying scissor kick (similar to Ryo Chonan's submission of Anderson Silva in Pride) and then transitioning to a guillotine choke.  However, there wasn't enough time left on the clock for Miller to submit, so he won the decision.  Due to the skill demonstrated by both of these men, I won't be surprised if either of them get a title shot in the next year or two.

Velasquez vs. Dos Santos: Cain has redeemed himself!  Just as I thought, he was too clever to try to stand with Dos Santos right off the bat again.  He got two takedowns, but after that, Dos Santos managed to stuff all of his other attacks and seemed too quick for him.  However, that all changed when Velasquez rocked Dos Santos with a hard right and followed up with some ground-and-pound in Round 1.  That, combined with the fact that he gassed in Round 2, led to Dos Santos getting a beatdown for the rest of the fight.  I definitely see a third fight between these two in the future, not least because the heavyweight division isn't stacked at all.  The top 5-6 guys are miles above the rest of the division and Daniel Cormier is probably going to drop to light heavyweight so that he won't have to fight Velasquez, who is his teammate on AKA.  If that does happen, I'll be disappointed, because I want to see more talent in the heavyweight pool.  Nonetheless, I'll get over it if he dethrones Jon Jones as the light heavyweight king.  But I digress.  Cain Velasquez is back on top, and I hope that he manages to stay there for a long time!       

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My UFC 155 Predictions

Leben vs. Brunson: Chris Leben is definitely a name and his record looks good at a glance.  That being said, most of his UFC wins aren't against people who are particularly impressive.  Not to mention the fact that he's 32 and most fighters start to go downhill at that age.  I think that Brunson will upset "The Crippler" with a KO in Round 3. 

Winner: Brunson

Okami vs. Belcher: I think that Okami is too tough for Belcher to submit or knock out.  Nonetheless, Belcher seems to improve significantly in every fight, and I think that he has reached the point where he can avenge the loss he suffered at the hands of "Thunder" in 2006.  I believe that "The Talent" will win a unanimous decision through speed and technique.

Winner: Belcher

Boetsch vs. Philippou: Boetsch has the heart and raw power to destroy Philippou.  As long as he doesn't get timid like he did at UFC 149 (which was probably due to the hype surrounding Lombard), I see "The Barbarian" winning by KO in Round 2.

Winner: Boetsch

Miller vs. Lauzon: These two seem evenly matched and it should be an interesting grappling contest.  That being said, I still give a slight edge to Lauzon and believe that he will win this by a split decision.

Winner: Lauzon

Dos Santos vs. Velasquez: I believe that Dos Santos' quick victory over Velasquez the first time was a fluke.  A fluke that cost me three dollars in a bet.  I also think that Velasquez is too smart to try to stand and trade with him again.  I don't think that the champ will go out without a fight, but I do believe that the challenger will keep him on the ground until he can eventually KO him in Round 5.

Winner: Velasquez

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Taking The High Ground In "A Valiant Effort"!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I typed up seven pages of "A Valiant Effort."  At first, I was really bummed about not being able to continue "Black Swan Origins: Nineveh."  However, after the first page, I got very excited.  After all, my Peace Corps experience was truly unique.  How many people had to get evacuated out of not one, but two different countries?  How many people in Peace Corps managed to survive religious persecution and do the right thing, even when it put their job on the line?  How many people had allies jump out of the woodwork to help them when they needed it the most?  As far as I know, I am the only one.  People will get a lot out of this story, including the key message: no matter how bad your situation is, Jesus can always save you.

Speaking of which, I decided that there was one thing that I was not going to do in my memoir: use it as a means to bash all the people who screwed me over.  Ultimately, doing that would be pointless because:

1) They're not going to read it.
2) Most of the people who do read it won't have any idea who they are.

Not to mention that it will give them attention that they really don't deserve.  Why should I let them take away any more of my life than they already have?  I'm not even going to dignify those people by using their real names.  I will mention what they did, but their actions condemn them more than any insult that I could come up with ever would.  Instead, I'll keep my focus on how Jesus protected me from them and healed me from the hurt that they caused.  After all, ultimately, He is the one Who deserves the glory. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Katie Davis Lays The Smackdown For Jesus In Uganda!

Today I finished reading "Kisses From Katie" at Barnes and Noble.  That book is freaking awesome!  Most "Christians" in America just go to church and talk about helping others to make themselves sound more pious and caring than they really are.  Katie Davis actually threw caution to the wind and put her faith into practice.  Relying solely on Jesus Christ, she became a missionary to Uganda with no formal training at all and started a nonprofit called Amazima to send orphans to school.  On top of that, she adopted fourteen children by herself and raised them.  She gave up everything: a college education, her boyfriend, and her cushy life in Tennessee, to help people in a strange country that she had only visited once during a vacation when she was in high school.  She literally picks people up off the street, takes them into her house, feeds them, bathes them, pays their medical expenses, and even picks parasites called scabies off of them.  Reading the book, she comes across as the most humble and selfless person ever.  See what happens when you let Jesus change your life, people?!

I picked up her book at the right time.  I had gotten discouraged in pursuing my life goal and was just going to give up.  However, Jesus has used Katie and her story to breathe new life into me.  I am going to persevere and fulfill my calling, just like she did, relying on Him for my strength.  I hope that one day, my own book, "A Valiant Effort", will inspire others like "Kisses From Katie" has inspired me.   

If you haven't read "Kisses From Katie", yet, read it NOW!  It is FREAKING SWEEEEEEEEET!!!!! 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bad News And More Bad News

-I wasn't able to finish "King Johnson of Essex" for NaNoWritMo.  No excuses.  I gave myself a deadline and I missed it.

-"Black Swan Origins: Nineveh" has been shelved indefinitely.  This is because I want to complete my Peace Corps Memoir, "A Valiant Effort", to close out the young adult chapter of my life so that I can move on.  I don't like writing nonfiction and never have.  Not to mention the fact that the last nine months of my overseas experience were extremely unpleasant.  However, it is an important story that shows how Christ can rescue someone from the worst possible circumstances, and people need to hear it.  As I grow older, I realize that sometimes I have to do things that I don't like in order to benefit others.  Right now, writing nonfiction is that thing.   I've also suspended work on all other fiction while I complete "A Valiant Effort" and take care of a personal obligation which I cannot ignore any longer.   

-Furthermore, I will cut out all MMA in my life except for the monthly PPVs until I fulfill my personal obligation.  Even then, I may have to miss one or two because I am back in the retail industry and have to work on Saturdays.  I love martial arts, but if I have to chose between paying my bills and a few hours of entertainment during the weekend, I must choose the former.  I will, however, still make predictions on who will win each fight, even though these predictions will not be as detailed.  That being said, if it becomes too much of a distraction as well, I will have to cut out MMA completely.

These decisions all suck, but the reason that I'm in the position that I'm in right now is because I didn't make these sacrifices sooner.  The fact is that nobody lives forever and I don't want to die and realize that I did not fulfill God's purpose in my life because I wasted too much time on secondary issues.  While I would love to have a career as an author, God has instructed me to use my writing talent for an even greater calling.  That calling has to come first.  I also don't want to fulfill my destiny half-heartedly.  I want to complete it with the zeal and passion of an Olympic gold medalist or a UFC champion.  I've seen what they had to give up to live their life's passion and if I have to do the same thing to become the Michael Phelps or the Anderson Silva of my calling, then so be it.