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.                             

Sunday, September 6, 2015

UFC 191: Business As Usual For Mighty Mouse

UFC wasn't the exciting "lopsided beatdown" gauntlet that I expected, but it was alright.  Here are my thoughts on each match of the PPV:

VanZant vs. Alex Chambers: As expected, "12 Gauge" manhandled the much older "Astro Girl" for the entire match.  This was mostly with knees in the clinch to show off her Muay Thai training, but she also did a neat headlock takedown in the first round.  Chambers looked horrific, falling backwards after a takedown attempt in Round 1 and simply getting shoved to the ground in Round 2.  VanZant capped off the most exciting fight of the main card in Round 3 by hitting Chambers with an overhand right, dropping her with a knee, going for a rear naked choke, transitioning to mount, and using ground-and-pound before finishing with an armbar.  Needless to say, she deserves a big step up in competition after this easy payday, preferably against my favorite strawweight, Joanne Calderwood.

Winner: Paige "12 Gauge" VanZant (submission)

Blachowicz vs. Anderson:  Jon Jones deserved to be stripped of his title and suspended by the UFC due to his behavior outside of the cage.  At the same time, without him, the light heavyweight division (with the exception of Cormier, Rumble, Gustafsson and Teixiera) sucks.  More proof of that is this fight, where Anderson won by basically lying in either Blachowicz's guard or half-guard for two out of three rounds.  If Jones ever does come back, he should just leave this wasteland behind and move on to heavyweight. 

Winner: Corey Anderson (unanimous decision).

Johnson vs. Manuwa:  Manuwa managed to avoid getting knocked out by "Rumble" until Round 2.  That is an accomplishment in and of itself.  Meanwhile, "Rumble" should cash the check from this easy payday and celebrate, especially after winning "Knockout of the Night" with that left body kick and overhand right.

Winner: Anthony "Rumble" Johnson (KO)

Arlovski vs. Mir:  I actually thought Mir did enough to edge out Arlovski with his takedowns and top control, since the striking was equally awful.  But this fight was so terrible that one of these men bragging about winning it is like a turtle bragging about beating another turtle in the 50-yard dash.  Neither man was trying to go for a finish: there were points during the fight where Mir would just stand with his arms down and taunt Arlovski and Arlovski would just stare back.  Suffice it to say that if Arlovski gets a title shot and fights like this, he's doomed.

Winner: Andrei "Pitbull" Arlovski (unanimous decision)

Johnson vs. Dodson: There was a moment of humor where at the end of Round 3, "Mighty Mouse" caught Dodson with a flying knee, fell on his back, and, as soon as the bell rang, he scurried away through Herb Dean's legs.  He also took down "The Magician" with a couple of WWE-style slams (Dodson used his hands to soften the first one) in Round 5.  Other than that, this was just another day in the office for "Mighty Mouse": superior technical striking and speed en route to a dominant decision.  After he beats Silva's record, I hope he goes back to bantamweight so that he can fight opponents who will actually challenge him.

Winner (and still UFC flyweight champion): Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson (unanimous decision) 



Saturday, September 5, 2015

UFC 191: My Predictions

The only thing shorter than this post will be tonight's PPV, because it's full of squash matches.  On the bright side, it should be exciting and will be a nice break after the horrendously long UFC 190 PPV.  Here are my predictions for tonight's card:

VanZant vs. Chambers: "Astro Girl" may rival "12 Gauge" in the looks department, but after VanZant's thrashing of Herrig in her last fight, I see a lopsided beating by the newcomer en route to a decision.

Winner: Paige VanZant

Blachowicz vs. Anderson: My gut tells me Blachowicz will get the KO in Round 2.

Winner: Jan Blachowicz

Johnson vs. Manuwa:  This is a clear tuneup fight for "Rumble."  Manuwa should be proud of himself if he gets out of Round 1 without getting KO'd.

Winner: Anthony Johnson

Arlovski vs. Mir: "Pitbull" has been on a tear, most recently knocking out Travis Browne within one round.  As much respect as I have for Mir, there's no way his chin is going to hold up in this fight.  I see another KO for Arlovski on his way to a title shot.

Winner:  Andrei Arlovski

Johnson vs. Dodson: Like Ronda Rousey, "Mighty Mouse" is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of his division.  In contrast, "The Magician" hasn't looked any different from his last title fight, especially after he was gifted a decision over Zach Makovsky in his last match (which I thought the latter won).  I see a clear decision win for Johnson en route to his quest to break Anderson Silva's record of title defenses.   

Winner (and still UFC flyweight champion): Demetrious Johnson. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

UFC 190: The Rousey Edition Of "Mike Tyson's Punch-Out"!

Rousey's "Verbal Bully Beatdown" of Bethe Correia was probably the most exciting round in WMMA history, and it only lasted 34 seconds!  Her "face-plant knockout" of Correia redeemed a PPV that had waaaaaaaaaaaaay too many fights.  Aside from the Rousey bout and two other matches, UFC 190 was like watching a first-degree black belt sweep the floor of a dojo.  Here are my thoughts on each fight of the card:

Gadelha vs. Aguilar:  Aside from a brief rally in Round 3 (which was prompted ended by a Gadelha spear), Aguilar was completely dominated both on the feet and on the ground.  Gadelha not only brutalized Aguilar's face with boxing combos, but she also planted Aguilar on her back with four double-leg takedowns that made Edge's spears in WWE look tame in comparison.  These included one which rammed Aguilar into the cage in Round 2.  Suffice it to say that Gadelha's rematch with Joanna Jedrzejczyk has been well-earned.

Winner: Claudia Gadelha (Unanimous decision)

Silva vs. Palelei: Palelei may have come out wearing the hands of the Incredible Hulk, but it was Bigfoot who did the smashing in Round 2 of their match.  Palelei took Round 1 with a whizzer and finished with some ground-and-pound.  However, in Round 2, Silva turned the tide with a right-uppercut, left knee, two straight rights, and finally another right uppercut that dropped "The Hulk" by the cage before finishing him on the ground.  Bigfoot may never get the title, but it seems that he can hang out in the UFC heavyweight division's mid-card for at least a year or two longer.

Winner: Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (TKO)

Struve vs. Minotauro: This was when the PPV started to go downhill.  The match began with a weird "Octagon Ballroom Dancing" competition with Minotauro and Struve taking turns spinning each other around and pressing each other against the cage.  Later in the fight, Struve was trying the keep the distance with sporadic striking, whereas Minotauro looked like he was trying to hug "Skyscraper" to death.  It is really disappointing to have this snoozefest allegedly be Minotauro's last UFC match.

Winner: Stefan "Skyscraper" Struve (Unanimous decision)

Vieira vs. Lopes: There were more guillotines used in this fight than during The French Revolution!  Other than the main event, this was easily the most exciting fight of the night.  It began with both men pulling jumping guards and getting guillotines in the first round.  Both refused to tap when they were caught in the submission.  Then Vieira got a standing guillotine (Lopes slipped out).  Round 2 was a back-and-forth technical striking battle until Lopes got a takedown.  Then in Round 3, after another 4 minutes of back-and-forth striking, Lopes charged forward and swung for the fences, and later, got another guillotine after spearing Vieira.  Vieira refused to tap, even though he was bleeding all over the place.  In fact, when he slipped out, he did some ground-and-pound from Lopes' guard before time ran out.  I personally thought Lopes was robbed in this Ultimate Fighter Brazil finale match by the judges, but these two guys still put on a show which indicated that they are exactly the shot-in-the-arm that the bantamweight division needs.

The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Season 4 Bantamweight Winner: Reginaldo Vieira (Unanimous decision).

Bruno vs. Franca: Whatever momentum that UFC 190 regained from Vieira vs. Lopes was lost in this bout.  Franca got the submission by rear naked choke after grinding out Bruno for nearly three rounds.  Was it effective?  Yes.  Was it fun to watch?  No, and I'm one of the few UFC fans who actually enjoys grappling.  Congratulations to Franca for winning a UFC contract, but he's going to have to step it up if he wants to survive in the shark tank that's UFC's lightweight division.

The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Season 4 Lightweight Winner: Glaico Franca (Submission)

Shogun vs. Little Nog: This is the second time in a row that the worst fight on the PPV got "Fight of the Night" honors from the UFC.  Me and my friends were seriously hoping it would be brief so we could finally watch Rousey fight and, as you can guess, it didn't turn out that way.  The end of Round 1 had some action, with Little Nog getting an uppercut and teeing off  on Shogun against the cage with punches before getting knocked back with a phantom punch.  He also got a standing guillotine and tried to swarm him again later that round.  However, neither legend did much for the rest of the fight.  It was mostly them throwing a punch or kick every thirty seconds with some clinch work and the occasional takedown thrown in.  I was so bored that I was booing the flatscreen at the sports bar.  Not to mention that the judges robbed Little Nog at the end, giving the fight to Shogun.  I was positive that Little Nog deserved the win, especially after that guillotine in Round 3 which had Shogun bleeding out onto the canvas.  To be honest, though, this fight exposed both men as over-the-hill legends desperately trying to reclaim their former glory and failing miserably.

Winner: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (Unanimous decision)

Rousey vs. Correia: This fight is WMMA's "Hearns vs. Hagler I"!  It was a brutal, 34-second slugfest that resulted in Correia flipping backward after a failed takedown attempt by Rousey.  Then Rousey swarmed her against the cage with a knee and punches.  Rousey shut up and shut down Bethe "Loudmouth" Correia with a straight right that knocked her out cold and sent her face first into the canvas.  I could no longer tell if I was at UFC 190 or watching someone demo a re-release of "Mike Tyson's Punch-Out" with Rousey as a secret character!  Both "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Rousey's dad would be proud.                      

Winner by KO (and still UFC Women's bantamweight champion): Ronda "Rowdy" Rousey!


Saturday, August 1, 2015

UFC 190: My Predictions

Thank goodness Ronda Rousey did not get injured, because she is basically the only selling point of an otherwise weak PPV.  Besides her "Trash-talker beatdown" match with Bethe Correia and what appears to be a tuneup fight for strawweight contender Claudia Gadelha, this event is mostly made up of, to borrow a phrase from Conor McGregor, "rookies and has-beens."  I'm not trying to be disrespectful, since Shogun, the man who got me hooked on UFC to begin with, is fighting tonight.  Nonetheless, even his best days are well behind him.  Suffice it to say that a blockbuster card this ain't...

Here are my predictions for tonight's PPV:     

Gadelha vs. Aguilar: I'm not that familiar with either fighter, but I find it very difficult to pick against someone who managed to go the distance with UFC strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk.  For that reason, I expect Gadelha to win by decision. 

Winner: Claudia Gadelha

Silva vs. Palelei: This is easy.  Palelei wins by KO.  Without trt, "Bigfoot" can't seem to hang with the elite of the heavyweight division without getting crushed anymore.  Even with trt, his biggest claim to fame was a come-from-behind upset over Alistair Overeem, whom, as Travis Browne and Ben Rothwell proved with subsequent KOs of their own, was seriously over-hyped to begin with.

Winner: Soa "The Hulk" Palelei

Struve vs. Noguiera: From a medical standpoint, Struve really needs to hang up the gloves.  No sport is worth your life and with his heart condition, I strongly believe that that is what he is risking every time he steps into the cage.  I see a submission victory for Minotauro here, although that may be more due to the health condition of his opponent than the skills of the Brazilian legend.

Winner: Minotauro Noguiera

Vieira vs. Lopes:  I know nothing about either fighter so I will follow my gut and pick Vieira.  Take it for what it's worth.

Winner: Reginaldo Vieira

Franca vs. Bruno:  Another fight, another gut prediction.  In this case, I pick Bruno.  I probably should have tried harder to watch "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4."  Oh well...

Winner: Fernando "Acougeiro" Bruno

Shogun vs. Little Nog:  Shogun is the reason why I started watching the UFC, and rest assured, I will be rooting for him during this bout.  That being said, Little Nog has been more successful as of late, beating Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans before getting smashed by Anthony "Rumble" Johnson.  In contrast, Shogun has been KO'd by Dan Henderson and Ovince St. Preux after defeating James Te Huna, so as much as I hate to admit it, I believe "Little Nog" will take it via decision.

Winner: Antonio Rogerio "Little Nog" Nogueira

Rousey vs. Correia: A lot of people seem to believe that Bethe "Pitbull" Correia will pull a "Matt Serra vs. GSP" KO upset over "Rowdy."  I commend Correia for her confidence and do believe she will throw everything including the kitchen sink at Rousey.  But the facts just don't point to her winning the belt.  Rousey has demolished the "Murderer's Row" of the women's bantamweight division: Cat Zingano, Alexis Davis, Sarah Kaufman, Sara McMann, and Miesha Tate (twice).  Out of the bantamweight's elite, only Tate has taken her outside of the first round and that was on her second try.  In contrast, Correia's best wins are a razor-thin division over Jessamyn Duke (who's 1-3 in the UFC against mediocre competition) and a lopsided beatdown of WMMA pioneer Shayna Baszler, whose time passed long ago.  That, combined with a lengthy layoff due to eye surgery, makes a victory for the challenger seem rather difficult...

In my opinion, how this fight will play out depends on Rousey's strategy.  If she sticks with the "Rousey smash!", go-for-the-kill-in-the-first-round tactic that has taken her to the top, then Correia will be just another name on her highlight reel.  However, if Rousey decides to stick with her current plan to drag out the fight with Correia and, in her own words "make her suffer", that will probably backfire.  In that case, we will end up seeing the female version of "Silva-Sonnen I", where Rousey gets brutalized for the majority of the fight before winning via a "Hail Mary" submission in Round 5 (most likely an armbar).  Either way, when Rousey leaves the cage, she will be taking the belt with her. 

On a side note, although Correia apologized and asked for forgiveness for her "suicide remark" taunt of Rousey, that was still a horrible thing to say to somebody.  That's been compounded by the fact that Rousey's father took his own life when she was a child (Correia claimed that she was unaware of this).  In my opinion, this definitely makes Correia the heel in this feud and I hope that Rousey does teach her a lesson, regardless of how long (or short) it takes.  The forgiveness can come afterwards. 

Winner: Ronda "Rowdy" Rousey


Sunday, July 12, 2015

UFC 189: Rise Of The Celtic Warrior

Who needs takedown defense when you are the most dynamic and hardest hitting striker in your featherweight division?  Not Conor McGregor, apparently.  Here is my take on the PPV which saw the crowning of the UFC's first Irish interim champion.

Almeida vs. Pickett: The first round was a draw, with Pickett dropping Almeida twice with right hands and Almeida almost catching Pickett with a heel hook.  He also dropped Pickett with a right of his own.  However, an explosive flying knee by Almeida in the second round put a quick end to Pickett and made this a "changing of the guard" match for the bantamweight division.

Winner: Almeida (KO)

Nelson vs. Thatch:  After a left hook-right hook combo, Nelson put on a "BJJ 101" class for the fans.  Side control.  Transition to mount.  Take your opponent's back.  Get a body triangle.  Soften up your opponent with strikes before getting the rear naked choke and just wait for the tap.  The end.

Winner: Nelson (submission)

Bermudez vs. Stephens: The true fight of the night!  In spite of getting cut open and completely handled in Round 1, Stephens rallied in a back-and-forth brawl in Round 2 where he hit Bermudez so hard with a left that Dennis "The Menace" actually spun around like a top!  That being said, Bermudez was still winning the fight in Round 3 when, out of nowhere, Stephens dropped him with a flying knee when his own back was against the cage and swarmed him on the ground to finish the fight.

Winner: Stephens (TKO)

MacDonald vs. Lawler: Lawler's straight left in Round 5, which caused MacDonald to put his hands on his head and fold backward into a fetal position in the first slomo knockout I've ever seen, was exciting.  The rest of the fight was a total snoozefest, with about a minute and 15 seconds of action and almost twenty minutes of them playing octagon pattycake.  "Fight of the Night" this was not...

Winner (and still UFC welterweight champion): Lawler (KO)

Mendes vs. McGregor: In spite of absorbing a spinning back kick to the body which seemed to knock the wind out of him, Mendes dominated the fight at first, taking McGregor down 4 times in two rounds and smothering him a la Silva-Sonnen I.  Then he went for a guillotine and gave McGregor just barely enough space to escape and pop back to his fight.  A one-two combo was all it took for McGregor to knock Mendes out become the interim UFC featherweight champion.

"I was going to prove to the people that I was the true fighter." McGregor said afterwards, acknowledging that he was protected from guys like Mendes on his path to a title shot.

Indeed, the Celtic Warrior has proven that, and I believe that at this point, his fight with Aldo will just be a formality. 

Winner (and new UFC interim featherweight champion): Conor McGregor.     

Saturday, July 11, 2015

UFC 189: My Predictions

Even though Aldo had to pull out due to a fractured rib, this should still be a pretty good PPV.  Here are my predictions for each match:

Pickett vs. Almeida:  I love the British, so I will be rooting for Pickett.  Unfortunately, Pickett is 36 years old, and fighters of that age tend to become shark meat for younger, hungrier fighters like Almeida.  I see Almeida giving this veteran his first KO loss in the UFC.

Winner: Thomas Almeida

Nelson vs. Thatch: After Thatch got finished by Benson Henderson (who's a lightweight, by the way), I am very comfortable picking Nelson for this one.  I see a submission by Nelson in Round 2 at the latest.

Winner: Gunnar Nelson

Bermudez vs. Stephens: This is a no-brainer.  Dennis "The Menace" was the first man to ever finish Clay Guida in the octagon and was on a 7-fight tear before experiencing his first setback against the monster known as Ricardo Lamas.  Bermudez will crush Stephens via submission late in Round 1.

Winner: Dennis Bermudez.

Lawler vs. MacDonald II: I personally believe this will be the fight of the night, and whoever wins depends on MacDonald's strategy.  If MacDonald plays it too safe, Lawler will storm him out of the gate and pull another upset like he did in their last fight.  However, if MacDonald combines his technical finesse with the "Canadian Psycho" tenacity that he used to squish Che Mills, then I see him dominating Lawler for five rounds en route to finally becoming the king of the welterweight division.  Personally, I think the latter will happen and that "Red King" will finally rule in place of his mentor, Georges St-Pierre.

Winner: Rory MacDonald

Mendes vs. McGregor: I am a huge McGregor fan.  He is basically an Irish ninja version of Muhammad Ali.  That being said, although his striking is off the charts, his takedown defense is suspect.  Dennis Siver was able to put him on his back with relative ease, although he had no idea what to do with McGregor once that happened (hence the thrashing that the German striker received afterwards).  Mendes won't have that problem, so I see "Money" grinding out a five-round decision en route to becoming the interim featherweight champion.

Winner: Chad Mendes.  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

UFC 187: Age Is Just A Number (For D.C.)

"Jon Jones, get your sh*t together!  I'm waiting for you!"

That's what Daniel Cormier shouted before storming out of the cage as the new UFC light heavyweight champion.  His win may not have been the most exciting one last night, but it was the most inspiring, since he managed to climb the top of the mountain at 36, which is when most fighters are either retiring or getting clobbered by the next generation of mixed martial artists.  Here are my thoughts on this awesome card:

Benavidez vs. Moraga: Moraga put up a valiant effort against Benavidez, including a belly-to-belly suplex in Round 1 and a surge at the beginning of Round 3 to try to seize the victory by KO.  Unfortunately, Benavidez's wrestling, chin, boxing, and top control were simply too much for him in the end.

Winner:  Joseph Benavidez (unanimous decision)

Browne vs. Arlovski: This freaking awesome match is MMA's equivalent of the first round of Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas "Hitman" Hearns!  In spite of taking Browne to striking school early with punches, knees, overhand rights, straight rights, and a reverse forearm strike after a missed right hook, Arlovski looked like he was finished when Browne dropped him with a thunderous right hook.  Nonetheless, Arlovski rallied and swarmed Browne against the cage, leaving "Hapa" out on his feet with a right uppercut and a straight right that caused the ref to stop the match.

Winner:  Andrei Arlovski (TKO)

Cerrone vs. Makdessi: This fight was actually pretty even up until Makdessi cried uncle with a "timeout" gesture after his jaw was separated by one of "Cowboy's" left high kicks.  I know why Cerrone shrugged dismissively afterwards: he himself went three rounds with Nate Diaz in the past in spite of suffering a broken jaw of his own.  That being said, I've never had a broken jaw myself, so I can't judge "The Bull" for wanting to call it quits.

Winner: Donald Cerrone (TKO)

Weidman vs. Belfort: "Stop doubting me!  Stop doubting me!  Join the team!  I love you!"

That's what Weidman said after retaining his belt and praising Jesus for getting him through his hardships in life.  Although not quite as exciting as "Browne vs. Arlovski", this match was also brief and awesome.  In spite of being bloodied by "The Phenom's" trademark blitz, Weidman weathered the storm, got a double leg takedown, moved to mount and punished the Brazilian legend with ground-and-pound.  Belfort at first tried to punch back, but finally got overwhelmed and stopped defending himself.  I was actually yelling at the screen for the ref to stop the match before it was finally stopped.

I also like how Belfort praised Jesus, too, in spite of his defeat.  I have faith that, since Weidman said "yes" when Rogan asked if he could put the beef between Belfort and himself behind him, and Belfort praised Weidman after the match, that these rivals can move forward as brothers in Christ.

Winner (and still UFC middleweight champion): Chris Weidman (TKO)

Johnson vs. Cormier: In spite of eating an overhand right that would have decapitated an elephant, D.C. managed to survive the rest of Round 1, and turned the tide with a massive slam in Round 2.  He then maintained top control and attempted a kimura before cutting "Rumble" open with slicing elbows at the end of Round 2.  In spite of showing fantastic takedown defense throughout the fight (including punching D.C. in the face while standing on one leg during the latter's single-leg attempt in Round 3), Johnson finally got worn out and finished with a rear naked choke in the third round.  While I still don't think he'd be able to win a rematch with Jon Jones (assuming he still has the belt upon the latter's return), D.C. certainly proved me wrong for doubting him tonight with his gritty, hard-fought victory.

Winner (and new UFC light heavyweight champion): Daniel Cormier (submission)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

No "Bones" About It: My Thoughts On The Jon Jones Fiasco And UFC 187 Predictions

Before I make my UFC 187 predictions, this is my reaction to Jon Jones getting stripped of the title and suspended indefinitely: FINALLY!

I don't know Jon Jones personally, but his public image is almost as bad as Samson's from the Bible.  The media reports of the greatest MMA fighter of our generation (and possibly ever) paint the portrait of a young man with a character that fails to live up to his talent.  The alleged hit-and-run disaster in Albuquerque is simply the latest in a string of high-profile debacles, some of which are detailed by Adam Guillen Jr. at MMAMania:

In my personal opinion, Jones should have been stripped of the belt after he refused to defend his title in a "gimme fight" at UFC 151 against a late-replacement, much smaller and older Chael Sonnen (no offense to the "Gangster of West Linn").  His decision (which I still don't understand) put the final nail in the coffin for that PPV and led to its cancellation by Dana White.  At least Jones' title should have been taken away after he failed a drug test for cocaine metabolites after beating Daniel Cormier.  Unfortunately, when you are a world-famous athlete, you get a free pass to do whatever you want unless you ROYALLY screw up.  That being said, it doesn't get much more screwed up than allegedly:

A) Running a red light
B) Hitting a car driven by a 25-year-old PREGNANT woman (whose arm and wrist were broken in the crash.  Thank goodness she and her baby weren't killed!)
C) Fleeing the scene on foot, only to return to grab a bag full of cash
D) Oh, and to top it off, having weed in your rental car.

The whole scenario sounds like the plot of a Kevin Hart movie.

At any rate, I am glad that Dana White has finally taken disciplinary action against Jones by stripping him of the title and suspending him indefinitely.  If White hadn't done that, I wouldn't watch UFC events anymore. Will I watch Jones fight again if he gets his act together? Sure.  But I will continue to root for his opponents if he does come back.

Anyway, here are my predictions for tonight's PPV!

Benavidez vs. Moraga: My gut tells me to go with Benavidez via decision.

Winner: Joseph Benavidez

Browne vs. Arlovski: Other than a fluke loss against Bigfoot Silva (due to a torn hamstring) and a surprising upset to Werdum, Browne has been virtually unstoppable.  I see him knocking out Arlovski in Round 1 to finally earn a title shot.

Winner: Travis Browne

Cerrone vs. Makdessi: This is a no-brainer.  Cerrone is an elite lightweight on a 7-fight win streak and Makdessi is a replacement for an injured Khabib Nurmagomedov.  I believe that "Cowboy" will make quick work of  "The Bull" with a first-round submission.

Winner: Donald Cerrone

Weidman vs. Belfort: If these guys were the same age, I would consider it an even fight.  However, Belfort is 38-years-old, hasn't fought since 2013, and isn't on TRT anymore.  In contrast, Weidman is in his prime and excels at all three aspects of MMA: striking, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu, as we have seen from his destruction of Anderson Silva and his five-round war with Lyoto Machida.  Weidman will probably weather Belfort's opening blitz and submit him in Round 4 after "The Phenom" gasses, retaining his title in this "changing of the guard" match.

Winner: Chris Weidman

Johnson vs. Cormier: Again, age is the deciding factor here.  If D.C. was about six years younger, he would probably have gone "suplex city" on Johnson for all five rounds with his Olympic-level wrestling.  However, at 36, I see him losing his second bid for the light heavyweight by title to Father Time and "Rumble's" brutal knockout power.  I don't see this going past Round 2, sadly.

Winner: Anthony Johnson


Sunday, April 19, 2015

UFC on Fox 15: The Rise of Sir Rockhold, The Dragon Slayer

"Look, I did my part.  Weidman, you go do your part.  We're going to take this across the way.  Madison Square Garden.  Let's make history!"

That's what Luke Rockhold yelled during his post-fight interview, after a lopsided beatdown of Machida that would make Jon Jones envious. 

UFC Fight Night: Machida vs Rockhold

Rockhold may as well have worn a suit of armor to the octagon, because he brutally slew "The Dragon" known as Lyoto Machida to become only the third man to ever finish him.  Photo from Ryan McKinnell at Yahoo!Sports (Cagewriter): 

Here are my thoughts on each fight of UFC on Fox 15:

VanZant vs. Herrig: I honestly thought this was over when, after getting tossed with a headlock throw, Herrig took VanZant's back and almost got a rear naked choke in Round 1.  Fortunately, "12 Gauge" proved me wrong.  Not only did she escape, but she spent the rest of the fight either out-grappling Herrig to maintain top control or using ground-and-pound to neutralize her offensive guard before earning a clear-cut unanimous decision.  I don't feel that "12 Gauge" has earned a title shot just yet, but she has definitely proven herself worthy of a top-five opponent in her next outing.

Winner: Paige VanZant (unanimous decision)

Swanson vs. Holloway: Yeah, I think I should just move on from the whole "Lawrence vs. Holloway nutshot" controversy since Holloway not only demolished Swanson fair-and-square, but he also showed a lot of class after the fight.  Holloway picked Swanson apart with an excellent "stick-and-move" strategy, while also mixing it up with a spinning back kick, multiple body kicks, and a couple of flying knees.  He then put an exclamation point on his victory by grabbing Swanson and hurling him to the ground to make him tap with a guillotine from the mount.  Afterwards, he showed respect by checking on Swanson while he was recovering and, during his post-fight interview, thanked the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (who is also my Lord, by the way), for his victory.  I'm not ashamed to say that I will root for this young lion in the future, which I am very certain will involve a title shot in the shark tank which is the featherweight division.

Winner: Max Holloway (submission)

Souza vs. Camozzi: Another Round 1 submission (via armbar this time) and easy payday for Jacare.  Other than a "thank you" to Camozzi for stepping up on short notice, nothing else needs to be said.

Winner: Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (submission)

Rockhold vs. Machida:  If this victory didn't earn Rockhold a title shot, I don't know what will.  During the first round, Rockhold rocked Machida with a right hand and took him down, keeping back control for most of the round and going for a rear naked choke.  When the round was over, Machida looked like he was out on his feet as he wobbled over to his corner.  In Round 2, Rockhold softened Machida up some more with left jabs and body kicks.  Then he simply pushed him to the ground, pounded him with some elbows, and then flattened him out face-first on the canvas with double leg hooks before making him tap with a rear naked choke.  This pretty much crushed my hopes for the return of the Machida Era.  Whoever wins "Weidman vs. Belfort" better have been paying attention because Rockhold has once again proven that the loss he suffered in his UFC debut was a major fluke.

Winner: Luke Rockhold (submission)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

UFC on Fox 15: My substitute for UFC 186

Why am I not watching UFC 186, in spite of being a fan of "Mighty Mouse" and "The Count"?

Because I don't pay for squash matches.  That's why.

Demetrious Johnson's opponent, Kyochi Horiguchi, barely beat Louis Gaudinot in his last match, which was so terrible that I wrote "Who cares?" in my UFC notes regarding who won Round 3 and stopped paying attention.  I honestly believe he got this title shot because he is the only flyweight "Mighty Mouse" hasn't schooled yet.  On top of that, Michael Bisping is fighting C.B. Dolloway, whose best accomplishment so far has been that he was hand-picked by the UFC to be part of Lyoto Machida's KO highlight reel.  The only way I would consider going out to watch this PPV is if Davis vs. Kaufman was moved to the main event and that certainly isn't happening.  So I'll just watch that particular fight on the prelims at home and save my money.

At any rate, here are my predictions for the fight card I'm watching instead: UFC on Fox 15.  It not only has much better matches: it's also FREE!

Herrig vs. VanZant:  I'll be rooting for "12 gauge" here, but the fact is that she simply doesn't have enough experience to beat someone like "Lil' Bulldog" just yet.  I believe Herrig will sub her in Round 3.

Winner: Herrig

Swanson vs. Holloway: Swanson has had a lot more experience and success against the upper crust of the featherweight division than Holloway has, so I think he will batter Holloway from pillar-to-post for three rounds en route to a lopsided decision victory.

Winner: Swanson

Souza vs. Camozzi: First, I found out Yoel Romero got injured and had to bow out, which was a major disappointment.  Then I found out that the best replacement they could find was Chris Camozzi, whom Jacare has already subbed within one round, and I was even more disappointed.  Since Camozzi is on a four-fight skid, I don't see this ending any differently: another Round 1 sub and easy payday for Souza.

Winner: Souza

Rockhold vs. Machida:  Since my first black belt was in karate, I would love to see Machida win another UFC championship.  That being said, he and Rockhold (who has crushed Costas Philippou, Tim Boetsch, and Michael Bisping) are both evenly matched and Rockhold is 6 years younger.  I believe that Father Time will catch up to Machida in this fight and that he will drop a unanimous decision to the former Strikeforce middleweight champion, who will go on to challenge the winner of Weidman vs. Belfort.

Winner: Rockhold.   

My Answers To MMAMania's Five Burning Questions For UFC On Fox 15

Just for fun, I decided to write a blog response to "UFC on Fox 15 preview: Five burning questions for 'Machida vs Rockhold' in New Jersey", an article by Alex Schlinsky at

Here are my answers to the questions that he asks:

"5. With Joanne Calderwood's loss this past weekend, is Paige VanZant vs. Felice Herrig a No. 1 contender's bout?"

Probably.  Even though I think that Maryna Moroz deserves it more with her upset of Joanne Calderwood at UFC Fight Night: Gonzaga vs. Cro Cop 2, the more popular, more charismatic (and let's just face it, prettier) female fighters tend to leapfrog the competition, regardless of skill or talent.  So I believe that Moroz will get snubbed and the winner of VanZant vs. Herrig will get the next title shot against Joanna Jedrzejcyk.

"4. Aljamain Sterling: A future title contender?"

The UFC better hope so.  Their bantamweight division desperately needs one.  Dillashaw and Barao seem miles ahead of the rest of the division.  I'm a huge Faber fan, but even I believe that he has had more than enough chances to prove he is the best and just doesn't have it in him.  And Cruz (who never actually lost his title to begin with) is too injury-prone to stay competitive.  I am all for bringing in any fighter who can prevent "Dillashaw vs. Barao V" from happening.

"3. Can Cub Swanson rebound from his difficult loss to Frankie Edgar, or will Max Holloway prove to be a top-five contender?"

Absolutely.  Swanson is a monster who was simply outmatched against Edgar.  I just hope that he is prepared for any "accidental" nutshots he might take against Holloway (watch Holloway's fight against Justin Lawrence and you will see what I am referring to).

"2. Does anyone care about Ronaldo Souza vs. Chris Camozzi?"

Let me think.  NO!

That's why I am hoping that, assuming that Souza and Michael Bisping defeat their opponents this month (which is highly probable), that "Jacare" answers the challenge that "The Count" issued to him over Instagram (see below).

"1. How well does Lyoto Machida match up with Luke Rockhold?"

Considering the age of these too middleweight standouts, not well enough, I'm afraid.  The surging Rockhold is 30 and in his prime, whereas Machida is 36, which is when most fighters lose their touch (and their chin).  I believe that this is the fight where Father Time finally catches up to Machida and he passes the torch to the next generation of champions.  Will he put up a valiant effort against the surging Rockhold? Absolutely.  Will he win?  I doubt it.   

Next post: My UFC on Fox 15 predictions (and why this event is my substitute for UFC 186)


Sunday, March 22, 2015

MMA Blogging: My Hobby

As much as I would love to blog about MMA full-time, there are these things called "bills" which I have to pay.  For that reason, I will just treat it as a hobby for now.  If things take off in the future and I can make money off my hobby, great.  Meanwhile, I will just do it for fun whenever I get some free time.

That means that I will not be able to review every single UFC event.  It used to be that there would only be one UFC PPV a month.  Now, on top of those PPVs, there are free events EVERY WEEK.  I simply don't have the time to keep track of every match anymore, so I have to be picky about which events I write about.

Additionally, as much as I love MMA, I primarily train in the traditional martial arts, so I want to blog about those, too.  Even though Kung Fu isn't trendy anymore, it is still valuable for self-defense and is AMAZING when it comes to physical health.  The Kung Fu kata, in particular, have done wonders for me when it comes to stress relief, improving my overall energy level, healing my joints, and preventing injury.  It's basically yoga for warriors.

For these reasons, I will be cutting back on my MMA posts.  Even though I will cover as many PPVs as I can, the UFC is just one of many aspects of the martial arts.  Therefore, it will only be one of many aspects of my martial arts blog.         

Sunday, March 15, 2015

"Showtime" Gets Cancelled At UFC 185!

"Through Jesus, you can do all things!"

That's what Rafael Dos Anjos yelled after giving Anthony Pettis a five-round beatdown en route to becoming the first Brazilian UFC lightweight champion.  His "David vs. Goliath" victory capped off an amazing PPV which also saw Joanna Jedrzejczyk crush Carla Esparza in two rounds, which was another upset I didn't see coming.  Here are my thoughts on each match of the card.

Caraiso vs. Cejudo: As expected, Cejudo schooled Caraiso in a grappling clinic to get the decision.  Caraiso did almost get a heel hook near the end of Round 3, but it was too little, too late.  Even though I don't think Cejudo's quite ready yet, I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a title shot after this, especially if "Mighty Mouse" wins next month.

Nelson vs. Overeem: Overeem made me eat my words by picking apart "Big Country" en route to a decision.  In particular, flying knees to the chest and body kicks which turned the entire right side of Nelson's body red were the keys to victory for "The Reem."  He also showed better defense, dodging (and a couple of times, running from) Nelson's fists and covering up when Nelson wailed on him to protect his chin.  Wagging his finger at Nelson to taunt him after stuffing a takedown may not have been the classiest move, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

Hendricks vs. Brown: Has Hendricks' "punch-punch-takedown" style become formulaic?  Yes.  But hey, it works.  He basically smothered "The Immortal" for three rounds, using his wrestling to stymie all of Brown's submission attempts, including a couple of inverted triangle attacks.  Not to mention that the slams that "Bigg Rigg" used, especially the one when he carried Brown to the center of the octagon and planted him into the mat, made me nostalgic for the days when WWE was actually good.

Esparza vs. Jedrzejczyk: Joanna is the Polish She-Hulk!  First, she sprawled, stuffed or reversed nearly all of "The Cookie Monster's" takedown attempts.  Then Jedrzejczyk broke the former champion's face with brutal straight rights until she finished Esparza against the cage with a flurry in Round 2 for the TKO.  In all honesty, though, Jedrzejczyk had crushed Esparza mentally long before that.  With her wrestling completely neutralized, Esparza had no clue what to do.  She fell into the insanity trap of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, seemingly unable to believe that the wrestling ability which took her to the top was completely useless against her opponent.  Overeem made me eat my words; Jedrzejczyk, the new women's strawweight champ, shoved them down my throat!

Pettis vs. Dos Anjos:  Dos Anjos was way too nice to make me eat my words.  Instead, he politely served me humble pie, slice-by-slice, through manhandling the best striker in the UFC.  Dos Anjos used straight lefts to smash Pettis' right eye so that he couldn't see.  Then he used multiple takedowns to ground the high-flying champ and brutalized him with ground-and-pound.  On top of that, he rode Pettis' back and nearly got a rear naked choke not once, but twice.  Additionally, he almost got a kimura.  Pettis did attempt a kimura-sweep in Round 5, but Dos Anjos wasn't having it.  In the end, Dos Anjos claimed the lightweight throne as his own before acknowledging the real source of his victory: Jesus Christ.

Ironically, Dos Anjos admitted in a post-fight interview that he had almost pulled out of the fight due to a torn MCL in his right knee.  However, Dos Anjos prayed to God and God told him that he would be fine.  I can only imagine what Dos Anjos will do when he is at 100%!             

Saturday, March 14, 2015

UFC 185: My Predictions

Two championship fights, a former welterweight kingpin trying to climb his way back to the top after being screwed out of his title, and the heavyweight division's most entertaining KO artist attempting to make a comeback?  Sounds like an awesome PPV to me!  Here are my predictions for UFC 185.

Caraiso vs. Cejudo: I'll go with my gut and say Cejudo via decision.

Winner: Cejudo

Nelson vs. Overeem: Nelson has cinder block fists and Overeem's chin is about as strong as an antique vase.  This one is a no-brainer: another first round KO for "Big Country."

Winner: Nelson

Hendricks vs. Brown: Matt Brown has the toughness and the heart to hang with the welterweight elite, but he simply does not have the skill.  I believe that "Bigg Rigg" will achieve the impossible and finish "The Immortal" with a KO in Round 3.

Winner: Hendricks

Esparza vs. Jedrzejczyk: It's nice that Jedrzejczyk pulled an upset over Claudia Gadelha in her last fight.  I just don't see it happening against "The Cookie Monster."  Esparza will defend her title by grinding out Jedrzejczyk en route to getting the submission in Round 3.

Winner: Esparza

Pettis vs. Dos Anjos: Dos Anjos may have knocked out Benson Henderson, but I believe that Pettis is way too fast and dynamic for him.  Even though Pettis' last two wins were by submission, I see "Showtime" returning to his striking game and knocking out Dos Anjos by Round 2 at the latest.

Winner: Pettis

Sunday, March 1, 2015

UFC 184: "Just...F@#$!"


Zingano's exclamation during her post-fight interview pretty much sums up everyone's reaction to Ronda Rousey's 14-second victory over her, including mine.  With this victory, Rousey demolished the last of the "murderer's row" of the top female bantamweights in the world and cemented her place as the undisputed Queen of MMA.

Let's just face it: this belt isn't going anywhere unless Ronda Rousey (pictured with her sister and mother) retires. Image by MMAJunkie (Link to:

Here's my take on this night of exciting finishes:
Ferguson vs. Tibau: Ferguson rocked Tibau with a right to gain the upper hand early.  Several choke attempts later, "El Cucuy" had Tibau in a deep rear naked choke with double leg hooks to get the victory via tapout.

Walsh vs. Jouban: Walsh's forward pressure and aggression was turned against him when Jouban caught him with a left elbow as he rushed in and got the TKO victory after the referee stopped it.  I personally felt this was an early stoppage.

Ellenberger vs. Koscheck: This looked like it would be the most boring fight of the night.  Both Ellenberger and Koscheck appeared to be afraid to engage on their feet.  Koscheck looked like he was trying to cruise to a decision victory by smothering Ellenberger with takedown attempts.  Fortunately, that ended in Round 2 when "The Juggernaut" caught Koscheck in a standing guillotine and took him down into a North-South choke (which I've never seen before in my life) to give him his first submission loss in almost 10 years.

Holm vs. Pennington: This was the fight of the night in my opinion.  I believe that this should have been a unanimous decision victory for Holm instead of a split.  The only round in question was Round 3, when "Rocky" caught her with several hard rights, including one that dropped "The Preacher's Daughter" near the end.  Nonetheless, Holm clearly controlled the rest of the fight with great takedown defense and pressuring Pennington with boxing combos and head kicks.  The real question, however, was whether or not Holm could prove she was a threat to Ronda Rousey.  The fact that Holm had such a hard time defeating the 14th-ranked woman in the division is proof that she is not.

Rousey vs. Zingano: Zingano clearly took Rousey by surprise with a flying knee followed by a suicide throw which had the champ doing a somersault in the octagon.  Unfortunately, Rousey was too level-headed and technically sound to be taken aback for more than a few seconds.  During the scramble that ensued, Rousey took Zingano's back, transitioned into an omoplata, and from there had the second-best female fighter in the world tapping in a straight armbar within 14 seconds flat.  I'm not sure what impressed me more: the fact that Rousey crushed her challenger in record time with a type of armbar that I had never seen before, or her display of sportmanship and class afterward, in which she consoled a clearly distraught Zingano with an embrace and kiss on the cheek.

This completes a face-turn which Rousey began when she commended the effort of her rival, Miesha Tate, at UFC 168 and I can honestly say that I am now a huge fan of the champ.

Now that Rousey has slain every dragon that WMMA has to offer, what should she do next?  Well, she could defeat Holm and Jessica Eye as a formality.  In fact, to make things more efficient, the UFC may consider making Eye and Holm face off in a title eliminator to decide who gets the next beatdown at the hands of the champ.  As another formality, Rousey can go up to catchweight to smash Cyborg (provided that the latter continues to lay off the 'roids).  I would appreciate this, not because I think Cyborg is a credible threat without PEDs, but because it would make her foot-kissing fans shut up.  If Rousey does those two things, she really has nothing left to accomplish and would be better off moving on to bigger and better things such as Hollywood or getting married and starting a family.

At any rate, two things are clear: Ronda Rousey is the undisputed Queen of Queens of MMA, and her character has finally caught up with her talent.           


Saturday, February 28, 2015

UFC 184: My Predictions

Can Zingano complete her comeback from adversity and topple the undisputed Queen of MMA, Ronda Rousey?  I certainly hope so, not just because I am a big Zingano fan, but it would be the icing on the cake for her recovery from a severe knee injury and the suicide of her husband.  That being said, I've gained a lot of respect for Rousey, not least because she hasn't had a major drug scandal like her male counterpart, Jon Jones, and Jones' predecessor, Anderson Silva.  That makes this match a win-win for me, so here are my predictions for the entire card.

Ferguson vs. Tibau: This will probably be a three-round war which ends with Ferguson taking the decision.

Winner: Ferguson by decision.

Jouban vs. Walsh: I don't know anything about either of these two fighters, so I'm going with my gut.
Winner: Walsh by KO.

Ellenberger vs. Koscheck: Despite a major upset to Kelvin Gastelum in his last fight, I see Ellenberger climbing back up the ranks of welterweight to take Koscheck's spot as a heavy-handed gatekeeper.  I'm a big fan of Kos, but his chin is gone, so I see "The Juggernaut" knocking him out in the first round to regain his spot as a top-ten mainstay.

Winner: Ellenberger by KO. 

Holm vs. Pennington: This is easy. Holm smashes Pennington in the first round in a fight designed to make her look unstoppable in her UFC debut a la "McMann vs. Gaff."  Then, like McMann, Holm will probably be thrown to the wolves, getting fast-tracked to a title shot instead of getting a proper test against a top contender like Jessica Eye or Miesha Tate.

Winner: Holm by lopsided beatdown, er, I mean "KO."

Rousey vs. Zingano: Zingano is a gritty, tenacious fighter with a never-give-up attitude.  Unfortunately, Rousey has perfected the art of making gritty, tenacious fighters give up, usually by breaking limbs.  Zingano will heroically throw everything but the kitchen sink at Rousey.  However, by Round 5 at the latest, I see Rousey keeping her belt by technical submission, breaking at least one limb of a contender who won't tap out in the process.

Winner: Rousey by technical submission, and a possible career-ending injury to Zingano if "Alpha" doesn't tap (and she probably won't).