Sup scumbags, ya boys are back. On a Friday? You know shit’s about to get weird. So it’s NYE Weekend, and although Cruelty and I miss Pride FC wars with Zulu, Akebono, MINOWAMAN, and Tank Abbott, we’ll take what we can get. As always, I’m ITALICS, he aint, LETS GOOOOOO.
Diego Nunes over Manny Gamburyan – TKO Rd 1
Manny tends to get hit a little way too much for my liking because he’s on some “I’m tough cause I’m Armenian” shit. I’ve met a few nuts like this. It never ended well for them, and it won’t end well for Manny either. Diego has some solid stand up and I’m assuming learned to pace himself after the K-Flo fight. Diego will 2-piece him.
Manny Gamburyan over Diego Nunes – Round 3 JD
Nunes looked good against Kenny Florian, but only for a round. He has talent but his cardio is shit and I think Manny will force him to work. Maybe he trained his cardio between fights but that’s not part of the Brazilian culture, so I doubt it. Brazilian has a rich multi-ethnic heritage, but only the Japanese part is hard-working and anyway how great have the Japanese fared in the UFC? Let’s read from wiki: “This diverse cultural background has helped boast many celebrations and festivals that have become known around the world.” See? That doesn’t say a fucking thing about getting up early to go running. Nunes will pick Manny apart for the first round, and struggle through the next two. Manny will try for takedowns and wing punches for 15 minutes, and thus Manny wins by being more aggressive.
Matt Riddle over Luis Ramos – JD
I’m wondering when we bail on “Riddle is still young and learning” and go with “Dude that got a bunch of fights in the UFC because of TUF”. Ramos has a ton of unimpressive W’s and a KO loss in his only UFC appearance? I’m taking Riddle to grind out a JD.
Matt Riddle over Luis Ramos – Round 3 JD
Is the Riddler going to be in the next Batman? Will Matt Riddle wear shorts with question marks like that guy who writes books about getting government money for your bullshit small business? I actually met that guy, Matthew Lesko, when I was working at a restaurant in DC. He was wearing his question-mark suit and people were staring at him. He was loving the attention so I totally no-sold his bullshit, just to spite him. It was probably the most professionally I ever treated a customer at that job. Anyway, Matt Riddle is a mediocre wrestler and very awkward striker. I haven’t seen much of Luis Ramos, except that he looks a bit like a guy in the documentary “Waste Land.” That is an excellent, excellent movie for those of you who are willing to read subtitles AND watch a documentary. I think that movie is worth the trouble but I suspect our readership here prefers torture porn to inspirational stories about art and the human spirit. Meanwhile, my prediction for his last fight was totally right-on, so I will now quote myself: “Ramos stands up straight and slides around without moving his head, so I think he gets blasted.” That fight lasted 40 seconds. Well Riddle can’t box for shit so he’s not in as much danger. Riddle will take him down, and Ramos is Nova Uniao so he might have good jits. I’ll still pick Ramos to lose a decision, but I’ll be rooting for him to hit a quick sub so we can move on to a fight that matters.
Jacob Volkmann over Efrain Escudero – TKO Rd 2
Is Escudero the worst TUF champion of all time? Probably not statistically, but I cant think of a TUF champ that is this irrelevant. The kid finally breaks back into the UFC and he gets fucking Volkmann? Perhaps this should be the new way to treat TUF champs. Fuck building them up, let’s put them in there with beasts already. Volkmann’s going to use his wrestling advantage to give Efrain fits and finish with G & P later in the fight.
Jacob Volkmann over Efrain Escudero – Round 3 JD
Efrain looked good enough on TUF that I actually thought he had a bright future. So far he has been a disappointment. If we met in person, I would give him the slow headshake with a slight frown and he’d be like “Leave me alone bro.” Volkmann is awkward but his wrestling is effective and Efrain is not scary enough to threaten him. Volkmann with a little gnp and the win. Wow, this card is not looking very fun so far.
Sean Pierson over Dong Hyun Kim – TKO Rd 1
I’m wondering two things here. 1. Did Condit expose Stun Gun for having a bad chin? 2. Can Pierson use his great stand up to KO Stun Gun? I’m thinking yes, and yes. Pierson catches Stun Gun early after some failed take down attempts and drops him, then finishes with strikes on the ground. We will then sit back and try and figure out why it took guys so long to do this to Stun Gun in the first place.
Dong Hyun Kim over Sean Pierson – Round 3 JD
Pierson showed some good boxing in previous UFC bouts, but got caught in his last fight with Ellenberger. Kim is strong but he doesn’t have KO power as far as we’ve seen. Pierson will probably want to use his boxing advantage and Kim will want to clinch. Kim has dealt with good boxers before, and coming off a brutal TKO loss I think he’ll be conservative. Kim will clinch, hit a trip, and win with gnp.
Danny Castillo over Anthony Njokuani – JD
We should probably start keeping an eye on Castillo. Dude’s got great wrestling, works with a great team, and once he gets some solid stand up game, is gonna be scary. Njokuani is a guy that is exciting as hell to watch when someones willing to stand with him. That wont be Castillo, who’s going to swarm him and pressure him with grappling early. 3 rounds worth of takedowns coming up!
Danny Castillo over Anthony Njokuani – Round 2 TKO
This is classic grappler vs striker with two action fighters, and I’m hoping the pace will wake us all up after a string of very slow fights. Castillo trains with Team Alpha Male, but I don’t hate him like I hate the other guys. He has a great double, and throws serious volume from top position. Njokuani will try to use his kicks to keep distance, and sprawl when he can’t. I think Castillo will be able to spend most of this fight on top, and eventually Njokuani will get himself in trouble trying to get up. Castillo will get a dominant position in a scramble, and pound Njo out.
Ross Pearson over Junior Assuncao – JD
As bulky as Pearson is, he’s fighting at 145? Holy shit. Assuncao isn’t taking him down, and his stand up wont match up with Ross’ slick boxing. Pearson beats on Junior for 3 rounds.
Ross Pearson over Junior Assuncao – Round 3 TKO
Junior has a pretty good top game but his takedowns aren’t great. Pearson has excellent boxing and his takedown defense is good, and getting better fight by fight. I think we’ll see that Pearson is the more advanced fighter, though both have great tools. Pearson will pile up damage with boxing between stuffing takedown attempts. Eventually Assuncao will slow down and Pearson will work for the finish.
Nam Phan over Jim Hettes – TKO Rd 2
See this is how TUF guys build those records up. This should be an easy fight for Nam. Hettes is crazy inexperienced, will be dumb enough to trade with Nam, and Nam is going to break him down with body work and peppering punches.
Nam Phan over Jim Hettes – Round 3 JD
The experience deficit between these fighters is extreme. Phan has been in wars for 10 years, and Hettes has only been in 8 quick wins in small shows before one competitive fight against Bruce Leroy. Phan is not fantastic, but he is not going to get tapped in 2 minutes like the randoms Hettes beat in Northeast regional shows. Phan has great body shots that will overwhelm and demoralize Hettes. By the second round, Hettes will be desperate and things will get worse. Big third round by Phan and an easy decision.
Alexander Gustafsson over Vladimir Matyushenko – KO Rd 1
Initially I was taking Vlad via TKO, I don’t think Alex’s chin has been tested yet, but Vlad’s take down defense is terrible and Gustafsson was smart enough to take all previous decent strikers down and submit them, so I assume he’s going to do the same here. Janitor should consider training fighters from here on out if he loses this one.
Alexander Gustafsson over Vladimir Matyushenko – Round 2 TKO
Gustafsson has faced some decent opponents but how will he deal with someone UNDEFEATED IN THE IFL?? I love Vladdy but Gustafsson is a very promising fighter who should pick him apart. Gustafsson will use length and athleticism to outstrike and damage Vladdy. I was disappointed by Gustafsson’s low workrate in his fight with Hamill, but I think he’ll turn up the volume against this tougher opponent. This is an appropriate test to see if Gustafsson is going to continue as a prospect or stall out.
Johny Hendricks over Jon Fitch – KO Rd 1
Yes, my official “JAV DONE LOST IT” pick of the day. Here me out tho. Fitch is coming off a huge layover, and has only fought 3 times in the last two years. Ring rust will play a factor in this fight. Hendricks is a REALLY good wrestler, and I believe can stuff Fitch’s take down game, and force this into a stand up fight. This is where Hendricks will unleash that big right hand and put Fitch to sleep. I swear this isn’t me talking myself into this pick because Fitch is boring. SWEAR.
Jon Fitch over Johny Hendricks – Round 3 JD
Hendricks has risen to the level in the Welterweight division where it is his honor to lose to either Thiggy Alves or Jon Fitch. For whatever reason, he drew Fitch. What that means is that his loss will be a tough clinchfest, rather than a three rounds of leg kicks. Fitch’s grappling will really be tested, and Hendricks could always land a big punch because he has power that Fitch does not. The wildcard will be Fitch’s submissions, which could come in a scramble when Hendricks is in 100% wrestling mode. I’m picking Fitch to win a close and debated decision by scoring a couple brief takedowns, and winning the dirty boxing.
Donald Cerrone over Nate Diaz – JD
Egads am I really picking someone to beat Nate? I cant remember the last time I did this, if ever. Unlike everyone else, I’ve been a believer in Cerrone for a few years now. He always brought it in the WEC and I knew once he figured out the ground game would be a beast. Nate isn’t going to have a chance to use his BJJ, it’s going to be a stand up fight, and Nate’s gonna be getting clipped with kicks and straight punches all night. This has the blueprint for a war, and I think it becomes one rather quickly. Afterwards, Nick will call out Cerrone, and fight Condit and Cowboy in the same night.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone over Nate Diaz – Round 3 JD
I’ve become a Cowboy Cerrone believer. His muay Thai is brutal, and I like it over Nate’s boxing. Cowboy is gonna force Nate into a long kickboxing match and Nate is gonna get battered in a way that is pretty rare for him. Nate found his power recently and I think he’ll hurt Cowboy a bit too, but Cerrone edges out the fight. Leg kicks over jabs in the scoring? This time at least
Alistair Overeem over Brock Lesnar – Round 2 KO
These guys are scary, but they are also flawed. That’s how it goes in the HW division it seems. Both guys could potentially have cardio problems, both guys struggle to handle damage, and both guys are coming off personal problems. I wonder who was able to have a smoother training camp. With all of that nonsense, I feel damn confident this isn’t going 5 rounds. Either guy could land a big shot and it would be over. I was extremely unimpressed by his fight vs Werdum, but I’m still picking Overeem in the end because I believe a bit more in his accuracy. Both guys will likely be tentative, and in the brief exchanges I think it’s more likely Overeem will land. Brock will try for takedowns without really setting them up, and that will leave him briefly vulnerable each time. Alistair lands a big one as Brock tries to reset off a stalled shot.
Brock Lesnar over Alistair Overeem – TKO Rd 2
Goddamn I am so torn on this fight. I know I say that every card, credit to the UFC for making tough match ups. We finally get Reem, the haters can pipe down because he’s passed his tests, (For now at least) and they throw his ass right into the fire with Lesnar. This is pretty easy to break down. Lesnar is the best HW wrestler/grappler in the world (Suck on that Barnett fans) who doesn’t know how to take a punch. Overeem is the greatest HW striker in the world, but his grappling is suspect. And it has been for 10 years. Now he’s going to take on the best grappler in the world? This fight should go one of two ways. Either Reem knocks Brock out and looks dominant, or Lesnar grapplefucks the shit outta Reem and looks dominant. AS I’M TYPING THIS I AM LITERALLY CHANGING MY MIND FOR THE 79347546769 TIME. But I’m leaning Brock to bull rush Reem, grab a double leg, and pound out Reem and wear him and those big muscles out. Come the second round, Reem will be done, and Brock will smash him the way he did Mir. It’s gonna be brutal. Sherdog will explode. I will laugh.
END OF THE YEAR AWARDS:
Fight Of The Year: Shogun-Henderson
This may be the greatest fight I’ve ever seen. No bullshit. Two fantastic fighters beating the absolute crap out of each other for 5 rounds, and at the end most scored it a draw. It was like Rocky I but for real. As great as it was, these two should never fight each other again, because fights like that take time off of your career, and LIFE SPAN.
Fight of the Year: Edgar – Maynard II
This was Hollywood drama played out for real. I’m an Edgar fan, and this fight further solidified it. Coming back after getting dropped over and over was nothing short of heroic.
Fighter Of The Year – Jon Jones
You finish Bader, Shogun, Rampage, and Machida in the same year? This is just as good of a run Shogun had a few years back when he won the GP and we were all crowning his ass. And the real scary thing? He’s only just begun.
Fighter of the Year: Dan Henderson
I’m going against the Jon Jones grain here, and it’s not entirely due to my desire to be contrary. Henderson had wins over some very big names in the sport, and he was responsible for some of the best fights. His punching power was on serious display as was his heart. He’s an old man in this sport but in 2011, but my opinion of him went from “Wow ok, I guess he’s still relevant” to “This guy may be one of the best of all time.”
Round of the Year: Diaz – Daley 1st and only Round
I think Nick Diaz is now my favorite fighter to watch. I always loved him as a personality but his nasty body shots and cardio-as-a-weapon was perfected in 2011, and this round was a great example of it. Daley has power and hurt Diaz a few times here to make it even more fun to watch.
Round Of The Year: Chandler – Alvarez Rd 1
Just when you think UFC will dominate all of our awards BOOM BACK TO BACK NON UFC EVENTS. SUCK ON THAT MMA AWARDS. With this fight you could probably pick any round, but the 1st was a fucking barnburner Frye/Takayama level violence. Both guys getting floored, both guys throwing bombs, it was like a fucking video game.
Style/Technique of the Year: Kara-tay KICK
In previous years we have talked about the rise of certain weightclasses, or the rise of certain camps. This year I think the rise of Karate kicking technique in MMA deserves a mention. For a long time we MMA fans have mocked “McDojos” and katas and all of that bullshit, but last year we saw Steven FUCKING Segal in the corner of an MMA champion. ASilva and Machida each had shocking facekick knockouts in the first quarter of the year, and this is a copycat sport so it wasn’t long before we saw fights start to look a little more like kung-fu movies. We saw people start to use the sidekick as a jab, we saw people start using this semi-legal sidekick to the knee, and we saw the return of the frontkick as a viable finishing weapon. Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, and Jon Jones are all top 5 pound for pound fighters and they all use these types of techniques as a major component of their offense. For last year at least, the most effective modern fighters used some of the oldest techniques.
Technique Of The Year: H-Bomb
Can you remember the last time a guy was so predictable, but yet nobody could stop it? EVERYONE knows you avoid the Henderson right hand, and yet nobody could do it. NOBODY. Jones beats you with a toolbox worth of crazy shit, Hendo beats you with one thing, the H-Bomb.