UFC 143: Nick Diaz Hates the Superbowl and Artificial Sweeteners Feat. Cruelty

Sup gordos? Ya boys have taken time from cutting jalapenos for our Super Bowl salsa to drop some knowledge on your domepieces. We’ve got a so-so card with an EXPLOSIVE main event that’s going to give you more firepower then both QB’s the following day. You want winners like Singletary? We got ’em. I’m Italics, Cruelty isnt, LETS GO.

Stephen Thompson over Daniel Stittgen – TKO Rd 2
When I’m trying to make a pick, I look back and my notes and picks for previous UFC fights. When the guys are new or they’re from a PPV that I was too drunk to write notes about, I go to youtube. Stephen Thompson has a common name but after a little sifting I found the gem: footage of Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson fighting on Chuck Norris’s World Combat League. Yes. Fuck yes. Well I wasn’t too impressed by his performance. I didn’t see power in his Full Contact Ka-ra-tay, but karate kicks are hot right now so wtf maybe it works. Stittgen is a late replacement and he looks very unpolished. He’s basically a spaz who runs at guys winging punches and if he runs out of space he’ll turn it into shitty takedown. I’m going to bet that the guy from the more professional gym who had a legit training camp will have a big advantage. Thompson doesn’t have killer power but he can probably drop a guy who’s too tired to steady himself. No training camp equals you gas in the second round, so Stittgen gets dropped and he’s too tired to defend on the ground.

Stephen Thompson over Daniel Stittgen – JD
I know slim to nothing on either of these cats, but Thompson trains at Tristar, a pretty legit gym. I’m assuming he can use experience training with superior fighters to steal two of the three rounds.

Rafael Natal over Michael Kuiper – JD
Mel Kiper’s UFC debut is making me excited for the NFL Combine coming up in a few weeks, but his most recent MMA fight was not terribly impressive. Natal hasn’t impressed me either but I like him stylistically here. Natal will be the more patient fighter, who is willing to stand outside and leg kick. Kuiper will try to come forward and he doesn’t defend himself well. If the fight goes to the ground, I don’t believe in Kuiper’s judo based top-control that I dimly remember as “ne waza” from my judo days. Kuiper’s only hope is heavy hands but Natal will stay safe and win a decision.

Rafael Natal over Michael Kuiper – JD
I feel the need to make Rafael Nadal tennis jokes here. But I dont know enough about tennis, so I’ll move on. Kuiper has been tearing shit up on the lower level circuit, wonder if he’s going to be able to give Natal fits. Im assuming no, and locking Kuiper in for “1st time jitters” factor as well. After hearing what Lavar went through before his fight last week I’m beyond convinced in it. Nadal wins two of the three.

Matt Brown over Chris Cope – TKO Rd 1
Cope is a bit of kickboxer, but mostly he just sucks. Now that UFC has a different TV arrangement, I hope they will have more leeway for cutting TUF fighters who don’t deserve to be on the roster. Meanwhile, Matt Brown is just a small step above. He does just BARELY enough to keep his job with the UFC and Joe Silva gives him good matchups. **SPOILER ALERT** JAV describes it perfectly below. I just think even less of Cope than he does.

Matt Brown over Chris Cope – TKO Rd 2
Weird match up for Cope, not sure where he would have an advantage here. Brown is really well rounded and keeps a spot on the roster beating guys like Cope.

Edwin Figueroa over Alex Bruce Leroy – KO Rd 2
Figueroa is a good striker but I think his coaches have seen TV before and he’ll take this fight to the ground. If he can’t make it happen, he’ll be fine in a kickboxing match but I suspect he’ll eventually be able to get on top and throw punches. Leroy is here to bounce around and smile at the camera and cash a check, not get punched while he’s on his back. I’m not saying he’ll tap from strikes but I don’t predict a heroic effort either.

Bruce Leroy over Edwin Figureoa – JD
We all know Leroy cant defend chokes, but i’ve got a feeling Figureoa is going to keep this standing for the most part, and lose 2 of the 3 rounds. If Figueroa takes this down, its a whole different story.

Matt Riddle over Henry Martinez – JD
Christ this undercard sucks. Greg Jackson is Greg Jackson so he gets a phone call when there’s an injury and we get to see one of his random students into this card on short notice. Riddle is still very awkward striking, but he Martinez is not going to have much in the tank. Riddle with some gnp.

Matt Riddle over Henry Martinez – JD
Pulling for my fellow brown skinned bro but his back is really against the wall taking the fight on 2 weeks notice and its your first UFC go ever. Going back to what I was saying earlier, those first time jitters really fuck with your mental state, and Riddle is a solid grappler. Riddle wins via cage control.

Dustin Poirier over Max Holloway – TKO Rd 1
Max is another last minute replacement, and he’s way out of his league. Dustin may be a bit of a headcase, but he is pretty well rounded and fast. Way fast whitey. I expect a flurry of strikes and a finish. I worry about him a little bit, because he’s a serious prospect who seems overwhelmed by the moment sometimes. I’m interested to see how Dustin handles this from a sports psych point of view.

Dustin Poirier over Max Holloway – Sub Rd 1
Blowout fight. Poirier is the real deal and should be getting some run for a #1 contenders fight after this.

Ed Herman over Clifford Starks – TKO Rd 2
Someone who has lots of time on their hands should sit down and figure the Arizona Combat Sports record in the UFC. Clifford Starks is yet another clumsy grappler to come from that camp that apparently specializes in building beach muscle and convincing Joe Silva they can look cool losing on undercards. Ed Herman isn’t fantastic but he’s serviceable and veteran. He’ll outwrestle Starks and put some punches on him. I’m not sure Starks has spent much time on the bottom, and this is his debut, so I’m thinking Ed might get a finish when Starks panicks a little and gets himself in serious trouble from his back.

Ed Herman over Clifford Starks – JD
Never been a fan of Herman’s. Thought he was a little too cocky, boring, and average at best. Much like Brown, he wins fight like these and keeps his job. Poor Starks is undefeated and doesnt even get a picture at Sherdog. Maybe he can catch Herman with some solid strikes? They’re showing Starks no love, neither am I.

Renan Pegado over Scott Jorgensen – TKO Rd 3
Scott Jorgensen has been building a serious resume in the UFC/WEC but this time I think he’s outclassed. Renan Pegado last fought Brad Pickett, who is an alcoholic but still a decent fighter, and Pegado complete ran him over. In my notes I compared him to a great cat and said “awesome” three times. I’m rolling my eyes at my own hype so you must be questioning my sexuality right now. Pegado is for real and this is a fight of the night contender. Jorgensen is used to bullying guys with his wrestling but Barao has an athletic application of bjj that will counter it, IF this fight even goes to the ground.

Renan Pegado over Scott Jorgensen – Sub Rd 2
Here’s the fight everyone should be talking about but aren’t. This has the potential to have balls to the wall action standing and grappling. I’m wondering if Jorgensen is going to be the 135 version of Fitch. Really good, but can’t beat the champion, and just sits around the #1 contender spot for the rest of the year. I think Barao is the real deal tho, and is going to give Jorgensen a shit ton of fits on the mat, and catch him with a choke, giving us a new foe for Cruz.

Josh Koscheck over Mike Pierce – JD
I’ve liked what Pierce has done in the UFC so far. He’s a high workrate wrestler with OK boxing and he forces guys to bring their best game to get the win. After plenty of shuffling on this card, I think Joe Silva is using this fight to push Kos a bit. Pierce should be an inferior version of Kos, so Kos should just shut down his shots and kill him with AKA kickboxing. He started slow against Hughes but I’m thinking he’ll keep his momentum rolling and float back toward the top of this division.

Josh Koscheck over Mike Pierce – JD
This is what happens when you run 30 cards a year. You get Mike Pierce fighting in one of the biggest fights of the night. Kos has earned his spot, no doubt, but Mike Pierce? Does he have exciting KO’s that I missed out on? If he loses, will anyone care? Unless he beats Koscheck, it’s a head scratcher. I dont blame Kos for clowning dude. You go from fighting Matt Hughes, to potentially Condit, to this cat? The only upside for Kos is he gets paid right? Anyway Pierce’s only shot is at turning this into a grappling match, and hoping he’s better on the mat, which he isnt. Kos is going to turn this into a glorified sparring match.

Roy Nelson over Fabricio Werdum – JD
Werdum survived the fight with Overeem by pulling guard or buttscooting whenever he got into trouble. Overeem is a muscled up freak so he eventually gassed and Werdum continued to string the fight out. It was not exactly an impressive effort. Nelson is legit as a grappler and I think he could survive in Werdum’s guard in an MMA world where he’s gi-less and punching. Nelson is a smart fighter, though, and I think he’ll keep this standing. We’d all rather see a grappling match but Nelson is there for a win bonus, not to indulge the fans. Proposition bet: Joe Rogan will mention at least 2 times that Nelson should continue to lose weight and fight at 205.

Roy Nelson over Fabricio Werdum – UD
Two high level grapplers almost always equals weird stand up fight with ugly strikes thrown. HOWEVAH Nelson has some pretty solid stand up, so I think he uses his jab and overhand right to frustrate Werdum. This is going to look very ugly in the 3rd round when both guys have no gas and are throwing weak arm punches. Afterwards Werdum should be like “WHATEVA I SUBMITTED FEDOR BEFORE ANYONE ELSE.”

Nick Diaz over Carlos Condit – TKO Rd 4
As shitty as the rest of this card is, this fight has the potential to make us forget it all. I’ve been skeptical of Condit for a few years. I always felt he was facing inferior talent in WEC, but since he moved to the UFC he has gotten the job done. He found power from technique, and he killed a couple legit fighters in a row. Meanwhile, Diaz redefined what it is to be a volume striker in MMA. For years and years he’s been saying he deserved the spotlight and the money, and here’s his chance to prove it. I don’t see Diaz losing to anybody who isn’t dominant in a single area. He’s faced scarier strikers, and he’s faced scarier grapplers. Condit is impressive because he’s a bit of both but it won’t be enough. Nick’s crazy cardio is the perfect preparation for championship rounds, and more time means more accumulation of damage. By the fourth round, the fight will be close but Condit will be marked up and slowing down. Nick won’t let up, I don’t think Carlos will make it out for the beginning of the fifth.

Nick Diaz over Carlos Condit – Sub Rd 3
This shit is going to be dynamite. I’m once again torn on picking Diaz, because the one guy who I think can beat him will be standing in front of him. Condit is a fucking animal, I’ve been saying this for YEARS now. He’s really come into his own and EITHER of these guys gives GSP the bizznazz when they do eventually meet IMO. Condit is a great finisher and if he drops Diaz could get one of those flurry finishes. But we are talking about Nick fucking Diaz here. I need to mention that I’ve enjoyed Nick being able to halfass adapt to doing interviews. His rambling on with Ariel is some entertaining shit. At one point during the interview, Nick talked about his childhood, moving in with his brother, lack of sparring partners, and not having a photo I.D. And all Ariel asked him was “How was your flight?”

So I dont see either guy shooting unless they are in trouble, but I’m thinking Condit will later in the fight out of exaustion/desperation and that’s when Diaz locks in the choke after a great back and fourth throw down. When the Diaz Bros both have belts its really going to piss off the internet.


New York Giants over New England Patriots – 35-30
The Giants will struggle to run at first, but when they switch to exclusively spread concepts and no huddle then the shootout will begin. The Patriots will create a few turnovers but the Giants will move the ball through the air. The Patriots offense is scary but Giants will make Brady a little uncomfortable and that will be the difference. Eli isn’t as good as Peyton, so don’t get that twisted, but he’s got a good supporting cast and he’s hot right now.

New York Giants over New England Patriots – 27-17
Brady will look bad because of that front 7, Gronk will be less Gronklike due to injuries, Eli becomes elite, and a hero to all NYG football fans. Who’s gonna stop those WR’s, Edleman? Also, take whatever the over is on “Times Payton is shown on television during the game” even if its at 100.

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