Monthly Archives: April 2012

UFC Returns to Pay-Per-Piew… UFC 145

Another UFC on Fuel, another batch of fans complaining about not having that channel. Sure, it’s mildly annoying that I have to find the nearest sports bar to watch these fights, but can you argue with such a great group of fights?

The story line that has emerged from the card is Alexander Gustafsson and whether he is ready for a showdown with the winner of UFC 145’s long awaited main event. Personally, I do not think he is deserving yet. He’s beaten up Matyushenko, Hamill and Silva. Good fighters, but nothing there screams title shot. An entirely different question though “is he ready?”. I think the answer to this is yes. I’m not saying necessarily that he’s the one who’ll down Jon Jones, I would never claim that. He does have the kind of long reach and knowledge of how to use it to make things interesting for Jones. In addition, his wrestling has improved leaps and bounds since he picked up camp with Phil Davis at Alliance. So, here’s my call out to the UFC brass, send Machida his way and let’s do this.

Now, let’s take a look at the preliminary fights from this long awaited card.

Maximo Blanco vs. Marcus Brimage

  • My Pick: Maximo Blanco
  • Reasoning: Brimage’s stocky size seems to be what has got him by. He can physically bully people, especially after moving down to featherweight. However, that is going to end when he faces the Venezuelan. Blanco will easily match Brimage’s strength and may even surpass it. In addition, Blanco’s game is much more rounded. His stand up is strong and people tend to focus more on his power and forget he has very good technical wrestling as well. 
  • Confidence: Good

Chris Clements vs. Keith Wisniewski

  • My Pick: Chris Clements
  • Reasoning: Not enough can be said about Wisniewski’s experience. The Polish Connection has loads of quality opponents since he made is debut in 1998 at age 16. Although I usually go with veteran experience over youths, after watching a few of Clements recent fights, it is too hard to make that pick.  This guy brought it to two tough veterans in Rich Clementi and Jonathan Goulet and has demonstrated great diverse, technical striking throughout his recent win streak. 
  • Confidence: Good

Mac Danzig vs. Efrain Escudero

  • My Pick: Mac Danzig
  • Reasoning: In a battle of two former Ultimate Fighter winners, I see these guys as very similar. Both sprinted out of the gate after winning the show and hit a pretty good skid. Both have revived themselves since then, but once again find themselves at the beginning of a skid. Furthermore, I see similarities in their styles. Both have a very strong ground presence to the point where I see that as a virtual stalemate. So, I say this fight gets decided on it’s feet and the only one in this fight who’s shown power or any kind of technical striking is Danzig (ask Joe Stevenson).  
  • Confidence: Fair

John Makdessi vs. Anthony Njokuani

  • My Pick: Anthony Njokuani
  • Reasoning: The fight will happen on the feet. That is my safest pick of the whole card. That being said, Njokuani seems to be getting better at using his long limbs to keep his opponents where he wants them and Makdessi is one of the short opponents that he’s faced. I gained even further respect for the Nigerian’s stand up when he gave contender Edson Barboza the fight of his life. 
  • Confidence: Good

Matt Brown vs. Stephen Thompson

  • My Pick: Stephen Thompson
  • Reasoning: Bottom line, the Wonderboy is a freaky good striker. Don’t just take his recent Top 10 worthy knockout as proof. Look back at his recent decision win over William Kuhn or anything on his laundry list of kickboxing titles. Although Brown is a huge step up in competition, I don’t think the immortal has the judo or the wrestling to take him out of his game.
  • Confidence: Great

Travis Browne vs. Chad Griggs

  • My Pick: Chad Griggs
  • Reasoning: Here is PrelimPicker’s surprising upset for the day. Browne has undoubtedly had a great UFC careers so far, but he has basically a loss on his record to Cheick Kongo and had Struve not gotten sloppy early, I think he would have lost that one too. Griggs meanwhile is a tough finisher. He seems to have that killer instinct that seemed to be lacking from Browne’s most recent fight with Broughton. Although the argument can be made for Browne’s strength of  schedule, I think man y are overlooking the guys that Griggs has put away.
  • Confidence: Fair
Enjoy the fights. If for no other reason, watch the main card for McDonald vs Torres. It’s going to be fireworks.
Happy Pickings,
Big Sexy

Pretend Like You Didn’t Miss Me

After the long UFC hiatus, PrelimPicker is back in action. Let’s hope the time away didn’t cool off the hot streak that PrelimPicker was on, 27-7. A lot of big things have shaken up the MMA world since then, but nothing bigger that the most recent news piece. Alistair Overeem has tested for high levels of testosterone effectively blasting apart what could have been the best main card in history. A lot of people have different ideas. Some say to bring in Mir, move Bigfoot up to fight Cain and bring in a replacement for Big Country. Others are saying Werdum could fill the void. However, if you are a Tweeter, it is unlikely that the biggest push has passed you by. An idea that some call foolish, some call brilliant and some call inspiring. That idea is Mark Hunt.

Now, at first I was with a lot of the naysayers. Hunt only recently cracked the .500 mark and when you see Samoan’s figure, “athlete” isn’t exactly the first word that comes to your head. However, since shooting down friend after friend who came up to me with the idea, I’ve fallen for it. Much like any sports fan, I have a soft spot for the underdog. Hunt, who is known to many as one of the greatest strikers in the sport, is as big of an underdog as their is and I, for one, would love to give the 38 year old a shot. After all, who else is going to stand and trade with Dos Santos? And even if he gets knocked out, I guarantee he comes with fight.

Enough about that debatable topic. I’m sure we’ll hear from the boss-man soon enough. Let’s check out the upcoming prelim action.

 

Jason Young vs. Eric Wisely

  • My Pick: Eric Wisely
  • Reasoning: It’s no large secret, Wisely got outclassed in his last fight. All that anybody remembers from that fight, is the nasty slicer that Wisely got caught in. However, in the short time they were on their feet as well as in his other recent matches, you can see he’s got some decent stand up. In addition to that, he’s very strong for a featherweight. Young, meanwhile, recently got pushed around a bit by Omigawa. Although I think he will have a chance if this turns into a slugfest, I think Wisely is smarter than that (no pun intended).
  • Confidence: Fair

Simeon Thoresen vs. Besam Yousef

  • My Pick: Simeon Thoresen
  • Reasoning: The story that follows the Norwegian is that he was embarrassed in a training session at a young age. Somebody really showed him up grappling one day and he vowed to never let that happen again. If you’ve seen any of his matches, you’d be pretty sure that he’s done pretty well. Training under noted grappler Joachim Hansen in Oslo, Thoresen has developed his ground game into something to be feared, finishing 12 of his 14 wins on the ground. Although Yousef has a decent grappling base himself, he has much less experience and his opponents are much less impressive that The Grin’s, who has beaten the likes John Maguire and often over-looked Manuel Garcia.
  • Confidence: Good

Yoislandy Izquierdo vs. Reza Madadi

  • My Pick: Reza Medadi
  • Reasoning: In his short, 6-fight career, Izquierdo has shown flashes of being strong on the feet. However, his lack of experience has made him terribly impatient and risky. Although he has gotten away with this in the past, this is clearly a big step up in competition levels for the Cuban. The exact opposite argument could be made for Medadi. He plays a very safe, yet technical game with very sound wrestling. He also holds victories over some very notable opponents such as UFC alumni Junie Browning, Carlo Prater and Rich Clementi. 
  • Confidence: Great

Francis Carmont vs. Magnus Cedenblad

  • My Pick: Francis Carmont
  • Reasoning: Carmont is a finisher by nature. With 14 of his 17 wins coming via stoppage, the real interest comes with the fact that those 14 are nearly a perfect 50/50 split between KOs and submissions. Not to mention his recent manhandling of a very game Chris Camozzi. Cedenblad does have a number of finishes himself, but also hasn’t necessarily looked impressive in them all. Several times it has looked as if he was getting beat only to see him catch somebody for a TKO. With that being said, you always have to watch for the puncher’s chance.
  • Confidence: Good

Cyrille Diabate vs. Tom DeBlass

  • My Pick: Cyrille Diabate
  • Reasoning: Diabate is a really tough guy with a solid kickboxing background. Although originally I was very intrigued in his match-up with Jorgen Kruth, the late replacement of a much less skill fighter should make this a quick, easy and painless night for the much more experienced Snake. 
  • Confidence: Extreme

Papy Abedi vs. James Head

  • My Pick: Papy Abedi
  • Reasoning: Hands down, there has never been a bigger welterweight that Abedi. This man dwarfed Thiago Alves in their fight and wasn’t really to scared of him either. Now, although it is never a good idea to pick off of size, the Congolese fighter has a very impressive Judo background and a purple belt in jiu-jitsu. When you add in that Nick Ring was able to get Head down and submit him, it’s hard to believe that a talented Judo practitioner wouldn’t do the same. 
  • Confidence: Good
Although this preliminary card may not be filled with many recognizable names, there is certainly an interesting batch of international fighters looking to get their ticket back to the UFC with a win here. Should make for an interesting night of fights.
Happy Pickings,
Big Sexy