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
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