“JDS and Cain will fight a least a trio against each other for the title. They are going to be that good.”
“You’re calling that?”
“Write it down”
-Me in a conversation with my older brother- January 2nd, 2010
You don’t have to believe it, he didn’t at first either, but I said it. It may not be all the way on to the third one yet, but Cain Velasquez’s dominant performance against Bigfoot Silva clearly showed that it is JDS, Cain and the rest of the heavyweight division. He dazzled with some nasty ground and pound against Silva who is certainly not a slouch in the grappling department. So, now the question becomes, we know Cain is good, but is he good enough to get the strap back? I honestly think he is. Sure he only lasted 51 seconds with the champ, but is that really telling? Could it have been one well-landed shot and that’s it? What would have happened if Cain shot? Could he get him down? What is JDS like on his back? We can assume that he’s pretty good seeing the group he surrounds himself with. Then again, we can assume a lot of things.
For now let’s leave the assumptions to the picks for the first TUF:Live Fight Night.
John Albert vs. Erik Perez
- My Pick: Erik Perez
- Reasoning: He may be a replacement, but his take down defense is very strong and he has a great muay thai background. Training out of Jackson/Winklejohn doesn’t hurt either. Albert on the other hand, looked surprisingly good in his first fight and overwhelmed by some heavy competition in his second fight. Although I think Perez is a little closer to his skill level I think you’ll still see him over matched on his feet and unable to get it to go anywhere else.
- Confidence: Fair
Jeremy Larsen vs. Joe Proctor
- My Pick: Joe Proctor
- Reasoning: I got a chance to see the Joe Lauzon product live about a year ago and I was very impressed. In a 5 round bout, the guy just kept coming. He also showed that he has more that just his first name in common with his gym owner, showing some pretty slick ground work and some scrappy stand up. While I would like his chances better if he got some time back in his home gym first, I still think it’s going to be enough against Larsen. I am not discounting Larsen’s quality experience, but I don’t think it’ll be enough.
- Confidence: Good
Cristiano Marcello vs. Sam Sicilia
- My Pick: Cristiano Marcello
- Reasoning: One thing is for sure, this fight will have the best walkout music with Marcello’s coming down to either The White Stripes’ 7 Nation Army or Biggie’s Big Poppa and Sicilia going with either God’s Gonna Cut You Down by Cash or Turn the Page by Seger (Vote for you choices now at: https://www.facebook.com/TUF/app_418560801512001). In addition, the match should be equally as intriguing. If the fight ever gets to the ground I think Marcello will wrap something up quickly. This guy is very skilled on the ground. Very skilled. And it may only take going there once to finish Sicilia and I think it might just wind up there.
- Confidence: Fair
Myles Jury vs. Chris Saunders
- My Pick: Myles Jury
- Reasoning: This kid is really fighting on borrowed time. The Fury has had his first and second chance taken away already and is still getting his third. Although these two gave very opposite achievement trends on the show, I am still going with Jury. He has shown he can set a good pace, even if he need a little work keeping it and he went to the brink with the odds-on favorite to win the show. Not to mention he is a big lightweight who has shown a diverse skill set that includes some solid take down defense and the aforementioned pacing.
- Confidence: Good
Daron Cruickshank vs. Chris Tickle
- My Pick: Daron Cruickshank
- Reasoning: I honestly believe that Cruickshank is the most underrated fighter on this season. Sure, we saw him get knocked out pretty hard, but when it comes down to it, this guy had a lot of chops and got beat because he telegraphed one take down. This guy has got good pace, solid wrestling and decent angles. More than enough to overwhelm the underwhelming Tickle (not to mention I am having trouble taking a fighter named Tickle serious anyways). I think he’ll be one of those guys you see who doesn’t win a season, but sticks around for some time (a.la. Krzysztof Soszynski, Tom Lawlor, Matt Brown or Rich Attonito).
- Confidence: Great