UFC on FX: Johnson vs. McCall Picks

Well, it’s official, I’m sick of the UFC letting champs, interim champs and next-in-lines wait for the fight that they want. This is silly. What I have always loved about the UFC over boxing is that when you have the top two fighters free, they fight. Boxing has to make sure the managers agree, the revenue sharing is right and then we wait three years to see one of them thrown in jail (sure, specific case, but you catch my drift). The UFC is slowly slipping in that direction, albeit in a different way. We see Carlos Condit saying he’s going to wait for their shot while the champ heals for 8 months. Meanwhile, there are two great rematches in the making of close fights waiting on the doorstep, Rory MacDonald and Martin Kampmann, one of which has beat him. Then, if it’s not bad enough, these two can’t even fight each other because there is yet another worthy contender waiting for a crack at him in Johny Hendricks and one of them will undoubtedly have to fight him. Now, I don’t blame Condit in any way. After all, where is he going to get the biggest payday? Interim title fight against Martin Kampmann or world title unification with a man he’s been in camps around, Georges St. Pierre? His choice is obvious. Who I am blaming in this situation is the UFC administration. This company has done really well for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is that no matter what you get to see the two best duke it out. So, Dana, make them duke it out.

Well, on the subject of duking it out, lets enjoy some of these solid prelim fights, which may just contain my 100th win.

Jake Hecht vs. Sean Pierson

  • My Pick: Jake Hecht
  • Reasoning: Although his take down defense looked good the couple times Ellenberger tried to put him on his back, we saw some weaknesses in it against Kim. He throws a decent jab to keep wrestlers at bay, which may be his only chance to stay off his back against Hecht. Hecht dropped a submission loss to TJ Waldburger, but Waldburger has a better jiu jitsu base than Pierson seems to. I’d say that Hecht isn’t in too much danger as long as he’s on top.
  • Confidence: Fair

Bernardo Magalhaes vs. Henry Martinez

  • My Pick: Henry Martinez
  • Reasoning: Martinez had a great last run out. Sure he lost a split to up and down TUF alumnus Matt Riddle, but he showed off that he is a warrior and can take punches with the best of them. Magalhaes got the raw end of Tim Means’ stand up game which is, quite frankly, not as hard or voluminous. I think he’ll get the raw end of this one too. 
  • Confidence: Good

Caio Magalhaes vs. Buddy Roberts

  • My Pick: Buddy Roberts
  • Reasoning: Roberts has shown off some good ground ‘n pound in his career, but the recent switch to Jackson/Winklejohn has made him much more rounded. He’s shown off some powerful leg kicks and some other stand up weapons. Hellboy has some good jiu jitsu, after all who doesn’t at Nova Uniao, but he seems a little one dimensional. He also seems to fight with his hands a little low, which doesn’t seem to make sense with a guy who is semi-comfortable off his back.
  • Confidence: Great

Tim Means vs. Justin Salas

  • My Pick: Tim Means
  • Reasoning: I’ll say the same thing as I did last time I predicted a Dirty Bird fight. He’s got some good technical striking that seems to keep grapplers and brawlers both at bay. Plus, he’s got good knees that have a way of showing up when someone gets antsy and shoots. That could be the story for Salas, who is likely to get frustrated with the enormous length difference.
  • Confidence: Great

Dustin Pague vs. Jared Papazian

  • My Pick: Jared Papazian
  • Reasoning: Neither exactly dazzled in their first fight in the UFC. However, Papazian seemed to fall victim to an opponent who was plenty proficient in his weakness, whereas Pague just seemed underwhelming. His takedowns mostly likely won’t get the Jackhammer down and his striking seems to be behind Papazian’s muay thai. I liked Pague a lot on the Ultimate Fighter, but he doesn’t seem to have the staying power.
  • Confidence: Good

Seth Baczynski vs. Lance Benoist

  • My Pick: Seth Baczynski
  • Reasoning: Quite frankly, I thought we’d see a step up in competition for The Polish Pistola after he beat Matt Brown (which messed up my near perfect full card parlay at UFC 139, 11-12). However, here we have him with another fighter who brawled it out with Matt Riddle. Baczynski is much more disciplined than either Riddle or Benoist and will likely punish the latter if he tries to replicate that fight.  
  • Confidence: Great

Mike Pierce vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha

  • My Pick: Carlos Eduardo Rocha
  • Reasoning: In addition to having some great wrestling, which he uses very effectively, Pierce has also shown a lot of heart in some tough battles. Sure, we can’t see a statistic for that, but he’s gone toe-to-toe with two of the toughest guys in the division, Johny Hendricks and Josh Koscheck. However, this is a fight Pierce may not want on the ground. Rocha’s ground game is deadly and he’s strong to back in up. Have you ever seen anybody throw Jake Ellenberger around by his forearm before? Me either.
  • Confidence: Fair

Leonard Garcia vs. Matt Grice

  • My Pick: Leonard Garcia
  • Reasoning: I had to fight off the urge to put “Fireworks” in the “My Pick:” section. This fight, along with every other Leonard Garcia fight is sure to produce some explosive striking. Bad Boy always brings it and comes forward relentlessly. He also has a way of tricking his opponents into doing the same. Sure those fights can go either way, but come on, it’s Leonard Garcia.
  • Confidence: Good

Cross your fingers for 100 to come on this card.
Happy pickings,
Big Sexy

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