Monthly Archives: September 2012

UFC on Fuel Picks: The New Blood

My return from the abyss that was the lack of cards was less that successful, but I do have to say that even though my picks may have, the card itself did not disappoint. If you are a prelim card junkie which, judging by you being on my site, you are, you got to see some awesome knockouts and a couple of really slick submissions. If you stayed for the main card, you saw a couple less of the former and the latter and most likely some boos. mmajunkie.com recently has an article about the “boo birds” that have entered the sport.  I will be one of the first to admit that I didn’t particularly enjoy the flyweight title fight due to the fact that, despite being technical, there was absolutely no point where it was exciting. There was no near finishes save for one kind of close guillotine. Still, I think it is ridiculous to boo fighters under any circumstance. It’s completely disrespectful and in addition it oftentimes comes from fans who just aren’t fight-savvy enough to know what’s happening. If anybody was at Miller/Diaz in New Jersey, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Enough of my second consecutive rant involving ungrateful fans (read my short article posted before this for more). On to the fights.

Robert Peralta vs. Jason Young

  • My Pick: Robert Peralta
  • Reasoning: Jason Young has solid striking. In fact, despite being known for his striking, I still find it to be underrated. Peralta looks quite a bit better on the ground than Young and in addition, I still think could go toe-to-toe. His level of competition has been higher and with the names the UFC has thrown around with Peralta, such as Charles Oliveira, you know that they agree with me in how much potential he has.
  • Confidence: Fair

DaMarques Johnson vs. Gunnar Nelson

  • My Pick: Gunnar Nelson
  • Reasoning: DeMarques Johnson is entertaining in every fight he’s in and often shows some solid skills. However, to those fans who don’t know the name Gunnar Nelson, learn it. This kid has insane jiu jitsu, having gone to Abu Dhabi multiple times and even earning an absolute division tap over decorated grappler Jeff Monson (to whom he gave up roughly 60lbs to). He’s also trained under Renzo and BJ Penn who have given him rave reviews. As his striking has come along, he’s been on my radar as a top prospect to watch and I think he’ll shine to his full potential against Johnson.
  • Confidence: Great

Brad Tavares vs. Tom Watson

  • My Pick: Tom Watson
  • Reasoning: You’ll see that all over this card I have been and am going to continue to go with guys making their debut. Kong is another newbie that I’m high on. He’s got a really solid overall game and has proven it against solid competition. Beating Ninja Rua is no small feat and he really took it to him. Tavares has always been a fighter I’ve liked and thought has a lot of potential, I just think he’s not quite as good as Kong on the feet yet and can’t and won’t mwant to take him down.
  • Confidence: Good

Akira Corassani vs. Andy Ogle

  • My Pick: Akira Corassani
  • Reasoning: This pick literally pains me to make. I think Ogle is a great guy and he’s a lot of fun to watch, but in the fights I’ve seen Corassani looks like he is a bit more technical. Then, when you look at their stints on the Ultimate Fighter, Akira look like he had Dennis Bermudez, who has since looked quite impressive, beat in many aspects. A slip up costed him the fight, but he’s definitely had time to work out the kinks. Ogle, on the other hand, has loads of heart. I doubt Corassani finishes him, but I don’t think Ogle will be able to pull it out
  • Confidence: Good

Kyle Kingsbury vs. Jimi Manuwa

  • My Pick: Jimi Manuwa
  • Reasoning: Tight, tight punches with grenades at the end of them. Good muay thai plum with powerful knees. This is another of those new guys that you should watch out for. Sure, he hasn’t really had the kind of competition like he will in this fight. Kingsbury will probably set a pace he isn’t used to. He’ll probably show him some tough wrestling. In the end, though, I doubt he’ll be able to stay away from the big hands all night.
  • Confidence: Fair

If you are a fan who drops bets, be sure to hit up this preliminary card. There are a lot of new guys that you could likely get some phenomenal odds on and it’ll be great for parlays or straight plays.

Happy Pickings,

Big Sexy


What Would Happen If the Fans Ran MMA?

Over the past few years, the UFC has been under scrutiny due to decisions they’ve made in just about every aspect of the business. Of course, everybody else are experts from these respective fields. Both burdened and privileged with the task of making mixed martial arts a mainstream sport, the UFC has two very clear objectives needed to make this a real thing. Firstly, the sport must take care of it’s fighters. It is fair to argue that any sport where the athletes are not making a good deal of money and being taken care of in other aspects is not mainstream according to modern society. Secondly, they must entertain the fans to a level where the major media outlets have no choice but to cover it. Whether or not the UFC has already reached this level with ESPN, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and other news sources publishing content every day is something some may argue. As a matter of fact, it’s something I guarantee that fans will argue as they seem to voice their discontent at just about anything these days. Somehow, the once happy, fight-loving fans have become a culture of complainers who have to doubt each decision that the front office of the world’s largest MMA promotion makes. However, if one truly wants to play the blame game, fans should look no further than themselves. Afterall, they are the ones making the decisions.

The event formerly known as UFC 151 produced undoubtedly the largest fan uproar in the history of mixed martial arts. The finger pointing spun around faster than a twister wheel at a gymnast’s birthday party. Fingers were pointed at Jon Jones, Greg Jackson, Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, eventually Lyoto Machida and hey, while we’re at it, let’s blame Steven Seagal too. While fans gripped on message boards, Twitter and Facebook, many, myself included, felt that our complaints were falling on deaf ears. After all, how often do large sports organizations, let alone combat sports, listen to the common man? However, it only took a few short weeks for the effects of the internet riot to be seen.

With the UFC losing both Jose Aldo and Quinton Jackson in the same day, and as a result losing both the main event and co-main event to UFC 153, the Zuffa heads responded the way that the masses asked on the previous occasion of such trouble. Rather than scratching another card, Dana and the gang did absolutely anything that they could to save it. They called their big guns, their go-tos and a couple of old friends and finally made a match. Pairing pound-for-pound kingpin Anderson Silva with long time fan favorite Stephan Bonnar was an intriguing and fan-friendly, even if not necessarily evenly matched choice. So, of course, the masses must have flooded to those same boards to thank Dana for saving the event and the undercard fighters who would have lost their fights. They must have flooded to their cable box to buy the event in gratitude right? No, instead the message boards again wreaked with complaints about the brass setting unfair fights that have no relevance to a title picture and will not further Silva’s legacy an inch. These are, indeed, the same people who asked why Jon Jones would turn down a fight with Chael Sonnen. Although this may just seem like a small instance of the MMA community acting naive to their influence on things, it is but the latest in a long line of issues that they’ve helped deliver the verdict on.

In January of 2012, Outside the Lines, a ESPN produced weekly show, put together a piece on the apparent low pay scale of the UFC. Several fighters were quoted in the show, although no names were used in efforts to protect the fighters from being unfairly prosecuted by their employer. This hour-long segment introduced even the most casual fan to the basic idea of the income that the UFC supplies their employees with. Although Dana White tried to remind the viewing public that this does not include bonuses, both announced and unannounced, fans once again worked themselves into a frenzy, even going as far to claim that this is the biggest issue keeping MMA from being a mainstream sport. Once again, despite the majority’s expectations of their complaints, the UFC listened and took action in short time.

The biggest change that the UFC made in regards to the Outside the Lines report was the increase of cards. Beginning with additional Fox cards and soon following up with a handful on FX and FuelTV the UFC began holding fights at nearly a weekly rate. As this trend continued, my excitement level rose, because who doesn’t enjoy more fights and plus, this was a greater chance for the little guy to get on more cards. More cards means more fights, more fights means more paychecks. I slowly fell into shock as my enthusiasm was not matched as the internet warriors held picket signs and screamed out against watered down cards and channels that their cable service didn’t provide, simultaneous I might add. “Surely, this can’t be”, I thought to myself. It was and continued to be even in the second line of defense against this report.

Although admittedly before the report came out, the UFC’s relatively new insurance policy was put in place to do exactly what the drones of groaning requests asked for; help for the little man. In May of 2011, the Zuffa, UFC’s parent company, activated an insurance policy for fighters who get injured training for a bout. It allows them to still get paid and to receive medical treatment. Fighters raved about it starting with Cub Swanson who became the first person to benefit from it. Fans reacted similarly at first, seeing that it would be something that takes care of the fighters that put their bodies on the line for the entertainment of the public. Yet, once again, the fickle fan turned on something that they once pushed and, after passing, praised. Now, it is the constant target of every injury that forces a fighter off the card. With the recent string of injuries, it’s seen more bashing than Cabbage Correira’s head. After the focus had shifted off Jones, than off Dana, and one more trip to Jones, the insurance policy was on the firing range. While it seems ludicrous that people would be upset at something that takes care of the athletes that they idolize, that’s exactly what happened.

Does it stop at flip flopping on matters such as undercard fighters? Does it end with the chastising of the people who are just trying to give the fans what they want? Of course not, I could write pages upon pages more about fans getting bent out of shape about things they asked for; the coaches of the ultimate fighter tying up titles for too long vs. the irrelevant coaches match up, or the lack of talent on TUF vs cancelling open tryouts in favor of invite only. Now, I’m not saying that I agree with every choice that the management makes. I far from agree with every choice that Dana makes, but I absolutely get where each decision comes from. They listen to the fans and weigh the options and what they think the fans want and they do this all while fans throw fruit from the galleries. Fans have always made the statement that they want the fighters to have that “gladiator spirit”; the gusto that drives fighters to go out and finish every time. I have to ask though, when did we as fans lose our gladiator fanhood? When did we stop being the people at the colosseum who cheered for sport and enjoyed the victories? When did we become so entitled that we think we have the rights to make the decisions for the business? And most importantly, why don’t we all realize that we are making the decisions? Dana is just doing it for us.


UFC 152 Picks: A Lot Has Gone Down

As my usual readers know, I usually make write a quick commentary on the current state or a vital issue in MMA. Sometimes it’s something rather small; other times it involves something much longer. I was originally planning on doing the same before thee picks. However, it seems that there has just been so much to talk about and I’m not sure I can keep it short and to the point as it usually is before the picks. So, what I will do instead is invite you to read my short article that I have added to the site after you are done with the picks. WAIT, don’t go now! Enjoy the picks first, then click on the home page tab up on the top of this page and check out my next post.

Charlie Brenneman vs. Kyle Noke

  • My Pick: Charlie Brenneman
  • Reasoning: Like his fight style or not, The Spaniard is effective. His wrestling is great and he can be like an old sweat gym mat on top of his opponents. Also, the losses he’s been handed are nothing to be ashamed of. Johny Hendricks is at the top of the division, Erick Silva is on his way there and Anthony Johnson is now a 205’er. It seems that the only ways that Brenneman can be beat is to stop his wrestling with size and good wrestling and/or have dazzling striking. Former Crocodile Hunter body guard Noke is as tough as nails. He’s rarely ever stopped and can take quite the beating while still coming forward. However,  he’s doesn’t really have either of the things mentioned above and taking lots of strikes might not be the kind of enduring he needs.
  • Confidence: Great

Mitch Gagnon vs. Walel Watson

  • My Pick: Walel Watson
  • Reasoning: Friend of the site, Walel Watson has really shown off a great striking game. After losing a split decision to Yves Jabouin, which I had scored for Watson, his wrestling was really exposed. TJ Dillashaw brought him to where he needed the fight and didn’t let him up. Although Gagnon would like nothing more than to do the same to Watson, his wrestling is much lower than Dillashaw’s. In addition, Watson’s 7 month hiatus from the fight game is likely to produce a much more solid takedown defense.
  • Confidence: Fair

Seth Baczynski vs. Simeon Thoresen

  • My Pick: Simeon Thoresen
  • Reasoning: Baczynski is a large step up in competition for Thoresen, who enters the contest having only one other UFC fight (against Besam Yousef). However, what usually impresses me about The Polish Pistola the most is that his submission game is sound. Tapping out Matt Brown is not an easy feat. I guarentee he has never been matched with somebody who has a ground game like Thoresen. If Baczynski keeps the fight standing there is a chance he wins this, but I think it will likely become a submission grappling match. If that is the case, Thoresen’s submissions are dangerous and Baczynski may find out the hard way.
  • Confidence: Fair

Marcus Brimage vs. Jim Hettes

  • My Pick: Jim Hettes
  • Reasoning: It seems like every fan in the universe is high on Jimy Hettes. I, admittedly, am one of those MMA fans. The way that Hettes showed off his beautiful blend of judo and jiu jitsu in dismantling Nah Phan convince me that this guy is in for big things. However, it should be noted that he will not throw the much larger Brimage around so easily. In addition to a size difference, he is also training at noted grappling holy grounds in Coconut Creek, Florida. Still, if Brimage uses that size to decide where the fight takes place, I can’t envision a situation where he beats Hettes. 
  • Confidence: Great

Lance Benoist vs. Sean Pierson

  • My Pick: Sean Pierson
  • Reasoning: This is a match that I’m officially using the sleeper status with for fight of the night. They are, most likely, the two least know fighters on the card tonight, but their bouts with Matt Riddle produced matching fight of the night action. Both are comfortable standing and putting on a good show even if that isn’t their strongest way. In the end, I think what clinches it for Pierson is the experience he holds over Benoist. He’ll know when to steal a point here and capitalize on a mistake there. Overall, he is the smarter fighter in this battle.
  • Confidence: Good

Evan Dunham vs. T.J. Grant

  • My Pick: Evan Dunham
  • Reasoning: T.J. Grant is another of those imposing wrestlers. He does not fit the unflattering stereotype of wrestlers in MMA who look for the decision. He is always on top looking for submissions and has quite a good game. Dunham has proven without a shadow of a doubt that he can defend himself against bigger, stronger wrestlers. Ask Lentz and Tyson Griffin. Also, while you at it, ask Sean Sherk, because (and not that I’m complaining, you’ll find I’m not a fan on that in my other article) I had Dunham beating him too. Dunham will find a way to neutralize the wrestling to impose his game yet again.
  • Confidence: Good

Vinny Magalhaes vs. Igor Pokrajac

  • My Pick: Vinny Magalhaes
  • Reasoning: Pokrajac is another of those guys who, like Noke, is as tough as nails. His fight with Fabio Maldonado showed off how much punishment he could take as well as how much he could dish out. Yet, also like Noke, he is in the face of a different beast on this occasion. After having a less than thrilling first run in the UFC, Magalhaes went back to the drawing board where he really worked on his gaps. Since then his wrestling looks better, his striking looks much better and really, how far did his grappling have to go. I think knowing he’s on his second chance, which is often fighters’ last, has made him hungry. Plus, how can you pick a guy who tried to sell Vadim Finklestein’s precious M-1 title?
  • Confidence: Good

That’s it, you made it through my picks despite all of the build up around that article that you really wanted to read. I give you permission to go read that now. Really, there’s nothing more you can really get from this page, plus it’ll be here if you need to come back later.

Happy Pickings,

Big Sexy

P.S. See, it’s still here.