Author Archives: Daniel Vreeland

UFC 160 Picks

Estevan Payan vs. Jeremy Stephens

  • My Pick: Jeremy Stephens
  • Reasoning: I’ve actually really grown to be a fan of El Terrible’s hands. He’s looked really good which is why he’s here with a UFC contract. I just think they dropped  him in a little too deep of water for his debut. Stephens hits like a truck and Payan is going to be willing to trade with him.
  • Confidence: Good

Brain Bowles vs. George Roop

  • My Pick: Brian Bowles
  • Reasoning: Roop might be the hardest fighter to get a read on. He can beat up Hatsu Hioki and knock out the un-knock-out-able Korean Zombie, but looks very pedestrian at other times. Deep down I’m hoping that we see the old Bowles in this fight who I think is too much for Roop to handle. Be careful betting this one though, if Bowles has rust, Roop could take him.  
  • Confidence: Fair

Nah-Shon  Burrell vs. Stephen Thompson

  • My Pick: Stephen Thompson
  • Reasoning: We all remember Thompson’s hype train being derailed against Matt Brown, but I don’t quite think it’s time to hop off. His striking is capable of making him a threat in the division if he develops a more complete game. I don’t think Burrell can stay away from those hands or ridiculously quick legs forever.
  • Confidence: Great

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Abel Trujillo

  • My Pick: Khabib Nurmagomedov
  • Reasoning: Trujillo looked like a world beater in his first fight under the Zuffa banner. However, once again, I think the UFC gave a new guy a little bit more than he can chew. Nurmagomedov is the 9th ranked lightweight in mma-manifesto.com ‘s Lightweight rankings and is a real threat for the title right now. An impressive showing here and expect to see him against a Top 5 guy.
  • Confidence: Good

Colton Smith vs. Robert Whittaker

  • My Pick: Colton Smith
  • Reasoning: I will be the first to admit I’m not a Colton Smith fan. The move he made faking a glove touch will forever cement him in a bad image in my eyes. However, I just don’t think I can pick against his wrestling here. It’s too good and I expect him to take a fairly easy decision win here.
  • Confidence: Great

Dennis Bermudez vs. Max Holloway

  • My Pick: Max Holloway
  • Reasoning: I am going with the upset here for a few reasons. Firstly, I think Holloway is a really smart fighter. Despite being only 21, he knows where he should be in a fight and works diligently to make sure it happens. And two, I think Bermudez needs to drag him down in order to beat him and I’ve been impressed with Holloway’s ability to get back up.
  • Confidence: Fair

Mike Pyle vs. Rick Story

  • My Pick: Rick Story
  • Reasoning: Such a toss up here. Both of these guys are impressive veterans. The difference maker I think it Story’s relentless forward mentality. I think it helps him take an extra round on the judges cards.
  • Confidence: Fair

Happy Pickings,

Daniel


UFC on FX 8: 9 Fight Prelim Card!!!

With a 9 fight card, who’s got time for a blurb. Here come the picks.

Lucas Martins vs. Jeremy Larsen

  • My Pick: Lucas Martins
  • Reasoning: Jeremy Larsen got knocked out at the hands of submission specialist, Joe Proctor recently. If he had trouble handling Proctor’s hands, Martins will give him a headache he won’t soon forget. 
  • Confidence: Great

Jussier Formiga vs. Chris Cariaso

  • My Pick: Jussier Formiga
  • Reasoning: Most underrated fight of the night. Former #1 in his weight class, Formiga has a solid wrestling base. Cariaso has the ability to make things a war and come out on top (just ask Michael McDonald). In the end, I think this winds up fight of the night, but in the hands of the judges the wrestler usually gets the nod.
  • Confidence: Fair

John Lineker vs. Azamat Gashimov

  • My Pick: Azamat Gashimov
  • Reasoning: I’m a buyer on Russian MMA right now. People like Nurmagomedov and Khabilov are opening a lot of people’s eyes to mother Russia and showing that Sambo is still relevant. Lineker delivers a lot of hard blows, but I see Gashimov getting him to the ground and Lineker has been known to get caught or fall into trouble on the floor.
  • Confidence: Fair

Fabio Maldonado vs. Roger Hollett

  • My Pick: Fabio Maldonado
  • Reasoning: Rivaling Roy Nelson’s chin, Maldonado can take a punch with the best of them. Add in a pro boxing background and as long as Hollett can’t take him down, he’ll turn him into a punching bag.
  • Confidence: Great

Yuri Alcantara vs. Iliarde Santos

  • My Pick: Yuri Alcantara
  • Reasoning: I’ve become a big fan of both Alcantara brothers. They seem to have all of the intangibles when it comes to fighting; finishing mentality, heart and a great fight IQ. He might be fairly evenly matched here, but he’ll find a way to win.
  • Confidence: Good

Paulo Thiago vs. Michel Prazeres

  • My Pick: Paulo Thiago
  • Reasoning: Late replacement. Outmatched. End of story.
  • Confidence: Extreme 

Gleison Tibau vs. Josh Cholish

  • My Pick: Gleison Tibau
  • Reasoning: Every time he fights I make mention of Tibau’s size and for good reason. He uses that pure size to bully people and take fights that he might be out matched in as far as technique goes. Cholish had a rough time out last time against someone with superior grappling. I think he may be in for the same type of night.
  • Confidence: Good

Francisco Trinaldo vs. Mike Rio

  • My Pick: Francisco Trinaldo
  • Reasoning: The first Prelim Breakout Star on mma-manifesto.com was Trinaldo and I’m sticking to my original horse. He’s got a great mixture of power in his fists and technical jiu jitsu. Although Rio is a good step up in opponents, he did get submitted by Andy Ogle. If Ogle gave him trouble, Trinaldo should make him hurt on the ground.
  • Confidence: Great

Hacran Dias vs. Nik Lentz

  • My Pick: Nik Lentz
  • Reasoning: The winner of this match should be right in the mix in the 145 division. Both of these guys have looked great as of late. Since dropping to 145 Lentz has looked unbeatable. Although I think Dias’ ground game should give him more fits than his past opponents, Lentz will be able to overcome it.
  • Confidence: Fair

UFC 159 Picks

Before we get to the picks, I just want to let you know I have some exciting news about an interview coming up. If your a fan of my writing, keep an eye on the mma-manifesto in the coming months. It should be very exciting.

Kurt Holobaugh vs. Steven Siler

  • My Pick: Steven Siler
  • Reasoning: A loss to Darren Elkins does not change how I feel about this kid’s skills. When you see him step into the octagon and beat up Cole Miller like that, you have to respect him. Not to mention, in his last 19 fights he’s only loss 3 and they were to Cole Escovedo, Elkins and Chad Mendes. Needless to say, his recent trend it up.
  • Confidence: Good

Nick Catone vs. James Head

  • My Pick: Nick Catone
  • Reasoning: The Jersey Devil is one we forget due to his recent losses to TJ Waldburger and Chris Camozzi. However, this is a guy who swept Costa Philippou across the scorecards, which is his only loss if you don’t count his debut. In addition, his Pablo Popovich brown belt could come into play in this match up. Head it tough, just nto as tough as Catone.
  • Confidence: Good

Leonard Garcia vs. Cody McKenzie

  • My Pick: Leonard Garcia
  • Reasoning: Does Garcia have the tendency to fight stupid? Yes. Could he possibly drop his head enough to get submitted? Yes. I think it’s far more likely that he’ll connect on a punch to the weak jawed and low handed McKenzie first though.
  • Confidence: Fair

Rustam Khabilov vs. Yancy Medeiros

  • My Pick: Rustam Khabilov
  • Reasoning: I think Medeiros has some solid hands and has shown some decent grappling. However, I’m buying the current influx of Sambo in the MMA world. It seems to have found it’s place and is making an impact on the UFC. I think Khabilov will have the answer grappling wise and finish this.
  • Confidence: Good

Sheila Gaff vs. Sara McMann

  • My Pick: Sara McMann
  • Reasoning: While I love Gaff’s forward approach, I think she’s going to have to modify it here. Sure, those power shots have worked in the past, but McMann is much smarter and wrestle a great deal better than Gaff’s former opponents. If Gaff continues with her usual game plan, she’s going to wind up on her back.
  • Confidence: Great

Ovince St. Preux vs. Gian Villante

  • My Pick: Ovince St. Preux
  • Reasoning: When you are the type of guy who can turtle up Gegard Mousasi and knock someone like TJ Cook (who has a highly underrated chin) out, you have my attention. I think OSP’s striking is just a bit ahead of Villante’s. Plus, Villante is not impressive at all on the ground.
  • Confidence: Good

Johnny Bedford vs. Bryan Caraway

  • My Pick: Johnny Bedford
  • Reasoning: Caraway’s number one avenue for victory is the submission. No question there as 14 of his 17 wins have come that way. With Bedford being a D-1 wrestler and with some solid jiu jitsu defense, I think the chances for that are low. And if he stops it from going down and Caraway is forced to trade, it’s Bedford’s world.
  • Confidence: Good

Happy Pickings,

Daniel


UFC on Fox 7 Picks

Yoel Romero vs. Clifford Starks

  • My Pick: Yoel Romero
  • Reasoning: Starks has largely relied on bullying his opponents with his large frame. He is extremely strong for his weight class and was even able to toss Ed Herman around a bit. But he’s finally run into an opponent who won’t allow it. Romero is a silver medal wrestler with some pretty heavy hands. He won’t be pushed around.
  • Confidence: Good

Anthony Njokuani vs. Roger Bowling

  • My Pick: Anthony Njokuani
  • Reasoning: I really like Bowling’s stand up, but he has trouble with strikers who are a bit more technical. Terec Saffiedine and Voelker both gave him a fair deal of trouble. With Njokuani having some solid muay thai, I think he’s point him to death from range.
  • Confidence: Fair

TJ Dillashaw vs. Hugo Viana

  • My Pick: TJ Dillashaw
  • Reasoning: Still not sure why Dillashaw isn’t getting bigger step ups in competition. Since losing the Ultimate Fighter Finale, he’s demolished everyone he’s fought in impressive fashion. His wrestling is strong and finishing is a priority. Viana is undefeated, but his level of competition is also quite low.
  • Confidence: Great

Tim Means vs. Jorge Masvidal

  • My Pick: Tim Means
  • Reasoning: The upset pick here, Means is highly untested. The biggest name on his opponents list is Spencer Fisher, which was 8 years ago. However, his striking is annoying and dangerous at the same time. If he can frustrate Masvidal, he can make him make a mistake and score the upset.
  • Confidence: Fair

Joseph Benavidez vs. Darren Uyenoyama

  • My Pick: Joseph Benavidez
  • Reasoning: Uyenoyama’s only hope in this fight would be to submit Benavidez. His striking is behind and he’s not going to out wrestle him. The problem is, if Benavidez doesn’t want this on the ground, it isn’t going there.
  • Confidence: Great

Ramsey Nijem vs. Myles Jury

  • My Pick: Myles Jury
  • Reasoning: Jury showed that he can hold off someone who wants to wrestle him down in the Johnson fight. Knowing that Nijem and Johnson have a similar style in that regards, I think Jury can keep this where he wants to and take a decision on his feet.
  • Confidence: Fair

Francis Carmont vs. Lorenz Larkin

  • My Pick: Lorenz Larkin
  • Reasoning: Two highly underrated guys, both who will make a jump into the top 15 or so with a quality win. Larkin, has the advantage here due to his footwork and boxing. Although it’s conceivable that Carmont gets him down, if Robbie Lawler had trouble, I think he will too. 
  • Confidence: Good

Chad Mendes vs. Darren Elkins

  • My Pick: Chad Mendes
  • Reasoning: Elkins has shown that he clearly has the skills to compete in the upper echelon on the division. However, Mendes has a very similar skill set and seems to be better in just about every area. Without a KO punch standing, I don’t see how Elkins can win this.
  • Confidence: Great

Happy Pickings,

Daniel


TUF Finale Picks

Maximo Blanco vs. Sam Sicilia

  • My Pick: Maximo Blanco
  • Reasoning: Blanco throws heavy leather and, if you’ve seen the Chang Hyun Kim fight, some mean kicks too. In addition, his sometimes frantic style will likely tempt Sicilia into throwing wildly. If it turns in to that kind of fight, the fans should win regardless of the outcome. However, it should be noted that Blanco has shown a very good chin and Sicilia was KOed last time out. 
  • Confidence: Good

Justin Lawrence vs. Daniel Pineda

  • My Pick: Justin Lawrence
  • Reasoning: Lawrence is a freaky talent. He’s got some great stand up and has improved everytime I’ve seen him. Sure, he got caught by an equally talented and equally young Max Holloway, but that surely doesn’t discount his multiple golden gloves and kickboxing accolades. Could Pineda take him down and submit him? Sure. Does he want to get close enough to try? 
  • Confidence: Great

Cole Miller vs. Part Palaszeski

Clint Hester vs. Bristol Marunde

  • My Pick: Clint Hester
  • Reasoning: These guys share a similar build and skill set. Both look like they should never make 185 and both will likely try to stand and bang. The fact that Hester has professional boxing experience should tip the scales in his favor in that aspect. His survival instincts are also quite a bit better as is apparent by when he forced Douglas Lima to decision. 
  • Confidence: Fair

Dylan Andrews vs. Jimmy Quinlan

  • My Pick: Jimmy Quinlan
  • Reasoning: This pick instantly pains me. Dylan Andrews is everything I miss about old school MMA. He’s got heart, guts and knows when he’s down he’s got to throw with reckless abandon. Too many times now I see fighters clearly down two rounds and they get complacent. I love watching him fight. However, I don’t think he’s going to be able to fend off the takedowns of Quinlan or be able to get back up once he’s down. A collegiate wrestler, Quinlan has also won multiple Pan-Am championships. 
  • Confidence: Good

Luke Barnett vs. Collin Hart

  • My Pick: Collin Hart
  • Reasoning: Barnett looked impressive in his short stint on the show. He clearly possesses a stiking advantage in the match up and Hart will surely have to be aware of that knee that he loves to throw. However, Hart’s wrestling may easily become the deciding factor here. I don’t expect Barnett to be able to submit Hart off of his back and, if Hart plans accordingly, that’s where the fight will take place.
  • Confidence: Fair

Kevin Casey vs. Josh Samman

  • My Pick: Josh Samman
  • Reasoning: Josh seems to have the advantage over King in every way. Sure King has some very solid jiu jitsu, but his chances of taking the fight there are slim. Samman has the better wrestling. Samman has far better striking.
  • Confidence: Great

Happy Pickings,

Daniel


UFC 158 Picks

No wise words this week. Just Prelim Picks

Reuben Duran vs. George Roop

  • My Pick: Reuben Duran
  • Reasoning: While we’ve seen flashes of brilliance from Roop (Korean Zombie fight, Josh Grispi fight), his weight is what bothers me in this one. He was a long and lanky featherweight and now at bantamweight he’s going to look even smaller. Although his reach should help, I think Duran’s takedowns are good enough to get him to the ground and at the very least grind out a decision.  
  • Confidence: Fair

TJ Dillashaw vs. Issei Tamura

  • My Pick: TJ Dillashaw
  • Reasoning: Tamura has showed me nothing that would think that his wrestling is in the same galaxy of a TJ Dillashaw. If Dillashaw uses anything but relentless takedowns and top game, I’d be very surprised.
  • Confidence: Extreme

Quinn Mulhern vs. Rick Story

  • My Pick: Rick Story
  • Reasoning: While part of me is weary of some of his past fights, I know deep down that the Rick Story of old is in there. You remember; the one that used his grinding to take decisions from Johny Hendricks and Thiago Alves. If that story shows up, Mulhern is in over his head. 
  • Confidence: Fair

Daron Cruickshank vs. John Makdessi

  • My Pick: Daron Cruickshank
  • Reasoning: Instantly, this fight jumps off the page at me as potential fight of the night. Both guys have black belts in Taekwondo and are great technical strikers. What separates Cruickshank from Makdessi is his ability to keep space and kick your head off. His utilization of kicks make his stand up a bit more complete.
  • Confidence: Good

Jordan Mein vs. Dan Miller

  • My Pick: Jordan Mein
  • Reasoning: Mein is one of the more impressive Strikeforce imports. At 23 years old, he has already fought 34 times and has racked up 26 wins with 21 finishes. What’s most impressive to me though is the fact that he took Tyron Woodley to a split decision and was essentially one fight away from a crack at the welterweight title. His speed, footwork and boxing should cause problems for Miller and I believe his ground game can hang with him. 
  • Confidence: Good

Antonio Carvalho vs. Darren Elkins

  • My Pick: Darren Elkins
  • Reasoning: While I’ll be the first to admit that he probably didn’t win the Omigawa fight, Elkins is riding a 4-fight wins streak that includes impressive wins over Steven Siler and Diego Brandao. His wrestling is near the top of his weight class and I don’t think Carvalho has the jiu jitsu to tap him out. 
  • Confidence: Great

Patrick Cote vs. Bobby Voelker

  • My Pick: Patrick Cote
  • Reasoning: Cote has always sported some very serious kickboxing. While Voelker has been in some battles, I don’t think he’s been tested by someone as good as Cote. I also think that the big cut is only going to help Cote as he’ll be a little bit bigger for 170.
  • Confidence: Fair

Happy Pickings,

Daniel


UFC on Fuel: Silva vs Stann Picks

Obviously, the biggest news in the MMA world recently is the giant roster cuts the brass at the UFC have made. While some are up in arms about who they cut and the reasoning, some have defended the world’s biggest MMA organization and their choices. If only to be a bit different, I would like to offer a similar money saving situation that the UFC could have used instead.

Dana White did not hide that the reason for the cuts was value. Some fighters, despite their good records, were being paid way higher than the money that they were bringing in. So, in a time where you need to make cuts, they figured they had to let people like that go. However, I have to wonder, if Joe Silva and Uncle Dana approached those like Jon Fitch (who was making a reported 66k show and 66k for a win) and asked them to take a pay cut in order to keep their job, would they have? If people like Fitch and Jacob Volkmann knew they could cut their salary down by a third, would they take it. Likely, it would free up just as much money as cutting many under performing preliminary card fighters and keep the big names on the roster. Also, I have to imagine that Fitch makes a good deal of money in endorsements. Just a thought.\

Anyways, on to the picks.

Shameless Plug: Prelim Breakout Star on mma-manifesto

Marcelo Guimaraes vs. Hyun-Gyu Lim

  • My Pick: Hyun-Gyu Lim
  • Reasoning: I am, admittedly, a little weary of Asian born fighters making their debut on Asian cards. This comes from the few performances that I saw at UFC 144 and at Franklin vs Le. However, Hyun-Gyu is for real. Although I’m not the biggest fan of where he keeps his hands, his stand up is very good. I’m always impressed with the way he keeps distance and picks his spots. Do not get me wrong, I am not discounting Guimaraes’ jiu jitsu abilities, but when fans see the size difference at weigh-ins, they’ll know Hyun-Gyu will keep it where he wants it.
  • Confidence: Great

Alex Caceres vs. Kyung-Ho Kang

  • My Pick: Alex Caceres
  • Reasoning: This is not Caceres’ first long plane ride to get to a fight, having fought in China in November. In the first chance, it seemed not to matter much for Bruce LeeRoy who came out swinging and  looked very solid. What impresses me most about him is the amount he improves each time out. Since moving to Bantamweight his lone loss was a split decision to Edwin Figueroa in which he gave away two points for illegal groin kicks. Kyung-Ho has an impressive record, but I have yet to show a lot in his wins, mostly due to the skill level of his opponents.
  • Confidence: Good

Cristiano Marcello vs. Kazuki Tokudome

  • My Pick: Cristiano Marcello
  • Reasoning: Firstly, for this fight, you should read my article: Prelim Breakout Star on mma-manifesto. Secondly, know that is tough and has a jiu jitsu game that is very tight.
  • Confidence: Great 

Takeya Mizugaki vs. Bryan Caraway

  • My Pick: Bryan Caraway
  • Reasoning: Since joining WEC in 2008, Mizugaki has alternated wins and losses, going 5-5 in his last 10. While this has pretty much cemented his gatekeeper status, it’s also showed fans just how tough he is. While facing the likes of Brian Bowles, Scotty Jorgensen, and Miguel Angel Torres, he  was only finished by Urijah Faber. However, a good deal of those names he lost to are fighters with better wrestling than he has. Caraway may just fit into that category as well. In addition, he is really good at keeping the fight busy after a take down and looking for submissions. Plus, I have to pick Caraway, Mizugaki won his last fight. 
  • Confidence: Fair

Riki Fukuda vs. Brad Tavares

  • My Pick: Brad Tavares
  • Reasoning: Fukuda is another one of those fighters who I’ve constantly been impressed with his size. He seems far too big for his weight class at times and uses it to bully people. However, Tavares showed really how well rounded his game was when he beat up Tom “Kong” Watson. Not only did he take down the tough Brit, but he took his back and threatened well with chokes. 
  • Confidence: Fair

Happy Pickings,

Daniel