UFC 157 Picks

Before gracing your presence with my preliminary card knowledge, I’d like to take a second to make a quick statement about the historic main event to this weekend’s pay-per-view card. Many analysts have said that a Rousey loss this weekend could spell disaster, maybe even destruction, for the women’s division.  While I do believe that the loss of the division’s figure head could be damaging, I do not think it’ll be as bad as everyone thinks. While the UFC will likely lose the fringe fan if Rousey is no longer main eventing, those fans are not likely to last very long anyways. Sure, some will convert to being die hards  but the majority will talk about the fight and then not buy the pay-per-view. As for those who are already die hards (if you’re reading this I assume you are), they will watch a UFC event no matter who is main eventing.

Shameless Plug: http://www.mma-manifesto.com/2013-articles/february/ufc-157-prelim-breakout-star.html

And now, on to the picks.

Nah-Shon Burell vs. Yuri Villefort

  • My Pick: Yuri Villefort
  • Reasoning: While I like Burell’s size and strength, his striking seems to be a little long and loopy. The Spang fight really exposed his striking and showed that if he’s going to be successful, he needs to tighten it up. While Villefort is no striking God either, I am a fan of his ground game. His way of keeping opponents busy of the ground is going to make trouble for Burell.
  • Confidence: Fair

Jon Manley vs. Neil Magny

  • My Pick: Jon  Manley
  • Reasoning: First off, it is terribly hard to pick against someone who taught you your first kimura. While I no longer train at his gym, I will always have the soft spot for that fact. As for actually reasons to pick him, Jon Manley is a hard nosed, press forward, don’t-care-if-you-hit-me type of guy. Magny is likely going to try to use his long limbs to keep Manley away. I expect Manley’s resilience to allow him to get inside to strike and/or work some take downs. 
  • Confidence: Good

Kenny Robertson vs. Brock Jardine

  • My Pick: Brock Jardine
  • Reasoning: Both of these guys have been thrown to the lions in their UFC careers. Both having faced some serious wrestling skill, each will be relieved to fight the other. However, although he failed to mount much of an offense against Rick Story, historically Jardine has looked much crisper and more technical, while Robertson fights much more risky and unorthodox. Although sometimes his spinning back fists and knee bar dives do work, they are not the most reliable path to victory. 
  • Confidence: Fair

Sam Stout vs. Carlos Fodor

  • My Pick: Sam Stout
  • Reasoning: I am and always will be a believer in Sam Stouts hands. I fully expect Fodor to try to get this to the ground and maybe even succeed for a round. However, like in the Healy fight, he doesn’t seem to have the stamina to continue this game plan if stopped a few times. If he bails on this, Stout will win the stand up battle. 
  • Confidence: Good

Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice

Michael Chiesa vs. Anton Kuivanen

  • My Pick: Michael Chiesa
  • Reasoning: Chiesa may have won the least watched season of the Ultimate Fighter, which has caused him to fly under the radar. It’s obvious in his past fights that he has good jiu jitsu, but his boxing is underrated. Fans forget that on the show, he finished James Vick with his hands and Justin Lawrence with ground and pound. Kuivanen has good jiu jistu, but as long as Chiesa keeps it on the feet, Kuivanen will have trouble. 
  • Confidence: Good

Brendan Schaub vs. Lavar Johnson

  • My Pick: Lavar Johnson
  • Reasoning: One thing that has become apparent to me in Schaub’s recent fights is that his chin is weak. While his boxing seems good, one shot left open seems to be enough to put him away. Lavar Johnson hits like a truck. You know when the over zealous striker, Stefan Struve, won’t stand and bang with someone, that someone throws hard. I can’t imagine Schaub taking too many of those. 
  • Confidence: Great

Happy Pickings,

Daniel

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UFC on Fuel: Barao vs McDonald Picks

The thing I love most about MMA is the unpredictable nature of the fights. I live for it. It’s part of what makes doing a predictions blog so exciting. So, obviously I loved everything about UFC 156. Sure, some people watched in horror as some of there favorites crumbled on the cusp of a title shot. I, on the other hand, smiled and laughed. Here’s to hoping this event lives up to the standards the last one set.

Shameless Plug: “UFC’s most memorable quotes” http://www.mma-manifesto.com/2013-articles/february/the-most-memorable-quotes-in-ufc-history.html

Phil Harris vs. Ulysses Gomez

  • My Pick: Ulysses Gomez
  • Reasoning: Some called it octagon jitters. Others attributed it to him being far overrated in his post of a top 5 flyweight in the world. I, conversely, place Gomez’s UFC debut loss squarely on the shoulders of his impressive opponent. John Moraga was and continues to be underrated, even after his submission of the night win over Chris Cariaso (a brutal guillotine choke). Phil Harris does have some good jiu jitsu and decent enough stand up, but he has never faced anybody as good or hungry as Gomez
  • Confidence: Great

Vaughan Lee vs. Motonobu Tezuka

  • My Pick: Vaughan Lee
  • Reasoning: “Love” Lee is that entertaining kind of fighter who you can always count on to chase a finish. Tezuka on the other hand works for position and plays safe. The activity of Lee in this fight will likely take Tezuka out of his comfort zone and into deep waters. (Also, see the upcoming Prelim Breakout Star on mma-manifesto.com for more info on this fight).
  • Confidence: Great

Tom Watson vs. Stanislav Nedkov

  • My Pick: Stanislav Nedkov
  • Reasoning: For years I heard about how Kong Watson was one of the best outside of the UFC. I heard calls to hire him after wins over John Maguire, Matt Horwich and eventually Ninja Rua. However, none of those seem particularly impressive, least of all the Rua fight as he was at the tail end of his career. After watching him get taken down and nearly submitted by Brad Tavares, I think he’ll have a lot of trouble with the clearly stronger Nedkov. 
  • Confidence: Good

Andy Ogle vs. Josh Grispi

  • My Pick: Andy Ogle
  • Reasoning: If you watched the Ultimate Fighter and didn’t love Andy Ogle, you likely have no heart. The guy was as nice as can be and gave fans entertaining fight after entertaining fight. Although being entertaining doesn’t win fights, Ogle’s boxing seemed very fitting to his English roots. He’s tough and doesn’t go away. Grispi, on the other hand, seems to have done only that. He’s 0-3 in his UFC career, which was supposed to begin with a UFC title shot. Thus far he has looked underwhelming while striking with George Roop and while grappling with Rani Yahya. Unless we see huge improvement in his execution, you will see Grispi for the last time.
  • Confidence: Fair

Paul Sass vs. Danny Castillo

  • My Pick: Paul Sass
  • Reasoning: Just about every time out, experts tell us that Sass will be out sized by his opponent or his opponent will know to stay out of the triangle/heel hook. However, he has an uncanny way of putting fights in his realm. Castillo has that Alpha Male wrestling, but if he’s smart he’ll stay off the ground. I just don’t know that he can do that for 15 minutes. 
  • Confidence: Good

Terry Etim vs. Renee Forte

  • My Pick: Terry Etim
  • Reasoning: Forte is a huge man. 5’8″ in the welterweight division shows that you either have some real muscle or dietary issues and Forte has the former. However, the awkward style of Etim allows him to wrap those bigger, badder looking dudes up and tap them out. Expect him and Sass to be dueling it out for submission of the night. 
  • Confidence: Good

Happy Pickings,

Daniel


UFC 156 Aldo vs Edgar Picks

There’s been a lot of clamoring lately about the UFC giving title shots to those who don’t deserve it. Nick Diaz, Chael Sonnen and now even Alistair Overeem are at the front lines despite losing recently and being suspended. However, as I start this blog post today, I’d like to implore the UFC to get one thing right in the title shot department; give the winner of tonight’s main event Ricardo Lamas. This guy has been nothing but exciting and deadly since he set foot in this division. There’s no reason to wait, there’s not another test he has to pass, just please give us what we want, Joe Silva.

Shameless Plus: http://www.mma-manifesto.com/2013-articles/january/ufc-156-prelim-breakout-star-tyron-woodley.html

And now for some picks.

Edwin Figueroa vs. Francisco Rivera

  • My Pick: Francisco Rivera
  • Reasoning:Francisco Rivera has shown off some really powerful hands. Sure, he tested positive for banned substances after that, but his technique cannot be discounted. Although Figueroa has also showed some solid boxing, watching him get outworked by Alex Caceres was a huge alert for me. Rivera works much faster and crisper and will likely get the best of  any exchanges here. 
  • Confidence: Good

Chico Camus vs. Dustin Kimura

  • My Pick: Dustin Kimura
  • Reasoning: I hate picking against RoufusSport fighter, because they always have such electric striking. However, Kimura has that killer instinct you look for in fighters. He finds every possible hole and goes at it at 100mph. I’ve also been increasingly impressed with his striking over the last four fights. 
  • Confidence: Fair

Yves Edwards vs. Issac Vallie-Flagg

  • My Pick: Yves Edwards
  • Reasoning: I feel like this guy has been fighting forever. Edwards had his first professional fight when I had just turned 8 years old. His experience really keeps him out of tricky situations, which I was impressed with in the Cody McKenzie fight. Vallie-Flagg also as a history of being submitted and The Thug Jitsu master has 17 submissions in his 42 career wins. Expect him to make it 18.
  • Confidence: Great

Bobby Green vs. Jacob Volkmann

  • My Pick: Jacob Volkmann
  • Reasoning: Volkmann, one short year ago was grinding out  a 5-fight win streak and getting into title picture talks. Then he made a comment about wanting to fight Barack Obama and took a brutal submission loss to Paul Sass. Although he lost a lot of stock with those things, he seems to have retooled himself as a result of it. Whereas before he seemed to hold a position-first mentality on the ground, he quickly picked up a nice submissionvictory over Shane Roller. Green is a tough competitor, but his jiu jitsu blue belt will not hang with Volkmann
  • Confidence: Great

Jay Hieron vs. Tyron Woodley

  • My Pick: Tyron Woodley
  • Reasoning: To give you a brief rundown of what my article on him said (Prelim Breakout Star:  http://www.mma-manifesto.com/2013-articles/january/ufc-156-prelim-breakout-star-tyron-woodley.html) he’s got some really dominant wrestling. In addition, his ground control, ground and pound, and submissions have all really benefited from his time at America’s Top Team.
  • Confidence: Great

Evan Dunham vs. Gleison Tibau

  • My Pick: Gleison Tibau
  • Reasoning: I have always been an Evan Dunham fan. He has a great ground game and uses his distance well to set things up. However, I’m just beginning to lose  little faith in the way he fights due to some of his previous encounters. On the other hand, nobody can argue with Tibau’s strength. The guy might be the strongest lightweight in the UFC. With Dunham being so lanky, I think if Tibau gets on the inside he could score the upset.
  • Confidence: Fair

Happy Pickings,

Daniel

 


UFC on Fox 6: Johnson vs. Dodson Picks

Once again, as a shameless plug for my other writing gig, I’m going to ask you to check out my second Prelim Breakout Star on MMA-Manifesto.com:

http://www.mma-manifesto.com/2013-articles/january/ufc-on-fox-johnson-vs-dodson-prelim-breakout-star-simeon-thoresen.html

Then, I’m going to remind you that I went a stellar 5-1-1 last week (only losing the controversial split and then of course the no contest).

And now I’m going to send you some new picks.

Rafael Natal vs. Sean Spencer

  • My Pick: Rafael Natal
  • Reasoning: I like Sean Spencer a lot. He’s got a nice style and mixes his game up well. I just think, on short notice, Natal will be too much for him.
  • Confidence: Good

Pascal Krauss vs. Mike Stumpf

  • My Pick: Pascal Krauss
  • Reasoning: Krauss is a very tough striker, having boxed for a good deal of time before he made the switch to MMA. In addition, to borrow a line from Joe Rogan, he has a very underrated ground game. Stumpf was completely outclassed by TJ Waldburger on the ground and although that doesn’t necessarily say much, I think leaves him with very few paths to victory.
  • Confidence: Great

Shawn Jordan vs. Mike Russow

  • My Pick: Shawn Jordan
  • Reasoning: My big upset pick last week was Aldemar Alcantra and he delivered for me. This week I’m going with Shawn Jordan. For a heavyweight he is extremely athletic (which can we seen by his victory flips). Russow, although he sports some impressive wins, has taken said wins by controlling his opponents and bullying them. I don’t think he’ll be able to do that to Jordan.
  • Confidence: Fair

David Mitchell vs. Simeon Thoresen

  • My Pick: Simeon Thoresen
  • Reasoning: See my mma-manifesto article for a full breakdown. To summarize, his long reach will keep Mitchell at bay, his grappling is superior and Mitchell doesn’t have the KO power to put him out.
  • Confidence: Great

Ryan Bader vs. Vladimir Matyushenko

  • My Pick: Ryan Bader
  • Reasoning: These two guys have a very similar style. They have big KO power in their hands and above average wrestling. It should make for a very interesting contest. I’ve been back and forth a few times with this pick, but I think it comes down to Bader having a better gas tank. I think he’ll wear Matyushenko out and then maybe even knock him out.
  • Confidence: Fair

Clay Guida vs. Hatsu Hioki

  • My Pick: Clay Guida
  • Reasoning: Thusfar in the UFC, we’ve seen two very different Hatsu Hioki’s. Whereas he looked dominant against Bart Palaszewski, he looked anything but in his loss to Ricardo Lamas and his controversial split against George Roop. The key difference in those fights: travel time. When Hioki has a long home camp and can train at home without messing up his internal clock, he’s looked good. I think the travel really wears on him. In addition, I think Guida is not an opponent that he can bully with his grappling .
  • Confidence: Good

T.J. Grant vs. Matt Wiman

  • My Pick: Matt Wiman
  • Reasoning: TJ Grant is a solid grappler, but that is exactly the kind of opponent that Wiman needs. Wiman has taken care of every grappler he’s faced in the last 4 years including submitting the very formidable Paul Sass. I will stress that Grant has looked great at 155, but I don’t think it’ll be enough.
  • Confidence: Fair

So, there you have it. The prelim card for the night. Don’t forget to check out the link on the top of the page.

Happy Pickings,

Daniel


Happy New Year: Belfort vs Bisping Picks

With this new year we in the MMA world are likely to see many changes. Already we’ve seen Strikeforce close its doors with a finish heavy final card. In addition to that, I have added a change to my life. Starting at the beginning of 2013, I have taken a position as a writer for mma-manifesto.com. Don’t worry, you’ll still be getting all of your regular PrelimPicker content. It will now just be accompanied by my featured articles. If you’d like to check them out, you can find them here.

MMA Fans’ New Year’s Resolutions: http://www.mma-manifesto.com/2013-articles/january/mma-fans-new-year-s-resolution-list.html

MMA Promoter Elementary: http://www.mma-manifesto.com/2013-articles/january/mma-promoter-elementary-school.html

Now on to the picks you’ve been waiting for.

Francisco Trinaldo vs. C.J. Keith

Wagner Prado vs. Ildemar Alcantra

  • My Pick: Ildemar Alcantra
  • Reasoning: Despite taking this fight on relative short notice, I feel Alcantra still has the advantage. He’s got a solid ground game and lots of experience, which happen to be two things that Prado lacks. Now, I don’t discount the fact that Prado could knock his block off, but I think Alcantra #1 is going to fight smart and put Prado in a place he does not want to be.
  • Confidence: Fair

Yuri Alcantra vs. Pedro Nobre

  • My Pick: Yuri Alcantra
  • Reasoning: I was very excited to see how Alcantra fared against George Roop. I thought it’d be a solid match-up. Nobre is a much different fighter than Roop. He’s much shorter and stronger, but he seems to be a bit under-sized for this fight (his natural fight weight usually being 125). Alcantra has taken on and beaten some really game smaller weight fighters like Lamas, Omigawa and the aforementioned Trinaldo. I see him adding this name to his list. 
  • Confidence: Great

Edson Barboza vs. Lucas Martins

  • My Pick: Edson Barboza
  • Reasoning: Barboza is an animal. Sure he got tagged and upset by Varner in May, but he is still a future title contender. Martins on short notice stands very little chance. 
  • Confidence: Extreme

Diego Nunes vs. Nik Lentz

  • My Pick: Nik Lentz
  • Reasoning: I was already a Lentz fan when he was at 155. He’s strong, has very good wrestling and uses it to not only take down opponents, but to beat them up pretty good as well. Although Nunes didn’t look terrible against Mike Brown, his history against solid wrestlers is short and not awfully impressive. Sure he’s come a long way from the guy LC Davis beat up, but I think the weak point might still be that wrestling.
  • Confidence: Fair

Ronny Markes vs. Andrew Craig

  • My Pick: Ronny Markes
  • Reasoning: This might be a match-up of two of the most underrated guys in the Middleweight division. Markes is as tough as nails and as strong as an ox. Craig, on the other hand, has shown some one touch KO power. I think the difference in this fight comes with Markes size and the fact that he’s faced some tougher opponents. 
  • Confidence: Good

Godofredo Castro vs. Milton Vieira

  • My Pick: Milton Vieira
  • Reasoning: This is a fight of some really solid jiu jitsu guys and I can’t see this fight ending up anywhere but the ground. Vieira being just a little stronger in the ground game could be the difference, but it’s hard to tell. 
  • Confidence: Fair

Happy Pickings,

Daniel (I know, another new change)


UFC 155 Picks and My One Step Forward for 2013

” Hello, my name is Dan, and I’ve been a Fedor hater for almost 9 years now.”

“One step at a time, man” says the stereo-typically pony-tailed man running the show.

“I’m making those steps. I really am.”

I’ve always thought about quitting FHA (Fedor Haters Anonymous). I really have. But there’s something deep inside me that wants to hate him. Not only just hate him either, but loathe him and all of his fans that have reiterated time and time again that he was the best ever and we can’t even have a discussion about it. I simply want to ask them if they’ve considered the possibility of what would’ve happened if he had to deal with Randy Couture pinning him to the wall. I want to discuss those three straight losses at the end of his career and whether or not they meant something. I want to review the list of the best heavyweights of that time and compare it to the new breed of leaner, stronger, fitter heavyweights. Could people not afford me that small luxury?

“As therapeutic as this group has been to me, I think this will be my last time here” I say. The bald man in the Ronda Rousey shirt sitting to my right looks shocked and rattles off some expletives.

As I said before, I’ve always considered quitting, but that last thing in my list had always kept me there. Could a slightly portly man with his skill set hang with the current era of fighters? Fighters that train by not bringing in just other MMA greats, but greats in single disciplines. Wrestlers to wrestle, boxers to box. Then, The Ultimate Fighter Finale happened and did more for me than this group ever has.

It started, predictably, in the preliminary fights. A calm looking Russian made his way to the ring. I scoffed as Joe Rogan made a comment about his Sambo skills. Me and some friends I have from the meetings enjoyed a few jokes about its application in current MMA before we had the words slapped out of our mouths. We probably would’ve made a comeback about Fedor being out of shape if we weren’t fairly certain we’d have to much on those words later too (not to mention with a multitude of overhand rights in the fight ala Fedor vs Arlovski). And that’s when it clicked.

Maybe I’ve hated Fedor because he never fought my favorite guys. Maybe because he’s got a million fans who I can’t stand. Maybe I feel loyal to the company that got me interested in this sport. But no matter the reason that I did, I’m going to stop hating on Fedor. I’m going to ask myself all of those questions in reverse? Like what if Fedor German suplexed Couture? What if that overhand right landed on Dos Santos? Could the bigger belly roll with his on the ground? Who knows. But my one step this New Years, is going to be to stop hating blindly and instead add Fedor to my mental promotion of “what-ifs”.

Now on to UFC 155. Maybe something in here will get me out of my Bisping Haters Anonymous group.

Just kidding…. it’s not anonymous.

Chris Cariaso vs. John Moraga

  • My Pick: John Moraga
  • Reasoning: The thing that keeps be considering Cariaso is how hard he fought Michael McDonald at 135. McDonald is as tough as they come at 21, and Cariaso took everything he could dish out. However, Cariaso has not showed me enough to think that he can finish Moraga. Although Cariaso has showed a strong chin before, I’m not sure he can take 3 rounds without getting caught by Moraga.
  • Confidence: Good

Leonard Garcia vs. Max Holloway

  • My Pick: Max Holloway
  • Reasoning: I want to pick Garcia, I really do. He’s a great guy, his fights are exciting, but if I’m being honest, I don’t think he’s won a fight since he split decisioned Jameel Massouh at WEC 42 and hasn’t won convincingly since he TKO’d Jens Pulver at WEC 36. Garcia has just gotten to a point where all he wants to do is brawl. He goes in saying he’s going to fight technical this time and then loses sight of that. I think Holloway is too disciplined to fall into his trap and I think he’ll pick Garcia apart.
  • Confidence: Good

Philip De Fries vs. Todd Duffee

  • My Pick: Todd Duffee
  • Reasoning: This is a tailor made fight for Duffee. I almost think it’s an apology from Dana for firing him so quickly. Duffee is one of the strongest dudes I’ve ever seen. He’s literally the only person I’ve ever seen in person that has audibly made me “whoa”. His only weak point seems to be that his chin can be touched and what the UFC gave him here is somebody who won’t touch it. 
  • Confidence: Extreme

Myles Jury vs. Michael Johnson

  • My Pick: Michael Johnson
  • Reasoning: Since joining the Blackzilians, I think Johnson has really pulled it together. He seems to have upped the quality of training partners significantly and it’s paid dividends in all parts of his game. I expect Jury to hang in there for all 3 rounds, but to take quite a bit of punishment in the process.
  • Confidence: Fair

Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner

  • My Pick: Jamie Varner
  • Reasoning: Melvin Guillard’s out is knocking peoples’ blocks off. Varner, has one of the best pound for pound chins in MMA (see some of the knees Ceronne hit him with). Varner is also no sloutch on the ground and Guillard is exactly that. I think if he can get it down Varner surprises people with this one.  
  • Confidence: Fair

Byron Bloodworth vs. Erik Perez

  • My Pick: Erik Perez
  • Reasoning: This is the second fight on this card that made me scratch my head a bit when the UFC announced it. Bloodworth took a beating from Mike Easton his last fight out and Perez has looked more and more impressive every time out. Knocking out Ken Stone is no joke and neither is Perez. If you are making bets on this card, use this and the Duffee fight for parlays. 
  • Confidence: Extreme

Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland

  • My Pick: Brad Pickett
  • Reasoning: This will be fight of the night. If not, something miraculous better have happened in another fight because I’m fairly certain this won’t disappoint. My slight nod goes to Pickett on this one. Pickett just seems like he is a little bit less prone to make mistakes than Wineland, although this is going to be a razor close fight. Remember when I told you earlier to use the Bloodworth/Perez and De Fries/Duffee fights for parlays? Don’t use this one.
  • Confidence: Fair

Happy Holidays and Happy Pickings,

Big Sexy


Double Pick Post: UFC on FX 6 and TUF Finale Picks

It is a great weekend to be a UFC fan. A lot of free fights all over the place and absolutely the fan friendly ones. I’ve had a lot of friends complaining that maybe these cards are too watered down and that maybe the UFC has to lay off a bit. I’m going to argue though, that free fights are free fights. Plus, just because you don’t recognize the name, don’t shun it as a boring fight. After all, isn’t that pretty much the motto of this site. Now, without further ado, the 13 preliminary fights for this weekend

UFC on FX 6: Sotiropoulos vs Pearson

Nick Penner vs. Cody Donovan

  • My Pick: Cody Donnovan
  • Reasoning: Penner seemed to have a lot of trouble dealing with Anthony Perosh’s ground game. Although it is well known that Perosh is a wiz on the ground, the ease on which Penner was taken down is more alarming to me. Donnovan is a fighter who enjoys doing just that. In his semi-recent Bellator fight, he double legged and slammed his way to a seemingly easy decision. I imagine that will likely be his gameplan here as well.
  • Confidence: Good

Brendan Loughnane vs. Mike Wilkinson

  • My Pick: Brendan Lougnane
  • Reasoning: Both these guys seem to have some pretty decent wrestling, but in very different ways. Wilkinson is going to come in and try to use his pure strength to bully Loughnane around. Loughnane, on the other hand, is much more composed and will try to use some Greco trips to get the same done. In the end, I think both will have trouble finishing each other and that the good movement, patience and cardio of Lougnane will score him the minor upset.
  • Confidence: Fair

Ben Alloway vs. Manuel Rodriguez

  • My Pick: Ben Alloway
  • Reasoning: Although he is much better known for his jiu jitsu, Alloway actual has shown a good deal of power behind his punches. Having scored some solid knockdowns here and there, I’ve come to expect his hands to keep improving. Despite the fact that I do like Manny Rodriguez, he seems much more one dimensional to me and his chin has indeed be exposed before.
  • Confidence: Good

Mike Pearce vs. Seth Baczynski

  • My Pick: Seth Baczynski
  • Reasoning: I think people keep writing the Polish Pistola off, myself included. He’s a really strong guy who trains with a lot of wrestlers. He will definitely be prepared for Pearce’s game plan. In addition, he’s actually quite good off of his back. He’s submitted the always tough  Matt Brown on an attempted shot and has a plethora of guillotines and triangles in his career. I think he’s going to shock some people and put himself on the map.
  • Confidence: Fair

Igor Pokrajac vs. Joey Beltran

  • My Pick: Igor Pokrajac
  • Reasoning: I do expect to see a much fresher, much more technical Joey Beltran down at light heavyweight. However, he still is at heart a brawler and Pokrajac is a man you don’t want to brawl with. Although I don’t think that he will knock Beltran out, I do think if he can out box Maldonado on the feet, Beltran won’t be a problem for him. 
  • Confidence: Great

Chad Mendes vs. Yaotzin Meza

  • My Pick: Chad Mendes
  • Reasoning: Not sure I’ve ever been as confident in a pick as this one. Meza is not ready for Mendes. Mendes has much better wrestling, is much stronger and has a lot more quality experience.
  • Confidence: Extreme

TUF 16 Finale: Nelson vs Mitrione

Tim Elliot vs. Jared Papazian

  • My Pick: Tim Elliot
  • Reasoning: I was lucky enough to be live for the Elliot/Dodson fight and I can easily say that just about everyone there was surprised with Elliot. Dodson, who had essentially been tabbed next to the top was pressed with a level of unorthodox strikes that wouldn’t made even a Duke Roufus guy uncomfortable. Meanwhile, Papazian has really been underwhelming in all of his fights against name opponents.
  • Confidence: Great

Mike Rio vs. John Cofer

  • My Pick: John Cofer
  • Reasoning: Unfortunately for Cofer, he’ll probably always be remembered as the guy who took that nasty head kick. And, when people are breaking down the fight, that’s the first thing they’ll probably think of. Although, admittedly, that came to my mind as well, I also would like to remind my audience that he is a member of Team Alpha Male, has great wrestling and a jiu jitsu game that is definitely coming around. Not to mention, if Rio shoots, as we know he may, Cofer has got that Alpha Male guillotine. 
  • Confidence: Good

Reuben Duran vs. Hugo Viana

  • My Pick: Reuben Duran
  • Reasoning: Duran showed me he has the ability to be as tough as nails in the Mizugaki fight. He took a guy that everybody saw towards the top of the division and battled him to a split. Viana has never really impressed me. Even in his recent decision I saw not much to write home about. Perhaps he’ll change his tune, but if he doesn’t it’ll spell trouble for him.
  • Confidence: Good

TJ Waldburger vs. Nick Catone

  • My Pick: TJ Waldburger
  • Reasoning: Catone certainly has the strength and pure wrestling ability to get this fight to the ground. However, Waldburger is by far the most active guy from his back that I have seen in a long time. If Catone want to win this fight, he is going to have to fight off 3 rounds worth of submission attempts. Waldburger just needs to catch one.
  • Confidence: Fair

Vinc Pichel vs. Rustam Khabilov

  • My Pick: Rustam Khabilov
  • Reasoning: Fact: Vinc Pichel looked very impressive on tough and I was looking forward to seeing his debut. Fact: There has been a recent influx of tough Russian fighters who know how to use their Sambo backgrounds to make fighter’s lives miserable. Fact: Khabilov is one of those fighters.
  • Confidence: Great

Johnny Bedford vs. Marcos Vinicius

  • My Pick: Johnny Bedford
  • Reasoning: Bedford impressed me while on the Ultimate Fighter, but he really showed at the finale what he can do with a full fight camp where he’s comfortable, which I think is much more telling. More than anything, this guy is a gamer and I fully expect him to be able to weather the storm of punched that Vinicius brings. Also, his jiu jitsu game is strong enough to at least stay out of trouble in that realm.
  • Confidence: Good

Mike Pyle vs. James Head

  • My Pick: Mike Pyle
  • Reasoning: A true fight veteran, Pyle has been in some wars. A winner of 5 of his last 6, his only loss was to the ever popular Rory MacDonald. While I praise the recent win over Brain Ebersole, Head’s performance on an Ebersole with a short camp didn’t exactly impress me. Nor did it make me think that he could overcome Pyle’s ability to fight just about anywhere.
  • Confidence: Good

Happy Pickings all weekend,

Big Sexy