Friday, July 26, 2013

UFC on Fox 8: Johnson vs Moraga

John Moraga looks to be the 2nd
 flyweight champion in UFC history.
UFC on Fox 8 marks the second time in less than a year that KeyArena in Seattle will host a UFC event.  Last time, we saw Benson Henderson dominate Nate Diaz while Rory MacDonald and Alexander Gustafsson defeated legends.  This time around, we again have Rory taking on an elite welterweight as well as an intriguing title fight.  This Fox card does not have the huge name recognition previous cards have had, but I assure you that there are some under the radar fights that could be incredibly entertaining as well as important.  Let me break down how I see the night going:


  • John Moraga has been the first fighter on Facebook in his only two UFC appearances.  On Saturday the 27th, he will be the last.  John Albert and Yaotzin Meza take the stage first in the bantamweight division.  John Albert has lost 3 straight fights since winning his UFC debut.  Unfortunately for Meza, he made his UFC debut against Chad Mendes in the featherweight division and did not last long.  Will he be better at a lower weight class against a far less superior opponent?  Yes.  But this does not mean he will win either.  This is a tough one for me since I know very little about Meza.  I think Albert is sometimes careless which can help him win or get into trouble.  I am going with Albert to sink in an armbar in the first round and send Meza his second quick defeat.
  • I know absolutely nothing about Aaron Riley and Justin Salas so I am making my decision very randomly.  Riley will win over Justin Salas via decision for 2 reasons.  First off, he has gone win/loss/win/loss/win/loss/____ over his UFC career.  Naturally this trend is going to continue.  My second reason is that Justin Salas is a vegas odds favorite.  So I am putting money on Riley to win so I can win more money!  Just kidding, I only have 1 reason to pick Aaron Riley and it is the pattern.  Obviously foolproof.
  • For the first time in UFC history, not one but two women's bouts are scheduled for the same event.  The first of these will kick off the FX coverage and the other will kick of Fox.  Julie Kedzie enters the UFC coming off of two consecutive losses in Strikeforce.  Under that banner she went 0-2 while Germaine de Randamie went 2-1.  However, the far more experienced mixed martial artist Kedzie will still have the edge here.  Tate and Davis are two of the best women in the fight business and are not terrible losses.  I see Kedzie taking a decision win home here.
  • Ed Herman tried to make a name for himself by leaving the UFC temporarily to fight Jacare Souza in Strikeforce.  He was quickly submitted by the talented submission artist.  On that very same card, Trevor Smith was submitted by Tim Kennedy.  Neither of these guys is a joke, but neither will be a top middleweight.  I give the edge to Ed "Short Fuse" Herman due to his UFC experience.  He has beaten tougher guys that Smith.  I think Herman will finish Smith with a submission of some sort.  Maybe a guillotine?
  • Yves Edwards lost his original opponent just a few weeks ago and in stepped Daron Cruickshank.  Now those of you who know me or have read my past articles know that Daron is the reason I got into MMA.  He was on The Ultimate Fighter and I watched the show because he is the brother of a friend I worked with.  I fell in love with the sport while watching that season.  Naturally I pick him to win every fight by violent KO.  However, according to many sports betting websites, Daron is the slight favorite.  I found this surprising despite my faith in him winning this fight.  Yves has been around forever and is a seasoned veteran of the fight game.  This fight should be ridiculously entertaining and it is a huge statement fight for Daron to prove he is for real, or fall off as a highly touted prospect.  On a side note, Yves Edwards took home Knockout of the Night honors last time he was in Seattle.  On that very same card, Daron had a head kick KO that landed at #3 on the Sportscenter top 10.  Both were impressive although I think Daron was robbed of the nightly bonus.  Now is Daron's time to get that back by winning in spectacular fashion.  Daron Cruickshank via KO of the Night!
  • The 3rd of 5 undercard fights between lightweights features Melvin Guillard against Mac Danzig.  Melvin was on a way to a title shot before Joe Lauzon sent his world in a tailspin at UFC 136.  He has faced top competition, but has lost 4 of his last 5 fights.  Mac Danzig has only won 3 of his last 9.  Both of these guys are talented, but on the hot seat this Saturday.  I do not think the Ultimate Fighter Season 6 winner's luck is about to change.  I see Guillard winning this fight with a knockout.
  • Tim Means was on quite the winning streak before dropping a fight to Jorge Masvidal.  He has found a home on the UFC on Fox cards, now fighting on 3 in a row.  Danny Castillo enters the favorite, with many impressive wins in his UFC/WEC career including Ricardo Lamas and Dustin Poirier.  For some reason, I am leaning Means on this one.  I thought he was active from the bottom and could have gotten the nod in the decision loss to Masvidal.  He is a great fighter who is getting better every time.  Castillo is a quietly solid fighter, but I think he has holes in his game.  I like Means to sink in a triangle choke or armbar from his back to steal this win.
  • Speaking of Jorge Masvidal, he has his hands full with the Ultimate Fighter Season 15 winner.  That season meant a lot to me since it was Chiesa along with Cruickshank that made me a fan of the sport.  Chiesa had a sad story, losing his father during the taping of TUF.  But he was a great story when he went on to win the finale fight against Al Iaquinta.  Chiesa is undefeated and one hell of a wrestler and submission artist.  I put this fight as #4 on my list of "10 fights you cannot miss" list I find it so intriguing.  Masvidal is an animal who has been in there with some of the best in the game, such as Gilbert Melendez and Joe Lauzon.  Here is my thinking on this fight.  In his last 8 fights, Masvidal is 5-3 with every fight going to a decision.  Chiesa is too good of a wrestler to get dominated on the ground, and good enough a submission artist to finish off the very talented Masvidal.  Despite being an overwhelming underdog, I like Chiesa to sink in his signature submission.  Chiesa via RNC.
  • Liz Carmouche was almost the UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion when she had Ronda Rousey's Back.  Relatively unknown fighter Jessica Andrade should have her hands full in her UFC debut.  Carmouche via Girl-rilla ground and pound TKO.
  • Robbie Lawler made a big splash in his UFC return by knocking out Josh Koscheck.  I believe this was a fluke but Lawler is known for having heavy hands.  I think Voelker was robbed by Canadian judges in his UFC debut against Patrick Cote.  These two guys can throw hands and will be very exciting.  I see the more experience Lawler securing his second straight KO win on his way to the welterweight division top 10.
  • The hype train that is Rory MacDonald enters his fight with Jake Ellenberger as a heavy favorite.  I find this shocking.  After GSP and Hendricks, Jake is hands down the best welterweight in the UFC.  Even though I do have Rory ranked 4th, he has to show me something before he is warranted his title shot.  A win for either man probably earns them the right to face the winner of UFC 167's main event that sees GSP and Hendricks squaring off for the title.  Since losing to Carlos Condit, Rory has defeated 2 lightweights in Penn and Diaz as well as defeating the oh so not talented Che Mills and Mike Pyle.  IF Rory can beat Jake Ellenberger, and that's a big if, then maybe he is legit.  But I am willing to bet that Jake tags him with his heavy hands.  I mean if you watch the Road to the Octagon you see that Ellenberger boxes at a very high level at Floyd Mayweather's gym.  He is quicker and has heavy hands.  With the odds against him, I stand to make a few bucks off of Jake!  He seems to have found a quote to live by, frequently saying, "Right now I don't know if I'm the best welterweight in the world, but I know I can beat anyone in the world."  I am definitely going with Ellenberger via 2nd round KO.
  • The main event is an interesting one for me.  I like Demetrious Johnson a lot, but for some reason I always find myself picking him to lose.  I picked Dodson, Benavidez, and am thinking about picking Moraga.  I find that like Dodson, John Moraga is very dangerous.  He is the only flyweight with two finishes.  Moraga also is a tough guy who is a dangerous striker, dominant wrestler, and has some wicked submissions.  So long as the fight is still going, Moraga has a chance to win.  However, if the 25 minutes of fury run out, Johnson will have his hand raised yet again.  I find that DJ is just not champion caliber talent.  If it were a 3 round fight, I would probably pick DJ every time.  I just cannot think of DJ as the next dominant champion who cannot be defeated.  I see Dodson, Moraga, and definitely Benavidez as being that talented.  Enough rambling though, who is going to win.  I give a wrestling edge to Moraga.  Striking, Moraga is more dangerous and just as quick.  On the ground, I think Moraga has a better top game and a better bottom game.  Moraga has said to the media that Demetrious is not faster than him, he just has great timing.  After watching DJ's fight with Dominick Cruz and John Dodson again, I have to agree with Moraga.  DJ is fast as hell, but it is his timing that makes him so great.  Moraga is game planning for this.  Moraga is prepared, poised, and ready to be the new UFC Flyweight Champion.  At 4-1 odds, I again am looking to cash in on this fight.  Moraga via 3rd round guillotine choke.  He will be the first person to finish DJ.
Picks entering UFC on Fox 8: 95/164 (58%)
Award Predictions:
KOOTN: Cruickshank or Ellenberger
SOTN: Chiesa (unless Moraga pulls off the upset)
FOTN: Lawler/Voelker

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