Saturday, August 17, 2013

UFC on Fox Sports 1: Sonnen vs Shogun

What people forget is that Sonnen is still a world
class fighter and will always be the main event.
It is only fitting that the song "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" somehow just came on now.  Of all the songs on my 700+ song playlist, that is the one that came on right when blog writing time arrived.  The UFC is shipping up to Boston, as well as to a new channel.  Fox Sports 1 debuts with one of the best cards the UFC has ever put together.  As I said earlier in anticipation for this event, a great card does not need a title fight to cap things off.  All you need is a bunch of fighters that put on a show and leave it all in the Octagon every time they step in.  I would not want to be a fighter on this card, because every single fight has Fight of the Year written all over it.  Good luck getting a bonus check.

There are many great fights, but the fight I am most looking forward to is Pickett vs McDonald.  When it comes to underrated fights this was 1st on my list of 10.  McGregor vs Holloway comes in at 9th on my list as well.  #4 on the list is the only fight that has happened so far, and it was an incredible back and forth match.  Like I said, you have to trust me on these things sometimes.

  • This card has "Event of the Year" written all over it.  The current leader in that category was the UFC on Fox 7.  Ramsey Nijem helped contribute to that card's greatness, on the losing end of a sick KO by Myles Jury.  James Vick, who competed alongside Jury on TUF Live, will look to do the same.  Vick is one of the most inexperienced fighters on the UFC roster and will have his hands full with Nijem.  Neither man has great standup, but I think Vick could pull off the upset here.  Like I said, nobody really knows this guy and he is rather inexperienced.  But, Nijem is known for being bad at striking defense.  Vick has enough power to put Nijem to sleep.  I think Ramsey gets careless and Vick pulls tags him.  Here are your walking papers Ramsey, Vick is here to stay.  Vick 2nd round KO.
  • Ovince St. Preux's last fight was just stupid.  A technical majority decision is about as indecisive as you can win a fight.  An eye poke ended the fight just seconds into the 3rd round and the judges gave him the edge.  Even though it was sketchy, I still like Ovince over Donovan.  This is the only fight on the card I could really care less about.  I think the Strikeforce veteran sneaks away from the Bellator alumnus with a split decision win.  Ovince SP via decision.
  • I am going to be honest with you, I think this next fight is a no brainer.  The slight underdog Cole Miller will beat Manny Gamburyan.  Mike Goldberg is going to talk about Ronda Rousey the entire fight since she is friends with Manvel "the Anvil" and will likely be in his corner.  I am not high on Cole Miller but I still think he sinks in a submission.  Manny is just not that good in my opinion.  He lost to Aldo for the WEC title and since then has lost to two guys the UFC cut.  One is making his Bellator debut next season, and the other just lost a WSOF match to a subpar fighter.  He did win his last fight, beating Michihiro Omigawa, who is a whopping 1-6 in his last 7 fights.  Those are Tito Ortiz-like numbers, minus the quality opponents.  Manvel is just old hat at this point in his career.  Miller via armbar just to spite Ronda Rousey.
Fox Sports 1 Prelims:
  • Both Diego Brandao and Daniel Pineda had losses at UFC 146, but they are still strong featherweights.  Brandao beat Dennis Bermudez to win the 14th season of TUF.  Pineda took home a Submission of the Night honor in his last fight.  Pineda has slick submissions but I think its Brandao's top game that gets the job done.  Brandao with a dominant decision win.
  • The first of 3 Brown(e)s on this card will be Mike Brown.  He was the winner of the UFC 146 fight against Daniel Pineda I just mentioned.  He also has a loss to that Menvel guy I just said sucked.  Oh and he beat Urijah Faber in 2 WEC title fights.  Which Mike Brown shows up on Saturday?  Mike of old or the just ok Mike Brown that has been mediocre since losing his WEC title to pound for pound best Jose Aldo.  Siler is a bad matchup for Mike Brown stylistically.  He has a ton of submissions including triangles and guillotines from his back.  I still like Mike to take this one home though.  Brown via ground and pound TKO in the 2nd.
  • "The State of Massachusetts" by Dropkick Murphys just come on my shuffle playlist, this is just weird.  I swear I only have 3 Dropkick songs on this 712 song playlist!  Even my music is pumped for fight night in Boston.  Anywho, some consider the next fight to be the main event.  Conor McGregor just commands that kind of respect.  He, like Chael Sonnen, is the main event because of his presence.  He is a hell of a fighter with the entire nation of Ireland behind him.  He just has that special factor that most fighters do not have.  He may not be Anderson Silva or Brock Lesnar when it comes to getting in the Octagon and getting a title shot after a 1-0 or 1-1 record, but he is getting a huge step up in competition with each win.  He is explosive, exciting, intriguing, and about to put on a show.  At least we think he will.  Max Holloway has other plans.  At 21 years of age, Holloway has been the youngest fighter in the UFC for a while.  He lost his UFC debut to Dustin Porier by one of the best submissions I remember, and since has gone 3-1 with 2 controversial decisions.  He is a talented prospect in his own right and will put on a tough talent for McGregor.  I have this 9th on my list of "underrated" fights upcoming, so trust me that you do not want to miss this.  Despite my hype behind this fight, "Notorious" Conor McGregor should take home another first round KO in spectacular fashion.  If you have never seen him fight, check him out here first....and here second.
  • Oh and by the way, do not miss the next fight either!  Number 1 on my top 10 list is Brad "One Punch" Pickett against Michael "Mayday" McDonald.  "Mayday" comes in as a big favorite which I find odd.  Bet on Pickett people!  This is a classic example of an exciting fight that could go either way, but you win big if Pickett gets the W.  These are probably the hardest hitting 135 lb fighters on the roster.  McDonald had a huge KO win over Miguel Torres that secured him an interim title shot.  He staggered Barao in the first round and had other moments where Barao was in trouble.  He was submitted by Barao in the 4th round in that fight.  Looking to get back in the win column he takes on Brad Pickett.  Pickett also had a submission loss to Barao, losing by rear-naked choke in the first round.  He also lost to the man challenging Barao for the interim title, Eddie Wineland.  He probably needs Cruz to come back to get a title shot, or an impressive win streak against top fighters like McDonald.  He has 4 FOTN bonuses and 1 KO of the Night.  He and Dominick Cruz are the only people with wins over current Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson.  Both Pickett and McDonald are top 5 bantamweights and they will put on a show.  I like a split decision win for Pickett here.  (would not be surprised by a KO for either man but I think they have great chins too)
Also on Fox Sports 1 Main Card:
  • Last year Joe Lauzon had 2 different fights win Fight of the Year!! Different magazines and writers basically debated which Lauzon fight was the best, and forgot about every other good fight.  He is that exciting.  He also lost last February and was victim to an incredible KO of the Night to Anthony Pettis.  Lauzon exciting whether he is bleeding all over the floor against Jim Miller, getting head kick KOed by Pettis, getting KO of the Night against Jens Pulver, or getting Submission of the Night against Varner, Guillard, Warburton, Ruediger, or Stephens.  This guy doesn't have a boring bone in his body, much like Pickett, McGregor, and so many others on this card.  His opponent Michael Johnson is on a 2 fight losing streak and has his work cut out for him on Saturday.  He has 6 of his 8 career losses via submission.  Expect fireworks and the Submission of the Night.  Lauzon via triangle armbar, gogoplata, twister, heel hook, and guillotine at the same time because he is that good at submissions. (or maybe just an armbar)
  • Uriah Hall took the world by storm on The Ultimate Fighter with his nasty knockouts.  The middleweight has raw power and incredible talent.  Will it come into fruition following the show.  He kind of laid an egg in the TUF finale, despite his loss being by split decision.  He also has losses to top 10 middleweight Costa Philippou and the man who just beat Anderson Silva, Chris Weidman.  His opponent left the UFC and welterweight division after three straight losses to Jake Ellenberger, Thiago Alves, and Matt Brown.  He since has gone 6-1 with some impressive finishes.  Howard is a huge underdog, but I think he could be a big threat to Hall.  This fight does not belong on the main card over Pickett/McDonald or McGregor/Holloway, but it should prove to be entertaining.  I like Hall via vicious KO because even if he wins without a vicious KO, the fans lose.  Howard may get walking papers after a 1 fight stint in his UFC return.
  • Speaking of John Howard getting kicked out of the UFC, Matt Brown is the one who sent him packing the first time.  Matt Brown and his opponent Mike Pyle are on great winning streaks and have great records lately.  I do like this fight better than Brown's originally scheduled opponent Thiago Alves.  These two will be competing for a top 10 spot in the welterweight division with this fight.  The problem they have is that their competition so far has been subpar.  I think Brown picked up momentum after his INSANE fight against Mein.  I am picking Matt Brown to be the 2nd of 3 Brown(e)s to get a win today.  Matt Brown via TKO beatdown.
  • Urijah Faber is always a fan favorite, and has been unbeatable in non title fights.  However, Iuri Alcantara is no walk in the park.  Alcantara, like Faber, once competed at much heavier weight classes.  He actually is the last person to beat featherweight top contender Ricardo Lamas, a fight that happened at lightweight.  Alcantara is a sneaky guy that has nothing to lose and the world to gain with this fight.  Despite my hyping of Alcantara, Faber is just on another level.  Faber will not submit the slick Alcantara though.  Faber via hard fought and well deserved decision.  The winner of this fight should fight the winner of McDonald/Pickett in a top contender, 5 round main event fight on a future Fight Night.  They have to wait for Barao to beat Wineland, then unify the belt against Cruz before anyone will get another title shot.  As far as I am concerned, the 4 man bantamweight tournament has begun today.  Faber has basically fought everyone at 135 that matters except McDonald and Pickett so that makes perfect sense.
  • Did I already give away my pick for this fight.  The Brown(e) crew will make it 3/3 on the night after the co-main event.  Travis Browne has only lost to Bigfoot Silva, a fight in which he tweaked something in his leg and was limping the entire fight.  I think he is more athletic that Overeem and a smarter fighter.  Alistair Overeem is a scary guy.  He, Bigfoot, and Kongo might be the scariest 3 guys to fight based on their physique alone.  He is not the best though.  Overeem had trouble putting away Bigfoot as well, resulting in a KO loss of his own.  He has been known to have a glass chin throughout his career.  He may be a great striker, but if he gets hit it's night night.  Overeem will get knocked out by Travis Browne.  Mark my words!  Browne is a heavy underdog so I am betting on him as well as Pickett.  This is just my opinion, but Browne has one of the smallest heads in the heavyweight division.  Bigfoot's head is 4 times bigger than this guy's head.  It is a tough target for many heavyweights.  I really think Browne will out strike Overeem or just take him down and beat him there.  Browne via 1st round TKO.
  • At first I was very upset that Shogun vs Sonnen was the main event for Fox Sports 1's debut UFC broadcast.  I thought all these other exciting fights could be a better headliner.  It is a fight with little importance for Sonnen, and slight importance for Shogun.  But I have rethought that stance.  Chael is a little bit boring as a fighter due to his Fitch-like wrestling and grinding.  If Jon Fitch was as funny as Chael, he would be everyone's favorite (or least favorite) fighter instead of the hated "boring" wrestler.  Chael shouldn't have trouble taking Shogun to the ground, but Shogun is a warrior.  He has submissions even though he has only won 1 fight that way.  He has great ground sweeps to get top position.  He has powerful kicks and knees to prevent takedowns.  He has 1 thing more than most any fighter in the UFC, heart.  Shogun has been in war after war after war.  He leaves it all in the Octagon.  Many people give him crap for having poor cardio.  I disagree.  He just goes 100% for 5 rounds every time he fights.  His last 2 times in the main event he had a war with Vera that he won in the 4th and a war with Henderson that he lost via a tough decision.  Shogun will have moments on his back being beat up by Chael, but he will make this a war and have moments of his own.  Chael is a bad matchup for Shogun Rua, but this should be just another war for these two.  I think Chael struggles when he is getting hit, and Shogun will punish him for each takedown.  Shogun staggers and finishes Chael in the late rounds.  Shogun Rua via championship round TKO in comeback fashion.

Please people, do not miss these fights.  They will all be incredible.

UFC bonus predictions:
SOTN: Lauzon
KOOTN: McGregor
FOTN: Pickett/McDonald

Predictions entering event: 108/188=57.5%

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