Saturday, February 1, 2014

UFC 169 Picks

It must be amazing to watch Jose Aldo and
Renan Barao spar every day at the gym together.
Unfortunately Dominick Cruz had to pull out of the main event and vacate his title, but UFC 169 is still one of the best cards ever.  I fully expect this to be the "Event of the Year" despite not knowing what the rest of 2014 holds.  Aldo and Barao train together and are both in the pound for pound best conversation.  They both have tough tests in addition to other awesome fights.  Here are my predictions for UFC 169:

Fight Pass Prelims:
  • Gasan Umalatov is making his UFC debut as a relative unknown, but Neil Magny has struggled in his UFC career thus far and I see that trend continuing.  Umalatov via decision.
  • Rashid Magomedov and Tony Martin are also not on my radar but I know Rashid has a win over top Bellator featherweight Frodo Khasbulaev.  I take Rashid via decision.
  • Clint Hester is a monster and Andy Enz is going to realize this quick.  Hester via 1st round KO.
FS1 Prelims:
  • Al Iaquinta is taking on undefeated Kevin Lee.  I believe Al is just hitting his stride and will make quick work of Lee.  Iaquinta via KO.
  • Tom Watson is a great fighter and entertainer.  He is taking on Nick Catone who is returning to middleweight after an 0-1 stint at 170.  Watson via decision.
  • Danny Martinez and Chris Cariaso are very talented flyweights and I have to admit I am torn on this one.  But I think Martinez is going to squeak by with a split decision.
  • John Makdessi is fighting outside of Canada for just the second time ever.  Although his first United States trip ended in a loss, I see him getting a big win against Alan Patick in Jersey.  Makdessi via TKO.
  • Abel Trujillo looked like a man possessed in his win (wins?) over Roger Bowling.  Varner has had an up and down career but I don't think Saturday will be one of his good nights.  Trujillo via decision in what could be Fight of the Night.
  • John  Lineker missed weight originally but made it in the second attempt.  That keeps him in somewhat good graces with the UFC and keeps his flyweight title hopes alive.  Personally I would like him to move up to bantamweight but it seems he is set on staying at flyweight.  His opponent Ali Bagautinov is no joke either.  Lineker (kind of) won the weigh in battle yesterday, and I think he will win the fight tonight.  Lineker via vicious KO yet again.
  • Alistair Overeem has some of the best striking in the UFC but has a glass chin.  There is a very good chance Mir hits that chin and knocks him out.  However, in Mir's fights win Daniel Cormier, Josh Barnett, and Shane Carwin he was beaten up against the cage.  Holding people against the cage and pounding them to death is Alistair's specialty.  Because of this I am going against my hatred of the Reem and the knowledge of his glass chin and taking Alistair Overeem to win via TKO.
  • In the first of 2 title fights, Jose Aldo will take on Ricardo Lamas.  I applaud the UFC for scheduling Jose Aldo with the toughest opponent out there rather than the most marketable opponent.  Lamas is unknown to the casual fan, but the hardcore fans know what he is capable of.  He is not the most active fighter but he makes noise when he does get scheduled.  Honestly, I am more worried about Aldo losing to Lamas than I was against the Korean Zombie or even Frankie Edgar.  Lamas has sneakily good striking and is a powerful wrestler.  His ground and pound is very nasty as it was seen against Erik Koch.  He is an elite talent, a scary dude, and is not intimidated by the aura surrounding Jose Aldo.  One way or another, I see this fight ending in the first 2 rounds in violent fashion.  Will Lamas beat the hell out of a seemingly invincible Aldo?  Or will Aldo use his ridiculous skill set to neutralize the power of Lamas and take home another W?  I will always pick Aldo but I do have to admit I am less confident in him today than ever before.  Despite being a -750 favorite, I think Aldo has his hardest fight ever in front of him.  Nevertheless, Aldo via 2nd round TKO.
  • Renan Barao and Urijah Faber went at it once before where Barao won a decision over Faber.  Urijah has really hit his stride since them under the tootilidge of Duane Ludwig.  Although Faber looked better than ever in 2013, especially against Michael McDonald, he still has the best bantamweight in the world standing across from him.  Renan Barao has it all and will continue to dominate in the foreseeable future.  Again, I think the odds are favoring Barao more than they should, but I think Barao should be victorious again.  Barao via decision again.
2014 picks: 14/24=58.3%

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