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30 June 2011

UFC 132 Preview and Picks

The strangeness that was UFC LOV4 brought me down to a 13-6 lifetime pick record, but I think this is going to be a big event for me, it's certainly a decent card for the buyers around.

As is seeming to be the standard, all the unaired prelims will be broadcast live on Facebook. I think this is a great thing for the fans and clearly demonstrates that the fan base is enough that they feel comfortable putting a free event on so often without it diluting their PPV buyrates that much.

Several eras of success are on the card, with Tito, Wanderlei, Faber, Condit, Bowles and Cruz all holding either WEC or UFC gold dating back to the early aughts. Looking down through my picks I see this as being a bad night for the old guard and and bold step into the future of the art of fist to face.

**Post your own picks in the comments and if you beat mine you will get a special prize**

Dominick Cruz (c) v. Urijah Faber
For whatever reason, I never found myself in the Faber wave; he's too pretty, too butt-chinned, too spacey and just not interesting to me. He's shown a mean guillotine and a strong RNC but not a lot else I enjoyed. That being said, Cruz fights with a decision as the goal and that infuriates me to no end. As far as I am concerned a decision win is somewhere between a draw and a no contest, and I think they should treat them like a countout in pro wrestling (as in title can not change hands on), but I digress. This is an intellectual exercise, so though I will cheer for a finish most of all, I see Cruz winning on points after 25 frantic, ineffectual minutes. Boo.

Wanderlei Silva v. Chris Leben
This is a fight I would rather have seen closer to Silva's last fight, but what can you do? As is they have a similar way of throwing big power hooks from the hip, as well as more than enough time on the mats to handle themselves well enough. I see them trading punches often, but ending in clinches, greco-roman clinches with Leben taking it against the cage and landing a big power shot on the fence that puts down the legend in the second round. This is another one where I will be cheering for something other than my pick, as I would love the see Silva go on a run and get an expedited title shot, but I just can't see him taking this one.

Tito Ortiz v. Ryan Bader
Assuming Tito hasn't broken his neck or his femur or some other such bullshit, I think we'll finally see an end of his lying, cheating self in the cage. Bader is better at everything that Tito was ever good at; Bader is younger and faster; Tito is a lying, cheating douche-bag.

Carlos Condit v. Dong Hyun Kim
Mark this one down for the younger, more boring generation, sneaking in the backdoor with pseudo-wins and boring decisions. Kim is a suffocating grappler that is so afraid of losing he refuses to try and win. He doesn't advance position or try and secure submissions, nor does he strike effectively standing or on the ground. Condit however is a raging bull of muay thai and submission attempts. I will be cheering for Condit here but I can't believe he will win.

Dennis Siver v. Matt Wiman
This is finally one where I think the guy going for the finish will actually be able to get it. Dennis Siver has mean kicks and tight boxing, with great body shots setting up big power shots. Wiman will come in bigger and trying to muscle out an ugly fight but I think Siver will catch him coming in and finish the fight, either tko, or strikes to a submission, in the second.

Melvin Guillard v. Shane Roller
If nothing else, Guillard's move to Jackson's MMA has put him with people that can keep him focused and working on a cohesive gameplan for a fight. His boxing is devastating and his hips are too str4ong and too fast for Roller to take control of. Look for Guillard to put him away early, and make a case for KO of the night.

George Sotiropoulos v. Rafael dos Anjos
Simply put Sots has more tools in the box. His muay thai is tight and technical and his jits are very strong. The troubles he has had have been in scoring the takedown, but I think his punches will force dos Anjos to pull guard. Sots is best from side-control, where he moves to mount very well. In either position he is very good at isolating an arm. He sometimes rolls for it before it is tight enough, but I think he'll walk away with the submission of the night in the first round of this exciting fight.

Brian Bowles v. Takeya Mizugaki
Brad Tavares v. Aaron Simpson
Anthony Njokuani v. Andre Winner
Jeff Hougland v. Donny Walker

28 June 2011

UFC Live On Versus 4 Scores and Review

What a weird event that was. I planned on having this out on Sunday, but after all that's happened I think it was best to wait until I really understood it before I expunged unto the world that which I have gleamed.

We never got the Johnson fight to which we had expected. But then the sky fell on the UFC in Pittsburgh when Nate Marquart was still over the maximum allowable limit  of testosterone to fight. He has since claimed that his amount was trending downward and that a test taken the day of the fight was well within the prescribed tolerances. By that time, of course, he had been fired b/c of Dana White's "disgust," despite claims that everyone, the Commission and the UFC knew of his HRT and his closeness to the limit as the fight drew near.

Besides that we had my favourite lightweight prospect, Charles Oliveira's brilliant 6 minutes, more of the dynamic striking and manic grappling aggression that thrills me, tarnished by a few tenths of a second in throwing a clearly illegal knee. The ref should have seen it and stopped the fight, and they could have decided if Lentz was able to continue being beaten by Oliveira. I think he might have been able to, but there absolutely needed to be a stoppage to assess his condition. I suspect it will be overturned tomorrow, and turned into a no-contest. Still, Lentz was losing and Oliveira was looking great. In fact, their 6:48 of fighting was better than any other fight on the card, at least as far as UFC cash bonuses go.

Besides that, Pat Barry KO'd Kongo twice before taking a KO himself. I think they both should have gotten KO of the night. And Joe Stevenson is way worse at being Frankie Edgar or Clay Guida, with the hyperactive head movement, than either of them. Probably worse than a lot of people. They should cut him.

Since the current official result of Oliveira/Lentz is a submission to RNC, I am sitting at 6-2 for the event, and 13-5 for the two events thus far. Tomorrow I will have my picks for UFC 132, and look for a podcast preview show too.

Here are the links to my Score sheets of the fights that went the distance (remember these are my scores, not the official scores):
1. Matt Brown v. John Howard & Charlie Brennemen v. Rick Story
2. Joe Stevenson v. Javier Vasquez & Tyson Griffin v. Manvel Gamburyan
3. Charles Oliveira v. Nik Lentz & Daniel Roberts v. Rich Attonito

24 June 2011

Turning People into Diamonds

First let it be known that I am of sound mind, and make the following intentions known so that my will may be obeyed.

I was watching the penultimate Law & Order(prime) episode the other day and the victim's wife had a habit of turning her dead husbands into Diamonds. To conclude the episode she sent ADA Rubirosa a pair of diamond stud earrings made from the deceased.

I, as always, wish to take this a giant step forward and request that at whatever cost necessary my remains are to be made into the largest single diamond, or as many large diamonds as is possible, and they are to set into a large titanium mace, with gold engraving. And said mace is to be a true and reliable weapon of war so that it may last through the ages, handed down to Robinsons for all time, to be wielded in the defence of ideals (mace wielding begins at 1:40) I hold dear, and present for the joys of everyday life.

21 June 2011

UFC Live On Versus: Picks and Notes

I went 7-3 the last time I tried this picking winners thing, and I've been around enough to know that better than 50% is not bad at all. Coincidentally, that was UFN 22, also with Marquart on the Marquee. Since then Nate The Great lost another title eliminator to the current Middleweight Contender, Yushin Okami, and finds himself fighting at 170 lbs for the first time in his UFC career against the surging Rick Story, himself fresh off a win over Welterweight contender Thiago Alves. 

This card originally had Anthony "Rumble" Johnson welcoming Marquart to the weight class, a fundamentally more interesting fighter then Story. Whether it's the weight behind his punches, or behind his belt, eye pokes, injuries, broken promises to bang, etc. an Anthony Johnson fight has interest behind it. With Story though we get no surprises, no intrigue, just a tough kid that comes to fight with everything he has, wrestling ugly fights, dragging guys that may have more skill into a mess that they can't see or get out of.

This card is geared really two ways: the hard-core fans will have one of their guys on the card, with cult faves like Charles Oliveira(WAR), Daniel Roberts, Joe Lauzon, Matt Mitrione and Pat Barry throwing down, and non-fans flipping through the free channels will see two Heavyweight bouts with three kickboxers between them, or Matt Brown and John Howard trading bombs, or Nate and Story doing whatever that clusterfuck is gonna produce.

That being said here are my picks for UFC Live: Marquart v. Story

*Nate Marquart v. Rick Story
I always thought that Marquart looked like a big Middleweight but all reports seems to indicate that this was not a tough cut for him, that he wasn't far off to begin with. If that is the case I think he's going to be too big for Story to drag him into the kind of fight Story needs it to be in order to win. Marquart has still landed the nicest combination I have ever seen in an MMA fight against Wilson Gouveia at UFC 95, and if he feels secure enough at this weight that he can really unload with his striking again I don't know who can beat him. As such I look for him to finish this fight via R3 TKO.

*Cheick Kongo v. Pat Barry
This is not a pick I like making, nor one I would stake much more than a beer on. Both hold wins over Cro Cop and Antoni Hardonk while in the UFC. Kongo's last five fights read like this: TKO with punches, out-wrestled by now Champion Cain Velsquez, out-struck and then tapped by Mir, then he out-wrestled Paul Buentello and got into the ugliest of wrestling matches with Travis Browne, where he gave away the decision by repeated cheating. If Barry were much better he'd be the easy pick, if he were much worse then Kongo would run away with it. And so I am stuck trying to guess at what will happen when the bell rings. Best I can figure Kongo will think the kickboxing is a wash and will then go for a takedown and ground and pound as in the Buentello fight. These guys may trade strikes, or Barry's work with Lesnar and other's may make him able to keep this standing, in which case it's a pick 'em fight. I dunno, but I'm taking Kongo in a decision.

*Matt Brown v. John Howard
There are lots of ways to fight, more particularly lots of styles of striking, but these two both fight willing to eat a shot in order to deliver one. And they'll give and take big shots all night. Both are tough as nails, neither have an ounce of quit and I don't doubt that this will be the best fight on cable Saturday night. Howard has the better technique, better leg kicks and more power, and I have to take him in this one, either R3 TKO or split decision.

*Matt Mitrione v. Christian Morecraft
For me Christian Morecraft will always be fighting with a deficit because of the awful tattoo across his belly. Yes, your name is Morecraft, and jugning by the font, the Morecrafts are a Gothic people, preferring cavernous castles and rainy mountains to anything normal or appropriate. That he was unable to put away Stefan Struve, despite landing several clean shots, does not bode well for MoreKraft(dinner in ma' belly!) and I look for Mitrione to show movement and land leg kicks through the first and put him away with punches in the second.

*Tyson Griffin v. Manvel Gamburyan - Manny will have a rude awakening for a depleted Griffin, making his Featherweight debut. I think he will find that the Strikeforce Lightweight division would have been more welcoming.
*Joe Stevenson v. Javier Vasquez - In Joe Stevenson I see a fighter whose strong BJJ overwhelms lesser grapplers but cannot put away elite grapplers like Vasquez. See above for advice re: Strikeforce Lightweight division.
*Joe Lauzon v. Curt Warburton - Besides being a friend of a friend, Lauzon can look like a beast and I think Warburton will be unable keep up.
*Daniel Roberts v. Rich Attonito - Cesar Gracie Jui Jitsu mo'fuckers. Or something like that. Roberts will be too dominant wrestling and with submissions.
*Charlie Brenneman v. TJ Grant - I have to take the Canadian over the Pros vs. Joes vet.
*Nick Lentz v. Charles Oliveira - The first MMAUFC 118 in Boston where Nick Lentz had the worst victory I have ever seen. At least they had the decency to call Shamrock v. Severn a draw. If he cannot score the takedown he has no recourse, and if he can score the takedown he still has no recourse. And Charles Oliveira is a joy to watch, aggressive and technical off his back and fun to watch on his feet.
*Ricardo Lamas v. Matt Grice
*Michael Johnson v. Edward Faalolto

18 June 2011

Live Blog of School of Hard Knocks 12

I will be posting updates of all the pro and amateur bouts in this space tonight, starting @ 1900!

Gabriel Dugan v. Josh Eggie - Amateur
Round 1:Fast pace as they trade punches for the first minute. Dugan gets the td and takes the back. With both hooks in he goes for the rear naked choke. Switches to body triangle but Eggie defends well. At the 10 sec clapper Dugan switches to arm bar and fights for it until the bell.
I score it 10-9 Dugan

Round 2: They meet in the middle again, but more cautious this time. Eggie is looking to counter while Dugan is landing single strikes. Eggie starts landing combinations along the cage. And again. Dugan shoots a few times but Eggie is landing combos to the bell.
I score it 10-9 Eggie

Round 3:More of the same as Eggie tries to land strikes and Dugan is trying to take it to the ground. Dugan drops for td but is stuffed. Dugan pulls guard and reverses. Eggie reverses again at the bell.
My score is 10-9 Dugan, but The Rinside Official give Josh Eggie the split decision. It was a close fight.

Brett Currie v. Lane Daychief - Amateur
Round 1: Currie is clearly looking for the td right away and Daychief is fighting it off. Currie gets him down, but only for a second. He gets him down again but Daychief instantly throws his legs up for the triangle. It's tight and he uses it to get on top, and then move to mount at the bell.
I score it10-9 Daychief

Round 2:Currie goes for the td but ends up on the bottom. Daychief moves to mount and sets up an arm triangle, then a key lock. It's tight and Currie taps.

MacKenzie Senger v. Andrew Blackplume - Amateur
Round 1:Bloodplume throws a leg kick then drops for the td, he gets it but MacKenzie is back up. Bloodplume takes him back down but gives up his back in the transition. MacKenzie secures the RNC and the tap out @ 50 seconds.

Dean Livingston v. Kevin Houston - Amateur
Round 1:They both meet in the middle and touch gloves before unloading on eachother, rights and lefts, head and body shots. Livingston lands a huge left uppercut to the body and drops Houston. The ref steps in and the fight is over: Livingston earns the tko @ 37 seconds.

Aaron Morton v. Laurence Maves - Amateur
Round 1:Maves comes out throwing kicks, high and low, and big power punches. Morton catches a kick and gets the td; he moves right to mount tight against the cage. He doesn't have room to work though. He loosens up enough that Maves tries to scramble out, but only ends up giving up his back and the rnc. Maves taps.

Tyler Kniess v. Patrick Ward - Amateur
Round 1:Ward starts the round throwing and nearly gets caught because of it. Kniess drives in hard for the td, but is reversed against the cage and Ward gets the td. Ward moves through from 1/2 guard to north-south a and back to 1/2 guard. Ward goes for and gets the key lock and the win.

Scott MacDonald v. Travis Halmrast - Amateur
Round 1:They start cautious on the middle trading low kicks. Lot's of circling and throwing punches. Macdonald lands a big right hook that drops Halmrast. Mac on top with punches to the body.
I score it 10-9 Macdonald

Round 2:Halmrast is bleeding to start the second round. They trade flurries before Halmrast lands. But then Mac lands before a stoppage due to a low blow. On the restart Mac gets a td and starts working right away for a kimura from side control. Halmrast avoids it and they stand. Mac tries a spinning back kick that misses and Halmrast clinches and lands a knee to the body at the bell.
I give the second same as the first, 10-9 Macdonald

Round 3:Halmrast is the fresher looking man for round 3, but Mac is still landing with power. Mac gets the td against the cage and moves into mount. He is working for an arm triangle but can't secure it. He end the round on top, landing punches to the body.
I scored it the same all three rounds, 10-9 Macdonald. The Officials give Scott Macdonald the unanimous decision.

Elias Theodorou v. Tanner Tolman - Pro
Round 1:Theodorou opens with a big kick and follows up with punches and a td attempt. Tolman reverses though, and is on top throwing punches from guard. Tolman elbows as Theodorou goes high with the guard. Tolman takes the back and gets both hooks in, getting very close with the rnc, but Theodorou defends very well. They stand and Tolman lands punches while Theodorou gets in a knee. Tolman gets a big slam but is reversed and Theodorou starts the gn'p. Tolman spins and gives up his back, then again right into full mount with his left arm trapped. Theodorou lands a huge elbow and follow up punches as the ref stops it @ 3:49.

Jeff Larkin v. Sumeet Gill - Pro
Round 1:A very tentative start as they circle and throw single strikes. Larkin clinches up and presses against the cage. Gill tries to reverse but eats an elbow and a knee for it. Gill finally reverses and they separate. Some more careful single strikes before Larkin again takes it to the cage. Gill drops for the td, then gives up and punches before dropping again, and finishing the td. He punches the downed foe before backing away. Larkin stands, clinches and again takes it to the cage. They separate and trade. Larkin punches to the sternum. Gill shoots but misses and eats some punches. They trade until the bell.
I score it 10-10

Round 2:Gill lands first when they finally engage. Gill shoots a weak td attempt. Nothing. Larkin almost has a kick caught but Gill can't capitalize. Gill shoots another weak shot and pays for it. In a scramble Larkin ends on top, on the ground. He moves to mount and throws. Gill spins and gives up his back. Larkin lands punches and Gill spins again into mount. Larkin starts throwing and landing until the ref stops it.

Charmain Tweet v. Ronda Rousey-Women's Pro
Round 1:Rousey wants the clinch and the Team Gokor rep gets it, but it's Tweet that secures the takedown. Tweet does a good job rolling through to get the back, but Rousey stands quickly. They trade punches, Tweet landing cleaner hooks until Rousey clinches again and nails a huge, high-angle head and arm throw, and moves right into mount, where she grabs an arm, rolls for the bar, and takes it home for the quick tap.

Matt Krayco v. Lee Palichuk - Pro
Round 1:Krayco shoots hard for the td right after the bell. He gets Palichuk down in his own corner and moves right to side control and the kimura on the left arm. He gets it quick but there is a tense struggle against the cage before he has the leverage and the tap.