Friday, March 18, 2011

UFC 128 Predictions

 I really hope nobody reads these and then makes bets based on my predictions, then again that would mean people read what I write so I think I am good on that front, because at UFC 127 I went 1-4 on the main card with my only correct prediction being Kyle Noke beating Chris Camozzi.  So I am looking to rebound this Saturday and it shouldn't be too hard as aside from the main event the PPV card is filled with fights that I feel are a little one-sided.

I know that Dana White has to be thrilled that Jon Jones walked all over Ryan Bader and was able to step in and take this fight against Shogun after Rashad Evans got hurt.  Ever since Jones stepped into the Octagon he has been pegged as "the next big thing in MMA" and Dana knows he can market the hell out of this kid and hopefully stop the revolving door of champions at Light Heavyweight.

This is a stack ass card from top to bottom and I am real pumped for it and even more pumped to go 5-5 in my predictions so here they are:

Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (19-4) vs. Jon "Bones" Jones (12-1)

When this fight was first announced Jon Jones was going off as a 4-1 favorite.  Now that a few weeks have passed the line has come down quite a bit and sits at 2-1 for Jones.  While Shogun is the champion and the more proven fighter I completely understand the betting line here.  Jones is undefeated (that loss against Matt Hamill is complete BS and everyone knows it) and just came off a complete manhandling of previously unbeaten Ryan Bader.

Add that to the fact that no fighter has ever been this hyped before by people within Mixed Martial Arts.  That's what worries me about Jones.  Normally when a fighter is hyped up it is by the UFC itself or fighters from within the same camp but with Jon Jones its literally everyone talking about how insane this kid is.  They all talk about him like he is the LeBron of MMA and is ready to explode on the scene and just dominate the 205lb division for the next 10 years.

Shogun on the other hand is being greatly overlooked.  He is still young in his own right, just 29, and has beaten some of the best fighters in the history of MMA.  His muay thai is insane and he has the most devastating leg kicks in the UFC.  He does struggle a little bit with wrestlers but being that he is Brazilian he came out of the womb knowing how to submit someone so if the fight goes to the ground look for Shogun to remain active rather than lay there and absorb elbows like people think he is going to do.

One of the other great abilities Shogun has is his ability to handle "unorthodox" strikers.  Before he fought Lyoto Machida there were people out there who thought Machida might never get hit again as his elusive and defensive style made him appear invincible.  Yet both times they fought Shogun was able to close the distance and really bring it to Machida eventually knocking Machida out in their second fight.  So I don't think he will have a problem handling Jones' style on the feet.

Where Shogun may have a problem is with Jones' insane reach.  Jones has the longest reach in the UFC and uses it to his advantage.  If he can keep Shogun at a good distance and avoid leg kicks then he should be able to dictate where the fight takes place and if he feels Shogun is too dangerous on the feet he can always fall back on his wrestling background and just take him down.

Where I think this fight really gets decided is in the clinch.  Both of these fighters are great in the clinch as they both employ a lot of muay thai in their attack so whoever can dominate the clinch game will win the fight.  If Shogun can inflict some damage in the clinch and eliminate the reach advantage of Jones then he will pull it out but if Jones can overwhelm Shogun with his superior length and maybe a trip or two via the clinch then its his fight to lose.

The crazy thing is that Jones has obviously never been finished and I have a hard time seeing Shogun getting knocked out by anybody yet at the same time the odds of two exciting fighters like these guys going to a decision must be nonexistent.  I want Shogun to win I just see more ways he loses the fight than ways where he can win.  Jones may be less experienced and may be facing an extreme jump in competition but he seems focused and determined.

Prediction: Jones via Submission

Urijah "The California Kid" Faber (24-4) vs. Eddie Wineland (18-6-1)

Finally Urijah Faber gets to make his debut in the UFC.  For a long time he was the poster boy for WEC and the only reason anyone ever watched one of their events (until Jose Aldo came around and started killing people and getting compared to Anderson Silva).  Now he gets to step into the Octagon and become even more of a household name but in order to do so he has to get by a self proclaimed, "corn-fed hillbilly from Indiana."

Eddie Wineland may not be a household name but he isn't just some dustbag the UFC brought over from WEC just to get beat up.  Wineland is a solid well rounded fighter, although his ground game fails in comparison to Faber, who prefers to stand and has proven in the past that he has knockout power.  A lot of people are viewing him as a stepping stone and an afterthought since its rumored that the winner of this fight will be a coach on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter alongside Dominick Cruz but Wineland has talent.  I mean he did beat Antonio Banuelos.

As for Faber he is as well-rounded as they come and the drop down in weight seems to have suited him perfectly.  By the way I love how in the Countdown show they never showed him losing to Aldo and he never mentioned how he dropped weight to avoid fighting Aldo ever again.  My buddy Josh called him out on this and I somewhat agree but I understand it.  Why would anyone want to be a Middleweight knowing one day they might have to fight Anderson Silva?

Despite Wineland being a legit fighter he is still not on the same level as Faber.  Faber will no doubt look to take this fight to the ground and finish Wineland convincingly.

Prediction: Faber via TKO

Jim Miller (19-2) vs. Kamal Shalorus (7-0-2)

Before George Sotiropoulos fought Dennis Siver I thought he should have fought Jim Miller to determine who the #1 contender for the lightweight championship should be.  Instead Joe Silva matched both of these guys up against fighters who pose a huge challenge for them stylistically.  This was done for 1 of 2 reasons.

1) My theory that the UFC picks and chooses its champions based on their marketability and charisma seems to be gaining steam as fighters like Jon Jones are given title shots without beating top tier talent while guys like Jim Miller are given tough fights that will neither move them up the rankings or get them closer to a title shot. There is no way Jim Miller gets a title shot if he beats Shalorus but if he loses he will need to win at least 2 more fights to get back to where he is now, on the fringe of the title picture.

2) Joe Silva and the UFC wanted to put these two guys against tough fights stylistically to see how good they are against adversity.  Can they game plan well and can they overcome the odds and change their style to beat a tough opponent.  GST failed in his test and now has to work his way back up the ladder.  Will the same happen to Jim Miller?

If you look at Miller's 19-2 record you will see that his only 2 losses came to Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard who are both superior wrestlers.  Shalorus is a superior wrestler to Jim Miller and so if you look at track record you pick Shalorus to win this fight.  I think Jim Miller might be able to adapt better than GST did against Siver and prove that he can beat superior wrestlers. Plus that home crowd in Jersey will be behind Miller and you can never discount that.

Prediction: Jim Miller via Decision

Nate "The Great" Marquardt (30-10-2) vs. Dan Miller (13-4)

Gotta respect Dan Miller for stepping up and taking this fight on almost no notice.  He was scheduled to be on the card anyways so he was physically ready but no way he was mentally ready to fight a guy like Nate Marquardt.  Then again Dan Miller could have 12 months to prepare for Nate and still get murdered.

This is Marquardt's last chance to go on a run and try and win the Middleweight title.  He can't afford to lose anymore fights and have to start at the bottom all over again.  He was supposed to fight Akiyama but because of the tsunami/earthquake in Japan that fight got canceled and Miller stepped up.  Marquardt is the official 'Jack of all trades yet master of none' in the UFC as he exemplifies well rounded but doesn't stand out anywhere in particular.

Dan Miller on the other hand exemplifies a duster.  He beats mediocre fighters (see his last win over Joe Doerksen) and loses to anyone with real talent (see previous 3 loses to Chael Sonnen, Demian Maia and Michael Bisping).  I see no way he wins this fight unless Marquardt has a massive heart attack right after the opening bell sounds.

Prediction: Marquardt via TKO

Brendan "The Hybrid" Schaub (7-1) vs. Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic (27-8-2)

I don't like Brendan Schaub.  Never have and probably never will.  Something about him just really pisses me off.  Another thing that pisses me off is that I didn't watch PRIDE during the height of its popularity therefore I have never seen Cro Cop just decapitate somebody with a head kick.  So I am pulling for that tonight and hoping Schaub never wakes up.

Having said that...

Chuck Mindenhall of ESPN put it best when he wrote, "As much as Cro Cop would like to file that Frank Mir fight away as an aberration, the truth is he has slowed down increasingly over the last three years, looking older than his 36 years. Meanwhile, Schaub is just coming into his own, and as he makes his way up into heavyweight contention, this fight will just be a handshake in the stairwell as they go in their own directions."

Prediction: Schaub (but hoping for that left leg to the dome)

Random YouTube Video

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

soooo good