The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Ultimate Finale Predictions

Keeping it short this time, as it’s pretty much a B level show.

Matt Hamill vs. Jon Jones

I really like this fight, because we’re going to learn a hell of a lot about just how good a prospect Jones really is. Hamill is a big, tough, strong fucker; he hits hard, he can wrestle, he’s not afraid to get hit, he can take a shot (his lone KO loss, and lone loss, was off a body kick), he’s only been beaten once and that by a former titlist in Rich Franklin, and he goes out there to beat guys. He’s limited by iffy quickness and athleticism, which keep him good enough to always be a step below the real top guys and a step above everyone else. If Jones can beat him- especially if he finishes- then we may have a real phenom on our hands. Jones, meanwhile, is absolutely ripe for a fight like this: So far he’s shown superior athleticism, wacky and unorthodox pro wrestling-meets-Uriajah Faber offense, and an ability to go in as an underdog and beat name fighters convincingly. He’s got confidence, and that counts for a lot in this sport. What he doesn’t have just yet is a signature win; even the Stephan Bonner fight doesn’t quite resonate at that level, given that Bonner appears to be in something of a free-fall at the moment and while he’s been a star, he’s never quite been respected as a top fighter. Hamill isn’t a top guy either per se, but he’s known as a gatekeeper of sorts to that status.

I have trouble picking this one. Hamill should win on paper; he’s so big and strong that even if the technique were equal you still have to favor him to out-wrestle Jones, and it’s hard to throw spinning elbows off your back. He’s the safer and more logical pick. And yet- Hamill at times of late has looked like he’s been in the early stages of Wang’s disease, eschewing wrestling in favor of trying to be a kickboxer. He’s had some success; his head-kick decapitation of Mark Munoz is one of the year’s best knockouts. If he tries to kickbox Jones though, he’s going to be at a massive quickness deficit. They say timing beats quickness which could work for or against Hamill- it’s hard to time someone as odd as Jones, but at the same time if you can you can do some real damage with counters- Jones throws some strikes with an enormous lead-time which take him out of view of his opponent, and which put him at risk every time of being hit with a shot he doesn’t see. Ultimately, I suspect this is the kind of fight a 22 year old Jones loses but which will help make him into a fighter at 27 who would win a fight like this easily. Hamill by decision.

Frankie Edgar vs. Matt Veach

Frankie goes to the winner’s circle here, as he’s really a colossally underrated fighter in many respects. Veach is a latish replacement for Batman Pellegrino thrown in above the level of his previous competition only on necessity, and while he’s undefeated he’s also not fought anyone near the level of Edgar. Edgar should be sharper on the feet and equal in wrestling, and will likely just outbox Veach for the full 15, stopping a few shots in the process. UFC better hope so too, because after BJ Penn murders Diego Sanchez next weekend they’re going to need guys like Edgar and Grey Maynard to step up next.

Roy Nelson vs. Brendan Schaub

Schaub was taken down in just about every one of his TUF fights as I recall, and Nelson has been taking guys down as well. The difference is that once Nelson gets a guy down he tends not to let them up, and that’s about what I expect here- Roy takes a 2nd round KO victory with his usual crucifix noogies.

Houston Alexander vs. Kimbo Slice

The professional and unprofessional versions of the exact same fighter. Kimbo pitty-pats far more than is often noticed which will make it hard for him to take advantage of Alexander’s chin issues, and he’s certainly not going to overmatch him on the ground. Let’s say Alexander KO 1.

Darril Schoonover vs. James McSweeney

Loathsome matchup here. I usually come away from TUF hating everyone involved in it, a sensation which is if anything more acute this year, and even by those standards I really dislike these guys- or at least the way they were portrayed on the show. I don’t think either of them are going anywhere, but I’ll take Schoonover in this one on the theory that he’s probably just more talented and will be able to get it down and do work there. Mostly I just hope this doesn’t make TV.

Marcus Jones vs. Matt Mitrione

Jones kills me, because if he had come into this sport 10-15 years ago he could have been an unholy terror. As it is, at 35, by the time his skills catch up to his size his athleticism is likely to have begun packing up, if it hasn’t already. If he can take Mitrione down and hold him there he’ll kill him dead, although his standup is so iffy that he may not get to that point. Still, I’ll take him by armbar.

Justin Wren vs. John Madsen

Blah. It’ll be all wrestling and never make TV. Wren seems more well-rounded and looks more like a human being, so let’s take him over sleepy alien-head by decision.

Brian Stann vs. Rodney Wallace

Wallace’s last three fights were all in Aruba. I don’t know what they means, yet it’s vaguely unsettling all the same. Stann is pretty much a standard issue Blast Thickneck kickboxer, but he’s also on the bubble and more or less fighting for his job in this one, so I’ll take a desperate man over a guy who spent the last year sipping drinks with umbrellas in them between pummeling hobos.

John Howard vs. Dennis Hallman

A sleeper, here. I like this fight. Howard is one of those guys who doesn’t have overwhelming ability or skills, but he comes to fight and goes after guys and is pretty solid in all areas. Hallman’s 34 now and missed all of 2008 due to drugs suspensions and whatnot. I’ll take Howard by decision, although he leaves openings and he could well get caught in a triangle or armbar from the bottom.

Mark Bocek vs. Joe Brammer

Looks like a grapplefest. I’ll take Bocek; more experienced, higher pedigree at BJJ, used to the UFC atmosphere where Brammer is a debutante.

Whether this show is good or not is really going to depend on what makes TV. Some of these fights could be a lot of fun, some are near-certainties to be appallingly bad, and some could go either way. If they push the TUF guys too hard and show, say, Wren and the alien, this could be a long evening; if they just look to show the best fights this could be understated fun. Really the most important thing they can do to be honest is to push the hell out of next week’s PPV- by all accounts Tito and Forrest did numbers (350,000) which are good in isolation but a total bomb relative to expectations for that fight, so they’ll need all the help they can get to avoid Penn and Sanchez turning that into a trend.

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December 3, 2009 - Posted by | MMA

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