The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

UFC 110 Predictions: Oi

Ultra-late means ultra-short! Blame the excess of other topics in play this week. Also it’s Friday and I’m drinking while writing this, so let’s get asinine.

Arsene Wenger vs. Everyone

Wenger’s lost some hand speed over the years, and…wait…no….

Tracy McGrady vs. Uh…wait…still wrong….

Oh yeah, right, UFC- the sport I actually ENJOY these days. I know I say this almost every month, but this is on paper a pretty good card. The depth is iffy, but there’s 3-5 very interesting fights with title implications and the potential for good action. Plus it’s 2010 and Elvis Sinosic was almost back in the UFC for one fight, so all bets are off- anything could happen on this card.

Main Card

* Heavyweight Bout: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Cain Velasquez

Goddamn tremendous fight, and very hard to pick. Velasquez has not exactly fought a lot of high-level BJJ guys in his career, yet his submission awareness is exactly what this fight is likely to turn on. Nogueira is the better technical boxer by far and has enough pop to sting so if his athleticism and freshness level is closer to the Couture fight mark than the Mir fight mark, he’s likely to out-box Velasquez and force him into taking the fight down. Down there, I have no idea what happens. Nogueira is probably the best heavyweight BJJ guy in history, yet the people at AKA talk about Velsquez as though they expect him to have next to no trouble in the guard- and there’s simply no way of knowing at this point how accurate that is. I think a longer fight favors the younger man with the higher workrate who’s likely to be striking more from top position on the cards, yet the longer it goes the more chances there are for Velasquez to get sloppy. Ironically, the Cheick Kongo fight may have pointed out a flaw relevant to this fight- Velsquez got rocked repeatedly in that encounter which made people question his chin, yet the real flaw he showed was coming in repeatedly looking to throw hands against a superior striker with his head stock-still. That’s a concentration lapse issue much more than a technique or chin issue, and if he has that kind of attention lapse tomorrow he’ll be swept and tapped in 30 seconds flat. Like I said- a goddamn tremendous fight.

I’ll take Nog. It’s a heart-over-head pick, but something about Velaquez’s mental game doesn’t strike me as quite all there yet, and the step up from Cheick Kongo and Ben Rothwell to fucking NOG is scarily large. I don’t think Velasquez has the power to finish Nog, but I think he dominates the fight until he leaves his arm in a bit too long on a punch from top position and “just gets caught.”

* Middleweight Bout: Wanderlei Silva’s New Face vs. Michael Bisping

5 years ago this is a murder scene with flashing lights and sirens and weeping English girls looking almost-hot the way only they almost-can; today… I’m picking Bisping and I feel so dirty doing it. Silva just hasn’t looked good in forever, and while the Franklin fight was close enough to keep him out of the Mirko CroCop Memorial Home For Shot Ex-PRIDE Fighters he didn’t exactly light the world on fire dropping a decision to a man without a weight class and coming off a loss. He still charges guys and hits decently hard, but his chin got left on the plan back from Japan, he’s never fought at 185 before so who knows what the cut will do to him, and he seems on the whole to be slower and weaker than he used to be. When it’s gone it’s gone, and it doesn’t come back usually. Bisping could get whacked quickly in this one and he has had his bell rung in each of his last two fights, but he’s becoming a more complete up and down fighter and he’s noticeably larger than Silva. His game is also likely to work well against Wanderlei- he doesn’t hit hard but you don’t have to to get results against Silva these days, and his movement is likely to be very effective against a reckless charger- certainly more so than a scary stalker like Hendo. Bisping by decision unless he decides to be a hero.

* Lightweight Bout: Joe Stevenson vs. George Sotiropoulos

Likely to be a fantastic action fight, and I’m glad it was made- George S. deserves a chance to take what’s looked like an improved game of late into the cage against a made-man type. That said, Stevenson has looked drastically improved himself since he joined the Greg Jackson Cult and I like him strongly here- he’s a superior standup fighter, maybe VERY superior, and with improved wrestling and solid BJJ I’m thinking he can stonewall most shots or reverse them and just pound Sotir…Soter…Surtir…Georgie-Boy at will, probably stopping him late. They’re very similar guys, but Stevenson’s just better at it.

* Light Heavyweight Bout: Keith Jardine vs. Ryan Bader

A chance to hurt an upcoming prospect expected to beat him? A matchup in which he’s likely to lose and wildly deficient in the other guy’s best area? Coming off a loss in which he looked bad? Jardine should be a lock in this one, the unreasonable bastard. In all seriousness, Bader should win this. Jardine can’t stop his shots, Jardine can’t tap him off the bottom most likely, and Bader should be able to vacuum-seal the Dean’s ass to the canvas and beat him until he’s…uh…glier? And I’m thinking Bader will do it, simply because he seems to be the sort of wrestler-turned-MMA-fighter who’s still all about the wrestling at this stage and hasn’t yet convinced himself that he needs to branch out and do the fighting equivalent of a double live album by trying to become a kickboxer. But if he doesn’t, if his bum knee is still bothering him or he wants to prove he’s a good striker or if he brain locks, then Jardine will kick him to death on the feet. If they spend more than 5 minutes standing in a 15 minute bout, Jardine wins.

* Heavyweight Bout: Mirko Filipović vs. Anthony Perosh

If Crocop can’t beat a late fill-in light heavyweight, he needs to retire. Badly. I think he gets a first round KO here, enough to keep him going. Where to is a different question; can you think of a bout featuring him that you really want to see?

Preliminary Card

* Light Heavyweight Bout: Stephan Bonnar vs. Krzysztof Soszynski

Name recognition to actual success in about a 5:1 ratio in this one. Bonner looked dildos last time out so I’ll take Kazakhstan Sodapopinski by decision. Figure he just drags him down off the fence and holds him, wasting a lot of time going for a Kimura he’s not going to get.

* Welterweight Bout: Chris Lytle vs. Brian Foster

Foster- much younger, better wrestler, probably just takes him down and holds him. I’m rooting for Lytle though.

* Middleweight Bout: C.B. Dollaway vs. Goran Reljic

I am happier than I perhaps should be to see Reljic again, an oddball favorite of mine who hasn’t fought since UFC 84 in May of 2008. The guy I saw last would have choked CB out or pounded him with hard strikes standing, but it’s REALLY tough to pick a guy who’s taken nearly 2 years off. I’ll take CB only and entirely on the theory that the timing favors him.

* Light Heavyweight Bout: James Te-Huna vs. Igor Pokrajac

No pick. I know NOTHING about either of these guys other than that Te-Huna has a background in tag team MMA, which is hilariously non-germane.

It’s a 4 fight card, but all four of those fights are good and one- the main event- could end up being really magical given how different, yet evenly matched, both guys seem to be. I’m looking forward to it, partly because it’s the last show before 111.


February 19, 2010 - Posted by | MMA

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