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UFC Fight Night Florian Vs. Gomi Predictions

Yep, there’s another one. Total forgotten show, this. Buzzless.

Main Card

* Lightweight bout: Kenny Florian vs Takanori Gomi

Promotional sidebar for a moment: I really do not understand this matchup at all. Gomi means the square root of fuck-all in the US and UFC doesn’t do meaningful business in Japan, so their goal presumably has to be to develop Gomi into a star for their domestic market. So why is he in a main event first time out, when he’s no buys currently? And why put him in there with Florian of all people? KenFlo is an extremely dangerous opponent who has an excellent chance of beating Gomi possibly in brutal fashion, thus blunting his momentum straight out of the gate and relegating him to secondary contender status alongside Clay Guida et al. What does that achieve? I doubt UFC out-bid the Japanese promotions for whom Gomi is much more valuable in order to use him as a midcarder. I’d have rather seen Guida vs. Gomi which A) would have gotten a lot of eyeballs on Gomi in his debut, B) would have been a hell of a fun fight, C) would have been a much more likely Gomi win, D) would have been less of an issue if Gomi lost since a win for Guida is at least as useful if you ever want to try and use him for a PPV title shot someday, and E) shouldn’t have been too hard to make since both guys would have reasons to take the fight and both ended up fighting within a couple of weeks of each other anyway. I can only assume this is a case of the Zuffa hierarchy getting a hard-on for a mythic matchup involving an ex-PRIDE guy which they can finally put on (possibly to prove a point long since proven about PRIDE vs. UFC), and not thinking through the situation fully.

Anyway, to the fight. I like Kenny Florian pretty strongly in this one, for all the obvious reasons: Gomi’s had a couple of bad upset losses of late and reputedly hasn’t looked much like the fighter he was in his prime, he’s 31 in a lighter weight class, it’s been a while since he faced what you’d call top-flight competition, he’s an ex-PRIDE guy coming to America with all that entails, he’s not used to the cage and facing a guy who knows well how to use the cage to his benefit, etc. etc. The Florian of today vs. the Gomi of 5 years ago would be a hell of a fight, but the current Gomi just has too many factors working against him in this matchup for me to pick him. There’s also the sense that Florian for all his faults is a continually evolving MMA fighter who’s added to his game, while Gomi has been drifting for a while and hasn’t meaningfully developed from what he was in PRIDE. Florian gets the RNC in the third.

* Heavyweight bout: Roy Nelson vs Stefan Struve

This is going to look like the number 10 trying to commit suicide. I feel sorry for Struve in some ways; there have been times in the past where the UFC would have killed for an interesting young heavyweight prospect who creates exciting fights like him to come along, and now that he’s here he’s stuck behind three other guys who all have better credentials than him in Carwin, Velasquez and Dos Santos- JDS even has a KO win over Struve. Heck, in a way this even applies to Nelson; while he’s a decent and legitimate enough fighter his appeal as an attraction is as the freak show fat guy, and he’s finally broken through to the UFC at a time when UFC already has Kimbo Slice and James Toney occupying the top ranks of the freak show roster above him. This is how Struve and Nelson end up as the semi-main of a forgotten and overshadowed Fight Night card instead of being used in more prominent positions. Timing is everything.

As for the fight, I like Nelson. Struve’s stand-up is what people who don’t like Jon Jones think Jones’ is, wild and undisciplined with gigantic defensive holes in it, and Nelson is a compact and disciplined type who should be able to counter-punch Struve to death especially as the Dutchman tires and starts to stand right in front of Nelson. The only way Struve wins a standing battle is if he shows a previously unseen ability to use his height and length to maintain range and take advantage of Nelson’s bad defensive habit of covering up and going into a shell when he sees a strike coming. It’s possible to technically out-strike Nelson by moving, maintaining distance and using a jab to freeze him, but that takes a lot of precision and conditioning to do consistently for three rounds. Struve’s not there yet, I think. Nelson KO 2.

* Lightweight bout: Ross Pearson vs. Dennis Siver

A strangely intriguing fight given how improved Pearson looked last time out against Aaron Riley. Riley’s a solid journeyman type and Pearson abused him badly on his way to a second round TKO, showing much more precision and power than he did on TUF. That improvement also makes this one a bit hard to predict; is Pearson a young fighter getting better, or a guy who took advantage of a journeyman deficient in his area of expertise to look better than he really is? My general TUF matchmaking rule applies here (“TUF guy vs. non-TUF guy on a Spike TV live card means UFC thinks the TUF guy should be favored”) and Pearson did have very brief moments where he looked contender-ish against Riley, so what the hell, let’s say he wins a back-and-forth decision. Breaks my heart to pick against a German.

* Middleweight bout: Nate Quarry vs. Jorge Rivera

Quarry, KO. Nate looked bad by his standards last time out against Tim Credeur, but he’s facing a 38 year old who went to a split decision with Nissen friggin’ Osterneck two fights back- a guy whose stand up apparently consists of head-butting the other guy’s fists. Fun as long as it goes.

Preliminary Card, AKA “dudes too boring or unknown to get onto UFC 111’s card”

Full disclosure: I’ve written like 4 preview posts in the last week already and I don’t have a great handle on half these guys. None of these are picks I’m at all confident in except Torres/Volkmann.

* Lightweight bout: Andre Winner vs. Rafaello Oliveira

Figure UFC is doing this to get Winner a… victory… so let’s go with him by decision. Fun fact: Oliveria apparently fought someone named “Wigman Big Big” twice, as well as a “Fabio Fabio”. Frankly, I’m kind of sad that he won.

* Lightweight bout: Jacob Volkmann vs. Ronnys Torres

I like this one. Torres impressed me last time out against Melvin Guillard- I thought he could have gotten the decision from some judges. He did a good job both on his feet and on the mat in that one before getting worn down by the pressure of a superior striker. Volkmann is not a superior striker and has lost two on the bounce (the last of which he was finished in), but he is a larger man coming down from 170 to debut at lightweight which may give him some physical advantages over Torres. Still, a first time cut has unpredictable effects and Volkmann seemed to panic and fight thoughtlessly last time out- I get the sense that he may be a case of a formerly undefeated fighter losing his confidence after a first lost. I’ll take Torres by submission- a Guillotine in the first.

* Lightweight bout: Rob Emerson vs. Nik Lentz

Rob Emerson’s surprisingly entertaining and memorable gatekeeper career continues. He’s done about as well as a guy who started his career 0-4 could hope to, fighting all over the world in many notable promotions against recognizable fighters, and doing quite well for himself despite being roughly .500 as a pro. Lentz won his first UFC bout and drew his second, and I assume he’s in here with Emerson to see if he’s the kind of prospect who’s truly ready for the big time now, or if at 25 he still needs a bit of seasoning. I’m betting he’s ready and will use his wrestling to get the decision here.

* Lightweight bout: Caol Uno vs. Gleison Tibau

So this is that Godzilla remake they’re talking about, right? Tiny Japanese guy against giant foreign monster? In any case, while this could be a stinker it is the kind of fight I wish we got more of on these shows sometimes, just for a change. Uno is Uno, a rugged 14 year veteran wrestler who’s seen just about everything in this sport at one time or another, and can largely be counted on to perform at his given level every time out. Tibau is the mystery- he’s been in UFC more or less non-stop for 3 and a half years since debuting at UFC 65 in a loss to Nick Diaz, and in that time he’s fought a string of recognizable names at 155 to a roughly .500 mark. He’s 26, gihugic for a the weight, trains with a great camp in ATT, and yet… somehow he’s never put it together to where you think there’s a meaningful run for him in the offing at lightweight. He’s reaching the point in his career where he’s either going to spring past the level he’s stuck at (somewhere between Josh Neer and Joe Stevenson), or end up pigeon-holed permanently as a gatekeeper. He needs to be able to beat a Caol Uno. I think he’ll be able to since it’s a decent stylistic and a great athletic match up for him, but I have little confidence in this pick.

* Middleweight bout: Yushin Okami vs. Lucio Linhares

A get-well fight for Okami, as Linhares is old and doesn’t have the style to beat Okami anyway. Decision, probably. Sigh.

* Middleweight bout: Gerald Harris vs. Mario Miranda

Interesting little fight. I’ll go with Harris; I’m a sucker for a big athletic wrestler who can hit hard. Real hard in this case.

* Welterweight bout: Charlie Brenneman vs. Jason High

High? Ya.

Should be a fun little show, although it’s a bit of a twinkie- tasty and fun but lacking in much real value. You’ll enjoy it and come away without any strong urge to see any of these guys again immediately, most likely.

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March 31, 2010 - Posted by | MMA

1 Comment »

  1. You nailed the KenFlo fight!

    Comment by Tony M | April 1, 2010 | Reply


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