Who You Got?

Who You Got? (UFC Fight Night: Jacare vs. Brunson

The UFC returns to Charlotte when a submission specialist and a knockout artist contest in a rematch in the main event of the evening. Here are my picks and predictions for how all of the main card fights of the night will go down:

Drew Dober vs. Frank “The Crank” Camacho

This is going to be a fun one as two men who love to strike battle. Although Frank Camacho does have a decent Jiu-Jitsu background, I don’t see it being used as much here unless Camacho was able to somehow take Drew Dober down (or drop him). But here, I see Dober being the victor because of his knockout power. Both will probably stand a trade in the pocket which will result in Dober taking Camacho out with his Muay Thai strikes.

Predicted winner: Drew Dober via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

Jordan Rinaldi vs. Gregor “The Gift” Gillespie

Here we have another fun fight (mainly because of Gregor Gillespie). Jordan Rinaldi loves to push the pace and lunge at his opponents with striking combos. However, he as only fought so little in the last two years and can be very hittable at times. Gillespie, on the other hand, is a top-tier wrestler and can stand and bang with the best of them.This can leve him open to getting caught, however, but that may also lead to him getting a knockout early on. In the end I see him using his wrestling to grind his opponent and then getting the finish late in the fight.

Predicted winner: Gregor Gillespie via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 3

Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez vs. Andre “Touchy” Fili

This night is just full of fun fights. Both men here have the ability to knockout the other, but I see this one actually going the distance. At first, I was leaning towards Andre Fili getting the victory (especially since his teammate, Darren Elkins was able to beat Dennis Bermudez). However, I think Bermudez is going to use his wrestling to pressure and then land strikes every now and then on the feet to wear down Fili. Or a crazy knockout will occur, who knows? Still I see Bermudez getting the decision victory.

Predicted winner: Dennis Bermudez via Decision

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Derek Brunson

This is a tough one to pick. In their last encounter, Ronaldo Souza knocked out Derek Brunson in the opening minute. Times change, however, as Brunson has shown great improvement in his striking. Jacare will have a hard time trying to knock him out. Also, Brunson is a superb wrestler, so taking him down is even harder. Jacare won’t be able to use his Jiu-Jitsu and his striking might not be enough to get the job done. I see Brunson getting the knockout win in this rematch similar to how Robert Whitaker was able to take Jacare out in their last fight.

Predicted winner: Derek Brunson via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 2

What Happened?

What Happened? (UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi)

Another great night of fights have ended when two knockout artists faced off in a featherweight bout in St. Louis, Missouri. Now it is time to see how the fights went down and how my predictions fared at UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi:

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Darren “The Damage” Elkins vs. Michael “The Menace” Johnson

Darren Elkins was able to pull off another epic comeback when he faced off against former lightweight Michael Johnson. First he had to weather the storm of “The Menace’s” quick and heavy hands in the first round that left his face bloodied up. Although he was stuffed a few times in the first, “The Damage” was able to get Johnson down to the ground in the second with a perfectly timed takedown and get the rear naked choke for the victory. This must be disheartening for Johnson who was looking to make a splash in the featherweight division. His striking was still pretty crisp and should only look to improve his grappling moving forward. Meanwhile, Elkins has shown that he is a serious threat to anybody in the division and will be looking to face a top ranked fighter in the future.

Winner: Darren Elkins via Submission in Round 2

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Kamaru “Nigerian Nightmare” Usman vs. Emil “Valhalla” Meek

Kamaru Usman decided to take the safe route in this one when he pressured Emil Meek with his impressive wrestling and grappling to get the decision victory. Had the “Nigerian Nightmare” stood and tried to strike with “Valhalla” then he would more than likely have been able to score the knockout victory. This could have brought him more fans and given him better favorability among Dana White. I still think his performance was awesome due to the number of takedowns he was able to score that slammed his opponent to the mat. Meek should, obviously, look to improve his grappling so that this does not happen again.

Winner: Kamaru Usman via Decision

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Paige “12 Gauge” VanZant vs. Jessica-Rose Clark

Paige VanZant’s UFC career has been frustrating to watch I must admit. Every time it looks like she is improving she ends up going back to doing the same thing she has done in almost all of her fights. For instance, that headlock takedown that she uses to throw he opponent over her back and onto the mat has been used by her in just about every fight I have watched of her (I dare you to watch her previous fights and prove me wrong). This takedown is very ineffective though which make me very upset that she still uses it. It almost always gives her opponents her back which is EXACTLY what happened in this fight at the very beginning. Then she has the audacity to try that flying switch kick multiple times against Jessica-Rose Clark just because she was able to get a knockout from it against Bec Rawlings. It just made her too predictable. I’m curious if Team Alpha Male is a good fit for her because I have seen little improvement from a fighter that shows a lot of potential. As for Clark, she was able to do everything she needed to do to beat VanZant. Her grappling and top control was enough to win the first two rounds and then in the third round (with VanZant’s arm being broken) was able to keep VanZant at bay with her boxing. Clark is getting somewhat of a following especially with this win so it will be interesting to see how she does against possibly the champ or another top contender in flyweight (if there are any)

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Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens vs. “The Korean Superboy” Doo Ho Choi

Now we know who da fook he is. Stephens came in and did what he needed to do to silence the haters (and contards) by dismantling fan-favorite Doo Ho Choi. The fight was pretty close in the first round with (in my eyes) Doo Ho Choi winning the round arguably. The second round was where “Lil’ Heathen” was able to get “The Korean Superboy” closer towards the cage wall. This is where Stephens excels at since his ability to pressure fighters with his striking and great power. This is what got him the victory as he dropped Choi with an impressive right hook and then followed up with ground and pound for the victory. Stephens needs to ride this momentum to make this his year. He usually falls short against top contenders so he must continue to improve in his striking defense and grappling that usually leads to his downfall. Choi on the other hand needs to stop using his chin as an excuse for poor striking defense. He has just been too hittable in his prior fights.

Winner: Jeremy Stephens via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 2

Who You Got?

Who You Got? (UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi)

The UFC returns to St. Louis when two precise featherweight strikers go head to head in the main event of the evening. Here are my picks and predictions for how all of the main card fights of the night will go down:

Kamaru “Nigerian Nightmare” Usman vs. Emil “Valhalla” Meek

Here we have two guys who would love to (and more than likely will) score a knockout of the night. Kamaru Usman has been on a warpath as of late winning ten in a row with half of those wins being knockouts. Emil Meek on the other hand had an impressive debut against Jordan Mein when he was able to get a decision win in his opponent’s home territory. I expect Usman to get the win here with his pressure and right hand power against Meeks crazy swing-for-the-fences style. Since I see Meek getting hit a lot in the opening round, I expect one of those shots to put him away making it a quick night for the “Nigerian Nightmare.”

Predicted winner: Kamaru Usman via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

Paige “12 Gauge” VanZant vs. Jessica Rose-Clark

The hype train the is Paige VanZant moves up to the flyweight division where she takes on fairly new Jessica Rose-Clark. VanZant’s relentlessness will help he trough this fight as Rose-Clark is a great technical fighter who will make this a close fight. The way I see this fight going is VanZant using her cardio and takedown attempts to edge out a decision. Rose-Clark likes to throw down on the feet and only gets top position through reversals and sweeps when taken down. VanZant’s top control is good enough to help her grind towards a decision.

Predicted winner: Paige VanZant via Decision

Uriah “Prime Time” Hall vs. Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort

Darren “The Damage” Elkins vs. Michael “The Menace” Johnson

Sadly Uriah Hall vs. Vitor Belfort had to be taken away from us due to Hall’s weight cutting dilemma (I even had to rewrite this prediction now). So instead Darren Elkins and Michael Johnson will fill in the main card slot.  This is going to be another brawler vs. technical striker (similar to the Usman vs. Meeks bout above). The difference being Elkins constant takedown attempts he does in every fight. However, Johnson is a superb wrestler and more than likely stuff Elkins takedown attempts. Meanwhile, on the feet I expect Johnson to outstrike the ever tough Darren Elkins towards his first win in the featherweight division by a decision.

Predicted winner: Michael Johnson via Decision

Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens vs. “The Korean Superboy” Doo Ho Choi

Finally it is main event time as we see an extremely close matchup that the matchmakers have gifted us with here. I was leaning towards Doo Ho Choi to win this for the longest time but decided to go with the veteran in Jeremy Stephens to get the victory. His ability to pressure and counter at the same time has been so impressive. Choi’s striking has been good but has been hit too many times while on the back foot or when pressured (see his fight with Cub Swanson for example). Takedowns won’t be an issue here either as I expect both to stand and trade with one another. This will lead to a huge win for Stephens which may end in a knockout but I see a decision as the more likely since Choi has such a great chin.

Predicted winner: Stephens via Decision