Who You Got?

Who You Got? (UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya)

The UFC returns to Paradise when the most dominant Women’s champion the world has ever seen defends her belt against a massive underdog 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:

Cat Zingano vs. Ketlen Vieira

Undefeated fighter, Ketlen Vieira, looks to continue her winning streak by defeating former title challenger Cat Zingano. With Zingano being on a small losing streak as of late, this win can be do or die for her at this point in her career. I feel her losing streak will continue as both are known for grappling in their fights, and Vieira being the more superior grappler. Zingano has been taken down a few times in her prior fights while Vieira has defended roughly 90% of the takedowns shot at her in last three fights. To further back up this claim, Zingano is only a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu whereas Vieira is a black belt in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. Zingano is hard to finish, however, so I predict this fight going the distance.

Ketlen Vieira via Decision

Stefan Struve vs. Andrei Arlovski

This can’t possibly go the distance, right? Two heavyweights who are on the brink of irrelevance clash in this main card bout. Somebody is more than likely getting finished, but who? My answer: Stefan Struve. Let me explain. Andrei Arlovski finally picked up a win after a five fight losing streak. He didn’t get the finish but his opponentat the time, Junior Albini, had never been knocked out before then. So it is safe to assume that he is a hard guy to take out with strikes. Meanwhile, Stefan Struve has had a mixed record as of late with his last knockout win coming against the now released and fragile chinned Antonio Silva. His other knockout win before that, however, was against current champion Stipe Miocic. The problem is that it took place all the way back in 2012. So now let’s look at Arlovski’s recent knockout losses that led some to believe he now has a glass chin. Arlovski’s last three knockout losses were to Francis Ngannou, Alistair Overeem, and Stipe Miocic. How unlucky for him to be thrown in against those monsters. This is honestly a coin flip in terms of how likely each fighter is to win since heavyweight fights are always the most unpredictable fights on every card. But looking at Struve’s striking defense compared to Arlovski, I got to go with the ‘Pitbull.’

Andrei Arlovski via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

Sean O’Malley vs. Andre Soukhamthath

The latest thing to come out of the UFC hype machine, Sean O’Malley, is set to fight Andre Soukhamthath in what should be an exciting fight. O’Malley is known for his unique striking style and impressive head movement that has made him a fan favorite. Soukhamthath is also an exciting fighter who has the power to knockout his opponents with either punches or a flying knee. The most significant factor in this fight is going to be both fighters’ striking defense. O’Malley showed, especially in his debut fight, that he is an insanely hard fighter to hit as he moves his head around in all sort of angles. Soukhamthath in contrast to O’Malley has been very hittable in his fights. Although he has never been knocked out, I think this will be the time it happens since O’Malley’s striking is lethal.

Sean O’Malley via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega

Both of these fighters each have large a legion of fans pulling for their fighter to win. Frankie Edgar is known for his impressive boxing and elite level wrestling while Brian Ortega is known for his crazy submission game. Many predict Ortega using his grappling game to submit the former Lightweight Champion. However, I see Edgar using his wrestling to keep the fight on the feet and using his boxing to outstrike Ortega on the feet. Ortega is no slouch on the feet, even though he was largely outstruck by Cub Swanson in his last fight, so I see him surviving the full fifteen minutes with Edgar.

Frankie Edgar via Decision

Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya

This is considered by many a one-sided contest for the UFC title. Not one fighter has been able to even come close to conquering Cris Cyborg. Holly Holm had the best chance of any fighter and even took Cyborg to the distance for the first time since 2008. Yana Kunitskaya is a poor replacement for Holm and will probably not do as well (if you want to call Holm’s performance well). I expect a quick night for Cyborg as she takes care of business as usual.

Cris Cyborg via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

What Happened?

What Happened? (UFC 220: Miocic vs. Ngannou)

Another great night of fights have ended when two of the baddest men on the planet faced off for the heavyweight title in Boston, Massachusetts. Now it is time to see how the fights went down and how my predictions fared at UFC 220: Miocic vs. Ngannou:

Thomas “Thominhas” Almeida vs. Rob Font

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The striking in this fight was super close throughout the first and second round. However, it was well placed right from Rob Font that sent Thomas Almeida stumbling. Font capitalized by going after Almeida and landing a vicious headkick that took away Almeida’s equilibrium. Font finished him off with some ground-and-pound for the win. I though Almeida was going to have the speed advantage in this one, but Font proved me wrong as he was able to land on Almeida and push the pace in this contest.

Winner: Rob Font via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 2

Gian Villante vs. Francimar “Bodao” Barroso

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This went exactly how I wrote it in my predictions. Gian Villante was doing the pressuring while Francimar Barroso was playing defense. Even though Barroso was doing well with his countering, it just wasn’t enough as Villante was able to constantly have him on the cage and advanced for the majority of the fight.

Winner: Gian Villante via Decision

Calvin Kattar vs. Shane “Hurricane” Burgos

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Shane Burgos defense was non-existent in this fight. Calvin Kattar was able to land the jab on Burgos more often than you can count. This really stifled Brugos as he was unable to give much offense in the first round. The pace picked up for Burgos in the second round as he was able land more shots and countered the jab more efficiently. However, in the beginning of the third round Kattar was able to land a big right on Burgos that rocked him. Kattar sealed the deal when he continued with more punched that put Burgos down and ultimately got the finish. Expect Kattar to get a ranked opponent in his next bout after this impressive performance.

Winner: Calvin Kattar via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 3

Daniel “DC” Cormier (c) vs. Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir

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Daniel Cormier did the same thing he does with every powerhouse striker who fights. He stood with them for a moment to test the waters, then he gets the takedown and smashes them on the ground. Although I did pick a submission in the second round, Cormier decided to go with the crucifix position and smash his opponent until the referee stepped in. It was a valiant effort from Volkan Oezdemir, but there was no stopping a determined Cormier who wanted to erase the stench of Jon Jones from him (and it was a vile stench). This cemented Cormier as the undisputed champion at light heavyweight which is what he wanted all along.

Winner: Daniel Cormier via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 2

Stipe Miocic (c) vs. Francis “The Predator” Ngannou

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I don’t think anyone predicted this fight going down like this (if you did then my hat is off to you). Stipe Miocic had the brilliant strategy of tiring Francis Ngannou and bringing him into deep waters (similar to Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman). This was a brilliant strategy as Ngannou gassed as soon as the second round started. Miocic was then able to take down Ngannou with ease. Even though Miocic got hurt a few times from Ngannou’s powerful fists, he was able to get the win by utilizing an age-old strategy against big muscle, powerhouse strikers.

Winner: Stipe Miocic via Decision

Predictions vs. Actual Results:

Here are my prediction results with some interesting stats to go along with it:

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  • 40% of winners picked correctly
  • 20% of predictions were perfect
  • My predictions were crap (this time)
Who You Got?

Who You Got? (UFC 220: Miocic vs. Ngannou)

The UFC returns to Boston when the two baddest men on the planet 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:

Thomas “Thominhas” Almeida vs. Rob Font

These two fast paced strikers will not let this fight anywhere near the judges as you can surely expect a knockout. Thomas Almeida so far has only lost to top contenders Jimmie Rivera and Cody Garbrandt (which is nothing to be ashamed of). Meanwhile, Rob Font is an up-and-comer who utilizes his boxing to wear down his opponents and isn’t afraid to go for takedowns either. The big difference between these two will be speed. Almeida clearly has the faster hands that can surely put Font’s lights out in this one. Font would also be overwhelmed by Almeida’s constant push and ability to stand and trade in the pocket. The ground game is also a no-no for Font as Almeida is a Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Expect a quick win for Almeida via his sharp and accurate punches.

Predicted winner: Thomas Almeida via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

Gian Villante vs. Francimar “Bodao” Barroso

This fight could be sleeper as both Gian Villante and Francimar Barroso are known for their conservative striking approach in the octagon. The difference of the two is that, even though Barroso has a Black Belt in both Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Villante just seems a bit more faster and accurate with his strikes. His striking isn’t always pretty but I feel it will get the job done against the tentative Barroso. Also, Barroso won’t be able to utilize his Jiu-Jitsu because Villante’s takedown defense is superb. Villante does have a chance to get a knockout but I think the fight goes the distance as Barroso will mainly play defense to ensure a knockout from the lethal Villante does not happen.

Predicted winner: Gian Villante via Decision

Calvin Kattar vs. Shane “Hurricane” Burgos

A third striker vs. striker match on this card makes me wonder if the UFC is looking for all knockouts here in Boston. Regardless, this one has two men on impressive win streaks going head-to-head. Both Shane Burgos and Calvin Kattar has utilized their impressive boxing to defeat their foes inside the octagon. Burgos, however, has the greater defense of the two as he is able to roll with the punches thrown at him and also is great at baiting his opponents in to throwing at him so that he can counter. A big question that I have about this fight is ‘who is going to be the one pressuring in this fight?’ This could be the determining factor for ho wins but I still have to go with Burgos who is undefeated and may also shoot for some takedowns if he ever gets in a jam. A finish seems possible, but I think Kattar’s skills should last him to the final horn.

Predicted winner: Shane Burgos via Decision

Daniel “DC” Cormier (c) vs. Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir

I once predicted that Volkan Oezdimir would get a title shot, but I didn’t say he will win it. Daniel Cormier is one of the best wrestlers the UFC has ever seen. I have total confidence that DC will be able to land a takedown on Oezdimir in “No Time.” This will zap the energy right out of Oezdemir as he struggles to get up. This would result in Oezdemir losing his devastating knockout power. He might be able to survive the first, but I predict the second round being where DC puts him away with a submission similar to how DC did against Anthony Johnson (twice).

Predicted winner: Daniel Cormier via Submission in Round 2

Stipe Miocic (c) vs. Francis “The Predator” Ngannou

This matchup is frustrating to pick due to both guys being able to knock each other out. It is all about who is faster on the draw. After watching their footage repeatedly and very closely, I have to go with Francis Ngannou on this one. My reasoning is that Stipe Miocic has been to hittable in his fights where as Ngannou has been great at defense. Miocic can definitely put anybody down with his hands but I feel he will have to eat a few shots before it happens. And if those shots come from Ngannou, then I do not see a clear path for victory. Then again, Miocic does have an impressive wrestling pedigree that can put “The Predator” on his ass. However, I see this being only to stall as I don’t think he can keep Ngannou down or do enough damage from the top. So in the end, I see Ngannou putting Miocic to sleep via one of those devastating nukes he calls fists early in the fight

Predicted winner: Francis Ngannou via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

What's Going On?

What’s Going On? (Jan 14th – 20th)

A whole new week means a whole new set of MMA news and events that needs to be discussed by yours truly. So let’s get right into it with some interesting topics for this week:

Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov is on!

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The fight that the MMA world has been waiting for is finally upon us as Tony Ferguson is scheduled to face off against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223. The big question is whether or not it will be for the interim or actual UFC Lightweight Championship. If it is for the real belt then that means Conor McGregor will be stripped a second time due to inactivity. And if for some reason the fight is for the interim belt, then Dana White will once again go back on his promise (shocker) and the fans will more than likely be upset due to McGregor not defending his belt for almost two years.

Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes?

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This is probably the biggest women’s fight the UFC can make. Dana White has expressed interest in making the matchup happen, but Cris Cyborg seems uninterested in the matchup. Cyborg’s reason is that both fighters are from Brazil and she would rather not fight someone from her own country. Amanda Nunes on the other hand does not seem to care about this fact and would love to have the champion vs. champion fight anyways. Regardless, I would love to see this matchup just like every other sane human being.

Michael Bisping says no to fighting Vitor Belfort

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In their first encounter, Vitor Belfort (who may have been juiced to the gills) gave Michael Bisping his lazy eye by kicking his face into oblivion. Bisping has despised Belfort ever since and has become a strong advocate against steroid usage. Belfort called for this rematch to happen with Bisping responding by saying there is a “zero percent chance” it happens. This is another blockbuster fight that would be big especially in Bisping’s home country of England. Plus, Bisping would have a chance to avenge his loss against Belfort. If he really thinks Belfort only won because of testosterone replacement therapy, then he should have no problem beating him in a rematch with both men clean.

Paige VanZant breaks arm in fight

In Paige VanZant’s last fight against Jessica-Rose Clark, she broke her arm sometime in the first half of the fight. VanZant as able to continue fighting and went on to lose a decision to her opponent. Even though this is valiant and makes her one tough chick, it still does not excuse her coaches for letting her continue fighting. VanZant can clearly be heard telling her coaches in between round 2 and 3 that she had broke her arm and yet they let her continue fighting knowing this fact. I feel this is irresponsible and could have caused VanZant’s arm to be damaged even more and potentially beyond repair.

Cynthia Calvillo fails drug test

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Hot, young prospect Cynthia Calvillo failed an in-competition drug test for marijuana metabolites for her fight against Carla Esparza at UFC 219. Marijuana usage in MMA is a controversial one. While there are many reasons why marijuana should be legal in MMA, the NSAC still has it as an illegal substance. Therefor all fighters must abide by these rules and regulations. There should be no reason to not follow these rules as doing so would just cause a suspension from the commission. Calvillo shouldn’t have taken it knowing thee guidelines and will thus face the price for it. Still, I hope this rule is changed in the near future.

Other News: