What Happened?

What Happened? (UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya)

Another great night of fights have ended when the baddest woman on the planet defended her belt in Paradise, Nevada. Now it is time to see how the fights went down and how my predictions fared at UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya:

Cat Zingano vs. Ketlen Vieira

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Cat Zingano has hit a major slump in her career that continued tonight when she faced off against expert grappler Ketlen Vieira. In the fight, Vieira used her superior Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo to neutralize Zingano and control her for all three rounds (just as I predicted. Zingano had a chance to rally back in the final round but was too late in trying to get the finish. Vieira could see herself getting a title shot in the very near future while Zingano needs to change something fast or her best days may have been long gone.

Winner: Ketlen Vieira via Split Decision

Stefan Struve vs. Andrei Arlovski

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Although I picked Andrei Arlovski to win this fight, the manner in which he did was surprising to me and most viewers. The stand-up fight between the two were even throughout the fight, but what helped Arlovski gain the upper hand was his ability to take Stefan Struve to the canvas. As was noted by the commentators of the fight, Arlovski got more takedowns in this fight than he did in his entire UFC career. This was a pleasant surprise as it shows he is able to mix up his arsenal to get the win. I doubt Arlovski can avoid getting knocked out by the killers at the top of the division but he definitely has a chance now. Struve, meanwhile, needs some new guidance because his style does not work anymore. He has only been Surviving on his height which can only get him so far.

Winner: Andrei Arlovski via Unanimous Decision

Sean O’Malley vs. Andre Soukhamthath

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One of the best performances of the night and one of the worst performances of the fight. Sean O’Malley dominated Andre Soukhamthouth with his superior striking skills. He nearly got the finish in the first but became too wild to get it. Around the third round it looks like he was just going to ride out an easy decision, until he hurt his leg on a botched head kick. Soukhamthath had to ability to finish his opponent but instead of standing with the one-legged man, he decided to take him down and hold him there until the round was over. Are you kidding me? He had a golden opportunity but showed low fight IQ in that moment by going for the takedown instead of the knockout. Absolutely ridiculous decision-making from a young fighter. O’Malley on the other hand needs to continue to develop because his takedown defense will be something future fighters will look to test in his future fights.

Winner: Sean O’Malley via Unanimous Decision

Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega

UFC 222: Edgar v Ortega

This had to be the biggest shocker of the night. Frankie Edgar was known for being an incredibly hard guy to finish due to his ability to keep the fight on the feet and his superb boxing. However, Brian Ortega was on a mission to capture the UFC Featherweight Championship. He got one step closer to doing that in this fight as he was able to counter one of Edgar’s patented rushing attacks with a straight elbow to the face. This seriously hurt Edgar, until Ortega was able to drop him with a vicious uppercut and then followed it up with a brief ground and pound for the win. Edgar has nothing to be ashamed of here in his first knockout loss. He lost to one of the brightest stars in the UFC today that many are considering a future champion. As for Ortega, he has all the makings of a champion but still needs to go through Max Holloway to get the illustrious title.

Winner: Brian Ortega via Knockout in Round 1

Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya

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Another dominant victory for Cyborg as she dismantled Yana Kunitskaya in this fight. Kunitskaya got hurt immediately in this fight after an overhand punch from Cyborg connected. She then reacted by taking Cyborg to the ground and taking the back of the champion. The momentum quickly went back the other way as Cyborg was able to escape that position and then did what she did best. She blasted Kunitskaya with multiple punches until her opponent turtled up for her to get the victory. Cyborg has got to be the hardest puzzle to crack in MMA right now as nobody has come even close to beating her. Hopefully a rightful challenger presents themselves. As for Kunitskaya, there is always the Bantamweight division waiting for her. It’s her choice.

Winner: Cris Cyborg via Technical Knockout in Round 1

Predictions vs. Actual Results:

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

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  • 80% of winners picked correctly
  • 40% of predictions were perfect
  • Best prediction percentage since UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2
  • My predictions were so close to perfect (thanks Ortega)
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 Next?

What Next? (UFC 212: Aldo vs. Holloway)

Fighters do not always like to think what fights they will be in next after feeling the relief of finishing their last fight. The fight game is neverending, however, and so I list ouf the best outcome for the winners and losers from the UFC event that shook Rio de Janeiro up.

Erick Silva

The many wars that Erick Silva has been in may have attributed to his loss this past Saturday. He is still a fan favorite and should look to win against a slightly lower tier fighter in Luan Chagas who won on the early prelims of the same card. Chagas deserves the oppurtunity to fight a bigger name such as Silva and I hope he gets it plus it would be a fun fight to see since Silva always puts on exciting matches.

Next opponent: Luan Chagas

Yancy Medeiros

After taking out Erick Silva, Yancy Medeiros will be wanting to face off against a ranked opponent. That may not come just yet since most of them are pretty busy at the moment. So he should face another welterweight trying o become ranked. Peter Sobotta fits that description. Both men have finished there last opponent via KO/TKO in the second round which makes it sound even more like a good idea.

Next opponent: Peter Sobotta

Oluwale “Holy War Angel” Bamgbose

Oluwale Bamgbose is still a dangerous force in the middleweight division and needs to learn from this loss in order to improve as a fighter. A match against jiu-jitsu expert Antônio Carlos Júnior could do wonders for him. He may not do well if he is taken down by Júnior but the fight always starts on the feet where Bamgbose will have an advantage. This is an old fashion striker vs. grappler matchup.

Next opponent: Antônio Carlos Júnior

Paulo Borrachinha

It was impressive for Paulo Borrachinha to get the stoppage againsst a man who has stopped his opponents in all of his victories. This also shows that Borrachinha is not just a first-round-knockout-or-bust fighter. He took minimal damage in this fight and should fight someone who has done the same. My pick for him to fight is Nat Marquardt who has also fought on this card. Although Marquardt did not win to the judges, many believed he won in a great performance against his adversary. This would be a fun matchup as both men have great power and wrestling.

Next opponent: Nate Marquardt

Nate “The Great” Marquardt

See Paulo Borrachinha’s next opponent above for full details.

Next opponent: Paulo Borrachinha

Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort

Although it is highly unrecommended, Vitor Belfort is going to continue fighting in the UFC. He just barely beat an unranked Nate Marquardt in a controversial decision victory it is questionable whether or not he would want to face a ranked opponent. I’m just going to assume he would want to face a ranked opponent next. If he is looking for easy matchups then I could give an endless list of fighters for him to face. Instead, I’m going to match him with the most competitive he can get. David Branch seems appropriate. He is a former two division WSOF champion but put on a boring fight a few months back that he won by decision as well. The two are close to eachother on the ranking, making this match make all the more sense.

Next opponent: David Branch

Karolina Kowalkiewicz

Karolina Kowalkiewicz just revealed a massive Achilles’ heel in her game: her ground game. She needs to go back to the drawing board and develop that portion of her skillset. Her next opponent should be Jessica Andrade who just fought for the title in a losing effort earlier this year. Both are coming off high profile losses and should look to bounce back with a win over the other.

Next opponent: Jessica Andrade

Claudia Gadelha

This one is very complicated but bear with me. Claudia Gadelha has shown that she is the guaranteed second best strawweight in the UFC. She has stated that she does not want to challenge for the title yet and that she wants Rose Namjunas to challenge first. If this happens then Gadelha should definitely challenge the winner for the title. But if for whatever reason the UFC does not pull the trigger with Namajunas then Gadelha and Namjunas should face eachother for the title shot.

Next opponent: Rose Namajunas/Winner of Rose Namajunas vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk

José Aldo

Poor José Aldo was on top of the world and it all came crashing down. But contrary to what some are saying online, he is far from done. Aldo can certainly get back his title if he takes out a top contender to earn himself a title shot. For now t all depends on his health after suffering that beating in his last fight. If he wants to get back in there quickly then Ricardo Lamas is the perfect pick since his opponent, The Korean Zombie, pulled out of their contest at UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2. If Aldo wants to take a bit of time to recuperate then his matchup should be with Cub Swanson who is also waiting as of now. I do not usually make picks like this but with Aldo it will be determined on what he wants to do.

Next opponent: Ricardo Lamas/Cub Swanson

Max “Blessed” Holloway

The logical choice for Max Holloway’s first title defense is the current top contender, Frankie Edgar. He has shown why he is one of the greatest of all time when he dominated Yair Rodriguez earlier this year. He had a great showing against José Aldo but ultimately came up short. Holloway may end up being a better matchup for him. This could be Edgar’s last chance to win that elusive second UFC championship.

Next opponent: Frankie Edgar

Who You Got?

Who You Got? (UFC 212: Aldo vs. Holloway)

The UFC returns to Rio de Janeiro when the two best featherweights on the planet go head to head in a title unification bout 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:

Erick Silva vs. Yancy Medeiros

This fight is a bit tricky to analyze so let’s look at what we know. Erick Silva is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. He also wins most of his fight by submission. Yancy Medeiros has only lost once by submission and wins by either knockout or submission mainly. Silva does not get submitted so by logic this fight should end with Medeiros knocking out Silva. I’m going to go with this because I feel any guess is a good one at this point. I’m also going to guess that this will end in round two due to Silva having great toughness but also havinng a weak chin. So it’s in the middle round for me. Predicted winner: Yancy Medeiros via Knockout/Technical Knockout Round 2

Paulo Borrachinha vs. Oluwale “Holy War Angel” Bamgbose

Paulo Borrachinha has won all of his fights in the first round by knockout. That alone makes it a safe pick. However, let’s give Oluwale Bamgbose a chance here. All of his wins are also first round knockouts but has suffered defeat twice. His only knockout loss is to knockout artist Uriah Hall. This is actually closer than people will think but I still have to go with the safe pick here. Predicted winner: Paulo Borrachinha via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort vs. Nate “The Great” Marquardt

This is going to be a barn burner right here. Two guys with knockout power going at it is something that MMA fans and casuals alike all love to see. For this fight, I have to go with the living legend that is Vitor Belfort due to Nate Marquart showing that he is able to b knocked out early in a fight. Belfort can also get knocked out quickly but usually against much more high-level strikers. Plus you throw in Belfort’s ground game and it spells a satisfying end to what might be the last fight for “The Phenom.” Predicted winner: Vitor Belfort via Knockout/Technical Knockout in Round 1

Claudia Gadelha vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

This is going to be an exciting matchup that may take fight of the night honors. It features two of my favorite female fighters in the UFC going at it for a potential title rematch against Joanna Jędrzejczyk. This fight is going to be looked at as a striker vs. grappler contest which are always fun to watch. I normally go with the grappler in the UFC and I’m going to do that with this fight. I see Claudia Gadelha taking Karolina Kowalkiewicz down to the mat like she did with Joanna. This will cause her to win at least two out of the three rounds, but I don’t see her getting the finish. Predicted winner: Claudia Gadelha via Decision

José Aldo (c) vs. Max “Blessed” Holloway (ic)

This will, without a doubt, be the toughest title fight to predict this year. In one corner you have José Aldo who is the greatest featherweight of all time due to his quickness and ability to land almost every strike he throws with precision. Plus he has some of the most vicious leg kicks in the sport. Then you have Max Holloway who is extremely tough to finish and has shown some impressive striking with his reach advantage going into this fight. Taking all of this into account, Aldo is the favorite for a reason. He has dominated the division for over a decade until his sudden defeat by Conor McGregor. Since then he has came back with a win over Frankie Edgar to reclaim his title. Max Holloway has also suffered his most recent defeat to McGregor and has since went on a 10 fight win streak. Still, I have to go with Aldo because of the fact that his only loss in the UFC is by a guy who has some serious knockout power. Holloway took some time to put Anthony Pettis away after Pettis had a broken hand. I do see Holloway’s toughness forcing this to go to decision though. Predicted winner: José Aldo via Decision