Saturday, January 24, 2009

Affliction: Why Do Bad Things Happen?

Saturday, Affliction, a company dedicated to charging you as much for one shirt as Target would for 10, will be attempting to bankrupt itself yet again by participating in a business that has nothing to do with their on. Nevertheless, it is an appealing card. Gather 'round the radio kids. Ring in the farm hands, here are my picks.

Speight vs. Cooper: Would you like me to pretend that I know anything about these two? OK. Speight has a decent jab but lacks power in his right hand. That is unfortunate because Cooper is a lefty with good movement. Neither man has good takedowns, despite Speight's black-belt in judo. Both have stamina for miles so expect a fairly boring decision featuring a stand-up tactical battle. Nothing I just said is true, to my knowledge. But it will go to a decision.

Duarte vs Rios: I don't know so much about Duarte but what I have seen, I like. He has a solid guillotine and is good at taking the back. Rios is no slouch. But is prone to the decision. I think Duarte subs him in the 2nd.

Davis vs. Quach: I am interested in Quach. He has fought some big names in Shooto. Fought them and lost. Still, I want him to do well. Davis, on the other hand, is actually doing well. He has a really solid record and a varied method of victory. I think he is a little to explosive for Quach and controls him for the decision.

Hieron vs. High: This is a fight I want to see. Hieron is reputed to have the best striking at Xtreme Couture. You never know how far to take gym talk, but the guy is built long and has a pretty good record in the IFL to back him up. He lost in the UFC, but he had some heavy opposition (GSP). Hieron gets the KO in round 1.

Matyushenko vs. Nogueira: Lil' Nog is undergoing a bit of a resurgence lately. Keep in mind that his record is already 15-3, so he was never that down. I like Nogueria a lot as a fighter. He is much like his brother in his toughness and solid striking/grappling combination. What he doesn't have is Matyushenko's top flight MMA wrestling and control. I see Matyushenko controlling him from the top as the crowd boos shamefully and ignorantly. Matyushenko pancakes out the decision.

Green vs. Lauzon: I am a Lauzon fan. These guys are scrappy, like the kid who got bullied until he went nuts and took out everyone. Lauzon has deceptively powerful, if not pretty stand-up and a squirrelly grappling game that features leg-locks and good movement on the bottom. I call Lauzon by sub in the 2nd.

Buentello vs. Sidelnikov: They call Sidelnikov "Baby Fedor." I call Buentello "Grand pappy" because he has been fighting since Sidelnikov's parents were waiting in bread lines. Buentello is generally underrated as a fighter. He is good. He is good enough to beat most everybody, just not the people who count for moving you up the ladder. His striking is compact and technical; it should serve as a good antidote to Sidelnikov's wild power. The thing about wild power however, is that you only have to connect once. I see Buentello winning on a short crisp hook in the 3rd. KO.

Sobral vs. Sokoudjou: I would rather see both of these guys win, but that isn't really possible, now is it? Maybe it is and they will both get Affliction t-shirts. Sobral's athleticism is seldom extolled. Probably because he is built like the chunky guy who hangs around at the tiki bar down by the beach. But he is very gifted. He is also gifted with one of the best nicknames in sport. "Babalu" Is a brand of bubblegum in Brazil that comes in a red wrapper. Chubby Sobral used to wear the same red shorts to practice all the time so they hung that one on him. Sokoudjou is a judo champion who has redesigned himself as a punching machine. He has also showed little of his initial promise recently. Sobral will struggle to get the takedown and absorb some punishment, but the striking will be a back and forth affair. At some point in the 3rd, the fight hits the ground and Sobral wins by sub.

Belfort vs Lindland: Both of these guys fighting styles are personifications of themselves. Lindland fights decidedly unpretty and conservative. He drags his opponents into his game. Wears on them. Slows them down. And outlasts them. Belfort fights as pretty as he is, and almost as vapid. No one was more exciting than Belfort when he first emerged as a lighting quick heavyweight striker and jiu-jitsu black-belt. He lost the plot somewhere along the way and shows up as consistently as a drunk uncle. I love Belfort, but the magic is gone. Skill remains, but Lindland sucks out other's skill like some suck the marrow out of bones. Lindland takes this to decision.

Barnett vs. Yvel: Barnett is one of my favorites and one of the best heavyweights in the world. While he might not look like the best athlete you have ever seen, he is one of the best. His stamina is top notch. His catch wrestling genius is undeniable. Barnett’s striking is also top-notch. Yvel is 100% as crazy as he looks. He relies on explosive Muay-Thai to run through opponents. When that fails he disconnects his frontal cortex and goes straight up medulla oblongata. Barnett takes him down and wrenches off a leg in the 1st setting up a showdown with Fedor amidst Affliction's bankruptcy hearings.

Fedor vs. Arlovski: A fight is a fight and anyone can win. You have to realize though that Fedor is a special talent. He isn't another fighter that has some gifts and works hard. He is a Barry Sanders or a Hank Aaron. He is Mickey Mantle before his knees went out or Prefontaine before the car wreck. The guy is a once in a generation talent. I am an Arlovski fan. I very much enjoy his fights. I appreciate the time he is putting in boxing and I think his sambo base is to easily forgotten by some. But...But, when we are talking about Fedor, we are only talking about what percentages one has not to lose. I give Arlovski a 25% chance. The only thing concerning me about Fedor is that he was in Thailand working on some movie for the last few months. That makes me nervous. I imagine Arlovski will try to land combos from the outside and move. He will probably put kicking and clinching off of his menu. That being the case, Fedor will throw him to the ground at some point, and there will really be no answer. Fedor can be cut. If Arlovski can work the jab on Fedor's eyes and cut him somewhere and keep dancing out of reach, then he has a chance to pull of a decision upset. Nobody fights with more clarity or explosiveness that Fedor and he will blow up at some point and I don't know that Arlovski, athletic man-mountain that he is, can take it. Fedor. TKO. Late.

I would tell Arask Markazi to go ahead and phone it in, but I think he is at the frat reunion "dress like a native" party. Take it to your home office kids.

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attempting to silence the voices in my head.