Saturday, July 11, 2009
UFC 100: Man in the Mirror
Maybe it was in poor taste for Commissioner Dana White to stroll to the podium sporting a "Michael Jackson is Dead and I Don't Feel So Good Myself" T-Shirt. I prefer to think of it as whimsical. He addressed the crowd, "Is this really the 100th UFC? I ask you, 'Did the world really start on year 0? And if so, how did it know?" He skewed one eyebrow, raised a hand, palm upwards and stepped slowly back as the Re-birth Brass Band came tooting through the audience followed by the Harlem Globetrotters, throwing buckets of confetti on all in attendance.
Matt Grice vs. Shannon Gugerty: Really, I care a whole lot. Both have impressive records coming directly off of loses. Is it the step up in competition? Who knows. Gugerty by sub in the 1st.
CB Dollaway vs. Tom Lawlor: I had Dollaway by wrestling, but seeing Lawlor's tribute to the early days of the UFC, complete with Carlos Newton shout-out, I am going, spiritually, with Lawlor. But in a more real way with Dollaway by boring wrestling and sloppy striking.
Dong Hyun Kim vs. T.J. Grant: T.J. Grant is rumored to have great MMA wrestling. I dunno, I think Kim has great balance an real power and pounds on Grant for a TKO in the 3rd.
Jon Jones vs. Jake O'Brien: I was going to begin a betting strategy based around this fight, but I have no idea how to actually bet money. Jon Jones is a great, exciting prospect. He is probably the funnest fighter to watch right now. He picks up moves off of Kung-Fu movies and then has the ability to use them. However, it seems to be overlooked that his most recent fights have been decisions. Jake O'Brien is the king of decisions. Boring decisions. This fight could easily go that route and we know nothing of Jones' guard. I would wager he has one, but do we know that? I would bet on O'Brien by decision but I am pulling for Jones by TKO in the 2nd. Hopefully he will pull a suplex as well.
Mac Danzig vs. Jim Miller: If I am picking fighters who I would probably get along with, it would have to be outspoken vegan Danzig, who is also a good photographer and all aorund rad guy. If I am picking fighters that I would bet on to tear part of your body off, I would pick Jim Miller. Danzig has a tight, but not explosive striking game. He has a slick, slick ground game. His wrestling is sub-par. That includes wrestling defense. His stamina is good in many ways, but he isn't a physical specimen, he is more of a self built athlete, so fighting someone stronger tends to wear him down. I like Miller as a fighter also. He is a brutal submission grappler with clever takedowns. His subs aren't tricky or subtle. They are powerful and destructive. I think he wears Danzig down and gets a late sub when Danzig can't hold him off any more. I would be happy to see them both successful.
Mark Coleman vs. Stephan Bonnar: While Lawlor does a tribute to the early days of the UFC, Mark Coleman is the early days of the UFC. Even in his heyday, Coleman was a one-sided, if brutal fighter. No one as ever accused him of being a smart fighter, or a smart trainer either. I think Bonnar is often underrated. His boxing is solid, and technical, even if he isn't a real power guy. He is also a Gracie jiu-jitsu product with long limbs and solid skills. Coleman can probably get a takedown or two, but to what end? Is his ground and pound that brutal? Each takedown he goes for, win or lose, takes away his stamina points like he was a Nintendo game. I can't see a way for Coleman to win this. Bonnar should stick and move for the 1st round, lay it on in the 2nd, and abuse Coleman for a 3rd round KO.
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Alan Belcher: What to do about this one? How do we rate this. Every time I count Belcher out, he does well. He has a Johnny Cash tattoo, but it is the worst tattoo known to man. He is from Mississippi, but Akiyama is fom Osaka and is married to a chick named Shiho. Decisions. Akiyama is the better physical prospect. He is a world class athlete. His kickboxing skills are solid, if less fluid than Belcher's. Akiyama can get takedowns out of the clinch all day long, but does Belcher give him the clinch? Can Akiyama iniciate it? It is in a cage. Not wearing a gi limits Akiyama's subs but he has enough in reserve. I am going to go with Akiyama by KO in the 2nd, but this one is too uncertain.
Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping: I have said this over and over about both of these fighters. Bisping is the most athletic guy you know, Henderson is a real athlete. Bisping has gone a long way to proving me wrong. Dropping to 185 has made him look a lot more physically capable. Bisping fights hard, fights smart and trains well. His striking is technically better but is very Rich Franklin like. Meaning; he isn't going to get a big KO. Bisping's wrestling may have gotten better, but better doesn't mean good. I still believe that Henderson might be the best pure athlete in the sport. He also, as I have said before, is one of the dumbest fighters in the sport. Not that he himself is unintelligent. He just seems to like fighting better than training or thinking about fighting. He gets in a fight and just runs around like he has to teach someone a lesson right now. He has a huge right and an iron chin, but he needs to put them in his pocket and wrestle. For Christ's sake wrestle! If he does, he lays Bisping on the ground and makes him into mush. Henderson TKO in the 3rd.
Jon Fitch vs. Paulo Thiago: Fitch is a superhero in the cage, Thiago is a superhero outside of it. I don't bet on anybody beating Fitch, which is why GSP destroying him was so impressive. Fitch, all day. Sub in the 2nd.
Georges St. Pierre vs. Thiago Alves: The real headline fight. This is also the cornerstone to by imaginary betting strategy. I don't think that Alves will win as much as I am curious about the chances being higher now that he is the guy that could beat GSP. Alves is huge for the weight class and probably the most powerfull fighting at 170. He is ridiculously explosive and has great takedown defense. GSP has shown he can be beaten with a quick knock-out. I don't think the odds are in Alves's favor, but I don't think they are totally against him. He can win with a well timed knee, shin or fist. That being said, GSP will go for his usual string of lightning quick takedowns and excellent top positioning. This fight is the real deal. If you are betting, take a flyer on Alves, but I think it will be GSP by devastation. Maybe Alves toughs it out through 5.
Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir: Ugh. Mir isn't great. He is better than he used to be. Lesnar isn't great, but he is clearly the nuttiest physical specimen to enter the eighthed circle. If you were to make an MMA video game, and I am told someone has, Mir's stamina rating would read "n/a." Whatever happens in this fight needs to happen quick, if it is going to be to Mir's advantage. Lesnar's striking isn't impressive from a fundamental viewpoint but it is brutal. He could get a KO anytime the factors add up. To his disadvantage, one can't become submission savvy in a matter of a few years (in most cases) much less months. The leg-lock that Lesnar fell prey to last fight will still be vulnerable now. Leg-locks aren't something that you can just become used to. Mir seems to have the knack for them. Wrestlers seem to suck at them. I hope Mir pulls one out... I don't want to call this fight for Lesnar. Let's say.....Snuka off the top rope!
attempting to silence the voices in my head.