Saturday, October 23, 2010

UFC 121: The Sound of Mariachi Bands

UFC comissioner Dana White whizzed to the podium on a broom and began a power point presentation on civilian deaths in Baghdad sporting a Tuf Enuf polo shirt. He cackled and disappeared in a puff of smoke.

I apologize if I have titled another UFC with that name, however. On to the fights.

Yang vs. Camozzi

When I claim lack of evidence and throw my hands up, doesn't lend any less credence to the pick. I will have to throw all of the numbers in a spread sheet at some point and see if they meet statistical significance. I doubt it. Old .05, you shady mother. Who are these people? I have seen one fight, but wasn't moved enough to remember. Yang by being Asian in the 1st.

Yvel vs. Madsen

Yvel has always had some degree of talent, but it was incomplete and came in spells. He is also someone who has never seemed to take his career too seriously. I don't think that much of Madsen either, but Yvel has showed us nothing as of late. Madsen by TKO in the 2nd.

Stout vs. Taylor

There is a lot too like about this fight. Some might favor it because it is as close as one can get to a guarantee of a stand-up battle. That is not my reasoning, but it bears somewhat on it. I like this fight because both Stout and Taylor are technically good at what they do. They are both stand-up specialists, but they specialize there because they are skilled at it. In the end, I think that Stout has the variety of techniques and the creativity of implementation to get him a KO in the 3rd. Should be a good one.

Guymon vs Roberts

I must apologize, but neither guy has ever done it for me. I appreciate Guymon's battle against depression and his openness about the situation, but as a fighter, he has never been impressive. Robert's has a great record against low level guys and a medicore one against medicore guys. Guymon is much of the same. I go with Guymon by decision here, but I don't really care or claim any insight.

Cote vs Lawlor

Lawlor has been more entrance than results lately. Then again, my favorite fighter ever is Sudo Genki, so how can I fault him for that. Cote is a tough guy but is coming off of a serious knee injury. I don't count Cote out of most fights and I don't bet on Lawlor. Somehow though, I can't trust that knee injury and I think Lawlor wrestles for the split decision.

McGee vs. Jensen

This is becoming a theme here, but I don't think much of either guy here. Not personally of course, they are enchanting gentlemen. It is my belief that the last season of TUF, which McGee won, was Nick Ring's to lose, and after he dropped out with an injury, the results were slightly invalid. Not that McGee didn't earn it, I just don't think he is the strongest champion they could have had. Jensen has been fighting for 13 years and has a decent record. He isn't great, but I am picking him here. Why? I am waiting to see McGee in real competition before deciding on who he is as a fighter. Jensen by sub in the 1st.

Schaub vs. Gonzaga

I was a Gonzaga backer. I was sold. I am not asking for a refund, but I am don't believe in the product so much anymore. What you can never predict about a fighter is how he is going to react to getting hit in the face, and Gonzaga doesn't react well. He is insanely talented and has the tools to be a champion, but he is incomplete in a heavy weight division that is improving by the season. I like Schaub. I like that his striking is disciplined and his athleticism isn't theoretical. He can fire a straight jab and a good 1-2. I am picking Schaub by KO in the 1st.

Ortiz vs. Hamill

I never rode the Ortiz hype train. I never rode it either way. I always liked him as a fighter but was neutral on his shenanigans. Some people might forget the way he ran his division not that many years ago. WHen Hamill first showed up on the scene, i thought he was the new Koscheck at 205. He hasn't quite grown into what I expected, but I certainly think he defeated Bisping and I can see him knocking off plenty of other guys. He hits messy, but hard and he can wrestle. He has a tendency to get hurt though, and express it in weird ways. It seems to really take him out of a fight. One advantage I can see Tito having here is on the ground with submissions. If you can remember the nasty triangle/armbar he threw on Machida, at the end of their bought, then you can surely see ways for Hamill to lose. Nevertheless I am taking Hamill by TKO in the 3rd because I no longer trust Tito's health or his mental state.

Thiago vs. Sanchez

Sanchez is back with Greg Jackson, but is he back to being a guy I would never bet against? No. But Thiago is. Yes he is coming of a loss but he has rugged striking and real grappling and I see him as a hard match-up for Sanchez. If Diago is back to being the cardio robot, mentally focused fighter that he used to be, he can scarmble and threaten to get a decision, but I find Thiago to be mentally and physically tough and I think he is just not the right opponent for Sanchez. Thiago by decision.

Shields vs. Kampmann

I hate it when they match-up guys that I usually would pick against anyone else. Shields is finally in the big show and looking for a title run. I was calling for the ascendancy of Kampmann as soon as he came on the scene, but injuries have set him back. Kampmann's calling card has always been that he was a high level striker who could represent on the ground. Of course he was representing against Drew Mcfedries. Shileds has always been a guy that I thought was far better than people gave him credit for. Lately they have been giving him the credit. Now I think he is a fighter who gets just the right amount of credit. I can see Kampmann hanging in on the ground enough to get back up and get in his shots, but Shields has never shown that much of a chin deficiency. After Shields' defeat of Dan Henderson, I think I am going to have to go with him by decision.

Lesnar vs. Velasquez

I should be clear from the outset, I don't want Lesnar to win. I don't like him as a fighter or as a person. He has been less intolerable lately, but it is hard to make up for years of homophobia, attitude and ass-hattery. That shouldn't prejudice my ability to look at the fight, but it definitely colors my tone. Clearly I am not the only one who feels this way and many hard-core fans will strain to find reasons why it is clear that Velasquez will take this one running away. Whether it is his stamina or his heart or his kick-boxing skills. As usual, what people seem to forget about stamina is that it seems to go away quickly when you are getting beat on and hurting from it. If Lesnar can hold Cain down and drill him with his cannonball appendages that I think we might see Velasquez's vaunted stamina wane.

Lesnar is certainly progressing by leaps and bounds as a fighter. We have to be fair and attribute this to the hard work that he has been willing to put in and a very strong drive to maintain as champion. I respect him much more than I used to. What worries me about Lesnar, as a fighter, is something I mentioned in reference to Gonzaga earlier. He seems to have bad reactions to getting punched. It was amazing that he was able to survive Carwin's barrage in his last fight, but he reacted in lots of self defeating ways. Namely by curling up on he ground and waiting.

A strategy I would like to see for Velasquez is just jabbing and taking other punches that come while moving and avoiding take-downs in the first. I would like him to throw leg-kicks, but only at the end of punch combinations. And even then, not ambitious kicks but hard and precise. If he could stay with this in the second, Lesnar's legs might start to go on him and then Cain could be more aggressive with less power in Brock's shots. The big threat for Velasquez is that Lesnar has face-melting power in every punch and an incredible reach so that he can end the fight quickly even from awkward positions.

There is a lot we don't know about how this fight will play out, and that makes it interesting. I am calling a Velasquez TKO victory in the early 4th. Who knows.

Take it to the Dean's office.

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attempting to silence the voices in my head.