I am sitting at my house eating a chicken pot pie and drinking coffee. And I am looking up random information on the Internet about MMA(again) and decided to write my own thoughts on tomorrows Ultimate Fighting Championship event, UFC 141.
There are a few really intriguing fights for me, not just on the main card. I'll start from the bottom up on my thoughts and predictions for the fight:
Featherweight bout: Manny Gamburyan vs. Diego Nunes
Manny is 11-6 and and Nunes is 16-2
Gamburyan used to fight at lightweight and made it to the finals of a TUF season against Nate Diaz and later went to the WEC. He actually challenged UFC Featherweight Champ Jose Aldo for the WEC 145lbs title back in 2010 before the promotion was folded into the UFC.
Nunes is WEC fighter who came with the rest of the crew earlier this year. Nunes hasn't ever been finished, while Manny has been (T)KO'd twice and submitted once.
Nunes is the betting favorite at -325 to Manny's +250.
My Pick: Both have victories over Mike Brown, a former Featherweight champion. Manny has fought bigger/more recognizable names but hasn't always had success. Nunes lost to Kenny Florian in his last fight but seems to be on the rise.... Nunes by TKO early or one sided Unanimous Decision.
Welterweight bout: Matt Riddle vs. Luis Ramos
Riddle is 5-3 and Ramos is 19-7
Both fighters are coming off of losses with Riddle on a two fight losing streak. All of Riddles fights have been in the UFC.
The betting odds are even at -130.
My Pick: Don't know a lot about either fighter, but Ramos has 11 Decision wins and 5 decision losses. I don't like fighters who don't finish fights. But seeing as how Riddle has gone to decision 5 times in 8 Pro fights I can't get behind him either.... Ramos in a Unanimous Decision based on experience.
Lightweight bout: Jacob Volkmann vs. Efrain Escudero
Volkmann is 13-2 and Escudero is 18-3
Both fighters are on winning streaks and Escudero is a TUF winner even though he did get released by the UFC then resigned for this fight after 6 fights out of the promotion which saw him go 5-1 in smaller shows.
Volkmann is a 3 time NCAA All-American wrestler. Escudero had a successful college wrestling career as well, just not to the same extent.... Escudero has 12 wins by submission, and Volkmann has 6, with 7 decision wins as well. Escudero also took this fight on short notice.
Betting lines are -265 for Volkmann and +205 for Escudero
My Pick: Both guys are gapplers, so don't expect a KO. Shits and giggles... Escudero by rear naked choke in the 2nd round. He already has five wins by RNC :P
Welterweight bout: Dong Hyun Kim vs. Sean Pierson
Pierson is 11-5 and Kim is 14-1-1(1 no contest)
Both guys are coming off KO losses: Kim to Carlos Condit and Pierson to Jake Ellenberger. Kim has been in the UFC much longer and has faced better competition. Kim tends to play it safe with him Judo based grappling and has been to decision 8 times in 17 fights(Including his overturned Split Decision loss to Karo Parisyan to No Contest), and hasn't finished his opponent since UFC 84 back in 2008.
Pierson has more losses but has a much better finishing ratio and was on a 6 fight winning streak before meeting Mr. Ellenberger back at UFC 129.
Kim is a heavy betting favorite with -400 to Pierson being +300.
My Pick: We can hope Stun Gun Kim decides to start finishing his fights, but I'm expecting him to control the fight with his Judo and ride out another Unanimous Decision.
Lightweight bout: Anthony Njokuani vs. Danny Castillo
Njokuani is 14-5 and Castillo is 12-4
Castillo has fought bigger names with mixed success but Njokuani has 3 KO of the night honors from the WEC.Castillo has 4 wins by submission and 5 by (T)KO and 3 by decision.
Njokuani has 8 wins by (T)KO and 6 by decision. He's also be submitted 3 times.
Castillo only accepted this fight a few weeks ago when Njokuani's original opponent dropped due to injury.
Castillo is the betting favorite with -200 to Njokuani's +160.
My Pick: I don't know a lot about either fighter, but from what I've seen I firmly agree with the betting odds. Castillo has a wrestling background and seems to be the better overall fighter. I'm expecting him to mix it up and keep Njokuani guessing until he gets a submission victory sometime in the 3rd round.
Featherweight bout: Ross Pearson vs. Junior Assuncao
Pearson is 12-5 and Assuncao is 13-4
Pearson is a TUF winner and this is his featherweight debut. He's coming off a loss at UFC 134.This is Assuncao's second run in the UFC after going 1-2 back in '06-'07. He won his return fight back at UFC 135.
Both guys have a good mixture of finishes and decisions.
Pearson is a betting favorite at -260 to Assuncao's +200
My Pick: Pearson is better overall, he's younger, fought better competition. I don't expect to be shocked by this outcome. Pearson by a late TKO or Unanimous Decision.
Featherweight bout: Nam Phan vs. Jimy Hettes
Phan is 17-9 and Hettes is 9-0
Phan has a lot more experience, and has faced better competition. That being said, he's 2-4 in his last 6 fights. With one fight having a very controversial decision loss that he most recently avenged against Leonard Garcia. He would still be 3-3 if he'd won that fight. He has a good mixture of submissions, KO's TKO's, and decisions.
Honestly, I've never been all that impressed with him, he's always been very middle of the road to me. Gatekeeper status to me and he's only 28 years old. Featherweight Cheick Kongo without the cup checks anyone?
Hettes is a rising prospect. This is only his 2nd fight in the UFC however and he still might be unused to such large crowds. He has also won all his fights by submission, but early career you don't always face top flight guys. He's only 24 years old and he's part of this new rising generation of fighters, he has a background in boxing, BJJ and Judo.
Phan is a betting favorite at -230 to Hettes being +180
My Pick: I'm not calling Phan a total CAN. But when he steps up in competition he fails to impress. I realize he challeged for the strikeforce title back in 2006, but he's 5-7 in the past 12 fights. 5 victories in 5 years. I think Hettes is gonna run through Phan on his rise up the rankings in a one sided beat-down. Even with less than stellar past opponents and less experience, Phan is being used has Hettes gauge towards a title shot and a future as a contender. Hettes gets my pick by submission or decision in a FOTN possibility.
Light Heavyweight bout: Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Vladdy is 25-5 and Gustafsson is 12-1
Two Europeans fighting each other in another gatekeeper vs prospect match-up. Matyushenko has been fighting as a pro since 1997, (I was only 9) and has challenged for the UFC light heavyweight title... against Tito Ortiz. So yeah that is a completely different era. Vladdy is 5-2 in his last 7 fights with 2 TKO's a 3 decisions against 2 KO losses. One of those losses are to Jon Jones and the other to Little-Nog. Vladdy is awesome with his nickname of "The Janitor" but he is also 40 years old. He's still going strong and deserves respect as a fighter, but his best days as an athlete are behind him.
Gustafsson has one loss against him. He was choked out by undefeated Phil Davis back at UFC 112. Since then he's had 3 straight finishes, including for lack of a better word, a mauling of Matt Hamil. We can argue Matt's desire wasn't the same as it once was, but Gustafsson did what Rampage couldn't, finish a very tough Hamil, whose only other finish loss was against Rich Frickin Franklin. I've read a few articles talking about how Gustafsson could be the next big thing at light heavyweight if he keeps developing. He's been working on his wrestling and strenght speed. He's 24 years old and regardless, as long as his personal life doesn't go wonky or he gets injured, he's another guy with a future ahead of him.
Gustaffson is at -325 to Matyushenkos +250 on the betting angle of this debate.
My Pick: I feel split. I like Matyushenko as a fighter a lot. I also know that Gustafsson isn't gonna be an easy nut to crack for a athlete of "advanced" years. Gustafsson is going to be too fast and will have the better striking tomorrow night, expect a violent finish regardless though.
Welterweight bout: Jon Fitch vs. Johny Hendricks
Fitch is 23-3-1(1) and Hendricks is 11-1
This is Fitches first fight back after a long layoff due to a shoulder injury. We all know who he is and what he does. He grapples his way to victory. He works his ass off and keeps on winning. He's 13-1-1 in the UFC for a reason. My personal criticism of a lack of finished fights(and a lot of other peoples as well) doesn't change the fact he keeps winning. He hasn't finished a fight since 2007 when he submitted Roan Carneiro. He is a suffocating force of wrestling that is a pain in the ass for everyone he faces. This is his fight to lose.
Hendricks has been with the UFC since 2009 and has gone 6-1 since then. His one loss is against another fighter with a style not dissimilar to Jon Fitch, Rick Story. He's mixed up victories with mostly (T)KO's and decisions. He has less fights and not as many big stage fights as Fitch but he is certainly no newbie to the UFC.
The betting lines have Jon Fitch ahead with -225 to Hendricks being +175
My Pick: Take a piss break during this fight. You can enjoy the good technique by Fitch controlling the fight but don't expect it to be very exciting unless Jon Fitch finally figured out how to get fans to like him. Fitch is gonna dominate the fight to a unanimous decision victory.
Lightweight bout: Nate Diaz vs. Donald Cerrone
Diaz is 14-7 and Cerrone is 17-3(1 no contest)
Yeah, expect black eyes, broken noses, and blood in this fight. After yesterdays press conference staredown I fully expect this to be as violent as advertised.
Diaz is the winner of TUF season 5, he's been in the UFC since 2007, prior to that he was cutting his teeth in the WEC and Strikeforce. He's a brown belt in BJJ under Ceasar Gracie, he's got solid stand up(volume punching based boxing) and he got the same attitude as his elder brother Nick. I don't care for his attitude but I like watching him fight. His destruction of Gomi was a thing of beauty. He started out at 155 but went up to 170 after going 1-3 from January 2009 to January 2010. He had trouble up at 170 against the bigger/stronger grapplers, (Understatement, he got rag-dolled in the 3rd round against Rory MacDonald) much like the wrestlers down in 155, but he figured he'd go back down anyway. I honestly think he's gonna have issues with wrestlers his entire career. He's only 4-5 in his last 9 fights.
Cerrone is a rising prospect with a bad attitude as well. In 21 career fights he's been to decision only 5 times, going 3-2. He has 17 submissions and 3 (T)KO's in MMA but is 28-0 in Muay Thai Kickboxing. His 3 losses are spread from 2009 to 2010 and all 3 were WEC title fights. This guy is overall the better striker, and has a slick ground game as well. He's 7-2 in his last 9 fights. Then again he didn't try to experiment at welterweight and wasn't fighting in the UFC the whole time...
Cerrone is the betting favorite at -280 to Diaz's +220
My Pick: I said go take a piss during the Hendricks/Fitch fight. Don't do that here. Expect violence. Gratuitous, irrational, explosive violence. ...It can go either way, but I'm gonna go with the underdog in Diaz to pull out the upset with a TKO victory or decision win.
Heavyweight bout: Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem
Lesnar is 5-2 and Overeem is 35-11(1 no contest)
If one looks solely at the records. It looks like a total missmatch. Maybe it is. Overeem has 47 MMA fights, 14 Pro Kickboxing fights and is 3-0 in submission grappling. He has 22 submission wins between grappling and MMA and 21 KO's between Kickboxing and MMA. In his entire combat career he's been to decision only 9 times. The guy hasn't lost an MMA fight since 2007. The year Brock Lesnar started fighting was 2007, and he fought only once that year. That being said, an argument which many have pointed out. He hasn't been facing the best competition(even his K-1 Grand Prix win is marred by poor competition), he isn't known for great cardio or a great chin. A lot of people feel he's a pretender to relevancy in the heavyweight division. He is clearly an excellent striker and has good understanding of of the ground game.
Brock is another matter all together. He is the most polarizing fighter on the UFC roster. he's a can/one trick poney/ fake wrestler/ joke/ can't take a punch/ greatest heavyweight/ decent heavyweight/ overrated/ underrated. Yeah, anyone can look on MMAmania/ bloodly elbow, sherdog, and find someone saying something about him being awesome or sucking. Sometimes in the same posting. Brock Lesnar only has 7 fights to his credit, 7 professional MMA fights. He's fought some pretty decent competition too, former champs, title challengers, ect ect. But he doesn't have the experience to have the respect of many in the MMA fan community. A lot of fans say he is a terrible wrestler who uses his size to win and doesn't have skill. Size alone doesn't give someone a 106-5 collegiate wrestling record, he knows what he's doing on the mat. Brock has also been out for 14 months after having surgery to remove frickin organs. And he still came back... yet fans question his desire.... I will never understand it, it takes a lot to go out in front of thousands of people half naked and be closed in a cage where another man is allowed to punch you in the face. I've never fought in front of a crowd that size, but the hundreds that I've been in front of, it's pretty intense.
These two are probably the most talked about MMA fighters this week. And I'll be glad when this week is over so we can read about Jon Jones being a douche again or Vitor Belfort talking about something random again... I just want to see the fight.
Overeem is the favorite at -145 to Lesnars +115
My Pick: This is a tought fight to pick. Can Overeem stop the takedown? Has Brocks stand up improved? Lesnar by (T)KO in the 4th round. Why? I don't know. I honestly just want to see the fight.
Tell me what you guys think of my first write up preview. If it's ok let me know and I'll do one for UFC 142 in two weeks. The first font was too small, hopefully this helps