Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is set to kick off the first of two back-to-back mixed martial arts (MMA) events this weekend, starting with tomorrow night (June 22, 2012) live from the Revel Resort & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. 4
Leading the charge will be a lightweight war between two of the division's most ruthless and relentless attackers, Gray Maynard vs. Clay Guida. One of these two aggressive grapplers will keep themselves afloat in the crowded 155-pound contender's pool.
The other one sinks to the bottom.
Spencer Fisher and Sam Stout will look to dazzle audiences (again), Brian Ebersole will likely shave crop circles into his chest for T.J. Waldburger and Ross Pearson hopes to prove his recent legal troubles won't hamper his performance against Cub Swanson.
Who gets it done in "Dirty Jersey?" Follow me after the jump to find out.
Nostradumbass predicts: Considering it's almost five years to the day when Gray Maynard made his "official" UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 Finale, it's hard to believe he's got just 12 professional fights to his name. Aside from a busy 2008, "The Bully" competes (on average) twice a year, and spent his entire 2011 fight campaign duking it out with Frankie Edgar.
He never found "The Answer" to the championship question, but he sure as hell looked good trying to figure it out.
And I don't mean "good" as in dazzling, I mean good as in tough to beat. So I probably should have just said that in the first place, but hey, I have to hit a certain word count in these things, so just play along.
Anyway, Maynard isn't winning any gold gloves for his hands, and he did go stiff in his last contest, but that doesn't mean he can't hold his own in the stand-up. He went toe-to-toe with Nate Diaz for three rounds and when the mitts can't seal the deal, he's got some of the best wrestling in the division.
That's bad news for "The Carpenter."
Guida has been able to saw his way through most of the mid-to-lower level competition using a fast and furious pace, but I've also seen him clocked and rocked on more than one occasion and he's secured just one technical knockout (TKO) victory in his past 30 fights.
What he lacks in technical prowess he makes up for by going batshit crazy, but that's a bad idea against a guy that hits as hard as Maynard does. For Guida to beat his opponent, he needs to be the better wrestler, because he'll never be the better striker.
When he takes on the former division number one contender tomorrow night on network television, he'll be neither.
And don't forget, he's now being forced to braid his hair, which is like giving Samson a crew cut, effectively eliminating the off-chance the judges will confuse flying follicles for "effective aggressiveness."
I just don't see any way he wins this fight -- unless Maynard is out of gas by the fourth round.
Final prediction: Maynard def. Guida via unanimous decision
Nostradumbass predicts: I remember when these two first went to war at UFC 58 over six years ago. There was a lot on the line as both Spencer Fisher and Sam Stout were riding eight-fight winning streaks. The stakes were pretty high in a division that wasn't nearly as stacked as it is today.
Fast forward to the rubber match and my, how things have changed.
I don't think anyone would accuse either of these two veterans of being title contenders in 2012 and there's been very little fanfare for the conclusion of this trilogy. Part of that blame has to fall on Fisher, as "The King" hasn't seen anything resembling a throne in over three years.
That's why he loses this fight.
Stout has struggled to remain consistent and losing Shawn Tompkins was a mighty blow, but he's eight years younger than his opponent and despite his ups and downs, has still remained competitive at 155. In contrast, Fisher is just 1-4 over his last five bouts and it's not outrageous to suggest time and punishment have finally caught up to the Miletich brawler.
Expect the usual fireworks in the opening minutes, but Stout will start to pull away as time goes on and finish this fight in dominating fashion. Fisher will be probably be looking for a bar fight, but instead will just end up getting bounced.
Final prediction: Stout def. Fisher via technical knockout
Nostradumbass predicts: I don't mean this to be disrespectful to T.J. Waldburger, but can we get Brian Ebersole a top 10 opponent after this? My request, of course, is predicated on a win tomorrow night in "The Garden State," which I think he gets in impressive fashion.
Ebersole has quietly amassed a 3-0 record since debuting with the world's largest fight promotion and hasn't been beating up cans to do it. Chris Lytle is about as rugged as they come and he couldn't get the job done. Dennis Hallman was so enamored with his own manties, he got elbowed back into mediocrity.
Claude Patrick? Close, but no see-gah.
Waldburger has been known to string together a bunch of wins and just when you think he's ready to break out, he ends up getting violated by a rugged veteran. Johny Hendricks settled him down at UFC Fight Night 24 last March and he also owns TKO losses to Ricardo Funch, Pete Spratt and Josh Neer.
I'm not looking to bag on the guy, but you don't want to pick someone who's been finished in five of his six losses against a guy who's stopped 34 fighters across his 10+ year career.
I will say that Waldy is a formidable threat on the ground and Ebby's tapped in over half his defeats, but I just think the "Bad Boy" is too experienced and too relaxed inside the cage to make the kind of mental mistake his opponent would need to pull this one off.
Hallman fight part deux.
Final prediction: Ebersole def. Waldburger via technical knockout
Nostradumbass predicts: Ross Pearson couldn't beat a breathalyzer, what chance does he have against Cub Swanson? (Ba-dum-dum, tish!)
Bad puns aside, I like Pearson in this fight -- assuming his legal troubles haven't affected his mindset. "The Real Deal" is real new to the 145-pound division, but the way he handled himself against Junior Assuncao in his featherweight debut tells me he's going to be a tough out for anyone not named Jose Aldo.
My issue with Cubby is that he's just so damn inconsistent, going 3-3 over his last six and doing the dreaded "win one, lose one" method of performing. That makes it very difficult to gauge where he's at in this division but based on his history, he's due for a loss tomorrow night, having won his last fight.
Not that it matters.
Pearson is simply the better (or at least the more technical) fighter. I also like that he's constantly improving and the slugger we saw win TUF 9 is a far cry from the refined product we'll see inside the Revel Casino to kick off the weekend.
It also helps that Swanson, who is a bona fide black belt in jiu-jitsu, is likely to keep this one standing. Ya' know, because it's cool (and often profitable) to turn it into a slobberknocker. It's also why I think he goes down on points later in the fight after a competitive first round.
The judges will have to earn their pay in this one.
Final prediction: Pearson def. Swanson via split decision
That's a wrap, folks.
For previews and predictions on the preliminary card fights click here and here. To see all the odds and betting lines for click 4here and remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of "Maynard vs. Guida."
What do you think? Now it's your turn ... let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for tomorrow night's event.