First off, let me just say that I'm getting out of the predicting business. It was fun while I was sporting a winning percentage of 70, but with my recent showings I don't think I should exactly be offering my advice. It would sort of be like Lehman Brothers offering financial advice. You're an idiot to take it as much as I'm a douchebag to offer it.
Having said that, I fully intend to continue spamming Mania with my report cards so that I may vent and rant about the profligate bullshittery that occurs on a semi-weekly basis in our favourite sport. Take last night, for instance. The bullshit meter was pretty much off the charts, as fight after fight after fight went to the judges, with nobody seemingly interested in getting a finish, let alone a finishing bonus. This pretty much sums up the first six fights:
Seriously, that was some dull, horrible fighting. And sadly much of what made it boring was the fact that the guys who "won" their fights with takedowns managed all of the ground and pound of Strawberry Shortcake when she's lezzing out with her fruity friends.
My prediction: Izquierdo TKO round 2
Reality: Oliveira 29-28 29-28 29-28 by lay and pray
Everything about Izquierdo was failure in this fight. And really, when you know you dominate a man in one discipline and you're fighting another man who dominates in his discipline, it's your fault for not making him fight your game. Izquierdo is deadly on the feet, just as he was against Madadi, but is about as useless on his back as a quadriplegic midget. Izquierdo got laid on by Oliveira for two of the three rounds, unable to get up again and finish a clearly exhausted Brazilian.
And does Oliveira get any kudos for putting Izquierdo in his world? None. Zero. A near-talentless, borderline UFC fighter, the man fought for the same Americana time after time, despite not coming even close to pulling it off. Stupidity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If a fighter as unskilled as Izquierdo could fight off Oliveira's submissions on the ground, you know the guy's top game is hot garbage.
A horrible fight, marred by boring lay and pray, worthless submission attempts, a pathetic bottom game, pillow punches from the top that wouldn't put a cancer patient to sleep, and awful takedown defence. It's a shame when you have someone as obviously skilled on the feet as the Cuban being utterly one-dimensional. Cut both these fuckers forthwith.
My pick: Alessio by decision
Reality: Roller 29-28 29-28 29-28
John Alessio has been welcomed back to the UFC with a steady diet of groundfucking and he's not happy about it. How do we know he's not happy about it? The baby started whining for his bottle immediately following the fight decision, somehow confused how he lost the fight by lying beneath Shane Roller. I find this attitude extremely fucked up. How can he not realize, after all the times he's been the receiver on the bottom, that it's always the giver who gets the nod?
It's clear to me that Alessio, much like Izquierdo before him, is the better fighter on the feet. But unlike the two aforementioned morons, their opponents knew the key to victory lay in bringing them down to the ground and fighting where they're least comfortable. And although Alessio is far more experienced on the ground than Izquierdo, he was no equal to the wrestling of Roller. And even more confusing was the fact he rocked Roller to start the third round, before stepping back and letting him regain his wits. Nice finishing instinct, asshole.
The shame of it all is that this was Alessio's last chance to win one - just one - fight in the UFC. Now he's going to get cut and I doubt a 20-fight win streak in the amateur circuit will ever make anyone want to bring this choker back. Alessio has choked more times in the clutch than the Buffalo Bills. Here's a pink slip, go enjoy that Canadian medicare.
My pick: Philippou by decision
Reality: Philippou by decision
Boy this was a close fight, and not terrible to watch. Not great, but not terrible. Sort of like a Steven Seagal movie. Watchable, but it helps to smoke or drink beforehand. It was nice to see Philippou's great boxing and head movement and takedown defence, demonstrating that the Serra-Longo camp can produce complete fighters. I mean, Philippou's takedown defence was immaculate, and try as he might Fukuda couldn't get this south.
It's hard to criticize Fukuda since he tried everything to get this down to the ground and failed. He did seem to gas in the fight though, and a sloppy and careless eye poke almost ended the night in the third round. Fortunately the incident fired up Philippou, who likely stole the round in the process, and the fight to boot.
Scoring it 30-27 for Philippou is hard to understand, since I think Fukuda outlanded him the entire fight, though it seemed like Philippou landed the bigger shots. I had it 10-9 9-10 9-10 for Philippou. Still, the fight could have gone either way. I gave the better score to Philippou because he was able to use his gameplan and land good strikes, while Fukuda was stymied for the most part and had no solution.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (B) vs Gleison Tibau (B-)
My pick: Nurmagomedov by TKO round 3
Reality: Nurmagomedov by decision
There was a fuckload of whining after this fight about it being a robbery and that Khabib did "nothing" and Tibau was able to shut down his offence entirely. Well, it's true that he was shut down on the takedowns, much like Fukuda, but his blistering attack dictated the pace of the fight. There wasn't a single opportunity for Gleison to do a single thing about anything the entire fight.
In chess there's something called the initiative. A person on the attack is considered to be winning if the defender is constantly defending the attack and never at any point able to initiate his own attack. Even though the chess game might be a draw, the player with the initiative is basically dictating the tempo of the game. Believe it or not, or call me a nerd or not, chess is like MMA, even though it sounds cheezy when cokehead Goldberg says it so often. The fact remains that the initiative was constantly with Khabib, and Tibau had no choice but to fend off the attacks for all three rounds.
Ok, Tibau stuffed 13 takedown attempts. Well done. What about striking? I'd say it was pretty even there. I could see it being 29-28 Tibau or 29-28 Nurmagomedov. Even 30-27 for the Russian is understandable, although each of those 10-9 rounds would have to be won by a pubic hair's breadth. But a robbery? Come on. Don't be foolish. How can you award points to a guy who never once initiated a single attack or rocked his opponent? Even dumber, how could anyone argue the Russian was a loser in the fight?
If anything it was a stalemate, or more properly, a draw. 30-30. There, happy now? One thing Khabib did show is that he's unafraid of anybody, and throws at an exciting pace that should be trouble for many in the lightweight division. His recklessness, however, might be fatal against elite strikers in the division.
My pick: Guillard by KO round 1
Reality: Guillard by decision
In retrospect it was stupid to pick Guillard by KO in the first round, especially considering the fact Camoes is an experienced veteran. Having said that, who could have known that Guillard would turn into fucking Gerald Harris and stare at his opponent for the last 10 minutes? It's quite unbelievable when you think about how he's advertised as one of the deadliest, quickest strikers in the division. Quite frankly he looked... scared out there.
I've got to give Melvin his props for twice going to the ground and not only surviving the position, but reversing it and winding on top and pounding Camoes ruthlessly. Having said that, I can't give him any better a score than a "C" simply because the man stood there and stared for most of the fight, refusing to engage in anything that might remotely be considered exciting or daring. The main reason I picked Guillard to begin with is that I figured he would be more careful and reserved since he's never had three losses in a row in his entire fight career.
As for Camoes, he probably deserves an "F", but at least he seemed to be trying. When you're fighting at this level, you have to be able to finish when a fighter like Melvin gives up back position and mount. And if you can't, you really don't have any business being in the UFC since the better guys will walk all over you.
My pick: Menjivar by split decision
Result: Easton by decision
I knew it was stupid to pick Ivan, but let me explain my reasoning. We all know Easton's style. Braggadocio, mindless fury, forward-plodding, mean-mugging, dumbassery. It works against guys who back straight up or wilt, but I doubt it will work against the elite in the division who have a diverse array of skills. I foolishly believed Menjivar was the guy with that diversity.
Instead, Menjivar walked backward the whole fight, trying to match Easton's silly wild swings and pace, and failed miserably and horribly in the process. Although there was a lot of fancy kicking on display, it was all-told boring, mainly because nobody was ever hurt or in danger and we all knew what the final result would be early in the first round when you saw Ivan refusing to adapt to the gameplan.
Personally, I think Easton is the most overrated Bantamweight in the UFC. We'll see if that assessment is true in his next fight.
My pick: Mendes by KO round 1
Reality: Mendes by KO round 1 (body shot)
Nobody is really sure if the braindead Cody showed up to this one for a pay cheque or if he really thought he could drop to Featherweight and take on the number two ranked fighter in the world. It was easy to predict a stoppage that would mercifully end the tedium of 18 consecutive rounds of no finishes, and indeed it was a quick stoppage.
McKenzie tried to pull a Chael Sonnen by running to the centre of the cage and throwing kicks that make Nick Diaz's look like he's a Shaolin Monk in comparison. After a few limp, effeminate attacks, Mendes basically caught a slow moving kick and threw a single punch into the crap factory of the Featherweight division's newest emaciated skeleton. Said skeleton crumpled to the floor like he'd just been told Mendes killed his parents and served them to him for dinner, and the referee jumped in and saved McKenzie from losing what few brain cells he seems to have.
Now that that fiasco is over with, perhaps Joe Silva can get back to setting up legitimately competitive fights. Although truth be told, that stoppage was like a big ol pair of titties busting loose from an undersized bra following the previous six performances.
My pick: Kim by bucking bronco
Reality: Maia by TKO injury
Not much to say in this one. Some people (morons, to be honest) are lauding Maia for his quick takedown. And if fights were won with a single takedown then I'd say yes, very impressive. But what actually happened is that Maia had a body lock from the back/side and took Kim down awkwardly, immediately breaking his rib. Could Kim have recovered from the bottom and bucked him off? Remember, Maia wasn't in mount when he got him down, so there were numerous side control and back mount opportunities.
But again, it's all speculation since it was a TKO injury. We may as well speculate what Chael Sonnen would be like if he weren't the world's biggest douchebag.
Shut up, ThePride, it was an injury, not a sub and not a TKO.
My pick: Cote by TKO round 2
Reality: Le by decision
Wow, do Canadians choke under the pressure or what? Patrick Cote, much like John Alessio, finally got brought back to the UFC and was basically fed the equivalent of a can crusher in 40-year-old Le. All he had to do was get inside on Le, do some dirty boxing, get some takedowns, work some ground and pound, maybe find a submission.
Instead, fuckhead stood in front of Le and made a great target for the World Light Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion. Talk about dumb, right? Well, when it comes to dumb, skies the limit for Cote. And worse than that, not only was Cote more useless than a pair of tits on a flagpole, he was taken down by Le several times. Which is sort of like watching Charlie Brown try and kick a football as Lucy pulls it away. Frustrating.
Cote's bed-shitting performance should be rewarded with a lifetime ban from the professional league, and I'd like to nominate sending Alessio and Menjivar with him. Not a banner evening for the Canadians.
My pick: Griffin by decision
Reality: Griffin by decision
First of all, even if the individual report cards are poor for these two, I think the fight was at least an "A", if not working toward a plus. Despite the entire card up until this point being a complete and utter abortion, this fight nearly saved it. Nearly. I'm not stupid. It was still pretty much the worst card I've seen since about 2008.
Griffin and Ortiz threw down for 15 minutes in their geriatric prime, both fighters pulling off their depends underwear long enough to prove they have a few brain cells left to knock together. It was a spirited affair, even if Ortiz gassed badly, looking to have all of the fuel efficiency of a 16-cylinder, 8-litre Bugatti Veyron. Personally, I scored the fight for Tito 29-28, for landing two knockdowns in the fight, despite being badly outstruck.
I suppose if you balanced Griffin's striking with Ortiz's near-knockouts, you could score the rounds 10-10 and give Griffin the edge. We could argue for a while about who won the fight, but who really cares? After nine horrible fights in a row, it was nice to see two fighters throw down, even though neither fighter is relevant anymore, even in a peripheral way.
Speaking of batshit insane, why didn't Joe Rogan ask Griffin why he ran out of the ring like he'd just been buttfucked by Anderson Silva, or why he decided to interview the man he just defeated? And why didn't Joe Rogan interview Kim and ask him what happened to his rib? Looks like a certain podcaster can speak for the fans in some cases (raking Mario Yamasaki over the coals for the Erick Silva DQ) while refusing to speak for us in others. Way to be consistent, asshole.
Anderson Silva (A-) vs Chael Sonnen (F)
My pick: Silva by KO round 2
Reality: Silva by KO round 2
Hoo-boy, this was a little disappointing and weird and controversial. Look, the knee was perfectly legal. If you want to whine about something, whine about Chael Sonnen trying to use his pillow fists to knock out a man with a granite chin via ridiculous spinning back fist, falling down, and getting finished easily. Damn, I guess it sucks fighting with only a moderate testosterone advantage, eh? If only Chael were able to roid to his full advantage, we'd have a new champion right now.
Let's face it, Sonnen abandoned the game plan. He got the takedown in the first round, but his juice didn't seem to be flowing at the same rate as the previous fight. He barely landed any punches, did no damage, and simply laid on Silva for five minutes. Literally. I looked at the clock at the first takedown: 4:55.
Sonnen's only hope was to rush in and get the takedown. And when he failed to do so to the start the second round, he panicked and did something stupid. Then he fell down, Silva unleashed a horrific knee to the sternum (with possible collateral thigh damage to the face), and easily finished the wrestler. But it was legitimate. Just ask Sensei Seagal.
I don't know why so many people were whining about the fight. We got to witness history, another dominant performance from a 37-year-old man on a six-year, 17-fight win streak, with 10-consecutive title defences. One day we'll look back on all this and say, "I saw that guy fight live." And other people will be jealous and wish they had, too, just as we do for Muhammad Ali.
As for Chael fans...