Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back again with another pay-per-view (PPV) event this weekend, offering five bouts on the main card for a princely sum of $44.95 in the United States.
That's about $8.99 per advertised fight, excluding the filler bouts from the "Prelims" that will undoubtedly sneak into the broadcast. The UFC 150 main event between Lightweight champion Ben Henderson and Frankie Edgar is certainly worth an Alexander Hamilton, maybe even two, based on their initial back-and-forth scrap earlier this year at UFC 144.
It's one helluva match up.
Prior to the championship clash, however, the four fights leave a little something to be desired. The co main event between Donald Cerrone and Melvin Guillard looks like a firecracker on paper, but all "Cowboy" has to do is fight smart to ride off into the sunset a winner via submission.
Jake Shields adding 15 pounds to make his Middleweight debut with the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion because he couldn't hack it as a Welterweight is kind of interesting, I guess, but not against Ed Herman. Yushin Okami trying to avoid the crushing power of Rousimar Palhares would have been a treat to watch, but an injury to the Brazilian brick shithouse required Buddy Roberts to step in as a replacement.
Yeah, Buddy (sigh).
And Justin Lawrence vs. Max Holloway, kicking off the PPV broadcast certainly isn't setting my world on fire. We can only hope that lightning strikes twice for "The American Kid" and he scores another devastating head kick knockout just like the one that nearly sent John Cofer's melon into the crowd two months ago.
The truth of the matter is we never really know what the hell is going to happen once the Octagon door slams shut. This is perhaps the most unpredictable sport in the world, with any professional fighter having the ability to put on the performance of a lifetime or score the upset of the year on any given night.
Do I think any of those things will happen at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo., on Aug. 11, 2012? I highly doubt it, but I can't say with 100 percent certainty that outside the main event this is going to be an absolute dud. I also can't pretend to be "Nostradumbass" and try to make meaningless fights somehow seem meaningful by making predictions that are almost always off the mark.
I'll try, I have no choice because he's left for the week, taking 10 days off to travel up north for his annual Kennedy-inspired pilgrimage to the Cape Cod area. But, we're going to do things a little different: Instead of making predictions, I'm just going to tell you how I want all these fights to play out, for better or worse, in my own tortured imagination.
Here goes nothing:Ben Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar
Ah, another rematch. I'm sick of them, especially in 155-pound title fights, but that's the cost of doing business with B.J. Penn and Gray Maynard. Both men monopolized Edgar's calendar throughout his time atop the division, so when Henderson claimed a unanimous decision over Edgar at UFC 144 earlier this year, the Toms River, N.J., native had every right to pull his automatic rematch card.
Was the first fight really that close? I didn't think so. Worthy of an automatic rematch? Again, I didn't think so. Nonetheless, it was an exciting scrap, with Edgar demonstrating once again that he is the toughest out in the entire sport. The dude can take a lickin' and somehow he keeps on tickin.'
I want him to win this fight. I want him to prove to me the rematch was necessary because he's a better fighter. I also want him to stick it to Dana White and all the other fight fans who want him to drop to Featherweight just for one reason and one reason only: A fight with Jose Aldo, who within a year will most likely be 155 pounds himself.
Win one for the little guys, Frankie. In the process, set up a trilogy bout with Henderson that continues to keep the division on pause (learn that lesson, Dana, the hard way), while we watch Nate Diaz beat up Anthony Pettis in an instant classic that determines the next number one contender.
Karma is a bitch.
I can't bear to hear Melvin Guillard talk about him being the best and that one day he will finally realize his immense potential and emerge as a future champion. He's been doing it for years ad nauseum and it just makes my brain hurt. And we'll undoubtedly hear the second verse, same as the first, in his post-fight victory speech in the "Mile High City" if Cerrone's balls best his brain.
And if you know anything at all about "Cowboy," it's completely possible.
Cerrone is a man's man. He rides bulls, hog ties cattle, gets paid to fist fight, tags all sorts of gorgeous females (from what I'm told), and lives on his own ranch, complete with all sorts of boy toys. That sorta lifestyle will make a man confident, perhaps to a fault, which is what I fear here.
Cerrone wins this fight nine times out of 10, but it's entirely possible that he gets caught up in the moment in wanting to put on a show for the fans, prove to his former training partner that he can beat him at his own game (striking) and essentially forget that he can submit Guillard in less than one minute, with his eyes closed and one hand tied behind his back.
I got a funny feeling about this one, meaning I think Cerrone winds up in an all out brawl with Guillard and it ends violently. My only hope is that it's Guillard who is staring up at the lights once the dust settles.
I can't bear to hear him flap his gums.
Most MMA fighters decide to go down, not up, in weight when a division proves too tough. Not Jake Shields, who packed on 15 pounds and headed from the 170-pound class to the 185-pound pride.
To be perfectly honest, I don't think it really matters what weight Shields comes in at -- it's not like he ever uses his size, speed or power to his advantage in any bout. He implements a shoddy stand up attack to set up takedowns and ultimately angles for necks and limbs to strangle or bend in reverse, respectively.
I have all the respect in the world for what Shields is capable of doing on the ground with his Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It's "top of the food chain" as Joe Rogan would suggest, which actually isn't such a far-fetched exaggeration. It's tight. Shields knows it, his opponents know it and everyone "in the know" watching his fights knows it.
And he still manages to win more often than not.
It's a pretty safe bet that he'll beat Herman tomorrow. Maybe not with a submission because "Short Fuse" is pretty solid south, too, but with a dominant top game that twists up Herman like a human pretzel.
However, there is always the chance that Herman could catch him with a clean shot in one of the handful of imminent awkward Shields stand up exchanges that ultimately sets up a technical knockout finish. I got real happy for some reason when Jake Ellenberger needed less than one minute to separate Shields from consciousness about a year ago.
I want to feel happy again. It's been too long.
This fight has got WrestleMania written all over it. When I think about this fight, which isn't often, at all (just right now actually), I see a dull first round that ultimately gives Roberts hope that he has a chance of defeating the former number one 185-pound title contender.
Then, in rounds two and three, Okami slowly, and painfully, sucks that hope out of Roberts via punishing ground and pound. I'm actually okay with that; in fact, I'm resigned to this reality anytime "Thunder" steps into the eight-walled cage a heavy favorite.
That's because his only exciting fights are his losses. And he's not losing this fight. I want him to win the Okami way, in grinding fashion, so that I have time between fights to polish my UFC 150 results recap from last night, as well as schedule a few other early morning posts.
Call me greedy.
I'm not even going to pretend that I know who Max Holloway is other than that guy who Dustin Poirier smoked at UFC 143. I don't really care to, even if it's my journalistic duty to pore over tape and do some weak analysis.
I'll leave that up to Hemmi and Probst.
As I already mentioned, I want Justin Lawrence to keep knocking out fools in highlight-reel fashion. I have no idea if he's capable of turning into some sort of knockout artist, but that's what I want. I've seen him do it twice already, Cristiano Marcello on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15 was the other, so I'm going to just hold out hope that his knockouts are the rule, rather than the exceptions.
That's what I want him to do to Holloway. And I want it to be a violent, award-winning finish that gets tons of attention and compels thousands of people to race to their computers, search for the fight video highlights, find them on MMAmania.com and help us set a new traffic record.
Am I asking too much from a fight that's not worth $8.99?
I'm not really sure how Jesse wraps these things up. I probably taught him the right way to do it five years ago, but he's probably since replaced it with something hokey and irrelevant.
I will suggest, however, that you share your own thoughts about the upcoming UFC 150 main card in the comments section below. Share some predictions, too, if that's what you're used to doing every Friday before a PPV event. I'm not here to break tradition, just inject some new life into this lifeless column until Jesse mercifully returns for the next edition.
Enjoy the fights, Maniacs. I hope they end the way you want them to end.