Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is set to blow the roof off the Capital FM Arena tomorrow afternoon (Sept. 29, 2012) in Nottingham, England, featuring a heavyweight hoedown pitting Stefan Struve vs. Stipe Miocic LIVE on FUEL TV.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card action on fight day (Sat., Sept. 29, 2012), which is slated to air at 4 p.m. ET on FUEL TV. The latest quick updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that around 1:30 p.m. ET with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook.
Who gets the job done across the pond?
That's where your old pal Nostradumbass comes in. And what better way to kick off the brand new, redesigned and epically awesome MMAmania.com than with a bunch of poorly-researched fight predictions? And since I know how much you all love change, I'll just write any old thing and pass it off as a reboot.
Nostradumbass predicts: Stefan Struve has competed 11 times inside the Octagon. That's a staggering number when you consider he's just 24 years old. And you know what? At 8-3 he's got a pretty good record. The problem is, every time he builds any sort of momentum, he gets knocked on his ass by a fellow up-and-comer.
History will not repeat itself in Nottingham.
I've really been impressed with the way "Skyscraper" has matured in his last trio of fights. We always knew he had heart (hello, Denis Stojnic), but now he's got brains too. Instead of trying to get a cheap pop out of the drunken masses by "putting on a show," he implemented his criminally underrated ground game by strangling Pat Barry and joint-jacking Lavar Johnson, two guys with serious firepower.
And he gave Dave Herman a case of the stupids just to prove he still could.
As for Miocic, as likeable as he is, I'm incredibly underwhelmed by his defense. True, he's got great hands and sound fundamentals, but can this guy get through a fight without eating a dozen leather eggs? I thought he took an unnecessary amount of punishment in both the Philip De Fries and Shane del Rosario fights.
He won, and won convincingly, but he won't get away with those mistakes against Struve. Even if "baseball taught him how to strike."
I also think the Dutchman has faced much tougher competition and is more well-rounded. If you want to tell me Stipe has more raw talent or is the better athlete, okay, I'll hear you out, but as a mixed martial arts (MMA0 fighter, I think Struve is too big, too long and too crafty to get pounded out.
Dropped? Maybe. Stopped? Doubtful.
Final prediction: Struve def. Miocic via submission
Nostradumbass predicts: Dan Hardy is considered "back" because he pasted Duane Ludwig earlier this year, but I'm not sure he ever left. That's not something a fighter wants to hear, I understand that, but losing a bunch of fights in a row doesn't always mean you're on a bad streak.
Sometimes it means you're just not good enough to hang with the guys you've been facing.
"The Outlaw" was arrested by Georges St. Pierre before getting clowned by Carlos Condit. That's not the worst thing in the world, seeing as how each of them is walking around Montreal with a 170-pound title. He was then taken down and smothered by a guy who outweighed him by 40 pounds and followed that up with a tap to Chris Lytle.
Thems the breaks.
The Hardy that dropped "Bang" is the same one that beat Mike Swick. The question is, does a decent striker with good power have enough tools in the box to overcome the cerebral approach of Amir Sadollah? That's hard to say. I thought The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7 winner looked electric against Peter Sobatta and DaMarques Johnson, but then he laid an egg against Duane Ludwig and struggled mightily against Jorge Lopez.
This all boils down to power versus precision.
It wouldn't surprise me to see Sadollah land more strikes, initiate more attacks and be the all-around busier fighter -- only to lose a decision because Hardy threw everything with bad intentions. Let's face it, a dozen jabs can be negated by a pair of crowd-pleasing haymakers when it comes to scoring.
Our judges aren't as bad as the NFL replacement refs, but they've blown some pretty big calls themselves.
Final prediction: Hardy def. Sadollah via unanimous decision
Nostradumbass predicts: I thought Yves Jabouin looked pretty good in his fight against Jeff Hougland at UFC on FUEL TV 3 back in May. The only problem? It was against Jeff Hougland at UFC on FUEL TV 3 back in May. That's not a cheap shot against "Hellbound," rather an example to highlight the reason ""Tiger" is still not "in the mix."
The proof is in the pudding.
You can make the argument that in 25 professional fights, his biggest win to date is a split decision victory over Ian Loveland. That doesn't exactly cut the mustard when you've been stopped by Mark Hominick and Sam Stout, in addition to being submitted by Jonathan Brookins and Pablo Garza.
I'm taking Pickett.
"One Punch" is 11-2 since 2007 with his only losses coming to the venerable Scott Jorgensen and current UFC Interim Bantamweight Champion Renan Pegado. His list of wins isn't exactly a who's-who, but his losses were against top competition and he's finished eight of his 11 wins by submission or (TKO).
I just think he's the better fighter.
Jabouin will come out sharp and it wouldn't surprise me to see him take the first round with a flashy offense. But once Pickett settles down and gets his timing, he's going to do more damage -- and do it more often -- en route to a sweep on the judges' scorecards.
Final prediction: Pickett def. Jabouin via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Paul Sass (13-0) vs. Matt Wiman (14-6)
Nostradumbass predicts: Paul Sass has 13 wins with 12 submissions -- nine of them from the triangle position. He's so good at locking it on he's called it "The Sassangle." Going forward, if you get caught in a submission with your opponent's name in it, please punch yourself in the nuts and retire from MMA.
Some things you just don't do.
You don't test your chin against a guy like Lavar Johnson and you don't take Paul Sass to the ground. If he overwhelms you with wrestling or drops you with a punch, fine, shit happens, but going there voluntarily is just plain dumb (until proven otherwise).
Matt Wiman is "handsome," but is he smart, too?
I don't know what kind of rabbit Rob Sinclair pulled out of his hat, but if I was in Wiman's shoes, I'd find that tape and analyze it, since "C-4" is the only fighter to go the distance against Sass and he almost won a split decision. I'm just not sure what else I can say about the Brit.
He's undefeated for a reason.
Still, this wouldn't be a Nostradumbass column if I wasn't picking an upset and since our TUF veteran has never been tapped in 20 professional fights, I have to believe he knows what he's doing in there. He also made me a nice chunk of change when I bet him against Cole Miller, so we can call this a sentimental pick.
Don't roll your eyes, you've done it plenty of times yourself.
I'm not trying to paint Wiman as the next title contender, but with his experience and his fight I.Q., I think he's got the chops to get it done against what could very well turn out to be a one-trick pony. Look for the Tulsa native to stay out of harm's way and shock the hometown crowd with a second round technical knockout stoppage.
So let it be written, so let it be dumb.
Final prediction: Wiman def. Sass via technical knockout
Nostradumbass predicts: Ask anyone to name some of the top fighters at 170 pounds and I doubt you'll hear the name John Hathaway. How quickly we forget! There was a time when "The Hitman" was the talk of the town, putting together wins over Diego Sanchez and Rick Story and getting oh-so-close to the vaunted "mix."
Then he got spanked by Mike Pyle.
Since then, he's been treated like a nobody. Sure, some of that blame rests on his shoulders, having failed to secure a decision over the last three years across six fights, but he's only 25 and is just starting to get his groove on.
So too, has John Maguire.
"The One" has made a successful career out of beating up Brits and since transitioning to the Octagon he's won back-to-back fights against Justin Edwards and DaMarques Johnson. That makes it seven in a row for Mags and on paper, this is a very even match-up.
Crumple that paper up and throw it in the trash.
I'm picking Hathaway because he's faced stiffer competition and faced it more often. Top of the food chain? No, but I'll put Sanchez, Story and Pascal Krauss over Edwards, Johnson and Dean Amasinger. Maguire's wins just don't measure up and I've also seen him pounded out by Tom Watson.
It should be a spirited affair, but the younger, bigger and more agile Hathaway will prove to be the better man on Saturday.
Final prediction: Hathaway def. Maguire via unanimous decision
Nostradumbass predicts: Duane Ludwig is 5-5 over his last 10 fights and is coming of back-to-back losses to Josh Neer and Dan Hardy. He's been around forever and gets a lot of love for his campaign to get recognized for having the promotion's fastest knockout in history.
What else is there to get excited about?
His biggest accomplishment since then is a unanimous decision win over Amir Sadollah back in late 2011. He's demonstrated above-average striking and keen technical prowess, but let's just go ahead and say it: Ludwig is 34 years old and with over forty professional fights to his credit -- not including his two dozen contests as a kickboxer -- it may be time to call it a career.
Che Mills will help him make that decision.
I know the memory of a "Beautiful" beatdown is still on everyone's mind, but does a thrashing by Rory MacDonald mean you're washed up? Only if you're B.J. Penn (zing!). Mills is a finisher, having bumped off 11 of 14 foes and has a nice balance between submissions and knockouts.
This one's a first-rounder.
In fact, we could be looking at "Knockout of the Night." Ludwig looked pretty pissed at the weigh ins earlier today and I think this one is going to erupt into a fist-a-thon right out of the gate. Unfortunately, the years of abuse will catch up with the Coloradan and before you know it, "Bang," lights out.
Final prediction: Mills def. Ludwig via knockout
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 UFC on FUEL TV 5 click here and remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of "Struve vs. Miocic."
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's event.