It's official, I have Steve Blass disease. Now, before you go asking me whether it's a fatal disease, don't be a fucking retard. Blass disease is a term in the baseball lexicon for a player who inexplicably loses control of his accuracy. In my case, it's shitting the bed each and every single MMA card I try and predict.
I went 4 for 12 in my predictions last night and if ShivanTiger hadn't literally taken 3 seconds to make his picks, it would have been me in last place in the pool and not his fool self. Only problem is that Shiv has an excuse and I don't. I actually watched the shit that Dana White hyped up as the greatest TUF ever (it wasn't even close).
Guys, I can't really explain this. I hope something comes along to prove it's not my fault, like some kind of malignant brain tumour or aliens are abducting me at night and experimenting on me sexually. Whatever the reason, I'm glad the stupid fucking money pool is almost over because I was heading right down to Sarah's basement apartment (not a bad place to be but she's moving out).
Speaking of the money pool, for the price of two super sized McHappy Meals you, too, can enjoy losing your hard-won cash to some guys from Bloody Elbow in the next season. For full contest details, click here.
Oh and a quick thanks to the people who voted for me in the best writer category that Jesse Holland won. Frankly, I think the guy has a handicap because he can't really use grotesque metaphors to make his point.
Card's report card: B+. Look, any card with 9 finishes is decent, even if the fighters are awful.
Fight of the night: Maximo Blanco versus Sam Sicilia
Knockout of the night: Clint Hester (hard to believe the UFC gave it to the guy who won illegally)
Submission of the night: Daniel Pineda
Biggest upset: Kelvin Gastelum
Worst judges' decision: The judge who gave all 3 rounds to Luke Barnatt
Most boring fight: Nobody
Beatdown of the night: Nobody
[DISCLAIMER NOTE - All UFC images in this post were sourced from Facebook.com/UFC and are the intellectual property of Zuffa LLC/Josh Hedges.]
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I've seen some epic letdowns in my time, but Justin's complete failure last night was breathtaking in a "I just watched a YouTube video of a chick kicking a guy in the balls and then he fell headfirst into an empty pool" sort of way. Lawrence was what hacker kids in the '90s would call "pwned."
Justin came out, tried to throw a fancy headkick, and Pineda took him down immediately into side control. Having seen some decent wrestling from the kid on TUF and considering the fact he trains in a camp where midgets do nothing but wrastle together, I didn't think this was too concerning.
Unfortunately, Justin took his white belt to the ground and proceeded to get kimuraed faster than you can squeal "Justin is 5'8" I didn't know they stacked shit that high." Pineda made this kid look like they pulled some drunken guy off the strip, dressed him in an MMA uniform and promised him $100 if he could survive two minutes. Mission unaccomplished.
Winner: The 145-division has quietly turned from the weakest in the UFC into one of the deepest. And since Pineda had been coming off two losses before his win, he's not even within earshot of the top 25. He could fight Cole Miller, who's also rebounding from two losses in a row. Same with Maximo Blanco. All these guys were on the chopping block before last night.
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Featherweight : Maximo Blanco (B+) versus Sam Sicilia (B)
Prediction: Sicilia via decision
Result: Blanco via decision
This was a great scrap, regardless of who was the winner. After Maximo Blanco played flying footsies with Marcus Brimage for 15 minutes at UFC 145 I wasn't too hopeful that he would put on a show. I was pleasantly surprised with his efforts in this one.
Blanco played counterpuncher for the first round, tagging Sicilia a lot and making him pay for chasing him around. Sicilia seemed to get the better of the exchanges in the second, with several brutal combinations and uppercuts. At one point it looked like Blanco was going to wilt and get finished, but survived by hanging on against the cage.
In the third round Sicilia forgot he was in a fight for a second and got tagged against the fence to start the round. Things didn't really improve for him and although it was a close contest, Sicilia never really found a groove or went for anything desperate enough to get the nod.
Of course, this could have been a draw if Kim Winslow wasn't the dumbest smurfing smurfbag this smurf of smurfville. Blanco held the fence so many times during the fight that you'd think it was the Mexican-U.S. border, but all Winslow did was beg him not to grab it. Nine fucking times.
Winner: Like I said before, he could scrap against Daniel Pineda, or one of the other featherweights from the card.
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Featherweight : Cole Miller (B-) versus Bart Palaszewski (D)
Prediction: Palaszewski via TKO2
Result: Miller via SUB1
I don't know whether Bart forgot he was in a fight with a high level Jiu-jitsu guy. I don't know whether he underestimated Miller's ability to choke him out with ease like a sexually-abused Princess Leia getting revenge on her rapist, Jabba the Hutt. Hell, I don't know whether it was too much Warsaw home-brewed vodka addling his brain. Whatever the case, Bart Palaszewski was winning the first round. And then he was finished.
After about 30 seconds of the first round it was obvious that Cole Miller was either going to get kickboxed to another decision, or possibly finished in a flurry as he kept getting tagged. Palaszewski seemed completely in control and in no real danger. Miller then landed an unexpected double leg against the cage. Instead of patiently working the guard for the final 45 seconds of the round, he inexplicably turned around and helped Miller secure a rear-naked buggery.
Such stupidity cannot be rewarded. Cut this kid. As for Cole Miller, he dodged a bullet but he's as mediocre as they come. Unless the fight goes to the ground, he'll always lose to the more talented strikers in the 145-division. Sadly, he said he belongs at Featherweight in the post-fight interview instead of doing the more sensible thing by packing on a few pounds to his skeletal frame and fighting at 155.
Winner: Phantom tapper and all-around douche-chassis Akira Corassani looked good recently. It would be interesting to see if Miller could drag him down and make him tap for real this time.
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I have to admit, I didn't watch much of this fight. I was too busy creating a graphic with Clint Hester that mixed a picture of hot lava with a picture of garbage. Not that it mattered. Sweet fuck all happened for most of the first two rounds with Hester and Marunde doing a little shadow boxing with each other and nobody landing shit.
I don't want to be too hard on Bristol Marunde. It's not his fault that he's total shit and has no skills to speak of whatsoever. Every so often TUF has a guy like that. Last season it was Jon Manley. But I do need to be hard on Clint Hester. The guy has a lot of skills but he has all the killer instinct of a fucking llama.
Hester doesn't even really deserve a high grade of a "B" except for the brutal elbow that made Marunde do the stutter step chicken dance as though he were a bad guy in Commando getting lit up by invisible Arnold Schwarzenegger bullets. That was a nice elbow. Shame they gave it to the fight with the illegal strikes to the back of the head.
Winner: Fucked if I know. Seriously, fucked if I know. These TUF scrubs get worse each and every season and until you see them fight a real, ranked middleweight, how can you really know? I'd start at the very bottom and work Hester up from there. For all we know, he's worse than Chris Leben. Which is pretty fucking shit.
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First of all, I know that Jimmy "Quitlan" is a quitter. I know that. In my defense, I was going to pick Andrews but I figured the main reason Quitlan quit in his last fight is that Quitlan was tired from the frequent fights in the house and that he broke mentally. With a full camp, I reckoned Quitlan could at least lay on Andrews for three rounds.
Sadly, I should have lost faith in Quitlan the moment he quit in the house. Quitlan came out and threw about as many punches against Andrews as Susan Boyle has had men in her bed. The ones that did land probably tickled a bit, but we know it was all so Quitlan could get Andrews on the mat. Which he did. So far so good.
But then Andrews swept Quitlan easily, got back up, landed some big shots, and Quitlan turtled like Bob Sapp collecting another $30,000 pay cheque. Quitlan quit like a fucking quitter. Back to the fucking grappling league with you.
Winner: Dylan Andrews, or mini-Cyrille Diabate, looked pretty good last night. He's also technically won five in a row if you don't count getting knocked out by Uriah Hall who was on the bottom at the time. Again, start him at the bottom and work him up.
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Middleweight : Luke Barnatt (C+) versus Collin Hart (C)
Prediction: Barnatt via decision
Result: Barnatt via decision
This was a slippery, sloppy, slobbering slapfest, with both guys gassed out badly and trading poorly timed and executed blows, staggering around like they were drunk, and gasping for air. I thought it was pretty clear that Hart took the opening round before fading badly in the second, which was won by Barnatt, and then the third was a tossup.
I think Barnatt probably took the third, but only because he would throw a jab every time Hart zombie-walked him down, and then would run to the other side of the cage. It was like Condit versus Diaz except without any of the class, skill, or grace of Condit. Not that Hart helped his case much by simply walking forward. The only thing missing for full effect would have been if he was droning, "Brains, braaaaaaains" every time he lurched forward. I half expected Darryl to come along and put a fucking crossbow arrow in his head.
Barnatt reminded me a whole fuck of a lot like another European beanpole, the notorious underachiever Stefan Struve. I don't know what it is about tall guys but they enjoy sticking their chins straight up in the air and walking backwards. Dumb fuck is as dumb fuck does. Fortunately, Barnatt has a thick fucking skull.
Winner: Blah blah blah, bottom of the pile.
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This almost went exactly how I predicted, although the submission early was closer than I'd like to admit. Luckily, Josh Samman isn't a quitter like Jimmy Quitlan the quitter, and survived. Actually, much respect to Josh Samman. Here's a guy with a huge ego but very few natural talents. What he does have is a pretty strong will and a great work ethic. As cocaine-addled Mike Goldberg likes to screech, hard work beats talent when talent refuses to work hard.
And talent refused to work hard last night. Casey had Samman locked up tight and lost the position. He then blew his entire wad on the first round, and by the time he came out for the second you could see he was spent and mentally broken. Samman merely had to apply the Muay Thai clinch and go to work. Casey folded like a dollar bill on a line of Goldberg coke.
I guess the frustrating thing about Kevin Casey is that he seems to have picked up some genuinely good skills from the Gracie clan, but he has about three minutes of cardio and two minutes of mental toughness. If somebody could work on those two attributes he might be better. Then again, he's pushing 34, so fuck it.
Winner: Bottom of the pile.
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Did I honestly think Gilbert Smith would knock out Bubba? No. But I couldn't pick Bubba McDoucheface. He's honestly one of the biggest fucking numbnuts I think I've ever had to displeasure of seeing on television. The man is 185 pounds of sheer turd.
The problem with Gilbert Smith is the same affliction that Jimmy Quitlan and Kevin Casey suffer from. A lack of confidence in themselves and an inability to change the gameplan on the fly. The funny thing is that Bubba aint exactly got a granite will himself. Bubba breaks pretty easy, too, and if you don't believe me go and watch his fights on TUF again.
The thing is, Smith has zero power in his punches, and no submissions once gets a guy on the ground. For a juiced up beefcake, the man is pretty short on everything else. Pun intended. The shame of it is that Smith looks like he could be a dangerous fighter if he could combine his wrestling with anything, anything at all.
Winner: Bubba is fucking garbage. Seriously.
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Did Travis Browne land six illegal elbows to the back of the head? Does letter19 clearly have narcissistic personality disorder? Yes and yes.
This one was pretty clearly a disqualification by illegal blows to the back of the head. The replay showed the first elbow landing around the ear of Gonzaga, followed by five or six illegal 12-to-6 elbows right to the fucking cranium. When the ref jumped in I assumed he was going to take a point from Browne. Instead he called the fight.
I'm not really going to argue about it. Browne clearly did not win the fight under the unified rules of MMA. And to hand him a fucking fight bonus for cheating just shows how prickish the UFC can be.
Winner: How about a rematch in which Browne doesn't cheat?
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We interrupt this regularly scheduled MMA event to bring you this:
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Middleweight TUF 17 Finale : Uriah Hall (F) versus Kevin Gastelum (A)
Prediction: Hall via KO1
Result: Gastelum via decision
I think everything that could be said about this has been said about this. Hall choked. He stumbled. He fell. He failed. Pitted against a man vastly younger, less experienced, less talented, Hall did everything he possibly could to lose. And lose he did.
Hall went out there, hands down, back against the cage, channeling Anderson Silva. Instead he channeled Jason Miller. I don't think I've ever seen a guy with that much raw and natural talent lose to a doughy oversized welterweight who brought little more than willpower to the finale.
Not only did Hall end the hypetrain with his performance, he fucked Dana White and made him look like an idiot for selling wolf tickets, he lost scores of fans, and he looked like he doesn't really know what to do with his talent. There seem to be two problems here: the first is about fight IQ and might be able to be taught with a good coach. The second is a mental game and I don't know if there's a fix for that. The sheer number of mentally weak fighters on TUF 17 was staggering.
Winner: Kevin Gastelum looks like a mini-Cain Velasquez. He uses his wrestling and unrelenting pace to wear on guys and make them quit. I look forward to seeing him in the UFC because if he can do this at 21, I think a weight cut to 170 and a good MMA gym could make him a serious threat in the league.
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It's not that Scottie Jorgensen doesn't belong at the top of the 135-pound division. He does. It's just that everything he does, Urijah Faber does that much better. It's easy to forget just how fucking great Faber is, because he always loses in the biggest fights of his life. But he really is a fun fighter to watch.
Faber dominated the first round with his grappling, transitioning a step ahead of Jorgensen every single time. It's Faber's timing that is so impressive, and even if he isn't the fastest guy at this weight class, his impeccable sense of timing and fight IQ is always on point. Jorgensen had a good third and might have even won it, but Faber went back to the wrestling in the fourth round and has a ridiculously nasty rear-naked choke.
Jorgensen looked good in this fight, despite the loss, and his 1-3 record recently has to be taken with a grain of salt. He lost to Renan Barao, the champion and arguably a better fighter than Dominick Cruz, to Eddie Wineland who is set to face Barao, and to Faber. He's still a solid top-10 guy in the division.
Winner: What do you do with a problem like Faber? He's too good to fight most of the guys at 135 but he can't keep getting title shots. I don't really have an answer.