What's up kids, it's almost time for another embarrassing moments in Chael Sonnen history event. Unfortunately, there's a 90 percent chance I'll miss it because I'm on vacation starting Friday, which means I'll probably be getting the fuck out of Dodge and doing something vacation related. That means I won't be doing report cards either, and I'll probably miss Kampmann vs Condit 2, too.
Ramsey Nijem was last seen getting knocked brutally the fuck out by Myles Jury in April in one of the prettier slo-mo replays that my PVR has ever has the pleasure to rewind over and over again. When he's not getting knocked the fuck out, Nijem is like a rash on a diaper, hugging and holding and loving. Vick, meanwhile, is best known for manhandling gay porn star Dakota Cochrane on TUF:Live in the elimination round, and going on to land the luckiest fucking punch in TUF history by knocking out Daron Cruickshank. The 6'3" Texan then beat Joe Proctor in the quarterfinals, before getting knocked out in the semis by Forrest Griffin fan Michael Chiesa. As both fighters own wins over Proctor, it's pretty easy to guess how this will play out.
Nijem via unanimous decision
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The little known Cody Donovan showed up to his UFC debut against Canadian Nick Penner and put on a slobberknocker for four and a half minutes until he knocked the other guy out. In that time he got dropped not once, but twice, and still managed to win. Impressive. Sure. But he's fighting "OSP" who looks like he packs 250 pounds of pure Alabama blacksnake (Full Metal Jacket) into his 205-pound Tennessee frame. Dude hits hard and at 6'3" loves to land the head kicks. Although he doesn't own a lot of impressive wins outside of Strikeforce, he has a habit of standing and banging. Cody's chin won't like that one little bit.
St. Preux via first round KO
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Manvel Gamburyan (12-7) versus Cole Miller (19-7)
Can you believe Manny got a title shot against Jose Aldo? Neither can I. Manny is a man of limited gifts. He's a Judo guy with a mean amount of power in his hands. Strikers usually have their way with him, like Aldo, Diego Nunes, Tyson Griffin. But wrestlers and grapplers find it hard to do something with Manny's tree trunk neck and stocky Armenian body. He had Nate Diaz down in their TUF finale fight and the Jiu-Jitsu wiz kid had nothing for Manny. Neither will Cole. It's one thing to catch the skeletal Bart Palaszewski in a brain fart, and another to submit a guy like Manny.
Gamburyan via unanimous decision
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I think this is Diego's fight to lose. He's got the power and the jiu-jitsu to win any number of ways here. Pineda is a curiosity. He submitted Pat Schilling and Mackens Sermezier to debut in the UFC, then lost to Mike Brown and got clowned by Antonio Carvalho. Just when I'd written him off he went and ruined Justin Lawrence's day so quickly that the kid barely had time to scream Urijah's name. I'd say that makes Pineda the wild card in this one. Brandao should catch him. He's due for a knockout.
Brandao via first round KO
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Mike Brown (26-8) versus Steven Siler (22-10)
Brown is the former WEC Featherweight Champion. He's beaten Urijah Faber twice and has the wrestling to dominate most guys on the ground. Having said that, Brown has fallen off in recent years. He's 4-3 since losing his title via KO to Jose Aldo in 2009. And although he fought many times in 2011, he only fought once in 2012. In fact, Steven Siler has fought three times since Brown was last inside the cage. Siler has some great Muay Thai, maybe some of the best in the division. That means it's unlikely he can stand and bang with Siler without getting Gamburyaned. It kind of comes down to whether you think Brown can take Siler down and whisper sweet French nothings in his ear for three rounds.
Brown via unanimous decision
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Conor McGregor (13-2) versus Max Holloway (7-2)
Holloway is a talented young buck who probably got robbed in his decision against Dennis Bermudez and uses his lanky reach to outstrike his opponents. But do I think he can stand and bang with Conor McGregor? How about fuck, followed by no. Holloway has a habit of retreating with his chin up and hands down, as Leonard Garcia exposed during his flailfest of a fail fight back at UFC 155.
McGregor via first round KO
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Man, this is going to be some ultraviolence. Both guys have great standup and I would be shocked if this doesn't see a fight of the night. Pickett is really hard to knock out, but McDonald throws hard. If either man loses inside the distance, it will because one gets caught and jumped on. I don't think either will.
McDonald via unanimous decision
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This one is pretty obvious. Joe Lauzon is a lot of pissed off Boston Irishman to deal with. He also has 18 submissions to his name, including six that earned him a fat stack of bills from Dana Fucking White. Michael Johnson, meanwhile, is best known for getting heel hooked by Paul Sass and submitted by Reza Madadi. For fuck sakes, Reza Madadi! Are you kidding me?
Lauzon via first round submission
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I see that John Howard is back in the UFC after ballooning up to Middleweight and beating six guys in the Classic Entertainment and Sports league, winning their crackerjack box belt. Impressed much? How about no. As for Uriah Hall, who was last seen seeing outpaced by a pudgy welterweight, I'm shocked he's on the main card. Do I think he can throw enough pretty kicks and roundhouse misses to impress the judges? Sure. Will anyone care? No. A lot of people think Hall is going to knock out Howard just because he flew through some TUF scrubs years after the best middleweight prospects have long since been mined. Fact is, Howard went three rounds with Matt Brown and Thiago Alves. So, Hall better have something better than a reverse roundhouse kick.
Hall via unanimous decision
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Matt Brown (17-11) versus Mike Pyle (25-8-1)
It sucks I actually have to pick a winner here. Both guys are on great winning streaks, both have a ton of heart, and both have a habit of finishing their opponents. But I think Matt Brown's streak is just a little more legit. Pyle defeated Ricardo Funch, got a last second surprise KO against Josh Neer, and stunned James Head while he was going for a takedown, but I think we all agree he lost to Rick Story. Matt Brown meanwhile, crushed Chris Cope, he he beat the tar fuck out of Wonderboy and crushed all the hype, he punished Luis Ramos, he ruined Mike Swick's comeback party, and he absolutely ruined Jordan Mein like nobody has ever ruined the kid before. Yeah, Brown has found his fucking groove.
Brown via TKO in the second round
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Urijah Faber (28-6) versus Yuri Alcantara (28-4)
Alcantara is one of the top strikers at 145 and he's a threat to anybody who gets inside the cage with him. He's been even more dangerous at 135. But Urijah Faber has demonstrated over the course of his career that he's one of the most well-rounded guys there is. After watching Hacran Dias lay and pray Alcantara, I'm convinced that if Faber can't win on the feet he'll find a way to get it to the ground. And if he does, Faber has a habit of choking guys the fuck out.
Faber via unanimous decision
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I'm sure I wouldn't want to be the guy who Overeem faces in his redemption fight. I expect Overeem to come out more humble, more hungry, and more angry. I expect him to hurt Browne early and often and ultimately to see Browne's carcass dragged off the mat.
Overeem via KO in the first round
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Mauricio Rua (21-7) versus Chael Sonnen (27-13-1)
A couple of things. Yes, Rua's training probably is helping his fitness and cardio. Yes, Freddie Roach helping him to not punch like a girl is probably a good thing. But regardless of that, Rua has no way to lose this fight. There is no way that Sonnen handles Rua on the ground for five rounds. Shogun has never been held down for any length of time without sweeping leg locks. And even when he gasses the guy has a habit of being dangerous. This isn't a middleweight fight either. I'd be very surprised to see Sonnen try and hold Shogun down without getting knocked clean the fuck out in the clinch. Sonnen is likely to rush out, get stuffed, get roughed up, and get finished.
Rua via KO in the third round