I almost don't want this event to happen.
Once it does, we'll have to stop talking about The Real Housewives of Las Vegas, Nevada, and start talking about the actual fights at UFC on FOX 16, which takes place tomorrow night (Sat., July 25, 2015) inside United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
What fun is that?
The good news is, the "Dillashaw vs. Barao 2" fight card -- like most FOX offerings -- is rock solid from top to bottom. In addition to the championship rematch between TJ Dillashaw and Renan Barao, Miesha Tate will battle Jessica Eye in the "Windy City" co-main event.
The winner could move on to fight
the winner of Bethe Correia vs. Ronda Rousey.
Elsewhere on the four-fight main card, another Irish "Dragon" tries to take over the promotion -- this time at 155 pounds -- when Paul Felder battles Brazilian wunderkind Edson Barboza. We'll also find out if Takanori Gomi has anything left against Joe Lauzon, who like the Japanese import, has struggled to stay consistent in recent years.
Let's get crackin'...
135 lbs.: TJ "The Viper" Dillashaw (11-2) vs. Renan "Barao" Pegado (33-2, 1 NC)
Nostradumbass predicts: How unforgiving are UFC fans? Consider that Renan do Nascimento Mota Pegado -- mercifully shortened to Renan Barao because he's like the Brazilian Red Baron or some shit -- suffered his first loss in nearly a decade when TJ Dillashaw shocked the world at UFC 173.
His rebound fight? A submission win over Mitch Gagnon, but he won't get any credit for it because yeah, he won, but not until the third round.
Didn't TJ Dillashaw get KTFO by a flyweight? Oh sorry, I forgot, he's the best bantamweight in the world because he already defended his title against Joe-Motherfucking-Soto.
Losses happen, even to the best fighters in the world. You know that kinda-old saying: "If you haven't lost, then you haven't been fighting long enough." I'm not throwing Barao out with the trash because he was bit by "The Viper" their first time out.
That said, he has no one to blame but himself.
Let's face it, Barao mailed it in when he trained for UFC 173 and I can't say I blame him. Dillashaw was a +475 underdog and I don't seem to remember any of you experts calling the win for Team Alpha Male. So what happened? Dilly knocked him silly with a shot to the cranium and the Brazilian was out before he even knew he was in trouble.
He won't make that same mistake this second time around.
I've been hearing that Dillashaw will implement his vaunted wrestling in this fight if he's unable to runaway with it on the feet, but Barao has never been taken down in UFC, shucking off two attempts from Urijah Faber and three from "The Viper" in their first fight.
And without that head kick to change the game, Dillashaw and his fancy-ass footwork will finally get a taste of that Brazilian power.
Assuming Barao doesn't have a near-death experience cutting weight for this fight and can maintain the cardio necessary to go all five rounds, I think he's going to remind everyone why he was one of the top pound-for-pound fighters on the planet.
One who got careless and lazy, but who also learned a valuable lesson. Come Saturday night in Chicago, some of you Doubting Thomases will learn a lesson or two of your own.
Final prediction: Barao def. Dillashaw via unanimous decision
135 lbs.: Jessica "Evil" Eye (11-2) vs. Miesha "Cupcake" Tate (16-5)
Nostradumbass predicts: I have a colleague who told me that Miesha Tate is going to lose to Jessica Eye. When I asked him to elaborate, he told me, "because she's annoying." I've been hearing a lot of that from the Taters (Tate haters), because they don't have much else to fall back on.
"Cupcake" knows how to win.
That's pretty remarkable when you consider how incomplete she is as a fighter. Her striking is below average and mostly paws a few punches just to keep busy until the takedown presents itself. Once it does, Tate usually gets the fight south.
What she does once it gets there is unlikely to dazzle you, but it keeps her ahead on the scorecards.
That's going to be a considerable mountain to climb for Eye, who is far and away the better striker. Unfortunately, she's not very adept at working from bottom and Alexis Davis was able to drag her to the floor on a pair of occasions when they went to war in 2014.
Expect more of the same.
If we've learned anything from Tate in her five fights for UFC, is that she'll relentlessly spam takedowns until she lands one, even if it means eating a bunch of punches in the process. Without serious knockout power, Eye isn't going to be able to do enough damage to stop them, and will find herself spending most of the fight getting mugged.
Expect the boo birds to sing loudly in Chi-Town.
Final prediction: Tate def. Eye via unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Edson Barboza (15-3) vs. Paul "Irish Dragon" Felder (10-0)
Nostradumbass predicts: Imagine what a cruel twist of fate it is to be a world-class striker with blinding speed and devastating leg kicks, only to have it negated by a brittle chin. Reminds me of the time I went fluke fishing on a party boat and some jackass gave me a rod with two-pound test.
I got one! I got one! (plink) Oh, fuck me.
There's a reason Edson Barboza has 10 knockouts in 15 wins. When he's allowed to work at range or take advantage of one-dimensional wrestlers, he's almost guaranteed a spot on the highlight reel. But when he's faced with a pressure fighter or a slick counter-puncher, he comes up lame.
That's why I'm taking the surging Paul Felder in this one.
The "Irish Dragon" is not going to match the Brazilian in speed and has to go into this fight with the understanding that he's going to get his legs treated like a Springfield snake on Whacking Day. If he can endure that punishment and measure his opponent's timing, he can pull a Donald Cerrone and uncork the epic jab of destruction.
Unless Felder completely abandons his gameplan and turns this into a point-fighting battle, I think he makes a statement tomorrow night in "The Windy City."
Final prediction: Felder def. Barboza via technical knockout
155 lbs.: Takanori "Fireball Kid" Gomi (35-10) vs. Joe "J-Lau" Lauzon (24-10)
Nostradumbass predicts: My dad was a great swimmer and though that by proxy, I would be too. That's probably why he launched me off the dock at age three, only to watch me sink like a rock, flailing about as my pasty face was engulfed by the black lagoon.
That's not unlike the UFC career of Takanori Gomi.
Sure, he ran the table in PRIDE, eating championship beans out of Japanese cans, but his attempt to replicate those performances under the ZUFFA banner were inconsistent at best and disastrous at worst. "The Fireball Kid" is 4-5 inside the Octagon and he was finished in four of those five losses.
We can go ahead and make it five of six after tomorrow night.
Joe Lauzon has also been on a sharp decline over the last few years, which is to be expected when you WAR like he does in every goddamn fight. That said, he's still five years younger than Gomi, packs a powerful punch, and can exploit the Japanese import's unreliable ground defense.
Lauzon is a legit grappler and his opponent has been subbed in six of 10 losses.
I can't rule out the one-hitter quitter, because Gomi is still a talented striker with bricks for hands, but his footwork is ring-specific and he never seems to get comfortable inside the cage, constantly shuffling his feet while trying to develop a steady rhythm.
That's going to cost him dearly when you consider how fast Lauzon works, as well as how aggressive he is with his offense.
A first-round finish would not surprise me.
Final prediction: Lauzon def. Gomi via submission
That's a wrap.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on FOX 16 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under card balance on FOX at 6 p.m. ET before the FOX main card start time of 8 p.m. ET.
For previews and predictions of the preliminary card fights click here and here. To see all the odds and betting lines for UFC on FOX 16 click here and remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of "Dillashaw vs. Barao 2."
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 night's event.