Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back, which means Nostradumbass is back with it, for the upcoming UFC 195: "Lawler vs. Condit" pay-per-view (PPV) event scheduled for tomorrow night (Sat., Jan. 2, 2016) inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
That's where Robbie Lawler will try to continue his torrid run through the welterweight division, already proving he's not a one-hit wonder with last month's destruction of Rory MacDonald. Standing in his way is the always-dangerous Carlos Condit, who previously held the interim strap because he's pretty damn good.
Good enough to topple Lawler? That remains to be seen.
In the UFC 195 co-main event, Andrei Arlovski looks to continue his improbable march back to the 265-pound title by thwarting venerable heavyweight bruiser Stipe Miocic. "The Pitbull" is 4-0 since returning to ZUFFA in June 2014 with two wins by knockout.
One more and he's likely to face the winner of this fight.
If you want to see what's doing on the UFC 195 "Prelims," the charming and handsome Patty Stumberg did his usual bang-up job dissecting those match ups here and here. While you're at it, check out his "Lawler vs. Condit" odds and best bets right here.
Enough potatoes. Let's get to the meat.
170 lbs.: "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler (26-10, 1 NC) vs. Carlos "Natural Born Killer" Condit (30-8)
Nostradumbass predicts: What's great about this main event, as well as this division as a whole, is that you can make an argument for both fighters winning tomorrow night's headliner and neither case would be readily dismissed. That's a testament to the respective skill sets of both fighters.
Honestly, I wasn't expecting much from Robbie Lawler when he came back to UFC in early 2013. After all, his Strikeforce record was a forgettable 3-5 and he was already 31 years old. Who knew all he needed was a drop to welterweight?
Since then, he's been ... well, "Ruthless."
Lawler is enjoying one of the great career resurgences over the past two years and he really needed that Rory MacDonald win to prove that he was more than just a tough out for Johnny Hendricks. His striking looks better and better each fight, as does his takedown defense.
If you can't knock him out and you can't take him down ... brother, you are in big trouble.
Carlos Condit is exactly the kind of fighter who can get around that. His chin has withstood the test of time and he hasn't been submitted in nearly a decade -- not that he needs to worry about that here. He's also got more tools in the toolbox when it comes to the bangfest, mixing in a nice array of kicks and elbows.
I wouldn't be surprised if he pulled out the win, but I won't be picking him.
I just don't have the confidence in a combatant who probably shouldn't even be in a title fight. Condit looked great during his destruction of Thiago Alves, but keep in mind the "Pitbull" was ranked No. 12 at the time they threw down. Prior to that, "Natural Born Killer" was just 1-3 dating back to his narrow win over Nick Diaz.
He was also getting knocked around by Tyron Woodley prior to the leg injury.
I know a lot of fans find that kind of stuff nit-picky, but keep in mind we're not talking about some Fight Pass co-main event against Joey Bananas. Condit has to step into the Octagon against a monster like Lawler, who would love nothing more than a bloody, five-round war.
Look on the bright side, surviving five "Ruthless" rounds will at the very least, be a moral victory.
Final prediction: Lawler def. Condit via unanimous decision
265 lbs.: Andrei "Pitbull" Arlovski (25-10, 1 NC) vs. Stipe Miocic (13-2)
Nostradumbass predicts: From a predictions standpoint, I've always been pretty hard on Andrei Arlovski. Not because I have some ax to grind with the former UFC heavyweight champ, but rather because of my constant frustration with his fight I.Q.
Here is a big, athletic heavyweight with terrific hands, dangerous submissions, and great cardio. Then he does weird shit like run forward with his chin straight up in the air or spend a three-round fight ... not fighting (please watch this). Both of those issues worry me for this latest pairing.
As for his beard?
Seven of his 10 losses are by knockout, normally indicative of a brittle button, but it probably has more to do with the holes in his striking defense. Also working in his favor is the fact that he's won nine of his last 10 and fought Anthony Johnson with a broken jaw.
It will be interesting to see which version of Arlovski shows up in "Sin City."
Miocic may not have the speed or power of his opponent, but he's an outstanding wrestler (NCAA Division-1) with a gas tank not common among busy heavyweights. He also operates with deadly precision, which helped carry him to the national Golden Gloves tournament in 2009.
I had him winning the Junior dos Santos fight, but I also can't overlook the Stefan Struve loss.
With only three rounds to get the job done, this contest could end up favoring the busier fighter. Expect a slow start as both big men look to cautiously find their sea legs, followed by a busy round two. Miocic will probably try to seal the deal with a takedown late in round three, only to get popped and dropped by the counter-punching "Pitbull."
Final prediction: Arlovski def. Miocic via technical knockout
170 lbs.: Lorenz "Monsoon" Larkin (16-4, 1 NC) vs. Albert "Einstein" Tumenov (16-2)
Nostradumbass predicts: I'm surprised at how quick some fans (and pundits) were to dismiss Lorenz Larkin in this fight. "The Monsoon" was parked on the corner of Pink & Slip back in 2014, but resurrected his combat sports career with a long-overdue drop to welterweight.
The result was two consecutive knockout wins in 2015.
Up next is Russian wunderkind Albert Tumenov, who brings with him a boatload of praise from the same folks who already penned Larkin's eulogy. I too, was impressed by "Einstein's" dismantling of Alan Jouban, but I'm not hanging his portrait above the mantle just yet.
Larking has faced -- and defeated -- much tougher competition.
Let's face it, the so-called Russian invasion -- which plucked international fighters from in and around the former Soviet Union -- has not been the hostile takeover many were expecting. Rustam Khabilov fizzled out, Khabib Nurmagomedov can't stay healthy, and Rashid Magomedov is so boring his last fight was sponsored by Lunesta.
This will be no different.
Tumenov is a well-rounded striker and technically sound, but the pre-fight interviews I didn't watch and can't find on Google make him sound overconfident, perhaps to a fault. Larkin will surprise him with his speed and athleticism and by the time "Einstein" steps on the gas, he'll already be down two rounds to zip.
Final prediction: Larkin def. Tumenov via split decision
145 lbs.: Diego "DB" Brandao (20-10) vs. Brian "T-City" Ortega (9-0, 1 NC)
Nostradumbass predicts: Diego Brandao, who rose to fame (kinda/sorta) on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 14, is the same fighter now as he was back on the combat sports reality show: a rampaging lunatic who fights like his opponent holds the deed to his grandma's house.
Nothing wrong with that.
If you're not going to compete with any finesse, at least be exciting (and he is). But underneath that bloodlust is a talented grappler who could probably be a serious contender if he wasn't missing a few key ingredients, like patience and mental focus.
Those same deficiencies will likely cost him this fight.
Brian Ortega is four years younger than his more experienced counterpart and what we've seen to date looks promising. There were some questions about how well "T-City" would hold up in the big leagues after his impeccable run across the regional circuit and so far, so good.
And don't come back with the yeah, but counter.
The Thiago Tavares fight was evidence that he still has a long way to go before threatening the top five, but what makes that performance impressive, for the purposes of this analysis, is that Ortega was able to win when the chips were down. They'll be down in this fight, too.
Right down his throat.
Brandao will bring the hurt early and often and assuming Ortega can weather the storm -- which I believe he can -- it will only be a matter of time before "DB" empties his gas tank, which is so small, it could be retrofitted into Toad's Mushmellow buggie in Mario Kart DS.
Final prediction: Ortega def. Brandao via submission
155 lbs.: Tony "2.0" Sims (12-3) vs. Abel "Killa" Trujillo (12-7, 1 NC)
Nostradumbass predicts: I had one of my funny (at least to me) Nostradumbass-isms for Abel Trujillo, then I saw the dexterous Connor Ruebusch referred to him as a "larger, angrier Leonard Garcia" and welp, I just closed up shop and went back to the business of dumb predictions.
Trujillo is a formidable fighter with above-average wrestling and frightening hands. That said, "Killa" has been down in the dumps for awhile, thanks to submission losses to Tony Ferguson and Gleison Tibau. He was simply defeated by a superior fighter when he battled "El Cucuy."
As for Tibau? I think those radioactive drug test results speak for themselves.
Even riding a pair of consecutive losses, I was still surprised to see Trujillo as the underdog. Tony Sims will enjoy a height and reach advantage, as well as a more technical skill set when it comes to the stand up, but he's also had the luxury of recycling cans over the past few years.
"2.0" is just 1-1 in UFC and his signature win is over (wait for it) ... Steve "Creepy Weasel" Montgomery.
Sorry, I need a little more than that, and Sims is no spring chicken, either. I would expect Trujillo to race out of the gate tomorrow night and bring the hurt like his job is on the line -- which it is -- and that's the last place Sims (or any other lightweight) wants to be.
Final prediction: Trujillo def. Sims via technical knockout
That's a wrap.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 195 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.
You've heard from me, now let's hear from you. Who gets it done on fight night?