Hello again my friends to the show that never ends, I hope you’re glad you could attend. Now lets get started with the second, and hopefully more successful, installment of the UFC’s network television broadcast.
First, lets do a quick preview of the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl.
*crickets* *crickets* *crickets*
Oh, that’s right. I forgot. The only people who watch the Pro Bowl are Roger Goodell and senior citizens who use it as background noise. Heard they’re going to let players tweet during the game just so they can tell the world all the exciting places they’d rather be. Moving on.
This week’s odds are provided by http://www.betonfighting.com
Phil Davis (+150) vs. Rashad Evans (-180)
A classic veteran vs. young blood battle, Evans (16-1-1) can certainly relate to the road Davis (9-0) has taken to get to this point in his career. For Evans, his first fight of this kind came against Tito Ortiz at UFC 73 in 2007, a close battle against an experienced wrestler that resulted in a draw.
However, Evans is a much bigger challenge for Davis than Ortiz was five years ago. “Suga” is still relatively young at 32, agile, healthy, and is proficient in all areas of mixed martial arts. For Davis to get a victory, let along keep the fight close, he’ll have to prove he can stuff a takedown from a high-level wrestler, a test he hasn’t taken in his short career.
There’s no question in my mind about Davis’ potential. In fact, in my humble opinion, he and Evans are the only two 205ers that could put up a decent fight against the champion Jon Jones. However, “Mr. Wonderful” has a few lessons to learn in the cage starting Saturday.
This will be a great fight, but Evans is simply too well-rounded for Davis to toss around like a rag doll. We haven’t seen his bottom game yet, but all fight fans know what Evans is capable of on top. My money’s on Evans by decision, probably four rounds to one.
Prediction: Evans by Decision
Chael Sonnen (-465) vs. Michael Bisping (+365)
Wow, I didn’t realize an unimpressive win against a gassed “Mayhem” Miller could get you a fight with the No. 1 contender in a division, but Mark Munoz’ injury opened the door for a less-than-stellar fight.
Despite his pedestrian record, Sonnen (26-11-1) has proven to the world he’s capable of being, and beating, the best. If not for a well-timed submission by Anderson Silva at UFC 117 he’d be holding the belt that’s been securely fastened around the waist of “The Spider” for years.
Sonnen has proven susceptible to one thing inside the octagon: submissions. Lucky for him Bisping (22-3), according to http://www.fightmetric.com, averages less than one submission attempt per 15 minutes and hasn’t tried one in a recorded fight since 2009.
The only way Bisping wins this fight is by a lucky shot. Better strikers haven’t knocked him out and better wrestlers haven’t taken him down, so the best strategy for the Brit is to try and grind out a boring decision. That plan will be burned to the ground when Sonnen lands his first takedown, leading to a ground-and-pound victory for the Team Quest veteran.
Prediction: Sonnen by KO/TKO
Demian Maia (+135) vs. Chris Weidman (-165)
Imagine getting a call from Joe Silva just three fights into your UFC career telling you that a spot opened up to fight on a national card against one of the sports most respected veterans. Now imagine you have less than two weeks to prepare for said fight.
That’s the predicament for Weidman (7-0) who gets a chance to make an emphatic statement to the middleweight division tomorrow night. His opponent, Maia (15-3), has more submission victories inside the octagon than Weidman has pro MMA fights, but that doesn’t mean the young gun can’t put on a heck of a show.
This fight could go one of three ways:
First, Maia tries to utilize his retooled striking game against a younger faster opponent. That doesn’t seem logical for a 4th degree black belt in Jiu-Jitsu to try, but don’t underestimate the chance that the fight becomes a kickboxing match. Both fighters are excellent on the ground, so their styles could counter each other like we’ve all seen in past contests. In this scenario, the more athletic Weidman (and his six-inch reach advantage) has the clear advantage.
Second, Maia pulls guard and works his superior BJJ against a purple belt opponent, sweeps him, and tries to force his inexperienced opponent to give his back, leading to a rear-naked choke victory.
Third, Weidman shows off the wrestling prowess that earned him two-time All-American honors at Hofstra, making the contest a classic Wrestler vs. Jitz battle. This route could make the fight similar to Maia’s UFC 131 contest vs. Mark Munoz, a contest he lost unanimously.
I feel the third option is the most likely, with Weidman taking the fight based purely on his superior top game and ability to ground-and-pound Maia into stalling for three rounds. I’ll take Weidman by decision to set up a possible bout with the Sonnen-Bisping loser in the near future.
Prediction: Weidman by Decision
Here’s a quick rundown of the undercard and who I like to win. If you have the time’ I’d recommend all my readers to catch the action on Fuel TV in the afternoon leading up to the Fox card.
Evan Dunham (-360) def. Nick Lentz (+290) by Decision
Mike Russow (-155) def. Jon Olav Einemo (+125) by KO/TKO
George Roop (+105) def. Cub Swanson (-125) by Decision
Charles Oliveira (-500) def. Eric Wisely (+350) by Submission
Shane Roller (-245) def. Michael Johnson (+195) by Submission
Joey Beltran (-215) def. Lavar Johnson (+175) by KO/TKO
Chris Camozzi (-175) def. Dustin Jacoby (+145) by KO/TKO
Thanks again for reading my blog. Check back next week for a comprehensive breakdown of the Super Bowl. Take care and Peace Out.