UFC on FOX 2 Preview

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.

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NFL Championship Week Preview

Hello again and welcome to Cardiac Attack Sports, your home for a variety of words strung out into sentences which may or may not be coherent.

Well America, I fell asleep on the couch and didn’t submit my picks for last Sunday’s contests, so I apologize if anyone was disappointed. For now on, I’ll eat turkey AFTER football games to avoid such future miscues. After a pair of upsets last weekend, we have out Final Four set for an action-packed Sunday, so lets kick things off with:

Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots (-9)

(all betting lines courtesy of http://bovada.lv)

The conversation for this game begins and ends with Tom Brady and what he is able to do against an excellent defense in Baltimore. Despite the lack of deep threats, he has managed to make the best of his available weapons, including new record-setting tight end Rob Gronkowski. The only comparable scenario for Baltimore was its two games vs. Pittsburgh when Heath Miller went foe 73 and 42 yards, respectively. However, Miller wasn’t the main target of Big Ben like “Gronko” is for Brady, so their coverage against big guys like him is certainly a question mark.

An amazing percentage of Brady’s passes this season have been short and up the middle, a whopping 203 of his 645 overall, resulting in 1,597 yards and nine TDs. This means the Ravens’ will have to rely on “Ole’ Faithful” Ray Lewis to patrol Brady’s comfort zone and try to force the “Golden Boy” to spread the ball around. Sadly, one has to ask if the 36-year-old is physically up to the challenge late in the season when bumps and bruises start transforming into breaks and tears. He did so in a 2009 Wild Card round victory over the Patriots, forcing Brady to go 7-of-13 for 57 yards and a pick on throws short and over the middle, but can he do it again?

Finally, the Ravens’ offensive line will have to protect Joe Flacco. While the former Delaware standout has taken some unwarranted criticism over the last few weeks, the fact is that he struggles under pressure like many middle-of-the-road quarterbacks in this league. In 147 drop-backs under pressure, he went 66-of-147 for 756 yards and six INTs with a 50.7 passer rating, among the worst in the NFL under such circumstances. For the Ravens to have any chance, his line needs to do what they’ve done well most of the season: keep Flacco upright. It also helps that the Patriots’ pass rush is rated 20th in the league by http://www.profootballfocus.com, and that’s before Andre Carter went down with a quad injury.

All in all, the Ravens have a puncher’s chance due to their solid, veteran defense and ability to protect Flacco, but I don’t see them having the amount of firepower to keep up with Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense. I see the Pats winning big, lets say 38-17, and moving on to their fifth Super Bowl in 11 seasons.

Prediction: Patriots Win, 38-17

New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers (-3)

With the Niners favored only by the three points associated with home-field advantage, it’s safe to say this game is expected to be a tight one.Unlike the early game, these two teams met earlier this season in Week 10 with San Francisco edging out a 27-20 home victory.

One major key to this game is how New York’s shaky tackles David Diehl and Kareem McKenzie hold up against one of the league’s most dynamic pass-rushing attack. The Giants’ pair is ranked by Pro Football Focus as the worst pair of edge blockers in the NFL, totaling a -41.3 rating on passing downs with McKenzie ranking worst individually at -23.4. McKenzie will have his hands full with All-Pro 3-4 lineman Justin Smith and rookie phenom Aldon Smith who combined to make Jermon Bushrod look like a lost kid at the airport last week. Manning isn’t sacked often, only 30 times in the regular season, but he will certainly feel some pressure in this game.

Manning has done well under pressure this season, compiling an 80.1 passer rating in 267 distressed -, but he excelled when opposing teams brought five or more rushers, posting a 96.4 rating with 18 TD passes. Needless to say, he is capable to carving up overly aggressive defenses, so getting pressure with four or fewer rushers is a must for a 49ers victory. The same goes for New York and its feared pass-rushing defensive line rotation; Alex Smith has a 93.1 passer rating when blitzed but a dismal 63.2 rating when under pressure. The main difference is the quality of both team’s offensive lines. San Francisco’s inexperienced, but talented line was middle-of-the-road when facing a pass rush, as the team’s five starters scored between 5.4 and -15.9 according to Pro Football Focus.

The war in the trenches seems to be about even between the two squads, so the final score will probably come down to what each team’s playmakers can do with the ball in their hands. San Francisco will probably follow its Week 10 strategy and target the middle of the field against the Giants, a tactic that resulted in Smith going 8-of-11 for 128 yards and a TD. The Giants’ linebackers are average at best, while Antrel Rolle is beginning to show his age at safety. I could easily see a scenario in which Vernon Davis splits the safeties down field while Michael Crabtree and Kyle Williams find holes just beyond New York’s LBs. Also, the outside pass rush of the Giants could lead to Smith having room to step forward, see the middle of the field well, and exploit poor coverage for big gains.

The Giants have a better corp of receivers, but San Fran showed in its game against New Orleans that its corners can make big plays as their backs get closer to the endzone. Also, the middle of the field will be well-occupied by a pair of All-Pro middle linebackers in Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman. Manning could very well accumulate some yards in this game, but touchdowns will be more difficult to come across.

Lets pause for a second…I’ve written all this about defense and pass protection without even mentioning either team’s rushing attack?

Lets dedicate this one to all my friends who failed math at least once in their life:

Frank Gore+Kendall Hunter = Brandon Jacobs+Ahmad Bradshaw

Both teams are good at running the ball, especially New York as of late, but they both are among the best at stopping the run. Despite the expected windy conditions, I don’t feel the running attacks of either team will go off or get stuffed.

So let’s make this official. I feel that the Giants’ run as Cinderella is up. San Francisco’s defense will make Manning uncomfortable, while Alex Smith and his playmakers will have an efficient time matriculating the ball down the field. The Paris of the West will have its sixth Super Bowl appearance after a solid victory over the Giants, 31-23.

Prediction: 49ers Win, 31-23

Thanks again for reading my blog. Please leave a comment if you’d like and follow me on twitter at @lucaskinser.

Until next time, stay safe and be sure to drink your Ovaltine!

Preview of Saturday’s NFL’s Divisional Round Games

Good evening America, welcome back to Cardiac Attack Sports. I’m Lucas Kinser, you’re wish-I-was-getting-paid-for-this host.

Tomorrow begins the divisional round of the NFL postseason, so it only seems fitting I give my two cents on Saturday’s prolific evening of pigskin delight.

All betting lines are courtesy of http://www.bovada.lv/

New Orleans (-4) vs. San Francisco

The game many fans and pundits are writing off as a win for New Orleans comes in at just under a field goal for the Saints, although other lines I’ve seen have them as high as seven points. Statistically the league’s most potent passing offensive ever is taking on an elite defense with five AP All-Pro honorees, plus arguably the best punter (Andy Lee) and Kicker (David Akers) this season.

An interesting trend to look at is the differences both teams have when playing on the road or at home. San Francisco’s offense hasn’t been dynamic this season, but their five lowest scoring outputs all came outside the confines of Candlestick Park (or whatever the heck they call it now). They’ve scored 20 or more points in all eight home games this season, averaging 27.6 per game while holding their opponents to 10 or fewer points at the friendly confines five times.

On the flip side, New Orleans’ five lowest scoring games came away from the Superdome (20, 21, 22, 23, and 26) while their five highest came at home (62, 49, 45, 45, and 45). The Saints simply aren’t the same team on the road, which doesn’t’ bode well for them in an outdoor venue.

I have a feeling this game will surprise a lot of people. San Francisco has a chip on their shoulder as the red-headed stepchild of the NFC’s division winners, but make no mistake, they can keep the Saints offense in check. If this game were played in New Orleans, I’d have the Saints winning by at least a touchdown, but the venue seems to be a prevailing factor in every major statistical category. Therefore, expect a mid-scoring game, probably 27-24, with the 49ers pulling off the home upset.

Prediction: 49ers Win, 27-24

Denver vs. New England (-14)

Wow, what a difference a month makes! After Tim Tebow won over the hearts of millions, New England rolled into town and beat down the Gainesville legend, leading to a three-game slide that threatened the Broncos’ chances at even making the postseason. However, due to a massive choke job by Oakland and some beautiful adjustments in the Wild Card round game vs. Pittsburgh, these two teams are back for Round 2.

In their first meeting, Denver’s defense was dismal at best. According to http://www.profootballfocus.com, the Broncos only got pressure on Tom Brady six times in the game. On the flip side, New England’s oft-dysfunctional defenders got pressure on Tebow in 19 of his 32 drop-backs, going 4-of-11 for 60 yards and getting sacked four times on those plays.

Thus, the key for both teams is pressure, pressure, pressure! Force Tebow to make quick decisions in the pocket and, as shown time and time again, he will either throw the ball away or take a sack. If he gets time to set his feet and gaze across the field, he can either find running lanes or chuck an ugly duckling down the field for a big play. It isn’t pretty, but it’s gotten him an 8-4 record this year.

With that being said, the Broncos’ defense still has to find a way to slow down Tom Brady. When Denver blitzed last game, Brady had a 118.8 QB rating and completed 7-of-9 passes. When they rushed four or fewer, he had a 108.6 rating with two passing TDs. Either way, if they don’t get the Golden Boy’s patootie on the turf, it will be a long night in Foxboro for the Tebow faithful.

All of this leads me to believe this game will be close to a repeat of the last, but with a bit more drama and competition due to it being a playoff game. Both teams will show up and play their hearts out in the weekend’s most anticipated matchup, but New England will come out on top, probably 35-24. I have a feeling some Tebow fireworks in the fourth will keep this game below the spread.

Prediction: Patriots Win, 35-24

Thanks again for reading my blog. Check back Sunday morning for a brief recap of Saturday’s games and my predictions for the Sabbath showdowns in Green Bay and Baltimore.

Preview of Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine

It’s fight night in Las Vegas as Strikeforce (also known as the UFC’s younger, less attractive cousin) puts on a solid card for Rockhold vs. Jardine tonight. Here’s a comprehensive preview of what to expect when Luke Rockhold takes on Keith Jardine tonight at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.

This betting line is courtesy mmafighting.com

Luke Rockhold (-600) vs. Keith Jardine (+400)

An American Kickboxing Academy vs. Jackson MMA matchup (for people new to the sport, these are two of the biggest fight camps in the sport, producing numerous champions each), Rockhold vs. Jardine is an unusual matchup since Keith Jardine has never fought at middleweight in his career and Rockhold is coming off a huge upset over one of the world’s premiere Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Nevertheless, both fighters bring a very unique package to the table.

Luke Rockhold (8-1) has trained in Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Kickboxing, and wrestled in high school, so there isn’t much Jardine can throw at him that he hasn’t seen before despite just nine MMA fights on his resume. He is much younger, slightly taller, and has a small reach advantage over Jardine, plus he proved in the “Jacare” fight that he can go five rounds with an elite opponent. He has a distinct advantage when the fight goes to the ground, as the BJJ Brown Belt holds six wins by submission, including four via rear-naked choke.

As for Keith Jardine, the well-traveled MMA veteran isn’t the same fighter he was when he defeated UFC Hall-of-Famer Chuck Liddell in 2007. At 36 years of age and fighting at the lightest weight of his career, one has to wonder how well he will hold up if the fight goes past the third round. Despite those concerns, “The Dean of Mean” has the tools to finish this fight early with a little bit of luck. He possesses some of the best leg kicks in MMA, which set up his swooping haymakers and unorthodox striking angles very well. He has fought the better opponents (Liddell, Forrest Griffin, Wanderlei Silva, and Rampage Jackson) and is fighting under the bright lights of Las Vegas for the ninth time in his career as opposed to Rockhold’s first visit to “Sin City.”

In my opinion, this fight comes down to Jardine’s conditioning and takedown defense. If he gasses out, it will b a short night for the UFC veteran, but if he can keep the fight standing and bait Rockhold into a kickboxing match, one well-timed combination could end the rising star’s title run prematurely. My bet is that losing 15 pounds in two days will take its toll on Jardine’s body and leave him susceptible to a takedown, back mount, and rear-naked choke victory in either the second or third round for Rockhold.

Prediction: Rockhold via Submission

Here are a short summary of my thoughts on the other five bouts on the main card:

Robbie Lawler vs. Adlan Amagov

The owner of one of MMA’s greatest knockouts (look it up on Youtube, the fight was against Maskhat Akhmetov), Amagov (9-1-1) will use his superior kickboxing to beat on Lawler early and often, who is 2-4 in his last six bouts. Lawler (18-8) hasn’t looked the same since his Elite XC days, but the UFC veteran has an iron chin and should make it to the final bell in a one-sided decision

Prediction: Amagov via Decision

“King Mo” Lawal vs. Lorenz Larkin

King Mo (8-1) holds a special place in my heart as a showman and a fighter who got his start in the DFW area. The elite wrestler has power in both hands and isn’t afraid of turning this into a boxing match. This fight is a big step-up in competition for Lorenz Larkin (12-0), but the talented striker should put up one heck of a fight against Lawal. However, the six inch reach advantage for King Mo will be the deciding factor. Larkin will be reaching for his punches and could easily walk right into a counter that turns out the lights. This has Fight of the Night written all over it, with King Mo hoisting his hands in the end.

Prediction: Lawal via KO

Tyron Woodley vs. Jordan Mein

Takedown. Ground and Pound. Rinse and Repeat.

I hate to be so blunt, but I don’t give Mein (23-7) much of a chance against such a high-level wrestler. He’s only fought outside of Canada once against a downward trending Evangelista Santos. His defensive Jiu-Jitsu should get him out of the first round, but Woodley (9-0) has fought and defeated better competition in three consecutive bouts. The former Univ. of Missouri All-American wrestler should get the TKO win.

Prediction: Woodley via TKO

Tarec Saffiedine vs. Tyler Stinson

Another well-traveled veteran with a chip on his shoulder, Saffiedine (11-3) is looking to put himself into welterweight title contention with a win tonight. The Belgium kickboxer and Shihaishinkai Karate practitioner is in his element with a fellow striker in Stinson (22-7). Expect another stand-up battle in this one with the superior striker Saffiedine possibly pulling off one of MMA’s most exciting finishes: a head-kick KO.

Prediction: Saffiedine via KO

If you made it through this article, congratulations! I’d appreciate any questions, comments, concerns, or compliments if you’d like to leave them at the bottom. Have a great weekend and enjoy the fights!

A little bit about me…

Hello world, welcome to Cardiac Attack Sports, your better-than-average source for the latest in the world of sports. I’m Lucas Kinser, you’re modestly humble host.

While I may be just a college student getting my feet wet in the real world, I feel that it’s the perfect time for me to get my voice out to the interwebs on some topics that I hold dear, particularly Baseball, Football, and Mixed Martial Arts. I will certainly cover other sports as events come and go, but for the most part my blog will focus on the Big Three in American males age 18-to-25.

A little bit about me, I live in Little Elm, a suburb just north of Dallas with my parents. Shocking, a blogger who doesn’t have the money to get his own place, I know! It’s a nice set-up; I have the upstairs mostly to myself and two of the best people I know to keep a pretty nice roof over my head. I currently work for Panini America writing sports trading cards and doing periodical research for the company mostly focused on statistics. I also freelance for the Dallas Morning News as a high school sports writer.

I’m currently attending the University of North Texas and slowly-but-surely going after a major in News Editorial with an emphasis on Broadcasting and the Web. It’s sort of a convergent media degree that’s supposed to look better on a resume than simply a journalism degree. I’m in my sixth year working on a bachelor’s degree (cue the lazy fat guy jokes) but plan on graduating in the fall.

As for the title of my blog, Cardiac Attack Sports is a reference to my congenital heart defect. I’ve had over a dozen surgeries in my 23 years on this planet, including four major open-heart procedures. I probably won’t live to see my 40th birthday, but I’ve come to accept and, strangely, embrace my disabilities. In fact, if it weren’t for me not being able to play sports as a kid, I probably would be playing semi-pro baseball right now instead of sitting in a computer chair typing feverously away.

With that all being said, I welcome you to my blog. My next post will most likely be a preview for Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine on Saturday, Jan. 7. Until then, God Bless and Stay Classy.