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UFC Featherweight Championship
Jose Aldo v. Chad Mendes
Doctor Law: As I explained earlier this week, Chad Mendes and his teammates have an opportunity to take home 3 UFC titles this year. Mendes is first up and his challenge is Scarface himself, Jose Aldo. Mendes is undefeated through 11 professional contests and is shown to be a great MMA wrestler with an ever improving striking and submission game. To defeat Aldo, he’s going to need to utilize his wrestling to avoid Aldo’s wicked Muay Thai. Aldo has a black belt in BJJ, but hasn’t submitted anybody in 10 WEC/UFC fights. It remains to be seen if he can finish anybody after being put on his back. Honestly, I see Mendes’s path to victory (see the first 22 minutes of Chael Sonnen v. Anderson Silva) and don’t think it’s farfetched at all…but I can’t bring myself to pick him. Aldo needs a good performance after a lackluster showing against Kenny Florian in October and I think he’s going to find a way to get it done against Mendes. Jose Aldo by 3rd round TKO.
Kid Presentable: P4P stalwart Jose Aldo gets to main event a UFC event for the first time in his career and in his home country of Brazil at that. Aldo should be plenty motivated to put on a show for the crowd and will likely aim for a strong finish after coming off a lackluster fight against Kenny Florian. Mendes stylistically offers Aldo his toughest challenge in the division as he is the strongest and most explosive wrestler at FW. Mark Hominick showed that Aldo can be put on his back, though fatigue, illness and a long layoff did play a factor in that performance. Mendes avenue to victory seems most likely a dominant wrestling decision victory, but Aldo has so many tools in his arsenal, it is tough to pick against him. Side note, Mendes you can make me a lifetime fan if you come out to Shane McMahon's "Here comes the money." Aldo by submission in the 4th round.
DJ Mark with a “K”: This is a really tough fight to call. While on paper it would seem Jose is the easy pick here, I think Mendes has the style to grind out a decision. While his style is perfect to beat Aldo, I don’t know if he’ll be able to actually pull it off. I’m playing it safe here and picking Aldo, but I won’t be surprised at all if Team Alpha Male gets its first taste of UFC gold on Saturday. Jose by 3rd round TKO.
Lavender Gooms: The “first step” in Team Alpha Males possible domination according to Bobby. Aldo is arguably the P4P champ and is at least top 3 in the discussion. His stand up is on another level and his leg kicks are something to write home about, but don’t be fooled, the boy has a black belt in BJJ as well. Even so, Mendes’ ONLY shot of winning this fight is to take and keep Aldo on the ground as soon as he can and as often as possible. Mendes will be the most accomplished and polished wrestler Aldo has faced. Aldo has shown an ability to adjust to the styles of his opponents and I don’t see this fight being any different. Aldo by decision.
Picking Aldo: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
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Doctor Law: I am very excited for this fight. If you aren’t up on your Vitor knowledge, let me break it down for you: Vitor won a UFC heavyweight tournament at age 19, defeated Wanderlei Silva in 44 seconds, married a soap opera star from Brazil, defeated Randy Couture for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title, loves him some Jesus and, most recently, knocked out Sexyama so badly that he lost 15 lbs. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson…is a f*cking monster. Seriously, look at that picture. This dude used to somehow fight at 170lbs and is now making his debut at 185. It’s Vitor’s hand speed and BJJ against Rumble’s wrestling and athleticism. This is a pick’em fight, but I’m going Vitor by TKO in the 2nd.
Kid Presentable: This right here is the most anticipated fight of the evening for me and I am absolutely torn. Both men have the power to make any fighter in any division go to sleep. I have a feeling Johnson is going to go use his Dan Hardy strategy and take this fight to the mat and not chance KO power of Belfort, but Belfort does have better take down defense than Hardy (don't we all? just kidding Dan, I'm a giant fan, see red mohawk). Belfort has been waiting years for the chance to fight again in Brazil on the big stage, and was reduced to doing commentary because he was injured at the time of the last UFC Brazil card. If there's one thing the last card taught me, bet on the Brazilians.Vitor by 1st round KO
DJ Mark with a “K”: Man, another tough fight to call here. It’s Anthony’s first fight at 185 and that brings up a lot of question marks. Also, Belfort is a hot and cold type of fighter, where if he’s on that night, he’s almost unstoppable, but if he’s not, he’ll fight like a mere shadow of his former self. I’m picking Johnson here basically because I feel like he has more ways to win then Belfort, if he’s not getting it done standing he can take it down and grind him out. Johnson by Dec.
Lavender Gooms: After years of fights at welterweight that left you wondering how in the world this massive human being cut to 170 pounds, “Rumble” Johnson is making his middleweight debut. This is a move long over-due for Johnson. Even at middleweight, he will still be large for the division. He’s one of the hardest hitters in the UFC, but Belfort can deal it out just as good. Belfort’s hand speed can be a problem for Johnson, but I see him being able to overwhelm Belfort with his superior athleticism. This is going to be short night for Belfort. Johnson by TKO in 1st.
Picking Belfort: Dr. Law, Kid P
Picking Johnson: DJ Mark, Gooms
Rousimar Palhares v. Mike Massenzio
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Doctor Law: See the picture to the right. Palhares by Hulk Smash
Kid Presentable: Paul Harris is must see TV. What kind of crazy hijinks will he get into this time? Will the phantom referee stop the fight? Will he jump out of the cage? In all seriousness, Palhares is the king of the heel hook and Massenzio is a career journeyman. Once Palhares hulks up, you don't have a chance. Palhares by submission, 2nd round.
DJ Mark with a “K”: Well this one should be fun. The biggest question is what bat sh*t crazy thing will Palhares do this time. My guess is he’ll hit himself in the groin and declare himself the winner. You really don’t know what will happen in a Palhares fight anymore, but one thing’s pretty certain, he’ll walk away with the W. Palhares by sub 2nd round.
Lavender Gooms: Palhares has been hot in his last five fights, submitting three of these dudes. His BJJ is a head above that of Massenzio and will look to take the fight to the ground. In addition to his submission game, Rousimar has been known to drop a few guys with his mean punches and Massenzio has shown a penchant in the past of getting the ol’ chin tapped. I think Palhares handls him and gets the submission in the 2nd. Palheres by 2nd round submission.
Picking Palhares: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
Erick Silva v. Carlo Prater
Doctor Law: Erick Silva put the world on notice with his 40 second knockout of Luis Ramos at UFC 134. Silva is definitely one of the most exciting welterweight prospects to come along in years and is looking to add Carlo Prater to his resume. Prater is a veteran of 40 professional fights and has defeated the likes Melvin Guillard and Carlos Condit. I think Silva pulls it off, but it won’t be easy as Prater is difficult to finish. Silva by 3rd round TKO.
Kid Presentable: Silva is a nice WW prospect that made his UFC debut on the last Brazil card in Rio. He made short work with a nice TKO victory over Louis Ramos. Prater is a longtime MMA veteran with quality competition littered through his resume, but this night should be Silva's time to shine. In a world with no GSP, there is a lot of room for new names to enter the fray in the division and Silva looks like a top flight prospect that will makes waves in 2012. Silva by TKO, 2nd round.
DJ Mark with a “K”: Erick Silva’s been a promising prospect for a while now and he’s already got his first W in the UFC under his belt. I see him continuing to pick up wins until he starts fighting the big names in the division. Silva by 1st rnd KO.
Lavender Gooms: I have no idea who Carlo Prater is (I should start watching the smaller promotions). I’ve only seen Silva fight once. I won’t try and bullsh*t you America. I flipped a coin on this one. Silva by submission in the 2nd.
Picking Silva: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
Edson Barboza v. Terry Etim
Doctor Law: I love the way Barboza fights. The man is just a Muay Thai machine. He has 9 professional fights, all victories, two of them by TKO (leg kicks). I’m going to repeat that…TKO (leg kicks). Etim is a submission specialist coming off a quick victory over Edward Faalato. I also learned that he once fought a fight where Mike Tyson was the referee. That’s pretty cool. He’s still going to lose. Barboza by TKO (leg kicks hopefully) in the 3rd round.
Kid Presentable: Captain Barboza is very entertaining. Wild kicks and exciting standup, he's the opposite of the grind it out, lay and pray wrestler. That said, he seems a bit more hyped up then I think he deserves. I've read many who think he's a legit future champ, and though exciting, I guess I just don't see it yet. Etim is another long time veteran with a strong grappling background. This fight could very well turn into a striker versus grappler contest, but Barboza being Brazilian, let’s just assume he's been doing BJJ his whole life, kinda comes with the territory. I do want to pick the upset here by taking Etim, but Rio taught me last time, bet on the Brazilian. Barboza by decision.
DJ Mark with a “K”: Geez, this is another tough fight to call. Part of me wants take a risk and pick Terry, but I took too many risks with the Strikeforce card and I need to play it safe to make up lost ground. Both guys are good strikers and I think we’ll see a great stand up war here. I’m picking Edson because I think he’s the more complete fighter. Edson by dec.
Lavender Gooms: Etim came back after a long layoff to the octagon and got to work like he had a lady friend waiting for him by earning a submission in 17 seconds in his last fight. Barboza has been adequate/not good in his last two fights. Etim is problem for anyone with his submission game and Barboza is no different. However, I think that Barboza should be able to squeeze out a decision. Barboza by decision
Picking Barboza: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms