Feb 3, 2012

Staff Predictions for UFC 143

Image via UFC newsletter

Interim UFC Welterweight Championship:
Nick Diaz v. Carlos Condit

Doctor Law: The path to this fight has been a strange one. At UFC 137, it was supposed to be Diaz v. GSP for the title while Condit went up against BJ Penn. After Diaz no-showed a few press conferences, his title shot was given to Condit. Diaz was allowed to stay on the card and fight Penn. GSP ended up getting hurt a week before the fight, delaying the fight with Condit. After Diaz beat Penn ,he called out GSP. An angry GSP demanded a bout with Diaz. GSP ended up tearing his ACL, creating the current fight. This is going to be an absolute war. Both of these fighters are perfect examples of guys who “bring it” in their fights. Carlos Condit is the former WEC welterweight champion. He has 27 career victories with 26 finishes. He has great kickboxing and has a solid submission game. Nick Diaz is the former Strikeforce champion. Nick depends on his boxing, great BJJ and insane pace. He’s also my favorite fighter not named Rampage, so there is no way I’m picking against him. The fight will be a battle, but I see Nick’s pace being too much for Condit. Diaz will also call him “b*tch” at least 5 times per round. Diaz by 3rd round TKO.

Kid Presentable: If you are a fan of FIGHTING, then this is one of the best dream matchups you can come up with. Both of these guys come to play, and both of them aim to end the fight. Though I like the guy, GSP's injury has injected life into a relatively stagnant division, now giving us a really great fight between guys who both excel on the feet and the ground. If you know one thing about me though, it's that I am always going to ride or die with the Diaz brothers. Nick has an adamantium chin, having taken the best shot of Paul Daley, who I feel probably has the most KO power in the weight class, and kept on pressing. Don't get me wrong, Condit is absolutely dangerous anywhere this fight goes, but Nick's furious punching style has a way of taking everyone out of their game plan. It was not very long ago at all a dangerous Muay Thai striker got fed fists by a Diaz, where younger brother Nate delivered a far more one-sided beating then I would have imagined. Carlos will not quit under pressure though, but it will be a certainly long night of eating fists. Diaz by epic 5 round decision.

DJ Mark with a “K”: Well this is an awesome fight right here. Both of these guys are extremely exciting and are always trying to finish the fight or damage their opponent. With that being said I like Diaz’s chances in this one. What makes Diaz such a threat is that he doesn’t let his opponents have time to set-up their next move. It’s a consistent pressure that most fighters just can’t overcome. On the other hand Carlos does have a serious shot of causing a minor upset here. Carlos is not scared to throw down in the pocket (prime example against Dan Hardy) and Nick isn’t known for leaving a fight without some damage, so there’s a decent chance that Carlos can get it done on the feet. I’m still going to play it by the numbers here, Diaz TKO 4th Round

Image via cagepotato.com
Lavender Gooms: The Stockton Slap vs. The Natural Born Killer. Both Diaz and Condit are expert strikers, with Condit having more tools in his arsenal, while Diaz is a very good boxer and uses his range well. A month ago I thought for sure Diaz would win this fight no problem. As fight night gets closer, the more I think about this fight, the more I think it’s going to be close. Although both aren’t slouches on the ground, these guys will likely stand and bang. While you can’t knock out a Diaz, we’ve seen Diaz get dazed against Paul Daley, and Condit will try and test that chin as well. Diaz also isn’t the taller fighter so he won’t have the reach advantage he normally has. Even so….as driver of the NY chapter of the Diaz brothers bandwagon, there’s no damn way I’m betting against Nick. Diaz by Stockton Smackdown in 4th round.

Picking Diaz: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
Picking Condit:

Roy Nelson v. Fabricio Werdum

image via mmagif.blogspot.com
Doctor Law: Given the awesomeness of the main event, the other fights on this card are being overlooked. People haven’t been talking much about this fight, but it should be a solid battle. Werdum entered MMA as a world champion in BJJ, but has developed a good striking game. In his June fight with Alistair Overeem, Werdum was actually getting the better of the standing. This is his first fight in the UFC since getting KO’d in less than 90 seconds by Junior Dos Santos. Roy Nelson is coming off of a victory over Mirko Crocop and appeared to have lost a significant amount of weight for that fight. I think this fight could go either way, but I think Roy is going to KO Werdum. This is the logic I’m going with: Werdum got smashed by JDS in 1 min and 20 seconds while Nelson took everything JDS had for 3 rounds and even landed a few of his own shots. I’m not saying it’s sound logic…but I’m going with it. Big Country by KO, 3rd Round.

Kid Presentable: I love Roy. He is hilarious. When i heard "Fighting out of the red corner... he is a kung-fu fighter..." he made me a fan for life. But ultimately, I think this could be a tough fight for him. I always want to believe Roy is on the cusp of becoming a top tier heavyweight, but whenever he comes up to that tests he shows that he is more of a gate keeper. Werdum was made out to be a chump when he got styled on by then nobody Junior Dos Santos, but he has underrated boxing and the most savage ground game in the division and has since bounced back his reputation. I really think Werdum would have even beaten Overeem in their last fight had he just kept it standing. Werdum was so desperate to get it to the ground he cost himself the fight, when many times during the standing portions he was beating Reem to the punch with better hand speed and combinations. The chance for Roy to KO Fab is definitely there, but I think Werdum is better enough to take this. Werdum by decision.

DJ Mark with a “K”: Roy Nelson has really turned his career around since fighting in the UFC. Once a solid journeyman, Roy has made it crystal clear that he’s a major player in the Heavyweight Division. However, Fabricio Werdum has already shown that he’s a Top Ten level fighter for many years. I like Roy in this one because his path to victory is much more attainable. I can see Roy getting a KO/TKO more so then I can see Werdum getting a submission and if it goes the distance, I also see Roy using his weight to keep it standing and in his control. Nelson by TKO, 3rd Round.

Lavender Gooms: It’s great that the Strikeforce heavyweights are making their way into the UFC. The division needs the infusion. It took long enough for Roy Nelson to realize that for a serious run at the title he needed to slim down at least a little bit and it showed in his last fight against Cro Cop. They are both talented in BJJ, Werdum will be looking to take this fight to the ground. Werdum is very long and quicker than Roy. If he can avoid Roy’s overhand right and take it to the ground he has a shot of finished him. However, if Roy gets on top of Werdum, I think Big Country has the upper hand and will use his skill and ample belly to point his way to victory. Nelson by Decision.

Picking Nelson: Dr. Law, DJ Mark, Gooms
Picking Werdum: Kid P

Josh Koscheck v. Mike Pierce
Image via bleacherreport.com

Doctor Law: Josh Koscheck has become a very good welterweight. He entered the first season of The Ultimate Fighter with a wrestler with a little else to offer besides takedowns. Kos has developed a solid submission game to compliment his every evolving striking. He probably won’t be receiving another title shot anytime soon as he has lost twice to current champ Georges St-Pierre. Mike Pierce isn’t as good as Josh Koscheck at anything. I’m not exaggerating. Koscheck is better at wrestling, striking and submissions. That’s everything. Pierce is a tough fighter, but in over his head, simple as that. Koscheck by 2nd round TKO.

Kid Presentable: Kos returned from a broken orbital in a big way, KO'ing legend Matt Hughes. He seemed a bit tentative about punched in the face, but once he got his feet wet, looked like the Kos of old and ready take his place near the top of the division. Pierce doesn't have a big name, but he is a prospect that I have really appreciated. Outside of his two losses, Fitch had been downright dominant of everyone he fought, but Pierce gave him one hell of a fight. Pierce is another in a line of wrestle-boxers that permeate American MMA fighters, but the problem is that everything he is good at, Kos is just a little bit better at. Pierce will likely have his moments, but ultimately come up short. Kos by TKO 2nd round.

DJ Mark with a “K”: Josh has been a top contender in the welterweight division for a long time. Mike Pierce is the new blood making a decent name for himself by collecting some decent size wins and showing he belongs with the top contenders of the division. I feel that Koscheck has a shaper tool set then Pierce at this point. It’ll be a decent scrap but Koscheck’s experience and multitude of ways to win will be the difference. Kos by one sided decision.

Lavender Gooms: Koscheck is in a weird spot. He’s easily one of the top 5 welterweights in the world, but with GSP (who he’s lost to twice…badly) at the top there’s no way he’s getting a title shot anytime soon with Montreal’s best still reigning. But with an interim belt which could be defended once depending on GSP’s knee, hey who knows. Pierce is an ok/good fighter, but I don’t see any way that Koscheck loses save for falling asleep at the wheel. Koscheck by Unanimous Decision

Picking Koscheck: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
Picking Pierce:

Scott Jorgensen v. Renan Barao

Doctor Law: Renan Barao has been on a pretty impressive unbeaten streak. By saying “pretty impressive,” what I really mean is that Barao has gone f*cking ridiculous amount of time without suffering a loss. Seriously, the man is 27-1(1) and hasn't lost since his FIRST FIGHT. In all likelihood, many of these wins came against subpar competition. Even accepting that, Barao is 4-0 since joining Zuffa and is coming off of an impressive smashing of Brad Pickett. Jorgensen is riding a two fight winning streak and defeated Jeff Curran in October. “Young Guns” has faced stiffer competition than Barao, but I think Renan is a force in the bantamweight division and takes this. Barao by decision.

Kid Presentable: Barao is being built up to be the next bantamweight title challenger, and boy does he look the part. In his last fight, he really took it to a personal favorite of mine in Brad Pickett, putting the Brit out in devastating fashion. Barao is another Nova Uñiao standout looking to bring gold back to the camp. Scotty Young Guns though is a very strong wrestler, the great jiu-jitsu canceler, and has a couple boom stick for hands. Scotty has been a fixture at this weight class, able to beat basically anyone except for the current champ. I know Barao is the favorite. I know Barao is incredibly talented and a future title contender, but something in my gut telling me the one thing you say to the god of death: not today (Game of Thrones season 1 now on Blu-ray). Young Guns by decision.

DJ Mark with a “K”: While Barao has looked impressive in recent bouts, I feel that Jorgensen is the more well rounded fighter here. I think Scott is going to play it safe and grind out a decision to get himself another W here. Scott by decision.

Lavender Gooms: Man this is going to be a war. This fight or the main event is going to be Fight of the Night. Barao could be in line for a title shot if he wins, but Jorgenson isn’t a pushover that’s for damn sure. Although Barao hasn’t lost while in WEC or the UFC (or shit since his first fight) Jorgenson has been facing tougher opponents for a longer period of time than Barao has. Vegas has Barao winning, but I have a feeling that Jorgenson pulls out the win. Jorgensen by decision

Picking Jorgensen: Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
Picking Barao: Dr. Law

Ed Herman v. Clifford Starks

Doctor Law: Ed Herman is finally healthy after being injured for two years. Since his return in June, “Short Fuse” has made quick work of Tim Credeur and Kyle Noke. Herman is a well rounded fighter and while he doesn’t have the skills to be middleweight champion, he is certainly a serious fight for any middleweight. Clifford Starks is a wrestler from Arizona State where he was a teammate of former heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez. Like the rest of my colleagues, I’ve seen him fight live…and I don’t remember anything. I’m going to take a shot in the dark and he’s going to want to take Herman down and grind out a decision. He won’t be able to. Herman by 2nd round TKO.

Kid Presentable: Short Fuse is an Oregonian, and one whose career I've followed as a fan since him epic grappling war with Kendall Grove at the TUF 3 finale. He has been set back by some nasty injuries, but has roared back with two consecutive finishes. Starks is a guy who I saw in Vegas and may or may not have ruined one of my betting parlays. I don't really remember, but that was a horrible gambling weekend all around. Because of these factors I will roll with Portlandian and overall I just want to see him win anyways. Herman has KO power and a pretty damn slick sub game. I’m hoping for a Peruvian necktie or another sweet heel hook. Herman by beheading of Ned Starks, round 1 (Again, Game of Thrones season 1 now on Blu-ray).

DJ Mark with a “K”: I’ve always liked Ed Herman, partly because his season on the Ultimate Fighter was one of my favorites. I’ve seen Clifford fight in person (or so I’m told), but the guy just doesn’t stand out to me. This could be the fight where he makes a name for himself but I’m not going to bet on it. Ed Herman by TKO via GnP, 2nd Round

Lavender Gooms: I’m weighing the Pros and Cons of ordering the fights or going to a bar to watch them. If I order it I can watch it in my underwear which is great, but will cost me 60 bucks, which sucks. If I go to a bar to watch the fights, it’ll be cheaper, which rules, but I’ll have to put on pants I’m assuming, which blows ….Tough decisions to make before Saturday. Starks will shoot for a takedown and he will promptly be submitted. Herman by submission in 2nd round.

Picking Herman: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
Picking Starks:

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