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Jon Jones (c) v. Rashad Evans
Doctor Law: Well, it’s finally here. Jon Jones defends his belt against former teammate, mentor, friend, compadre, homie, homeboy, brosef, and individual he jacks swagger from, Rashad Evans. This fight has been 13 months in the making and everybody is either really excited to see this fight, or completely sick of hearing about it. I’m basically at the point where I’m looking forward to the fight, but pretty sick of the narrative. Rashad has been telling the same story for a year and Jones pipes in with his bullsh*t about Muhammad Ali and beating Lyoto Machida in a karate match (lots of guillotines in karate matches Jones?). The fight itself, though, could be far more compelling. Jones is a massive favorite over Rashad, and while I think that Jones is going to win, I don’t exactly think Evans is going to get completely outclassed. Rashad is the fastest fighter that Jones has ever fought and is the best MMA wrestler in the LHW division, if not the entire UFC. That being said, Jones is probably the second best fighter in the world (I still prefer Anderson) and has been on an absolute tear for a while now. It won’t be easy, but I think Jones takes this. Jones by submission in the 4th round.
Kid Presentable: For a little while here, I was starting to think this fight might never happen. For about two years, Rashad has had one of the worst runs of luck with injury and timing, being the perennial top contender for the belt, but things never being quite right for him to finally get the shot. The only thing standing in his way, unfortunately, is the biggest phenom this sport has ever seen. You can never say a person has no chance in MMA, but chances don't look good. This is being billed as the grudge match of the century, but with the rate at which Jones' game has improved, I don't know how much credit you can give to their past training together. What Rashad does have going for him is possibly the best MMA wrestling in the sport, and if he can put Jones on the mat, Rashad showed just how vicious his ground and pound could be in his Tito fight. Jones is a pretty complete fighter, but it is always interesting when his challenger might have an advantage in some facet, so I think this fight has a lot of potential to be good, but that said, Jones is about two fights from having wiped out this division. On Saturday, the Martian Manhunter is going to keep on rolling. Jones by submission round 4.
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Lavender Gooms: After lots of delays, injury replacements and bad blood, we finally get to see this fight! Like we discussed on the podcast a few weeks back, Jones is the real deal like no one has ever been the real deal before. He has shown no weakness. When the biggest critique people can give is that he hasn’t been tested yet, that’s scary when you consider he fought Shogun, Rampage and Machida in the last calendar year and none of them made him break a sweat. Evans is coming in a massive underdog in this fight. I would like to say that Evans’ familiarity gives him a chance, but I would be kidding myself. I think Rashad’s determination allows him to take Jones the distance. Outside of a flash knockout, there is no chance Jones loses. Jones by Decision.
Picking Jones: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
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Doctor Law: Showcase fight! Showcase fight! Showcase fight! Did I mention that this is a showcase fight? Rory MacDonald is the future at 170 lbs and is coming off of impressive victories over Mike Pyle and Nate Diaz. Che Mills knocked out a guy from the Ultimate Fighter that absolutely no one thought was good. So to recap…Rory has already beaten guys that are better than Che Mills already. Hmmm…this kinda looks like a showcase fight to me. Rory MacDonald by TKO in the 1st round.
Kid Presentable: This card is suffering from major GSP card laziness. Though I am a big fan of Rory (NOT a fan of his attempted new nickname Ares though), this is hardly a co-main event worthy fight. For what the fight is though, is another chance to showcase a future contender of the division. Rory has been very impressive in his UFC run, and was all but 3 seconds away from likely having defeated the current interim champ of the division. I look for Rory to give his best GSP impression, except that he will finish the fight with ground and pound. Rory by TKO round 1.
DJ Mark with a “K”: No offense to these fine athletes but this is a pretty weak Co-Main Event. I know the former venue before the switch was a big part of it but still. Either way, Rory MacDonald has looked very impressive during his UFC career and I think this could really be his coming out party into the top title contenders. Rory via GnP TKO 2nd Round.
Lavender Gooms: Like the other MacDonald, Rory is a prospect that everyone (myself included) is in love with, who excels at nothing but is great at everything. He’s also gotten the greatest nod a young fighter can get, having GSP praise him calling him the future of the division. Now on to his opponent, how did Che Mills get this fight? After wins against Mike Pyle and Nate Diaz, Che Mills seems like a step down in competition for MacDonald. On paper this fight doesn’t make for a competitive co-main event fight, but at least more people can see MacDonald dominate a lesser fighter. MacDonald by TKO in 2nd.
Picking MacDonald: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
Ben Rothwell v. Brendan Schaub
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Kid Presentable: Not a lot at stake here divisional relevance wise... but who doesn't love a showdown of heavyweights. I look for Schaub to bounce back from his KO loss to Big Nog in this fight. Schaub has been a solid prospect, showing a strong overall game without really excelling in any areas, but he's still relatively young and athletic. Rothwell has had a tendency to gas in his UFC outings, so it would be wise for Schaub to press the pace in this fight. While Schaub has shown to be a little "chinny" for the division, I don't think Rothwell's striking is sharp enough to catch and put out the Hybrid. Schaub by decision.
DJ Mark with a “K”: Rothwell has never really been on my radar. There's nothing in his skill set that makes him stand out from the rest of the pack to me. Schaub on the other hand has a lot of promise and has shown great hands and footwork. I think Schaub is too fast and too talented/hungry for Rothwell. Schaub by decision.
Lavender Gooms: Schaub has all the tools to be one of the best heavyweights. His penchant for leaving his chin open will keep him from realizing this if he doesn’t fix that. Even so, Rothwell is a fighter who Schaub should beat. Rothwell likely gasses early and Schaub works his stand up the next two rounds. Schaub by Decision.
Picking Schaub: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
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Doctor Law: This is probably going to be the best fight on the main card and is the only one that has reasonable betting lines. Miguel Torres is coming off of getting his ass fired for making a really crappy rape joke on Twitter. If anything good came out of this, it’s that Torres has now held back on his tweeting. The man sucks at it. On the other hand, he is a great fighter with a ton of experience. McDonald is a kid from Modesto (Norcal represent) who is taking a huge step up in competition. While I think he’s ready for a stiffer test, I think Torres is going to be a little too much for him. Expect a nice battle though. Torres by decision.
Kid Presentable: This is the fight that probably has the most divisional relevance outside the main event. In theory, the winner is on the short list to fight Dominic Cruz next. (Sorry Urijah, big fan, but don't see you taking it) It seems to be a little early for McDonald to be taking on someone of Torres caliber, but then you look at the division's rankings and see how shallow it is. Mickie D's pointed out in a recent interview just how different a fighter Torres has been since he got shut off by Brian Bowles and the Funky Bunch, and to me that fighter can be beaten by someone as talented as McFlurry. My head tells me someone with the experience and talent of Torres will win this, and I was leaning to pick him all week long, but you know what? McGriddle is a northern Cali kid, and I'm gonna ride with the upset. $5 20 piece McNuggets by TKO round 2.
DJ Mark with a “K”: I think that McDonald is the sleeper in this one. Torres has the bigger name because of his run as WEC Bantamweight Champion but I think it's a very close match up. Even though McDonald makes a hell of an upset pick, I'm thinking the short lived cut from the UFC light a fire in Torres. Miguel Torres by decision.
Lavender Gooms: A rape joke sounds appropriate here, but I don’t want Bobby to fire me. Torres is still one of the best bantamweights. He has crisp boxing and uses his length to keep opponents away. His wrestling isn’t a weakness and when on the ground he works tirelessly for submissions. The first of two McDonald’s on the card is an up and coming prospect. He’s good in every aspect but will be facing a serious bump up on competition against Torres. Torres wants to get back in to title contention. He’ll come into the octagon focused and driven. McDonald has a chance to be great, but he takes a small step back against this top 10 talent. Torres by submission in 3rd.
Picking McDonald: Kid P
Picking Torres: Dr. Law, DJ Mark, Gooms
Mark Hominick v. Eddie Yagin
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Kid Presentable: The Machine needs a bounce back win in a bad way, and he should almost certainly get it here. Hom is the largest betting favorite on the card. Team Tompkins fighters have had a tough run since their friend and mentor passed away, but I think Hom will be the first to get back on track with this fight. You would think I would cheer for Eddie Yagin considering he is "The Filipino Phenom," but in the one fight I have seen of him he showed so little desire to fight, heart, or any skill whatsoever, I kinda went the other way and dislike him even more for being Filipino. Hominick by KO, round 1.
DJ Mark with a “K”: Hominick has been going through a little rough patch of late. However I think Yagin is the perfect opponent to help him get back on track. I think we see the Hominick of old with crisp hands and slick footwork. Hominick by TKO, 3rd Round
Lavender Gooms: Hominick has had some back luck in his last two fights. He lost a decision to Aldo in a fight where Aldo actually looked human and he was just DESTROYED by the Korean Zombie in 7 seconds. Let’s not sleep on Hominick though. I still think he’s one of the best featherweights in the world with great kickboxing and few weaknesses in grappling and fighting off his back. I see this as a bounce back fight for Hominick and he will win in impressive fashion. Hominick by TKO in the 1st.
Picking Hominick: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark, Gooms
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Doctor Law: This fight was originally supposed to Bocek v. “Handsome” Matt Wiman, but Wiman had to pull out of this bout. Alessio is stepping in short notice and is happy to do so after spending six years away from the UFC. Alessio is a veteran of the sport and is coming off of three straight wins, two of which coming after a drop to lightweight. Bocek, on the other hand, recently rebounded from his beatdown at the hands of current champ Ben Henderson with a victory over Nik Lentz. Because of the short notice, I give the edge to Bocek in this one, but I hope Alessio wins. I’m a sucker for veterans getting another shot. Bocek by decision.
Kid Presentable: This fight on the main card is very indicative of how this was initially supposed to be a Canada card. It was a nice little way to get three main card Canadian victors. Alessio is a career journeyman brought in primarily to showcase Bocek I think, not that Bocek is some world beater talent who really is ever show cased, but all the same he does have a pretty damn good grappling game. Maybe Alessio gets a win here and earns himself future fights in the big leagues, but then again maybe there's a reason it has taken him so long to make it back to the show. Bocek by submission, round 1.
DJ Mark with a “K”: I actually really like John Alessio. I've seen him fight a lot and even though he's had some less then thrilling fights, I respected his style. That being said I'm going with Mark Bocek on this one. John Alessio has historically always been a bit of a journey men and Bocek has really only lost to the best in the division. Bocek by decision.
Lavender Gooms: Bocek is great on the ground and has some strong, great chokes. That is clearly his strong suit as his stand up is a rudimentary as a Jake Shields striking lesson. Alessio returns to the UFC after six years away. However, he is a WEC veteran and comes back to the promotion having won three in a row. Bocek will have trouble getting this fight to the ground. Since he won’t be able to get the fight to where he thrives, that will make this fight a stand up affair, and an easy win for Alessio. Alessio by decision.
Picking Bocek: Dr. Law, Kid P, DJ Mark
Picking Alessio: Gooms
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