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UFC Middleweight Championship
Anderson Silva (c) v. Chael Sonnen
Doctor Law: Biggest rematch in UFC history? Yeah, I’ll buy it. Kid Presentable, DJ Mark and I were at the first fight between Silva and Sonnen at UFC 117. It was really quite a sight. When the fight started, everybody was rooting for Silva. Somewhere in the second round, the “USA” chants started. This whole time, Kid P is getting angrier and angrier about the beatdown Silva was receiving. (Sidenote, check out the mini-essay Kid P wrote below to justify picking against his favorite fighter.) The 5th round came and the fight appeared to be clearly over. When Anderson pulled that triangle out of his ass, the entire building lost their sh*t. It was incredible. Ok, back to present times. I don’t think Sonnen is going to win this fight and I don’t think it’s going to be that close. Sonnen had everything go perfectly for him (minus one thing) and he still didn’t pull it off. Also, he had an unreasonable amount of testosterone in his body. For an example of what he looks like at normal levels, see his very close decision win over Michael Bisping. Chael is in Anderson’s head…and that’s not a good thing. Remember that guy who kept calling Muhammad Ali “Clay” or when John Starks started chirping at Michael Jordan. How did it go for those guys? Anderson by 3rd round TKO.
Kid Presentable: Anderson is probably my favorite fighter of all time. Even at his most boring, I just find him incredibly compelling to watch because at any moment he might just do something that no one will ever replicate again. Yet somehow I find myself about to do something that I have only once ever done before, and though it cost me dearly financially, I am again picking against Silva. Sure a big part of me expects him to steam roll Chael now that he is healthy and motivated, and the fact that there is nearly no way this fight lives up to the precedent set by their first encounter, but maybe just maybe the stars align here and there is a story line to rock the MMA universe’s landscape. Hey even Pacquiao managed to lose an incredibly BS decision. So as a fellow Oregon Duck alum I will wave the banner of Chael Sonnen, who has talked himself to so far back into a corner that the pressure to perform and live up to his words must be an incredible burden right now. He will come at Anderson with everything he has, and the fight will get taken to the ground, and maybe just this once he will have the savvy not to get submitted, and with the help of Vinny Magalhaes, maybe just get one of his own. I believe in Chael Sonnen. Chael by arm triangle submission 4th round.
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Lavender Gooms: I’ve been going back and forth on who I think is going to win this fight for the last month. When I first heard Silva’s comments about making Sonnen eat his teeth and breaking every bone in his body I thought Sonnen was going to get smashed. The next week I re-watched the first fight, saw how dominant Sonnen was for most of the fight and changed my mind. When this is posted I may have very well changed my mind again, but as I’m writing right now I believe that Anderson went into that last fight hurt, and didn’t believe that Sonnen would be a problem. In addition, take into account Anderson has never had this type of motivation(Sonnen disparaging Anderson, his team, his wife, his country, the list goes on) to cause serious physical harm to another human being. Pissing off the world’s greatest martial artist likely wasn’t the smartest move. Today I think Anderson will destroy Sonnen, but I’ve changed my mind 4 times already, who knows what I’ll think on Saturday. Silva by KO in the 3rd round.
Picking Silva: Dr. Law, DJ Mark, Gooms
Picking Sonnen: Kid P
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Doctor Law: Third fight between two of the most important fighters in UFC history. Both fights were very close, with the second fight having the added distinction of being the only time Tito Ortiz spent an entire round doing the impression of a heavy bag. No one was really calling for this fight, but it’s probably still going to be a good one. Forrest hasn’t fought since last August and Tito hasn’t fought since December where Lil Nog tried to elbow his ribcage into mush. No surprise in what’s going to happen in this fight. Tito is going to try to take Forrest down and elbow him into oblivion while Forrest will want to keep it standing and pick the Huntington Beach Bad Boy apart. My brain says Forrest, but my heart says Tito. Mostly because I just want to see 1 more grave digger celebration. I’m a smart guy though. Griffin by decision.
Kid Presentable: I keep saying I think both of these guys are done and on their way out, and for at least one of them it seems to be official for this match. Tito is a legend and nothing in the last few years can take that away from him, but I can't help but feel that if Forrest doesn't win, he should leave too. Griffin kind of topped off as a fighter a couple years ago, but he should still remain hands down better than Tito in most every aspect of the fight besides takedowns. This fight will likely play out much like the last fight where Tito gets Forrest to the ground in the first and gnp's away. What will be interesting to see is if he stops fighting all together in the head scratching manner of the third round in their last fight. Forrest's standup though is definitely superior enough to take two rounds once again, and I expect both fighters to be game in this final match. Ortiz will certainly want to go out on his shield if he has to lose here, and Forrest has never been one to turn down a scrap. I see this playing out much like the last, but with a bit more sense of urgency, which means more entertainment for the fans. Forrest by decision.
DJ Mark with a “K”: In what is being billed as his retirement fight, Tito is completing his trilogy with Forrest. Honestly while not the most exciting fight on paper it’s an excellence retirement match for Ortiz. Facing an opponent that he not only has unfinished business with, but also someone that is somewhat equal to his level of skill is the ideal situation for a retirement match. Both previous fights were really close making this fight somewhat hard to call. Normally I would point to Ortiz’s historic career and question how much is left in the tank, but knowing its his last time in the octagon, there’s no reason to hold anything back. I would love to see Tito grave dig is way into retirement but in my mind’s eye I see a slightly sadden Tito thanking the fans for everything they have done for him. Forrest by decision.
Lavender Gooms: Besides watching Royce Gracie twisting much bigger men into pretzels during the early 90’s, my earliest memories of the UFC consist of watching a brash Tito Ortiz talk all kinds of junk to Ken Shamrock on “The Best Damn Sports Show Period.” As a result, the fact this is his last fight is bittersweet. Forrest has also been credited with helping put the UFC on the map with his three round war for the TUF 1 crown. Both these fighters are beloved by fans but are both clearly past their primes. They are both down to scrap, so chances that Tito’s last fight is entertaining will be high. He’ll likely lose this fight, but should be honored for everything he accomplished. Griffin by submission in 3rd round.
Picking Griffin: All of us.
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Doctor Law: The Predator is back in the UFC. I’m not saying he’s the greatest middleweight in the world, but being 13-0 away from the UFC means that you absolutely deserve to be part of the company. He steps in on relatively short notice to take on Cung Le. Cung Le is the king of the crazy kicks and is very effective with them…for about 7 minutes. I think Cote is going to weather the storm, Cung is going to get tired and the Cote is going to start lighting him up with that big right hand. I like Cung Le a lot, but he tends to lose to guys that are…good. So if nothing else, we are going to find out whether Patrick Cote is a good fighter (I’m pretty sure he is.) Cote by 3rd round TKO.
Kid Presentable: I love watching Cung Le fight. Say what you will about his conditioning, or commitment to the sport, but what he does is absolutely unique and will not likely be seen again once he is done. His dynamic striking is must see tv as you never know what video game kick he will try next. That said, Patrick Cote possesses the Achilles heel to Le: the right straight. Le was dropped by the right hand of Scott Smith, and though some knees were involved as well, it was a right straight from Wanderlei that got the ball rolling as well. Cote is a bit more plodding however, and Cung's movement should be enough to keep him dominating on the feet while out of danger. Cote will not be able to take it to the ground if things go south standing, and Le will not have the movie layoff that derailed his fight conditioning when he lost to Smith. Cung Le by TKO second round.
DJ Mark with a “K”: Now this is the sleeper of the card. Cung Le always comes to fight and always puts on an entertaining scrap, this one should be no different. While Cote is a good fighter and someone I generally enjoy watching I think Le just brings in too many weapons for him to handle. If Cote is smart he’ll try to get this fight on the floor and grind out a decision but it’s also not completely impossible for him to land his killer right hand and end the fight much like Scott Smith did in his first fight with Le. I don’t see that happening here. Cung Le by TKO, 3rd round.
Lavender Gooms: After the snoozer that will be Maia/Kim, seeing Le throw some crazy kicks will be a welcome sight. Le is still seeking his first UFC win (maybe if he hadn’t taken a break to make a bunch of straight to DVD martial arts flicks he’d have that win already) and Cote has clawed his way back into the UFC following a four fight win streak. This has all the makings of an all out brawl that Cote pulls out. Cote by decision.
Picking Le: Kid P, DJ Mark
Picking Cote: Dr. Law, Gooms
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Doctor Law: For regular readers of this site or listeners of our podcast (subscribe on iTunes please), my history with Mr. Maia is well known. Damian does a great job making me look like a complete jackass. I know this, but guess what? It’s probably going to happen again here because I’m going to pick Maia to beat Stun Gun. This is my logic. Neither of these guys are great standup fighters. Stun Gun is good at getting takedowns and hanging out in his opponents’ guards. Does anybody think that’s actually a good idea against Damian Maia? Say what you will about Damian Maia abandoning his grappling, but I’m pretty sure he knows what to do when someone is hanging out in his guard. Maia by 3rd round submission (watch him lose easily).
Kid Presentable: This fight is interesting for a couple of reasons. Maia makes his welterweight debut in this fight, but also many wonder if the cut will get him out of his non-grappling slump that plagued his most recent run at middleweight where he decided to be a so-so to poor boxer instead of the legit grappling wizard he is. Kim however, is a very strong positional control specialist, so there is a chance that Maia's inability to takeover on the ground continues and this ends up a striking match with no chance of either guy finishing one another. I've said before there is a decent chance this fight will resemble Kim's fight against Sean Pierson, that while it had some highlights, was mostly a forgettable standup affair. Kim by decision.
DJ Mark with a “K”: Well this is the exact opposite of what I think the Le/Cote will be, this fight has bathroom break written all over it. Maia has gotten into a really bad streak of trying to win fights with his functional (but often kinda boring) stand up instead of using his true gifts on the mat. I see a boring three round stand up sparring match with Maia getting the nod due to higher volume, god I hope I’m wrong and it turns out to be a fun match. Maia by decision.
Lavender Gooms: Normally my first thought when I hear a fighter is moving down a weight class is “desperation”. Maia is already a pretty big dude, so I’m not sure how he makes the cut without it being extremely difficult. Also take into account his extremely lackluster effort against Chris Weidman and apparent amnesia he’s suffered forgetting he’s a BJJ master and I can’t pick this guy in good conscience. This fight will likely have you making a beer run. Kim by decision
Picking Maia: Dr. Law, DJ Mark
Picking Kim: Kid P, Gooms
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Doctor Law: I saw this quote from Cody McKenzie this morning, "(For) this fight I did a lot of grappling because I know Mendes will want to get it to the ground." My reaction: “Cody McKenzie is going to get his ass beat standing until he is either knocked out or the fifteen minutes are up.” You know what, if Chad Mendes wants to take him down, Cody is going to get smashed there. It’s not that I don’t like Cody, it’s the fact that Chad Mendes is the second best featherweight in the world. When Aldo leaves to go to 155, he’s going to be champion. Mendes by whatever he wants, whenever he wants.
Kid Presentable: Squash match. Squash match. Squash match. Nobody loves the Cody McKenzie "Shit Just Got Real" gif more than I do, but this is just a horrible matchup for him. Mendes will be coming off a title shot, and in his career has nullified many a great grappler. And even then Cody is more of a specialist (see: gable grip guillotine) rather than a good grappler. If he doesn't simply beat him standing, I see Mendes at the very least finishing this fight by tko via ground and pound. At some point with his speed and explosiveness, Mendes will drop Cody and punch him out. Mendes by TKO, first round.
DJ Mark with a “K”: Well this one is just mean. Cody is simply not ready for someone like Chad at this moment in his career. To make matters worse, Chad is probably looking to make a statement after his title shot loss to Jose Aldo. Also it’s very well known that Cody has one real trick up his sleeve, his guillotine choke. The problem is that the whole Alpha Male team is experts on that choke and Chad probably doesn’t go a day without running like a thousand guillotine choke escapes. Chad by complete domination.
Lavender Gooms: You don’t often see someone so good(Mendes) fight someone so beneath him (Mckenzie). It’s not that I don’t like Cody. But he’s being offered up like a sacrificial lamb. It’s nice that Mckenzie has been training with Cesar Gracie Fight Team, but unless their fight strategy involves sneaking a wrench into the ring, I don’t see how this match isn’t completely one-sided. If this fight gets out of the first round I will be shocked. Mendes by TKO in the 1st round.
Picking Mendes: All of us
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Doctor Law: Mike Easton and Ivan Menjivar are both getting pretty close to a title shot at 135 pounds. Hopefully Faber and Barao are willing to defend the interim belt because no one wants a welterweight-like log jam at bantamweight (that’s another shot at Carlos Condit). Mike Easton needs to show me a lot more if he plans on walking around with the level of swagger he currently does. Ivan is a serious veteran and he isn’t going to scared a snarling man in purple shorts. Menjivar fought GSP…GSP is the champion at 170 pounds. I think the veteran gets it done. Menjivar by decision.
Kid Presentable: The both of these guys are likely knocking on the door of a title shot in the bantamweight division. If you are asking yourself who are either of them, well that says more about the depth of the bantamweight division more than anything else. Both though are long time veterans of the sport with solid names across their records, Menjivar happening to be the first career mma fight for one Georges St. Pierre. Both will come to fight, and it will ultimately come down to a test of wills in the third round, but I will take Easton for the decision. Easton by split-decision.
DJ Mark with a “K”: I was pretty impressed with Easton in his first fight, but after his last fight a lot of mystic he had has worn off, so much so that I’m leaning towards Ivan in this one. Ivan has made a decent run here and I think he’ll keep it going. Ivan by 2nd round submission.
Lavender Gooms: Easton has impressed me with his mean mugging faces he makes when he steps on the scales to make weight. In his last fight against Jared Papazian, I thought his stand up was pretty good. Menjivar has had a long career considering he’s only 30, with a resume that includes fights against GSP, Matt Serra and Urijah Faber(all fights he lost). Even so, to borrow a term from Bobby, "big, black and jacked" prevails. Easton by TKO in 2nd round.
Picking Menjivar: Dr. Law, DJ Mark
Picking Easton: Kid P, Gooms