May 21, 2015

UFC 187: Johnson v. Cormier Predictions

What a strange trip it's been to get to UFC 187. By this point you guys know what happened. Jon Jones was going to defend his title against Rumble Johnson. Then some things (allegedly) happened and Mr. Jones was stripped of his light heavyweight championship. We now have Daniel Cormier stepping in to take Anthony Johnson for the Undisputed (as our own Lavender Gooms would say, "Come on son") UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. In the co-main event we have the long awaited matchup between Chris Weidman and "The Phenom" (or is it the "Old Lion"...or maybe the "Young Dinosaur") Vitor Belfort for the UFC Middleweight Championship. Check out our predictions below. I went 6 for 6 last week. I'm basically a very good looking version of Nostradamus.

UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
"Rumble" Johnson v. Daniel Cormier

Let's try to get passed the fact they are calling this a fight for the "undisputed" championship. Actually...I really can't. I understand why they had to call it that. We don't know when Jon Jones is coming back and until then, we want people to pay for some damn PPVs. Jon Jones is the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion until he loses or I hear the words "I retire." That being said, we don't have to believe the marketing to enjoy this matchup. This is a very close matchup between two highly skilled individuals. Cormier, originally booked for a June fight with Ryan Bader, has two less weeks to cut weight and is fighting a totally different type of fighter. Johnson is also fighting a completely different style of fighter, but has had May 23rd circled on his calendar for months. Also, Rumble has absolutely been wrecking people since his return to the UFC. He beat up Phil Davis for three rounds, knocked Lil Nog's head into the third row (I was there, I can vouch for this) and then smoked Alexander Gustafsson in less than three minutes. Cormier is coming off of a loss to Jon Jones in January where, if we're being honest, he looked fairly broken at the end of the fight. Cormier is a fantastic fighter and I understand why he is the favorite, but picking against Rumble these days seems like a mistake. He seems unstoppable. I got Rumble knocking out DC in the 2nd round.

Picking Rumble: Dr. Law, Kid P, Gooms
Picking DC: DJ Mark

UFC Middleweight Championship
The champ has jokes
Chris Weidman (c) v. Vitor Belfort

This is fight that the UFC has tried to put together for the better part of 18 months. It was first booked for UFC 173. Then it was booked for UFC 175. Then Vitor got suspended until December 2014 and the fight was booked for UFC 181. Then Weidman got hurt and it was booked for UFC 184. Then Weidman got hurt again and it was booked for UFC 187. That's a lot of waiting for a fight where pretty much everyone agrees that one guy is simply better than the other. I honestly think the continual delays have helped Vitor. It came off as a joke on the podcast, but he honestly needed time for his balls to start producing testosterone again after he came off of the TRT. The factory needed time to get back to work. After all this time at least Vitor doesn't look like welterweight anymore. That being said, Weidman is too good to lose to anybody at 185 pounds. He is exactly what you exactly a complete fighter to look like 2015 MMA. I will not pick against him at this weight class. I might even pick him at 205 pounds when he eventually moves up. I got Weidman by submission in the 3rd round. 

Picking the All-American: All of us
Picking The Phenom: 

Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone v. John Makdessi

via @TeamKhabib.
This was my favorite one. There were many others
Of all the injuries that have happened in the past year or so, Khabib Nurmagomedov having to pull out of this fight is easily among the most disappointing. Khabib's trash talk was great and even more impressive if you consider the fact that he's known how to speak English for about a year. His comments about "drunk" and "fake" Cowboy Cerrone were especially hilarious. Aside from the outside the cage comedy, the fight itself was going to determine a very clear #1 contender to Rafael dos Anjos's UFC title. With Khabib's injury, the title shot is there for the taking for Cerrone. He just needs to get passed John Makdessi. He will do that. Makdessi is a solid fighter with good standup, but he's absolutely out of his depth here. Cerrone is on quite a roll, having won 7 straight with the last being a close victory over former champion Benson Henderson. Cerrone is better than Makdessi everywhere, but he has the largest advantage with grappling. That doesn't mean he's going to shoot. Instead, I expect Cowboy to drop Makdessi and finish him with a choke in the 2nd round.

Picking Cowboy: All of us
Picking the President of Fear the Fighter:

via Arlovski's Wikipedia page
Travis Browne v. Andrei Arlovski

It's 2015 and Andrei Arlovski is basically win away from a shot at the UFC Heavyweight Championship. That is pretty much all you need to know about the landscape of the heavyweight division in MMA. Travis Browne is coming off of a drubbing of Brendan Schaub back at UFC 184 where it looked like his change of camp from Jackson-Winklejohn to the Glendale Fight Club gave him new life in the division. Previous to that he got the absolutely crap kicked out of him by Fabricio Werdum last April on Fox. Arlovski is coming off of back to back wins in his return to the UFC; first a decision over Schaub in a terrible fight followed by a first round KO of Antonio Silva. The winner of this fight or Stipe Miocic will likely get the next crack at the heavyweight title. While the Arlovski story has been fun and has provided me great joy (also, look at that sweet picture to your right), I think reality sets in against Browne. Browne is younger, faster and bigger. Arlovski's hands are still dangerous, but I got Hapa taking this by KO in the 2nd round.

Picking Hapa: All of us
Picking The Pitbull:

via @JoeJitsu
Joseph Benavidez v. John Moraga

Poor Moraga. There is no hiding what the UFC is doing here. Benavidez is better than every single flyweight not named Demetrious Johnson (yes, I'm including John Dodson). If the UFC books you against Benavidez, that means they have zero plans for you fighting for the title. That works especially well in this case because Moraga already got absolutely smoked by Mighty Mouse. Moraga is all heart, but that isn't enough to get a win over Jo-kozuna. He is going to win this fight however he wants, but I think Benavidez will take out Moraga via submission in the 3rd round.

Picking Jotorious: Dr. Law, DJ Mark, Gooms
Picking Moraga: Kid P

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