This Saturday the UFC comes to Fox for its 18th installment of combat sporting all the way from that place that is right next to New York since New York is never going host the sport of MMA... Newark, New Jersey! New title contenders will rise and a possible future title contender will have a chance to ASCEND to that next level. (Joke in there for the two of you DBZ fans out there that might also regard Sage Northcutt with this reference...) Rumble Johnson seeks to get another crack the championship belt, while Bader looks to get the marquee name that launches him into a title picture that he arguably should have already been in. Josh Barnett and Ben Rothwell go at it in a matchup of two big, mean, dudes. And Zack Morris stops time to tell you whats up, and show you some sweet, sweet, moves.
Anthony "Rumble" Johnson vs Ryan "Darth" Bader
|Trust, I believe you @anthony_rumble
Ryan Bader is coming off the biggest win of his career against Rashad Evans, and it was a decisive win at that. Yet, somehow this feeling lingers that makes most of us still not totally buy into Bader as a contender. Whether it's his boxing technique that relies more on scoring points than big power shots, or his power wrestling base which is good, but not quite top level, or maybe it's just that I'll forever hold it against him that he got finished by Tito Ortiz. There is also the final option that maybe we're all picking against him because he is fighting the world eater that is Rumble Johnson. At this point, we know Johnson's flaws. His gas tank isn't set to go five rounds, and an elite wrestler can wear him out on the mat. There just really aren't a lot of fighters out there that can both survive his cannons for limbs AND have the wherewithal to take him to the ground. Rumble by KO round 2.
Josh Barnett vs "Big" Ben Rothwell
The state of the heavyweight division for the last year or so can be largely summed up as "I can't believe (insert old fighter's name here) is actually in the title picture in 2015/2016." Ben Rothwell is one of those fellows as he is on possibly the best 3 fight streak of his career. Something about big guys who hit really hard that you can never totally count them out of a fight. Josh Barnett doesn't quite hit as hard, but damn if he's not incredibly skilled all across the board. Josh has great strikes, is powerful in the clinch, and it will spell near certain doom if Josh can take top control on the floor against Ben. Of course, I'll be on edge the entire fight that at any moment, the giant, frozen turkey Big Ben has for a right hand will come flying in and close Mr. Barnett's eyes. Barnett by arm triangle round 2.
Barnett: Kid P, Gooms, DJ Mark
Rothwell: Doc Law
Iuri Alcantara vs Jimmie Rivera
This fight is a pretty difficult call. In one corner, we have a veteran Brazilian who has really only lost to legit talent. However, his list of wins in the last several years are not quite the who's who of the sport either. The biggest name on his list of wins is Ricardo Lamas back in 2010. On the other side we have a young prospect that took the long road to earn his UFC main card slot having previously fought for both Bellator and WSOF. Ultimately, you're kinda just picking this fight off a reputation. Both of these men have seen a lot of decisions in their fight careers. Do you like the crafty, all around vet? Or do you believe in rising youth? The latter trumps more often than not so... Jimmie Rivera by decision.
Rivera: Kid P, DJ Mark, Doc Law
"Super" Sage Northcutt vs Bryan Barberena
|@supersagenorthcutt with the 1 and only
Each fight this 19 year old kid has, I get more and more confident that we're getting closer to seeing the first human thrown fireball. What else is there to say at this point. You either are upset that a young kid is getting star treatment so quickly (who cares?), or you're all aboard because it's FUN. Whether he becomes anything at lightweight and/or welterweight remains to be seen, but he sure looks the part. And yeah, the kid who did a commercial for lightsabers when he was young? I'm never not going to be all in on that guy. Northcutt by Kaio-Ken. We're not ready for Super Saiyan yet.
Jake Ellenberger vs Tarec Saffiedine
I know Mike and I have really come to agree on our vote of no confidence in Ronda's training camp. Most recently Edmond made some statements that they would bring in a boxing trainer for Ronda and the world wondered aloud together... "isn't that... you?" This is all to say this camp isn't exactly bringing the best out in its fighters, and with the exception eye pokes magoo (Travis Browne), the camp hasn't been seeing a lot of wins lately. Tarec has faded into a bit of an afterthought in recent times due to injuries and his last loss he ate a beautiful uppercut from Rory Mac. But, right before that he was coming off a great run in Strikeforce where he became champion, and he nearly kicked the leg off of one my personal favorites in Lim. To make it old school Marc and I always had the Strikeforce champ in the back 5 of the top 10 rankings, and Jake from Statefarm isn't even sniffing the top 10 these days. Tarec by decision.
It's MMAzing 2016 Standings
1. DJ Mark - (9-1) - .900
2. Doctor Law - (6-4) - .600
2. Lavender Gooms - (6-4) - .600
4. Kid Presentable - (5-5) - .500