Apr 22, 2016

UFC 197: Jones v. Saint Preux Picks and Predictions

Let April 23rd be known as the return. Jon Jones, the last vestige of pure greatness in the MMA landscape, returns from his indefinite suspension due to his well documented legal and criminal battles. Think about it. In the time Jones was away, the sport saw Conor choked out by Nate, Aldo flatlined by Conor, Ronda head-kicked into oblivion by Holms, who herself would go out to Miesha's choke. Anderson's tumble would continue against Bisping, and even the spider killer himself, Chris Weidman would drop his belt to Luke Rockhold. With the exception of the other champion in the co-main event slot, Mighty Mouse, our picture of the invincibles in the UFC have dropped like flies.  With all due respect to one Mr. OSP, the world awaits what Jon Jones brings to the table in his return.

Jon Jones v. Ovince Saint Preux (Interim Light Heavyweight Championship) 

When Daniel Cormier won the vacated title, he only had four words for the exiled champion and that was to "...get your sh*t together." This rematch was a long time coming, but injuries have postponed the day. Enter a potentially scarier and somehow larger Jon Jones, still ready to enter the cage after such a long layoff. And while we're at it, major props to one OSP for stepping up to the opportunity of a lifetime on just three weeks notice. We don't really need to get into the details of Jones personal issues as they have been debated and dissected ad nauseam, so let's talk about how he added a power lifting program to his regiment. The massive size of Jones always made it seem an inevitability that he would head up to the heavyweight division. His "chicken legs" seemed like the obvious candidate to take on weight and mass. However, even with this new lifting program making Jones even more of a monster, his dietitian is keeping him at the levels to stay in the division he has long reigned as king of. Not hard to believe, if you followed Jones admission of partying and not taking camps seriously. On that note... yo Nick Diaz, you may want to pick Jones brain about how he never tested positive for marijuana. I hate that I am only leaving a couple of sentences for OSP as I have been a big advocate of his for a while now. He just brims with raw potential, and if he could just get the training to put it altogether he could really be something. And maybe that is this moment for him. He said it well: "The two of us have been given a lottery ticket, but only one of us has the winning numbers." I will be amazed and cheer my ass off if OSP can shock the world, but I have to role with my one hype train that was never derailed. Jones by monstering.

Jones: Unanimous

Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson (c) v. Henry Cejudo (Flyweight Championship)

If you are a listener of the show, you know Doc Law has had to defend the value of Mighty Mouse as a champion from the likes of me, but it is never to take away from his flat dominance as champion of the flyweight division. Outside of John Dodson, no one has really been able to touch Demetrious in the cage. However, I get this weird inkling that we may get a good competitive fight here. Henry Cejudo is an undefeated prospect with a dominant combat skill (wrestling) that he is known for. However, his record is marked by some certainly unremarkable victories including clear, but ultimately somewhat boring unanimous decisions. If that at all sounds familiar, it is because that is pretty much how we talked about Holly Holm too. For her, it turned out they had supposedly anyways, saved something and held back until the day she would face Ronda Rousey. Could it be the same with Cejudo here? I'm not sure. Holly was able to exploit that which we always perceived to be Ronda's kryptonite. But what is Mighty Mouse's weakness? He is about as complete of a fighter as we have seen. I don't have the courage to pick Cejudo even though I am making the Holm parable, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised in this being more competitive than most expect. Oh, and Mighty Mouse dressed his kid up like this. I can't pick against that. Johnson by decision. RIP Prince. 

Mouse: Unanimous
Olympic gold:

Anthony "Showtime" Pettis v. Edson "Spinnin Sh*t" Barboza

How fast the mighty fall sometimes. That is definitely an overstatement as this is great matchup of two really talented fighters, but championship belts and Wheaties boxes are not such a distant memory for one Anthony Pettis. This needs to be a showcase fight for him though, and Barboza is no cake walk. Pettis definitely lost a lot of luster after being crushed by RDA, and then stifled by a not all that big for the division Eddie Alvarez. Pettis strength has always been in his stand up ability, something Barboza is primarily known for himself. It's hard for me to clearly state that Pettis has a speed or power advantage here, because I can't honestly be certain he does. I THINK he does though, because I know that Pettis has achieved the pinnacle. Sure he couldn't stay long, but it's far higher than Edson has reached. Showtime by superkick.

Haircuts: Unanimous
Mean kicks:

Robert "Hand down, Man down" Whittaker v. Rafael Natal  

Whittaker has always kind of been a low expectations guy simply because he came out of TUF Smashes. Particularly when he moved UP in weight class, the move was largely scoffed at but he has proven quite capable as a middleweight. His power has proven to still be fight ending, and his speed certainly shines through. Natal is a long respected legend of grappling with varied results in the UFC. It should be a solid test, but Whittaker just being the more legitimate as a prospect between the two has me going chalk here as well. Whittaker by TKO 2nd round.
Whittaker: Unanimous

Yair "El Pantera" Rodriguez v. Andre "Touchy" Fili 

Prospect battle! It's Yair of the TUF Latin America vs Andre of the TJ Dillashaw hate crew. Andre has had a much more up and down career in the UFC so far having dropped some fights along the way. But coming out of Team Alpha Male, you can never write him off because he will always be a tough out. Yair just has a different element about him as a prospect. Whether I'm just being fooled by the flashy kicks and spinning attacks, it still means something that he can throw them with legit intent. With an opening main card slot, this is a great chance for Yair to introduce himself to the masses. Yair by decision.

Yair: Kid P, Gooms, Doc Law
Andre: DJ Mark

It's MMAzing 2016 Standings
1. Doctor Law - (39-18) - .684
2. DJ Mark- (37-20) - .649
3. Lavender Gooms  - (33-24) - .579
4. Kid Presentable - (31-26) - .544

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