UFC 140

Jon ‘Bones’ Jones is one of the busiest UFC Champs this year. This fight will mark his 4th fight in 2011 and it will be is second title defense.  Standing across the cage from him is former champ, Lyoto Machida.  I’m very excited for this fight as they have very contrasting styles.

Jones is very dangerous on his feet as he uses his long limbs to his advantage.  What makes him more dangerous than other strikers is that Jones uses his knees and elbows just as much as his hands and feet. So anyone fighting Jones whether its in close quarters or at a distance they’re bound to be lit up. When it comes to the ground Jones has a solid wrestling background that’ll dictate the fight where ever he wants.

As for Machida he is so elusive. His past opponents often gets frustrated as they try to counter Machida’s strike and flight tactic.  He can close the distance with speed and accuracy and bounce away from danger before his opponents can return fire and that makes Machida so dangerous and frustrating to his opponents. Plus, Machida’s karate style can confuse some fighters. Kicks and punches come from awkward angles that can surprise anyone.

Jon Jones has been on a tear. He captured the UFC title and easily defended it. A match up against Machida looks to be an easy win for the Champ, but Machida does have the tools to win. What Machida needs to do to win is that he needs to stick to his bread and butter. He needs continue to be elusive and to use his feints to force Jones to throw punches and kicks. That’s where it’s primetime for Machida to attack, it’s to counter attack.  One of the disadvantage of having long limbs is that when you throw a punch or kick it takes just a little bit longer to reset leaving you open for just a split second.

My Picks:

Jon Jones beats Lyoto Machida
Frank Mir beats Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira beats Tito Ortiz
Brian Ebersole beats Claude Patrick
Mark Hominick beats Chan Sung Jung
Nick Lentz beats Mark Bocek
Krzysztof Soszynski beats Igor Pokrajac


UFC 139

For the first time UFC will be bringing their event to my hometown of San Jose, Ca and it’s going to be a crazy weekend. Believe it or not San Jose has a large MMA community. There are martial arts dojos and classes at almost every major plaza or shopping centers here, so I’m planning on a large crowd of MMA fans and Affliction and Tapout shirt wearing ‘wannabes’ flooding downtown this evening.  This event doesn’t have the major star-studded fighters like GSP, Anderson Silva, or Jon ‘Bones’ Jones but there are a few very interesting matches I can’t wait to see.

Wanderlei Silva vs Cung Le

I’ve always been a fan of Wanderlei Silva.  his violent style of fighting makes him so much fun to watch. In his prime, Wanderlei was a ferocious champion.  His ability to dish out damage was unmatched by any of his opponents.  In the last few years age and wear and tear has caught up with him.  Wanderlei hasn’t quite have the same speed, power, and aggression. But his fights are still exciting.  Cung Le’s fighting style is totally opposite from the “Axe Murderer”. Le likes to use angles and lots of movement to set up his strikes. Wanderlei has an in-your-face style that puts a lot of pressure on his opponent. For Wanderlei to win he’ll need to constantly put the pressure on Le. He needs cut off Le’s angles and force him to back pedal throughout the fight.   Le isn’t good at taking damage, so if Wanderlei makes this a close-quarter brawl he’ll get his hand raise at the end of the night.

On the other side of the cage we have Cung Le. He’s a very cerebral fighter. Le has a solid stand up game and wrestling base. Le’s has an arsenal of flashy strikes which are very powerful and can catch his opponents off guard.  Throwing those flashy kicks requires lots of distance from his opponents, but Wanderlei is not going to sit there and let Le throw spinning back kicks all night. Le will need to use lots of lateral movement as Wanderlei will come straight at him and stepping backwards will only put him in the way of a barrage of punches.

Mauricio Rua vs Dan Henderson

Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua is coming off a big win over Forrest Griffin. Shogun hasn’t been consistent with all the injuries and surgeries he’s had in the past few years. But with all that behind him now he’s poised to made another return to get his title back.  And standing in his way tonight is the hard-hitting Dan Henderson.  Shogun is as well-rounded of a fighter one can get.  He can KO or submit anyone so weaknesses for Shogun are very few.  But Henderson doesn’t need to find and exploit a weakness. He just needs to connect once with an over hand right to put Shogun to sleep.  To take out Henderson Shogun will need to avoid those heavy bombs of Henderson and take the fight to the ground. Making it a grappling match will tire Henderson’s arms and will diminish his KO power.  Shogun has great submission skills and Henderson has been submitted before. Taking it to the ground is Shogun’s best route. Keeping the fight on the feet is a little too risky.

Dan Henderson is coming off three big wins and the last one being Fedor Emelianenko is one not many have on their win column. We all know Henderson has crazy KO power and anyone who faces him has a good chance of going to sleep inside the cage. Henderson likes to swing for the fences and this is where he’ll run into trouble some times.  Those big haymakers will tire anyone down. So Henderson will need to approach and set up those big punches with a clean boxing style. He’ll need to use a lot of jabs, straights and hooks. And if Rua is willing to stand toe to toe Henderson can throw that big right hand of his when the time is right.  Henderson is also a great greco-roman wrestler. He can use that experience to pin Rua up against the fence and utilize some dirty boxing. He’ll need to avoid taking the fight completely to the ground.


My Picks:

Dan Henderson beats Mauricio Rua
Wanderlei Silva beats Cung Le
Urijah Faber beats Brian Bowles
Martin Kampmann beats Rick Story
Kyle KingsBury beats Stephan Bonnar
Ryan Bader beats Jason Brilz
Gleison Tibau beats Rafael dos Anjos
Miguel Torres beats Nick Pace
Matt Brown beats Seth Baczynski

UFC 135

As the youngest Light Heavyweight title holder in UFC Jon ‘Bones’ Jones will be defending his title for the first time against Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson. For the past few months these two fighters have build a distaste for each other. I’m not sure if its real or marketing hype, but it’s working. Rampage is known to talk trash to get inside his opponents head. Jones has always been the calm and well-mannered in and out of the cage, but recently Jones is fighting back with his own words.

The bout tonight should be very interesting. Jones is dynamic and unpredictable, but very deadly and accurate. Whereas Rampage has tremendous power in both hands that could end the night at any moment. In my opinion, Jones should walk through and demolish Rampage. What makes this interesting is that the celebrity status that Jones has gain may have affected his training. And the current smack talk between the two could have mentally distracted him. The big question is ‘Can he handle the pressure?’. Many Champions have said it in the past, winning the title is hard, but defending it is even harder.

My Picks:

Jon ‘Bones’ Jones beats Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson
Josh Koshcheck beats Matt Hughes
Ben Rothwell beats Mark Hunt
Rob Broughton beats Travis Browne
Nate Diaz beats Takanori Gomi
Tony Ferguson beats Aaron Riley
Tim Boetsch beats Nick Ring

UFC 134 – Rio

For the second time the raining Middleweight champ, Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva, will be facing the Japanese sensation, Yushin Okami. The last time they faced each other the fight ended in an awkward win for Okami, via disqualification by Anderson Silva.  Nevertheless Okami is the last person to hold a win over The Spider. This fight has been a long time coming. Okami has put on some great fights as well as a couple of disappointing losses, but with each loss Okami came back more determined and has proved himself  to be a worthy contender to the title.

Tomorrow night will be a special night for UFC and the Brazilian fans. It’s been over a decade since Brazil held a UFC event. Many of the popular UFC Brazilian fighters will be representing their country in the Octagon. Most importantly the Middleweight title is on the line. Watch Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera fight for the first time in his home country against rising star, Brendan Schaub. Shogun Rua is back in the octagon.  This time it will be a rematch against TUF winner and former Light Heavyweight champ, Forrest Griffin and the fighter that beat Rua in his UFC debut.

My Picks:

Luis Cane beats Stanislav Nedkov
Rousimar Palhares beats Dan Miller
Ross Pearson beats Edson Barboza
Forrest Griffin beats Mauricio Rua
Paulo Thiago beats David Mitchell
Thiago Tavares beats Spencer Fisher
Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera beats Brendan Shaub
Anderson Silva beats Yushin Okami

UFC 133

Last time I saw Rashad Evans and Tito Ortiz fight it was at the Arco Arena in Sacramento at UFC 73. The fight unfortunately ended in a draw. Since the fight Rashad Evans has put a string of wins and eventually captured the Light Heavyweight title. Ortiz hasn’t had much luck. With plaguing injury and poor performances many are surprised he’s still fighting. But his last fight against Ryan Bader proved that he still got some fight left in him.

Evans is still in the midst of a burgeoning career whereas Ortiz is winding his down for retirement. Evans is very much like Tito in his style and strength and in this fight Ortiz will have a very difficult time battling his younger foe.


My Picks:

Rashad Evans beats Tito Ortiz
Vitor Belfort beats Yoshihiro Akiyama
Brian Ebersole beats Dennis Hallman
Costantinos Philippou beats Jorge Rivera
Rory MacDonald beats Mike Pyle
Alexander Gustafsson beats Matt Hamill
Chad Mendes beats Rani Yahya
Mike Pierce beats Johny Hendricks
Mike Brown beats Nam Pham

UFC 132 Quick Picks

My picks:

Urijah Faber beats Dominic Cruz
Wanderlei Silva beats Chris Leben
Ryan Bader beats Tito Ortiz
Carlos Condit beats Dong Hyun Kim
Dennis Siver beats Matt Wiman
Melvin Guillard beats Shane Roller
George Sotiropoulos beats Rafael dos Anjos
Andre Winner beats Anthony Njokuani

UFC 131

My Picks:

Junior Dos Santos beats Shane Carwin
Diego Nunes beats Kenny Florian
Mark Munoz beats Demian Maia
Donald Cerrone beats Vagner Rocha
Sam Stout beats Yves Edwards
Krzysztof Soszynski beats Mike Massenzio
Dustin Poirier beats Jason Young
Michihiro Omigawa beats Darren Elkins

UFC 128

Jon ‘Bones’ Jones will be following in the footsteps of the current Light Heavyweight Champ, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, by quickly ascending the division and capturing the title at such an early age.

Jones is a rookie compared to many of the fighters he has fought, but what makes him so different is his dynamic set of skills he brings into the cage. What’s more amazing is that those skills are evolving at a blistering pace. The combination of unorthodox striking and wrestling makes Jones so dangerous to many. But his most impressive attribute as a fighter is the mental aspect of his game and of the sport. The way he handles himself in and out of the cage makes him look like a mature fighter many years over. Whether it’s a studio interview or a post fight discussion Jones’s composure and respectful manners is very telling of his intelligence and passion for this sport. It is easy to see why he has a strong following of fans.

Standing in front of Jones is Shogun, the Champ whose skills and composure easily matches Jones. The big difference with Shogun is that he has the experience many other fighters only dream of. In 2005, at 23 years old, he captured the PrideFC Middleweight tournament beating the who’s who of MMA at the time. Shogun has showed he can take the fight anywhere and be successful, but does he have what it takes to stop the rising star that is aiming to take his belt? In this fight Shogun will have a hard time against Jones. The biggest factor will be Jones’s reach advantage and wrestling. Sure, Shogun has faced opponents who had a reach advantage such as Alistair Overeem and wrestlers like Kevin Randleman, but none of them has the combination of the two like Jones.

For Shogun to retain his belt he will need to take Jones down. He’ll need to close the distance and stifle the striking of Jones. It’s the scramble on the ground where Shogun will be able to catch a submission. But the longer the fight stays standing Jones will have the opportunity to establish his unorthodox striking and utilize his reach advantage. With a strong wrestling background Jones will have the tool he needs to keep this fight standing or gain top control where he can use his vicious ground and pound.

My Picks:

Jon Jones beats Mauricio Shogun
Urijah Faber beats Eddie Wineland
Jim Miller beats Kamal Shalorus
Nate Marquardt beats Dan Miller
Brendan Schaub beats Mirko Filipovic
Edson Barboza beats Anthony Njokuani
Luiz Cane beats Eliot Marshall
Ricardo Almeida beats Mike Pyle
Kurt Pellegrino beats Gleison Tibau

UFC 125

As of tomorrow night it’ll be Frankie Edgar’s 3rd title fight in 9 months and a title defense within 4 months. As a UFC Champion that’s a quick turnaround given that other Champs take 6 or more months in between defenses. After beating BJ Penn twice Edgar is still not getting any respect coming into this fight. Many of the bookies and analysts expect Maynard to take the belt from the New Jersey native. Seeing that Maynard did win against their last bout it’s not unreasonable to believe he will win again.  Both fighters have grown leaps and bounds since their last meeting. Maynard has greatly improved his stand-up and Edgar’s ever-evolving quick hands and feet have helped both fighters rise to the top of the division.

This fight will be their most important fight of their careers. A win for Edgar will truly mark him as the undisputed Champion of the lightweight division and will give him the respect he deserves. For Maynard, it’s obvious, he gets the title. But a loss for either will put them much deeper down the division since UFC / WEC merger will add a boat load of up-and-coming lightweight fighters to the roster.

In their last fight Marynard received the unanimous decision. Maynard utilized his wrestling to control the fight and to keep Edgar off his feet as much as possible. It was a poor game plan on Edgar’s part. Edgar seemed so focused on striking and didn’t use his wrestling to mix up his attack which I think costs him that fight, but that loss doesn’t mean Maynard is a more superior wrestler than Edgar. Edgar’s wrestling credentials are just as impressive as any one in the UFC.  If Edgar mixes up his boxing and wrestling like he did against his last bout with BJ Penn a repeat win for Maynard won’t be as likely. For the past few months I can see Maynard winning this fight again in similar fashion, but after watching their last fight a few times and Edgar’s fights against BJ Penn I now I have change my mind that Frankie Edgar will win in this rematch. The fight will be close and a controversial win won’t be that all surprising.

My Picks:

Jacob Volkmann beats Antonio McKee
Clay Guida beats Takanori Gomi
Dong Hyun Kim beats Nate Diaz
Josh Grispi beats Dustin Poirier
Jeremy Stephens beats Marcus Davis
Thiago Silva beats Brandon Vera
Brian Stann beats Chris Leben
Frankie Edgar beats Gray Maynard

Maturity of MMA depends on the Maturity of its fans

Mixed Martial Arts is the fastest growing sport, but it is a sport that is still in its infancy. If MMA wants to become mainstream and be respected as a sport it’s up to the MMA fans themselves to respect the sport first.

Many of the MMA fans today are casual fans. These fans lack the basic knowledge and understanding of the sport. They buy the PPV events when Brock Lesnar, GSP, Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell or some other high profile fighter is on the card. They are intrigued by the commercials and fanfare that spreads throughout the internet.  These are the same fans that ‘boo’ when the fight goes to the ground or when fighters jockey for clinch control. It’s all about understanding what MMA is all about. Not every fight needs to end in a devastating KO or a slick submission.

In boxing you see many commentators, analysts, and fans talk about the science of boxing. They talk about the boxer’s hand speed, ring control, and footwork. Fights that end in KOs are exciting, but it’s not what boxing is all about. In football, you hear about accuracy of a QB, speed of a player, and hands of a receiver. It’s the skill of a player or a record of a team that matters. Not whether or not there were bone crushing tackles or crazy triple reverse trick plays were in a game. Many life-long football fans loves the sport as a whole, and this passion for it is what makes football the most popular sport in the US.

MMA, like other sports, is about having the better strategy, skill, and out-pointing your opponent. Understanding why and how a fighter wins a fight should be just important to a fan as seeing exciting fights, but that’s not the case for today’s fans. Fans have unrealistic expectation of fights and fighters. Every fighter goes out to do their best and to win as convincingly as possible, but it doesn’t always happen. Why? Because there’s this thing called an opponent that is always constantly defending themselves. Fans fail to comprehend this. You can see in many of the popular forums where people talk trash about fighters. You see, “Fighter X sucks because he doesn’t finish fights” or “I don’t like Fighter Z because he just lays and prays” this goes to show those fans don’t understand “strategy” and the skill that is involved in MMA. They don’t love the sport. They love spectacle moments that doesn’t truly represent MMA. And that is not what you call “being a fan”.  Would you call a person a “hockey fan” if they only watch hockey games to see a brawl? Or call them a “NASCAR fan” if they only watch it for the spectacular crashes? I don’t think so. It’s unfortunate that majority of MMA fans have a misguided perception of MMA. It’s more unfortunate that it perpetuates to new fans which contributes to the sports slow inclination of maturity.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying MMA is doomed because of the ignorant fans. I believe it’s part of the growing pains of this fast growing sport. Just 10 years ago barely anyone knew what a 4 .oz glove looked like. Now, they sell those gloves at every sporting good store. I just hope the fans evolve with the sport, and one day in the future we can get away from the spectacle talk of the sport and get more into the art and science of it.