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 104


Lyoto Machida defends his Lightheavy weight title for the first time. The guy facing him across the cage is Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.  Machida has earned his spot at the top of the division by beating every single person that was put in front of him. Shogun, coming off of an impressive knock out of Chuck Liddell, will be put to the test to see if Shogun of 2005 is back.

There’s no secret between how these two fight. Machida is very elusive with his movement but very accurate with this strikes. His Karate background gives his style a unique and unorthodox fight game. His style gets many of his opponents frustrated which leads to mistakes where Machida can capitalize. Shogun is very dynamic and mixes his punches and kicks throughout the fight and his ground game is just as dangerous. In this fight Shogun will have the odds against him. His aggressive style will play right into Machida’s game. The only way for Shogun to control the fight is to get the Champ to the ground and utilized some vicious ground and pound. Another option is to corner Machida or pin him against the cage and work some dirty boxing, but that’s easier said than done . Machida will do what he does best and that’s to out-striking his opponent while avoiding getting hit. This fight will be exciting and no matter what happens it’s a win-win for Brazil.

Another bout on this card that I’m excited about is the Cain Velasquez vs. Ben Rothwell. When comparing fight records of Rothwell’s Velasquez is a rookie making his mark. The big equalizer for Velasquez is that he has a solid wrestling background that brings along a fierce competitive attitude, great work ethic, excellent cardio, and ability to endure punishment. But I don’t thing it will be enough to edge out the 30+ fight experience of Ben Rothwell. Not only does he has 30 more fights than Cain he weighs at the end of the weight limit of the Heavyweight division. Size and experience matters. If Cain can take big Ben to the ground and control him he might have a chance. Expect to see Rothwell utilize the brawl and sprawl tactic to score points and keeping himself from being on his back. As much as I like Cain, Ben’s wealth of experience and size gives him big advantage that Cain won’t be able to overcome.

My Picks:

Lyoto Machida beats Maruicio Rua
Ben Rothwell beats Cain Velasquez
Spencer Fisher beats Joe Stevenson
Anthony Johnson beats Yoshiyuki Yoshida
Josh Neer beats Gleison Tibau
Ryan Bader beats Eric Schafer
Antoni Hardonk beats Pat Berry
Chael Sonnen beats Yushin Okami
Rob Kimmons beats Jorge Rivera
Razak Al-Hassan beats Kyle Kingsbury
Chase Gormley beats Stephan Struve