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Saturday, August 6, 2011

UFC 133 Post Weigh-In Fight Picks

When I go to the dog races, I really prefer to wait until I can physically see the dogs before I place my bets. I prefer my selection not to be jittery, to look in peak physical condition without looking like he's run a race, and confident. I live by this when making fight selections- it could be superstition, hell it could be anything, but I really prefer to watch the weigh-ins prior to making my 'final' selections on who I think will win a fight. After watching the UFC 133 weigh ins, it's now time to share my thoughts with all of you.
First up, Middleweight fight between Rafael Natal and Paul Bradley. Bradley was the first to hit the scale, and he looked huge. Not drawn out at all. He's won his past 5 fights, most recent of which was only two weeks ago. Natal also looked good, the prototypical BJJ body. His last fight was a majority draw with Jesse Bongfeldt at UFC 124. Natal was definitely smaller than Bradley when they faced off, and this looks like a classic wrestler, Bradley, vs. the BJJ ace, Natal. I'm picking Rafael Natal, by submission.
Next up is a Featherweight contest between Mike Brown and Nam Phan. Phan, a veteran of season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter, lost his last match against Leonard Garcia in a hotly debated decision. He looked shredded, much more than when he was on TUF, of course this is a 145 fight, not 155. Mike Brown, the former WEC Featherweight champ, also looked to be in awesome shape. Brown has lost his last 2, and 4 of his last 6, but he's my choice in this fight. Brown by TKO.
The third fight is also a Welterweight scrap, between Johny Hendricks and Mike Pierce. Pierce has won his last 3, and his last 9 of 10, with the only loss coming to John Fitch. I have to say, my physique is similar to his at this weigh in, which isn't exactly a compliment for a UFC Welterweight. Johny, having split his last two fights, came running out to the stage. He was all smiles and looked pumped to be there. He looked good on the scale as well, and I'm taking him in a decision.
The next two Bantamweight fighters provided the only scale-related drama of the evening, Ivan Menjivar vs. Nick Pace. Pace, a winner of 6 of his 7 fights, has only lost to Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson, in a decision. He looked like he had 0% body fat, but not drawn out. Menjivar came out second, and he didn't make weight, his body language while on the scale before the number was announced indicated he knew he was over. He wasn't even that close, at 138 pounds. He will get 2 hours to make weight. Aside from those observations, I'll have to look at the fact Menjivar has 30 career fights, against the likes of Matt Serra, Joe Lauzon, Urijah Faber, and GSP, and Pace has had only 7. I'll take Menjivar in this one by TKO.
Next is a Featherweight bout between Chad Mendes and Rani Yahya. Yahya, victorious in his last fight against Mike Brown after dropping two straight, is looking to hand Mendes his first career loss. They both looked ready on the scale, with Mendes being more cut. Although Yahya is an extremely accomplished grappler, having submitted Bruno Frazzato, I believe Mendes will stay undefeated. Victory will come with a TKO, similar to the way his Team Alpha Male teammate Joe Benavidez defeated Yahya in 2009.
On to the bigger guys, a Light Heavyweight bout between Matt Hamill and Alexander Gustafsson. Alexander is 11-1, his only loss coming to Mr. Wonderful, Phil Davis. He was originally slated to fight Vladimir Matyushenko at this event, but the Janitor was injured, and replaced with Hamill. Gustafsson's finished 10 of his 11 opponents in his victories. He also looked good on the scale, and was visibly taller than Hamill, although he only has a half inch reach advantage over Matt. Matt Hamill is a career 10-3 fighter, however he's faced arguably tougher competition than Gustafsson, 4 of his opponents are former or current UFC champions. He looked slightly softer than usual on the scale, but I'll have to rely on Hamill's wrestling base to get him a decision.
The Welterweight fight between Rory MacDonald and Mike Pyle is the one I look forward to the most on this card. Pyle is an absolute warrior who's won his past 3 fights, most recently against Ricardo Almeida. He is a former WEC Welterweight Champion who first fought in 1999. That year, Rory MacDonald was 10 years old. Although only 22, MacDonald has amassed an 11-1 pro MMA record, his only loss to Carlos Condit. He absolutely manhandled Nate Diaz his last time out, throwing him around and punching him from all angles. Neither man carried any fat on their body at the weigh in, and both are very confident headed into the fight. I'll have to give the edge to in-ring experience and to Pyle, who I think will pull off a submission.
In another replacement bout, Middleweights Jorge Rivera and Costa Philippou lock horns. Rivera has seemingly been unable to fight Alessio Sakara, although they both have signed no less than 3 bout agreements to face each other. Injuries have thrown them off each time. Rivera is much more experienced, with 27 career fights, the first of which was in 2001. Philippou only began pro MMA in 2008, and he is coming off a loss to Nick Catone at UFC 128. He looked great though, and in a bout I will likely use as a bathroom break, I'll write my pick down as Philippou with a KO.
The third Welterweight fight of the night is between Dennis Hallman and Brian Ebersole. These two seasoned veterans bring a combined 122 pro MMA fights worth of experience into this scrap. Amazingly, it's only Ebersole's second fight in the UFC, whereas Hallman's first UFC fight was in 2000, when he submitted Matt Hughes in 21 seconds. After both fighters weighed in, Ebersole offered Hallman some of his rehydration mix, of which Hallman turned down. It was just Ebersole letting his quirky personality come out, which is quite amusing. Due in part to that, I'm taking Ebersole in a decision.
In the co-main event of the evening, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Vitor Belfort faces Yoshihiro Akiyama in a Middleweight bout. Akiyama is coming off of two consecutive losses, to Michael Bisping and Chris Leben, but is a warrior and is still a game challenger to anyone in the division. He only had one loss prior to coming to the UFC in 2010. Akiyama came to the weigh ins wearing his heart on his sleeve (or chest) as he had "United & Stand Japan" written on his chest in black marker. It's impossible not to respect Akiyama. Belfort looked to be in perfect shape, and ready to attack. Attack I believe he will, and I'm looking for Vitor to win with a flashy Knockout.
The main event of the evening is a rematch of a 2007 contest between Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans. The prior fight ended in a draw, and the natural controversy that follows such results, specifically because Tito had been deducted a point for repeatedly grabbing the cage. Rashad has not fought in over 14 months, he was waiting for Shogun to heal as he was granted a shot at his title, however Rashad was injured shortly before that contest was to take place. Jon Jones got that shot, and the rest is history. Evans has been promised a title shot vs. the winner of the Jon Jones / Rampage Jackson fight if he is victorious. Tito Ortiz has different thoughts however, coming off of a recent victory over a fighter very similar to Evans in Ryan Bader. Ortiz and Evans match up well, they are even nearly everywhere, but Evans has an edge in speed. Ortiz looked like a beast on the scale, and was visibly larger than Evans. That's not to say that Rashad wasn't in great shape, he certainly was. Due to Tito's large size, and Rashad's ring rust from the long layoff, I'm taking Ortiz in a decision.
That's right!
Get @ me with your comments. Hold me responsible for my pics- I can take it.

3 comments:

  1. Rashad is a shit talker but has backed up most of it besides Machida busting his mouth...Think Tito will pull it out but he is going to have a busted face to prove he was in a fight that went to a decision...hopefully!

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  2. WTF...I cant believe that Rashad has the nerve to call Bones Jones cocky! Do you hear the shit that comes out of your mouth Rashad...at least Jones backs up his words...Rashad is a big baby who needs to go back to sleep!

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