Friday, August 07, 2009

UFC 101 picks

Not to be confused with UFC 101, the course I teach at the Learning Annex on Tuesday nights. "Class, your paper on Chuck Liddell's haircut is due on Friday."

* Amir Sadollah over John Hendricks, R2, armbar
Holy crap, Amir Sadollah is actually fighting! Wait....I shouldn't jinx it. He still might slip on a banana peel on the way to the cage, or he'll open his locker room door and a leopard will jump out at him. Since winning the seventh Ultimate Fighter season, Amir has suffered a number of injuries that led to postponed fight after postponed fight. Now, over a year after actually winning the show, he's finally back in action. He also dropped down to 170 pounds, perhaps under the logic that if he's lighter, there's less of him to injure. John Hendricks, however, is no easy draw --- a former NCAA wrestling champ, and unbeaten thus far in MMA. So why am I picking Sadollah? I dunno. He seems like a funny guy. He wins via his signature move, the armbar.

* Kurt Pellegrino over Josh Neer, decision
A battle between two of the worst nicknames in MMA. Batman vs. The Dentist. If you're going to give yourself a nickname like 'Batman,' you had better be an ultra bad-ass, not just a lightweight gatekeeper. What kind of loser tries to give himself a cool nickname, anyway? That said, Pellegrino is still a step up over Josh Neer, who I don't think is going to amount to much. Why is this fight on the main card, exactly?

* Ricardo Almeida over Kendall Grove, decision
Yeesh, another blah fight. Looks like the UFC decided to load up the card with the two big main events and then coast the rest of the way, eh? Almeida is a solid middleweight gatekeeper, not unlike Pellegrino except with a bit more upside, so I think he'll put 'Da Spyder' (maybe the worst nickname in MMA) away.

* Kenny Florian over BJ Penn, chokeout, R3
Totally a heart-over-head pick. I think BJ Penn might officially be my least-favorite fighter. After getting destroyed by Georges St. Pierre in February, Penn has claimed a) the fight was invalid due to a small dab of vasoline accidentally applied to GSP's back by his trainer after the first round, b) that GSP is on steroids since he's, like, in shape and everything. What a whiny idiot. Penn losing would actually get the lightweight belt into regular circulation, given how the title has only been defended twice since October 2006 due to Sean Sherk's steroid bust and Penn's love of time off and his moves up in weight. Florian as champion would actually defend the belt regularly every 3-4 months. Now, the odds of Florian actually winning are somewhat slim, given that Penn is objectively a far better fighter. But Kenny has been focused solely on Penn since last year, whereas Penn has been obsessed with St. Pierre. I'm hoping Kenny can overcome the talent gap and hand Penn another embarrassing defeat. Then BJ will claim he only lost because Florian was, say, on spinach. After all, spinach gave Popeye a huge buzz. Clearly something illegal going on there.

* Anderson Silva over Forrest Griffin, knockout, R3
I give Griffin more respect than many do, but this is a terrible matchup for him. A guy who isn't afraid of getting into a slugfest against arguably the most precise striker in MMA today....yikes. Forrest will find himself looking up at the lights. I'll give it until round three because he's a tough guy and I can see him weathering a couple of storms, but Silva will eventually catch him. I'm not sure how Forrest can win this; Silva can outstrike him and if it goes to the ground, Silva is a better submission artist. Bottom line is, Anderson gets a big win to get himself back on track after two dull wins over Patrick Cote and Thales Leites. Silva's dance card is pretty full in the next 8-9 months, with middleweight title defenses against Dan Henderson and the Nate Marquardt-Demian Maia winner lined up and maybe even a superfight against GSP.

* Thales Leites over Alessio Sakara, submission, R1. Hey, speak of the devil! Leites gets an impressive win over a mediocre fighter to erase some of the stink from that Silva fight.

* George Sotiropoulos over George Roop, TKO, R1. Winner gets the rights to the now-defunct 'George' Magazine started by John F. Kennedy Jr. Boy, did that magazine ever crash and burn. OH! Too soon?

* Tamdan McCrory over John Howard, decision. 'Barncat' McCrory is possibly the least fighterish-looking fighter in MMA, so thus I will always root for him.

* Matt Riddle over Dan Cramer, decision. I would like Riddle 100 times more if he came out to "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" with the Jim Carrey 'riddle me this....' intro. Riddle's older brother Tom would also win this fight, in round one, via magical lightning bolt.

* Aaron Riley over Shane Nelson, decision. interesting backstory behind this one. Nelson beat Riley is under a minute at UFC 96, but it was a highly controversial stoppage. Dana White felt so strongly about the stoppage that he went out of his way to give Riley a rematch. I suspect Riley uses his earlier defeat as motivation to pound Nelson down. Either that or it's another bizarre stoppage and these two end up fighting each other ad nauseum for the best of their careers.

* Danillo Villefort over Jesse Lennox, submission, R2. Two UFC newcomers going against each other. Both guys have a lot of submission wins to their name, so this could be a good ground war. Let's see, what else do I know about these two? Both are human males, born on Earth. Both have double-letters in both their first and last names. That's it. RESEARCH~~~!

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