This weekend the first title-fight on Fuel TV will arrive with many matches that could rearrange the rankings for good.
As long as I've been betting on fights and analyzing events. I have learned several lessons and strategies to pick successfully and keep a decent score, overall. The last event (UFC 156) was one of those events that comes around maybe once -- or twice -- a year. Lets face it; the worst has yet to come. Someday, the "pound-for-pound" discussions and stupid useless rankings will not matter and you will realize all your debating and huffing and puffing was for all for nothing.
Last Event's Lesson: Sometimes you just have to pick fighters that you don't want to choose. It can't always go your way. If you're New York Ric with little money to bet. You absolutely do not put your funds on Rampage Jackson near the end of his career -- or BJ Penn -- Rashad Evans was wise! ... But. Well. Shit.
I have learned to try to stay away from the beginning of the card, and leave the money bets for the main card (so my money kind of lasts a little longer). But, for this particular event I am out for revenge! Last time UFC came to England I chose Miocic, and someone else that was just a totally shit-pick. Since then, I've been on a dry run and I'm looking for a comeback!!!!
Diving into the bottom of the card, first:
Phil Harris vs. Ulysses Gomez: As bad as I want to pick the useless one. Now is not the time for that. Phil Billy has a ton of experience and if you can fight that much --
no matter who you're facing -- and not be seeing stars every time you're cracked, that's a good sign. I don't really know much about this. So I'm not even going to try. Just picking Billy because he fought Uyenoyama, and he has a smart ass smirk on his face -- much like Nik Lentz.
My Pick: Phil Harris by Unanimous Decision (UD).
Vaughan Lee vs. Motonobu Tezuka: I took some time to go back and watch Lee fight Yamamoto and Dillashaw. I loved the fight with Kid and I thought that was an awesome event in Japan (apart from Ryan Bader trying to pull Rampage's shorts down, standing there saying he "beat" him drove me nuts).
I'm assuming Tezuka will not stay around for much longer. Maybe for an event in Japan. But, this will be his toughest fight he's been in. In my opinion.
My Bet: Vaughn Lee by Round Two Submission.
Tom Watson vs. Stanislav Nedkov -- This fight, to me is a example of a fighter that can do better with a drop to the weight-class below. For Nedkov, you might overlook the fact that he's fought some big dudes like Luiz Cane (now cut from the org.) and fearsome 205-pounder Thiago Silva. But, he kinda gassed out in the later rounds in that fight; it might have been because he was holding his heavier opponent against the fence for the entire first half of the match?
His opponent, Watson. Is relatively unknown as well -- has one split decision loss in his debut fight, and has been finished a few times by weaker opponents. In my opinion.
Maybe Nedkov's last fight, where he was beaten -- plus -- finished for the first time in his career. However Silva tested positive for a banned substance and the decision was overturned to a no-contest (NC). So maybe "The Bulgarian Nightmare" experienced the best first defeat he could have; getting to still hold his "unbeaten" streak?
Many might see this as a locked decision from the moment the bout was announced. But, those are usually the ones that result in devasting, bone-breaking finishes.
My Bet: Stanislav Nedkov by Knockout in Round Two
Andy Ogle vs. Josh Grispi: It's looking like the end of the road for Grispi, who was once lined up to face the champion Jose Aldo, before the champion suffered an injury that left Grispi back in the title hunt. Ogle has never went down without a fight, and that could be the difference here.
Ogle was defeated on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Live, by eventual finalist Al Iaquinta. Grispi has to stay out of danger on the feet and not chase Ogle down. If he can lure him in somehow and grab ahold of a limb or a choke.
I can't really decide who I like more in this one. So, I'm not putting anything on either. But, I expect an absolute back-and-forth battle for a spot at 145-pounds!
My Pick: Josh Grispi by Submission in Round One (no matter who wins this one will end within the distance).
Paul Sass vs. Danny Castillo: I love Danny Castillo. If there is one dude who acts gay at the weigh ins and wears weird fuckin' suited undies and a bow-tie -- that I can respect -- it's Castillo. I had him in the Johnson fight and he was beaten. But, I always hope for the best for the fighters I lost money betting on; death to the dicks that win! He's one of the alpha male wrestlers with some power standing up and strength on the mat.
One thing is for sure: Paul Sass is rebounding after his first loss to Matt Wiman at the last event in England. Castillo has been defeated by two people Sass' submitted, easily. Jacob Volkman and Michael Johnson. So "MMA Mathematics" tells me Castillo grinds out a decision. As Rashad was beaten by Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156; who lost to Phil Davis; who Rashad Beat -- by decision.
Now, Sass has defeated those who defeated Castillo -- in the very first round. So it is safe to exclude any possible upset here. In my opinion.
My Bet: Paul Sass by Submission in Round One.
Terry Etim vs. Renee Forte: This, is by far the biggest mismatch on the entire fight-card. In my opinion.
Etim, like Sass (no, not likes ass) will be looking to rebound after being on the receiving end of the most brutal knockout (KO) of 2012.
Forte has won me some money before. At UFC 153, when he got polished, dusted and submitted in my favorite way; when the choke begins standing; ending on the floor (Hughes vs. Trigg, the first time).
My Bet: Terry Etim by Round One Technical Knockout (TKO).
Che Mills vs. Matt Riddle: Riddle will always be remembered for his pot smoking and never intimidated by anyone -- or anything -- always brings a great back-and-forth battle. He's made it three-straight and is looking to continue his winning ways.
Mills, has always been flying under the radar and should up the ante when facing Riddle. He should show no respect for his standup and just throw a variety of power strikes from all angles.
Riddle is one of those wrestlers who abandons his wrestling when he gets popped in the face with a clean shot. So, when Che begins to crack him with two-by-fours; I don't expect to see anything different.
My Bet: Che Mills by TKO in Round Two.
I haven't seen Jimmo much, so I would be a fool to pick against him and lose. If you've seen his fights and have found something that someone -- particularly, Te Huna -- then go ahead and feel free.
I'm going with Jimmo for that extended winning-streak. That's just simply so hard to bet against. Unless you know something I don't.
My Bet: Jimmo by Unanimous Decision (UD).
Gunnar Nelson vs. Jorge Santiago: I love this fight! This one, I think, has a huge chance to turn out a surprise. I didn't want to put anything on this, but couldn't resist. I have a feeling that Gunnar Nelson might get caught with something. He seems a little lackadaisical and calm. Maybe, Santiago comes in storming and takes it to him. Who knows?
Again, I can't bet against that winning-streak. I don't think Jorge will look any better in the UFC than he has in his previous showings. And, I was really kicking myself in the ass for not picking him against Demarques.
My Bet: Gunnar Nelson by Round One Technical Knockout (TKO).
Jimi Manuwa vs. Cyrille Diabate: I used to be high on Diabate. Before his Luiz Cane fight I was telling people he will be great in the UFC and all that. He knocked out Luiz Cane. But, those who have done that have went on a downward spiral. Rogerio Nogueira was supposedly the next big thing at 205-pounds -- after that -- then performed poorly against Brilz and Bader. Same goes for Nedkov. He was out for like a year then looked like dog shit against Thiago Silva. It's the Luiz Cane curse. But, I feel it holds no weight in the Nedkov fight. For the other reasons I posted.
Back to this one. I picked against Diabate last time, I chose Chad Fucking Griggs and paid the price.
So this time. I'm making that back!
My bet: Jimi Manuwa by Round One Knockout (KO).
Difference in this one (and i think Ariel and NY Ric were discussing this on the last episode of "The MMA Hour"): Dustin Poirier's ability to mix things up and grab ahold of submissions. Even if he can't sub Swanson. He will surely try. If not, then we can expect a right-handed fighter slugging it out with a southpaw. Which are my favorite type of standup fights.
My Pick: Dustin Poirier by Unanimous Decision (UD).
Renan Barao vs. Michael McDonald: Now, here's what it all boils down to. Even if I can select correctly and go perfect throughout the events. I'm never satisfied unless I choose the main event on the money!
For the main event this Saturday ( Feb. 16, 2013) -- two power-striking sensations will meet inside the Octagon.
I think this will be a coming out party for Barao. He doesn't get much buzz. And, McDonald is the perfect matchup for him.
When Frankie and Aldo fought. They were both sorta point fighting. Not Really going for it. The biggest moments in the fight were when Frankie was taking control (while the crackhead Joe Rogan was going on about Aldo's feet and legs like a fucking weirdo who's high as a fucking kite)! ... But, that's beside the point.
The point is, Barao hurt Brad Pickett the brit. Badly. Because Pickett has that style. He kind of doesn't move a whole lot and tries to catch you with one-shot, much like Chuck Liddell was toward the tail end of his career.
Also, the critical component here, and with the co-main (Swanson versus Poirier): Barao's ability to transition from strikes to submissions extremely fast and precisely.
I think McDonald is too young and this is just the fight a NY Ric should stay far far away from.
But, not me.
My Bet: Barao by Round Two Submission.
There you have it. It's all set to happen this weekend -- on Saturday (Feb. 16, 2013) for the Interim Bantamweight Championship. When Renan Barao's diverse attack meets the one-hit-wonder in Michael "Mayday" McDonald.
Will we have a new champ, or can Renan continue and someday unify the belts when Cruz gets healthy enough to scrap again?