UFC 125: Resolution – Preview
Merry Chrismakwanzika to all! Did everyone enjoy my rhyme-laden, holiday cheer-filled predictions for UFC 124? No? Ok, maybe it was because I went 5-5 with one unpredicted draw. Oh well. I never pretend to be perfect. Hopefully my picks for the first card of 2011, UFC 125: Resolution, will be more accurate. Although that’s the beauty of MMA, isn’t it? The unknown? One minute you’re Joe Stevenson, riding high and hoping to climb back into the LW title picture and the next minute Mac Danzig throws a left hook from hell at you and you’re out like Christmas lights on January 2nd. That being said, let’s take a look at my first round o’ predictions for the new year.
UFC 125 Non-PPV Undercard + ION TV (Yes, really) Prelim Picks
Antonio McKee over Jacob Volkmann
Greg Soto over Daniel Roberts
Diego Nunes over Mike Brown
Brad Tavares over Phil Baroni
Josh Grispi over Dustin Poirier
Jeremy Stephens over Marcus Davis
Clay Guida vs. Takanori Gomi
Not a bad start to the UFC’s first PPV fight of 2011! On one hand, we all saw “The Fireball Kid” rebound from his UFC debut loss to Kenny Florian by being the first man to finish Tyson Griffin in August with a nasty first round KO that even my non-MMA acquainted roommates on their feet. Gomi gets no favors by drawing Guida next: he’s never been finished and has a cast iron chin. After back-to-back losses to Diego Sanchez (a split decision loss on TUF: US vs UK Finale Fight of the Night + Fight of the Year) and Ken-Flo (UFC 107, RNC, R2), The Carpenter has rattled off two submission wins against Shannon Gugerty and Rafael dos Anjos. Guida has been training hard over at Greg Jackson’s in Albuquerque so he should have a great game plan, but his short reach makes standing up with Gomi a bad idea. I don’t see him getting knocked out, but I think Gomi stays off his back long enough to outpoint him.
Jay Pick: Gomi by decision
Nate Diaz vs. Dong Hyun Kim
I promise not to make any “don’t be scared, homey” or post-fight, in-cage brawl jokes in this prediction. I swear. Wait, didn’t I say that during another post when the Diaz brothers were involved? Damnit. Fortunately, recycling bad, stale MMA jokes is a habit I look to break in 2011. As great of a judoka as DHK is (and still technically undefeated since Karo Parisyan’s UD win was overturned due to his positive test for painkillers), I have a soft spot for those crazy boys from Stockton. Diaz has only lost to some of the best the UFC has to offer (#1 contender Maynard, Kenny Florian, Joe Stevenson) and has an ever-improving boxing game. While that judo/ground game of DHK’s will help nullify Diaz’s jiu jitsu, I think Diaz can outlast the South Korean Stun Gun and hand him his first loss.
Jay Pick: Diaz by decision
Brandon Vera vs. Thiago Silva
Not to spoil this pick but I don’t think this one will go to a decision. Both men are known for strong stand up will be trying to make a big statement KO. Vera’s bravado has not really lived up to his initial hype (yes, I know this is a common critique, but I had to mention it). This fight is his first back after having his right eye socket rearranged by Jon Jones’ elbows last March on UFC Live: Jones vs. Vera. Before that, he lost a very close (and contestable) decision to Randy Couture. He’ll need to dust off that once dangerous muay thai game against Silva, who’s 5-2 in the UFC with his only losses coming to Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida and, if you saw the fight, you know he almost made a great comeback in the final minutes of his fight with Rashad before burning out from exhaustion. Given the camp he trains out of (ATT) and his striking against superior competition, Silva may send Vera packing with a 2nd round TKO.
Jay Pick: Silva by TKO, R2
Chris Leben vs. Brian Stann
Just when you think Leben is in the middle of a Renaissance…just when you think things are going well for that multi-color haired headcase from TUF 1…just when you think…ok, this is a bit too dramatic a build up. Basically, Leben had a wild 2010, rattling off three straight wins against Jay Silva in January, Aaron Simpson (we all know my love for A-Train) in June, and an unexpected triangle submission win over Yoshihiro Akiyama just one month later at UFC 116 in July. Then Leben got a arrested in Hawaii for driving under the influence and, at one point, may have jeopardized this very fight. On the other hand, former Marine Brian Stann is 3-2 in the UFC with wins over Steve Cantwell, Rodney Wallace and Mike Massenzio. His only two losses were to Krzysztof Soszynski and rising prospect Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis, which, might I add, went the distance. Leben was like Super Mario after he gets a gold star in 2010. With his amazing chin, ability to absorb punishment and that Billy club of a left hand, coupled with Stann’s lack of fear in trading on the feet, I don’t think the DUI will affect The Crippler after all.
Jay Pick: Leben by TKO, R3
Is this title fight getting any of the hype of a main event like GSP vs. Koscheck? No. Would Jose Aldo vs. Josh Grispi for the UFC Featherweight belt have helped prop it up a bit? Yes. I am I still a little intrigued to see if Edgar can pull off a third win where he’s an underdog, despite being the champion? Yes again. Edgar solved the BJ Penn riddle, dethroning arguably the greatest LW of all time and then beating him again to defend the belt in Boston (Go BU) this past August. He’s 13-1 with the lone loss coming at the hands of…Gray Maynard. Yes, folks, we have a rematch from their April 2008 fight which saw Maynard win by UD.
In fact, Maynard, a Michigan State wrestling standout representing Xtreme Couture, is undefeated with one no contest, having won the past 7 fights via decision. Both men’s striking has improved, with Maynard garnering more power in his shots and Edgar having a cat-like ability to stick n’ move with extraordinary, fast footwork. Unfortunately, one criticism has always been Edgar’s size, which will be a disadvantage against the noticeably bigger Maynard. While Edgar was the first LW in a long time to takedown the previously immovable BJ Penn, I don’t think he’ll be able to do the same against a wrestler like The Bully. I think after 5 rounds, the UFC LW division starts 2011 with a new champ.
Jay Pick: Gray Maynard via decision and new UFC Lightweight Champion
Who’s your fighter? UFC 121 Walkout T-Shirts – Click Here!
Order the UFC Undisputed 2010 video game for all consoles on Amazon.com.
Pre-order the EA Sports: MMA Video Game featuring Jake Shields, Randy Couture and Fedor Emelianenko by clicking here.
UFC Store: Free Shipping on orders over $50 – No Code Needed