For the fourth time in 16 days, the UFC is offering MMA action. Each event has been a rise, with the cards going from fight pass, to FS1, to last weekend’s FOX card and now a pay-per-view. As far as PPVs go, UFC 172 is far from great. That’s usually the case when John Jones is headlining. The UFC tends to out up “Fight Night” level bouts on the main card, hoping the Jones name is enough to garner a decent buy-rate, with little else to offer for buyers.
It is nowhere near the “most stacked card ever”, which is what UFC president Dana White stupefyingly said about the card. That said, the card is still a pretty solid one. The UFC’s light heavyweight kingpin takes the stage, and there are some other promising bouts on the card as well. Most of them are on the prelims, but the card has some solid promise behind it.
As always, odds will be from fightbetnetwork.com, and will represent the highest win percentage any betting site/company has given each fighter to win. In other words, the odds will rarely equal 100%.
As far as predictions go, I went 11-1 for last week’s FOX 11 card, upping my overall record for the year to 74-29-1, with a no contest. Chas Skelly cost me a perfect record, but to be fair, the Ortiz/Borg fight should have probably gone to Borg. In the end, I’m just glad to see Fabricio Werdum win. If he sits for the rest of the year to wait for Cain, I have no problem with that.
Alas, without further ado, let’s get this going.
Fight Pass Prelim (UFC Fight Pass, 730/6:30c)
Chris Beal (8-0) (-123, 56%) vs. Patrick Williams (7-3, +123, 45%)
In the lone FIght Pass prelim bout, TUF 18 contestant Chris Beal fights relative MMA unknown Patrick Williams. That’s unfortunate for Beal, because since his name is the only one that rings any bell for most UFC fans, the odds are in his favor.
In reality, I believe that is not the case. That’s because while is a decent boxer, Williams is an excellent boxer with knockout power. He wrestled with the same Arizona State college team that housed current UFC fighters CB Dolloway, Ryan Bader, and UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. In other words, he has the edge in both striking power and the mat. How can I not pick the “underdog” here? Prediction: WIlliams via unanimous decision.
Televised Prelims (8/7c, FS1)
Charle Brennaman (19-6) (+296, 25%) vs Danny Castillo (16-6) (-303, 75%)
The opening fight of the televised prelims is simply a head-scratcher upon first glance. Upon further review, however, it makes more sense. Charlie Brennaman is a guy who is only exciting when he gets finished, and Castillo is fairly entertaining almost all the time. Sounds confusing, right? Well, it is.
Both guys have decent Brazilian jiu jitsu, but Brennaman can’t seem to do anything in the UFC nowadays. If he loses tonight, he’ll be 0-2 in his second UFC stint, which might mean he gets cut and never brought back. WIth this fight, that might just be what the UFC wants. My guess is that the UFC’s wish will be granted tonight, but not with a finish. Castillo has finishing power, but the Alpha Male member will underachieve. Prediction: Castillo via unanimous decision.
Jessamyn Duke (3-0, 1NC) (-109, 52%) vs. Bethe Correia (7-0) (+109, 48%)
Up next is a women’s mma bout between two solid, attractive (sorry, I couldn’t help it), and rising prospects. Technically, they are ranked, with Duke at #14 and Correia at #12. That said, I believe the extended ranking system is a farce, just so the UFC can claim they are showcasing “ranked” fighters, when really those fighters are far from title contention.
Anyways, both are good standup fighters, even though Duke has a purple belt from Eddie Bravo’s version of jiu jitsu. That said, her striking is far from crisp, while Correia has better boxing and more experience. I know she’s a slight underdog, but that’s only because Duke not only partook in TUF 28, but fought for Invicta as well. I picked her to beat a favorite of mine in Julie Kedzie, and I’ll pick her to beat one of Ronda Rousey’s proteges as well. Prediction: Correia via unanimous decision.
Takanori Gomi (34-9, 1NC) (-155, 61%) vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg (+150, 40%)
I’m sorry, dod we not see a fight just like this one only a week ago? It’s the classic “aging legend vs ‘meh’ journeyman” fight that Cro-Cop vs. Barry, Wanderlei Silva vs. Cung Le, and Fedor vs. Werdum were supposed to be. Last weekend, although he’s not a legend, Thiago Alves made a return against a decent journeyman in Seth Baczynski. Out of the four matchups I mentioned, the only one where the legend lost was the Fedor fight.
Fights like these have appeal, of course, because people want to see whether the legend still has the ability to compete at a decent level anymore. Basically, it’s like every Cro-Cop fight since he entered the UFC years back, before retiring to a degree. Vallie Flagg is a good fighter who was 10-0-1 before losing to Elias Silverio back in January, but he is a sacrificial lamb here.
Truth be told, I loved watching Gomi in PRIDE, which I admit was my favorite MMA organization ever. When one was to watch him fight, the viewer knew they were in for a treat. Make no mistake, he is still fun to watch. In fact, most people, including myself, believed he beat Diego Sanchez last March. That said, the reason why he’s getting this fight is either as a retirement fight, or to get his name buzzing again. A loss would be devastating, but I simply cannot fathom the thought of him falling in this one. Prediction: “Fireball Kid” by fireball, of course! Oh, before the walkout (because I can).
#2 Joseph Benavidez (19-4) (-400, 80%) vs #7 Tim Elliott (10-4-1) (+376, 21%)
In the headlining prelim fight on FS1, one of the top flyweights in the world battles another solid fighter in TIm Elliott. Here’s the deal with this fight: If Benavidez is fighting Mighty Mouse or Dominic Cruz he loses. If he fights anyone else, expect a finish. Prediction: Benavidez via knockout, round 2.
Main Card (Pay-Per-View, 10/9c)
Andre Fili (13-1) (-150, 60% chance) vs. Max Holloway (8-3) (+140, 42%)
Opening up the main card is a fight very few people know much about, but may well be fireworks. Both are young (combined age is 45), exciting prospects who aren’t near title contention, but a few wins could get them on the list of featherweight elites. Andre “Touchy” Fili has more than just an awesome nickname. This guy is also an exciting finisher, winning ten fights before the final bell.
Now, I have picked against Holloway before, and the only time I was wrong was when I picked Chope in January. I have a bad feeling that Fili will underwhelm here, but I’m too hesitant to go against my heart here. Prediction: Fili via unanimous decision.
#9 Jim Miller (23-4, 1NC) vs Yancy Madeiros (9-1, 1NC)
Can we please stop having Jim Miller fight cans? No, Madeiros and Camoes aren’t cans, but compared to Miller, they are. The man always flails when he’s fighting a contender or top 10 guy, but never against anyone lower. If original opponent Bobby Green isn’t good enough to beat the Bjj black belt in my opinion, Madeiros can’t last a round. No chance whatsoever. Prediction: Miller via sub, round 1.
#5 Luke Rockhold (11-2) (-1000, 91%) vs. (#13, (smh) Tim Boetch (17-6) (+800, 11%)
I won’t wast time on this fight. Rockhold is light years ahead of Boetch, who should’ve been cut after losing a fight he was gifted against CB Dolloway, Ranked #13, but should be in regional competition. Prediction: Rockhold via knockout, round 1.
#4 Phil Davis (12-1, 1NC) (-227, 69%) vs. Anthony Johnson (16-4) (+220, 31%)
I’m not a fan of Phil Davis. He’s bizarre and corny outside of the cage, but boring inside of it. I hardly ever say that about anybody, since I genuinely appreciate every aspect of MMA. Phil Davis, however, lulls me to sleep like as if it’s his mission in life. He lost to Machida in the eyes of anyone with sense, but judges are judges. What can you do?
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. He’s fun to watch by all means, and perhaps the only person who people sympathize with at weigh-ins. It’s not because he intentionally missed weight, but because he didn’t realize his proper weight class until recently. Weird, I know, but when you are entertaining and don’t rub people the wrong way, you can get away with more.
That said, as much as it pains me to do so, I have to side with common sense. I don’t believe Johnson is anywhere near Davis’ league, and his only shot is a lucky punch. I don’t see it landing, and Davis will likely smother Rumble before submitting him late. If you haven’t already, this fight might be the one in which to take a bathroom break. Prediction: Davis via submission, round 3.
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
Jon Jones (19-1?) (-454, 82%) vs. Glover Teixeira (22-2) (+423, 19%)
In the main event of the evening, we have arguably the most physically gifted fighter in MMA history against a guy who, admittedly, I’ve been following for his entire career. Actually, I’ve followed both of these guys from the start. The journey for Glover started way earlier, though.
I remember WEC 3, back in June of 2002, when Teixeira lost his pro MMA debut to Eric Schwartz. A few fights later, he lost to Ed Herman. Since then, he hasn’t lost. Even more incredible, aside from a late 2010 fight against Daniel Tabera, the only other decision he’s fought in since the Herman loss in 2005 was against “Rampage” Jackson. Fifteen of those wins came in the first round. Basically, the 2nd degree Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt is a finisher.
Against Jon Jones, however, I don’t see him doing much. I’ve been rooting for Teixeira ever since I saw his Herman fight, and am very happy to see his metoeric rise. That said, I don’t see him winning this one. Jones has never actually lost, is great all around, and because of the Gustaffson slugfest, has a chip on his shoulder. I believe Tex will last a few rounds before succumbing to Jones’ power via tko, the first since that 2002 debut. Prediction: Jones via tko, round 3.