Saturday, June 12, 2010

UFC 115: Kyle and I pick 'em again

This is the little card that can't, the UFC event that lacks any fight of serious importance for the sport of MMA. That said, there are actually some quite good match-ups on it, so I plan to get the PPV and watch it after The A-Team and/or the next day.

We'll begin, as usual, with the undercard. Kyle filed his picks first, so he gets to appear first below.

Mike Pyle vs. Jesse Lennox

Kyle: I pick Mike Pyle. He was the best actor in Universal Soldier: Regeneration, and I figure that anybody who can out-act both Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren should be able to take Jesse Lennox.

Mark: I think Joe Silva, the UFC matchmaker, likes to punish former IFL fighters whenever they aren't TUF winners, so he's feeding Lennox to Pyle. Pyle should enjoy the treat en route to a victory.

Ricardo Funch vs. Claude Patrick

Kyle: Funch probably doesn't have the takedown defense to keep the fight standing, and Patrick definitely has the submission skills to finish the fight on the ground. Expect Claude Patrick to win his Octagon debut.

Mark: After Funch loses this fight, expect to hear a lot more about Patrick. Patrick FTW.

James Wilks vs. Peter Sobotta

Kyle: This is another striker-versus-grappler match. Wilks will want to take the fight to the ground and score a submission. Sobotta wants to keep the fight on the feet. Again, I'm betting that the grappler can turn it into a jiu jitsu match. Wilks by submission.

Mark: The UFC must not have been able to call up enough Canadian fighters to keep the Vancouver crowd happy, so maybe they figure that Wilks, a Brit now living in the U.S., will count as Canadian enough. What he should deliver is a victory thanks to his superior wrestling skills.

David Loiseau vs. Mario Miranda

Kyle: Once upon a time, David Loiseau was a UFC title contender, but he's gone 5-5 in his last ten fights. His last UFC fight was a decision loss to Ed Herman a year ago, and it's safe to say that he wouldn't be fighting at UFC 115 if the event weren't in Canada. Mario Miranda is a talented up-and-comer who's won half his fights by TKO. The smart money says that Mario Miranda has better technical striking and should out-point Loiseau on the feet. I don't think he's been where Loiseau has been, though, and he hasn't faced competition as stiff. I'm picking the underdog. Loiseau for the win.

Mark: My heart says Loiseau, because I'd love to see him make one more run, but he's on the way down, and Miranda's heading the other direction. Miranda is unlikely to finish Loiseau, but he will win.

Mac Danzig vs. Matt Wiman

Kyle: I expect this to go like most Mac Danzig fights: Danzig will always be in the fight. He won't break. He won't quit. He won't get knocked out. But for all his technical skill, he'll be a little too slow with his strikes. When defending takedowns, he won't sprawl hard enough to stay off his back. And his jiu jitsu will be enough for him to keep from taking serious damage, but not enough to score a submission or escape to his feet. I can only assume Danzig's problems stem from his refusal to eat meat. Expect Wiman to look like a predator, and Danzig to look like prey.

Mark: Poor Mac Danzig. He's good enough to stay in every fight but not good enough to win against any serious fighter in his class. Wiman will take him down at will win on points.

Tyson Griffin vs. Evan Dunham

Kyle: In Japan, even Dunham might have a chance, but when a fight hits the ground American judges tend to award points to the guy who's on top. That'll be Tyson Griffin, who should have little trouble putting Even Dunham on his back, but is likely to find the fight a stalemate from that point forward. Dunham's jiu jitsu is good enough to keep Griffin from being able to inflict much damage, but Griffin's submission defense is good enough to keep Dunham from tapping him out. Griffin by decision.

Mark: Fights between teammates always have the potential to be odd simply because of the huge amount of firsthand knowledge the fighters have of each other. Most places I've consulted seem to believe Dunham will grind out the victory over Griffin, but I think Griffin's wrestling will carry the day. I concur with Kyle: Griffin by decision.

And now, we move to the main card.

Carlos Condit vs. Rory MacDonald

Kyle: Condit looked formidable in the kiddie-pool welterweight division of the WEC, but he's found life more challenging in the deep water of the UFC. Condit's struggled with powerful wrestler/strikers in his last couple of fights. Condit's lack of takedown defense will serve him poorly against a grappling machine like Rory MacDonald. MacDonald by superior wrestling.

Mark: Carlos Condit is another of those fighters who illustrate just how much tougher the competition is in the UFC than it was at the WEC for fighters in the weight classes that both organizations had. Further, Condit just doesn't fare well against strong wrestlers, which MacDonald is. I doubt MacDonald will finish Condit, but MacDonald will win.

Ben Rothwell vs. Gilbert Yvel

Kyle: If they fought in K-1, Yvel would probably take it, but his skills are better suited to kickboxing than to MMA. Rothwell will push Yvel up into the cage and batter him in the clinch. Unless he can escape to kicking range, it'll be a short fight for Yvel. Rothwell by mauling.

Mark: By Wednesday, Yvel won't have a UFC contract after he loses to Rothwell, who will probably win via TKO.

Paulo Thiago vs. Martin Kampmann

Kyle: I like this fight. In a card that is otherwise extraordinarily weak, Paulo Thiago is the only generally-acknowleged top-5 fighter. From the quality of the competitors, this fight ought to be at the top of the card instead of two aging ex-champs coming off losses. Kampmann's a formidable opponent who's got no quit in him, but I expect Thiago to just be too much for him to handle. Paulo Thiago for the win.

Mark: In what should be one of the best fights of the night, Kampmann will put up a great fight but ultimately lose to Thiago.

Mirko Filipovic vs. Pat Barry

Kyle: It's been a long, long time since Mirko "CroCop" Filipovic showed the unstoppable fire that won him the 2006 Pride Grand Prix. Pat Barry was still two years away from his first professional fight at the time. Since then Barry's racked up five KO or TKO wins while CroCop has lost three fights to superior strikers. (Barry also lost one fight by submission, while CroCop won four against noticeably weaker opponents.) Barry's never been knocked out, and Filipovic is no longer the man to make that happen. Pat Barry by KO.

Mark: I used to love watching Cro Cop fight, but the sport moved on, the others in his weight class kept improving, and he stayed where he was. Pat Barry won't win any titles, but he will win this fight.

Chuck Liddell vs. Rich Franklin

Kyle: Rich Franklin might be a legitimate contender at 205 pounds, but at this rate we'll never know because the UFC keeps giving him catchweight fights against guys headed down to 185 and, now, a retirement-party bout against a punch-drunk Chuck Liddell. Liddell lost his last two fights by knockout. Admittedly he still has heavy hands, and Franklin has a questionable chin. But Franklin's a smart fighter who's plenty willing to duck into the pocket, score a point, and duck out again. His game plan here is going to be to avoid the heavy right and tag Liddell just enough to make it clear that he's winning. Liddell's plodding style should make that easy for him. Franklin by decision.

Mark: As long as Franklin executes the obvious game plan--start outside, take quick shots, back away, and win on points--he should win what has the potential to be 15 very sad minutes for the once-mighty Liddell.

Check back tomorrow to see how we fared. As always, don't rely on our predictions for your sports betting!


J. Griffin Barber said...

Some of the best fights I have seen. The first televised one was a ref-robbery.

Mark said...

I have to agree that the show was way better than I was expecting it to be. And, yes, Mac Danzig was raped by the referee.

J. Griffin Barber said...

Danzig was as well, but I meant Cory Macdonald... 9 seconds left! He was being lumped, but still mounting a defense, and he'd won the first two rounds handily. A very bad call, especially when you look at it relative to the Rothwell fight, where they let it go on and on.

Mark said...

Far enough, but MacDonald said after the fight that he didn't know where he was and thought it was a just stoppage, so I think it was less of a robbery.


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