Saturday, December 31, 2011

UFC 141: How we fared

Last night's UFC PPV event was a lot of fun, though as we feared, many of the fights went to decisions.

As I noted yesterday, we disagreed on only one picks, so we each had only one chance to win. That chance vanished when one of the fighters, Matt Riddle, proved to be sick and unable to fight. Because we agreed on all the other fights, I'll just report on how we both did.

Let's begin as usual with the preliminary matches, all but one of which we ultimately got to see.

Manny Gamburyan vs. Diego Nunes

We expected Nunes to win via a combination of better striking skills and decent take-down defense, and that's basically how the fight played out. Gamburyan was a game competitor, and he won the second round, but in the end Nunes had enough to score the decision victory.

Dong Hyun Kim vs. Sean Pierson

This second fight also played out almost exactly as we expected it would, with Kim grinding out the decision victory. The one change from our script was that Kim didn't work much for take-downs and instead won via superior striking.

Luis Ramos vs. Matt Riddle

Our only disagreement, and Riddle has to spoil it by getting sick. Ah, well.

Efrain Escudero vs. Jacob Volkmann

The one fight we didn't get to see also went as we predicted. Volkmann was simply too much for Escudero, taking him down and smothering him for two rounds. From what I've read, Escudero came back in the third round, but it was too late.

At the end of the preliminaries, we were a perfect 3-0!

We caught the next two fights on Spike TV.

Danny Castillo vs. Anthony Njokuani

At the risk of sounding both repetitive and egotistical, this was another fight that we nailed perfectly. Castillo took down Njokuani over and over in route to a split-decision victory. I don't know which judge gave Njokuani two rounds, but he or she was watching a different fight than I was.

Ross Pearson vs. Junior Assuncao

Another fight that went to decision, and another correct call for us. Pearson was too much for Assuncao, though Assuncao fought well and had moments in which he looked quite dangerous.

We entered the main card a perfect 5-0 and feeling good about our picks.

The PPV event brought us the big five bouts.

Nam Phan vs. Jim Hettes

That feeling ended with this fight, where we were spectacularly wrong. We expected Phan to win, but instead Hettes utterly dominated him. It went to decision, but the judges called it 30-25, 30-25, and 30-26, making it the most lopsided UFC decision I can recall. Phan only avoided a finish through utter toughness. We were now 5-1.

Alexander Gustafsson vs. Vladimir Matyushenko

We expected Gustafsson to win, and he did, though more convincingly and quickly than either of us expected. With a knock-out in the middle of the first round, Gustafsson has definitely advanced in the light heavyweight ranks.

Jon Fitch vs. Johny Hendricks

Speaking of moving up, Johny Hendricks did just that as he dispatched Jon Fitch with a knockout just 12 seconds into their fight. Everyone knew Hendricks' right hand was powerful, but his left did the trick in this fight. For several seconds, Fitch literally didn't know what hit him. UFC president Dana White has to be happy to have a new contender at 170 pounds.

We were not happy, however, to have called this one wrong. It left us 6-2.

Nate Diaz vs. Donald Cerrone

Wow, were we also wrong on this one! "Cowboy" Donald Cerrone looked sharp for about the first two minutes of the fight. From then on, Nate Diaz utterly and completely dominated him. At times, it appeared as if every single Diaz punch was landing. Diaz's boxing was on a completely different level from Cerrone's. Given how great Nate Diaz looked in his last fight against Gomi and how amazing he was in this one, he may finally have solidified his game. He certainly has to be considered a contender at 155 now. We were down to 6-3.

Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem

We both said this fight would probably finish in the first couple of minutes, and at the 2:26 mark, it was indeed over. Unfortunately, we both picked Lesnar to win via take-down and subsequent dominance. Instead, Brock never shot once, Overeem beat him up with knees, and Brock turtled and waited for the ref to stop the fight. Brock looked like a man who had come to collect a paycheck, which he certainly did. After the fight, he announced his retirement from the UFC.

We ended the night a disappointing 6-4, over .500 but just barely.

As always, don't rely on us for betting advice!

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