UFC 133- Rashad vs. Ortiz II Predictions
UFC 133 is almost here, only a number of hours away. I’m gonna see how my luck holds out, I’ve 4 for 4 and 4 for 5 on the last two predictions. I even won a contest over at www.mmabadass.com! You should check their site out, the badass is good people, look for some big things from him and us in the very near future. Will my luck hold out? Or will I crash and burn on this set of predictions? Saturday will tell, as always, enjoy.
Light Heavyweight bout: Rashad Evans vs. Tito Ortiz
The build up to this fight was nothing short of miraculous.Marred by injuries, LHW’s who wouldn’t take the fight, and one who initially said ‘No’ then decided to be a team player. Who would ever think that I would mention the phrase ‘team player’ and Tito Ortiz in the same sentence? Not me, ever. Apparently not Dana White either. Rashad is coming off of a long long layoff. Initially Rashad chose to sit out and wait for the injured Shogun Rua to come back. That backfired, as when Shogun was ready, Rashad was injured. Jon ‘Bones’ Jones stepped up, defeated Shogun in spectacular fashion, setting up a grudge match with Rashad. Sadly, it didn’t happen. Jon jones pulled out due to injury. In stepped Phil Davis vs. Rashad, out stepped Davis with a knee injury. Finally after countless opponents having come and gone, injuries plaguing everyone. Rashad Evans is ready to fight, almost 14 months after his last bout. Tito on the other hand is the exact opposite. After dispatching highly ranked Ryan Bader just over a month ago, Tito is stepping back into the Octagon in pursuit of a title shot. Once again, Tito and ‘title shot’ are 2 things I never thought I would put in the same sentence again. I like Tito’s odds in this bout, he’s coming off of a career high, the momentum is very strong. Physically and mentally he is in the best possible position. Rashad is coming off the layoff, has the pressure of a Jon Jones bout hangin over him, and is most likely overlooking Ortiz. Rashad is quicker, with better punching accuracy, yet Tito’s hands are getting better, he has a granite, chin great takedowns and takedown defense. His submission game has recently stepped up as well. With all of those things factored in, I give the win to Tito by decision (a sub or KO would guarantee him a title shot).
Middleweight bout: Vitor Belfort vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
Vitor Belfort is coming off of a spectacular KO loss at the foot of Anderson Silva. Yoshirio Akiyama is coming off of back to back losses to Chris Leben and Michael Bisping. This fight is do or die for Akiyama most likely. Belfort is known for his amazing hand speed and accuracy, Akiyama is known for his aggressive style (earning him 3 Fight of the Night bonuses from the UFC at 75k apiece, not too shabby) meaning this fight should be exciting. I’m going with Akiyama by decision because I don’t feel Vitor is at the top of the division anymore. I didn’t think he was when he got the title shot. Before Anderson Silva, Belfort’s highest caliber opponent was Rich Franklin in 2009. Belfort has had 1 fight since 2009, the KO loss to Anderson Silva. How does that make him a top contender? Akiyama is considered a top 10 MW, in some circles a top 5. In my top 10 list, he doesn’t make the cut. I put him in the top 20, closer to 20 than 10, with that being said, I rank him higher than Belfort. Belfort has 1 punch KO power, and a tendency to freeze in the ring. Akiyama is aggressive, ‘honey badger’ aggressive, has solid stand up and high level wrestling/judo, which I feel gives him the edge. Once again, Akiyama by decision.
Welterweight bout: Dennis Hallman vs. Brian Ebersole
Brian Ebersole is a Beast riding an 8 fight win streak. He also has some interesting chest hair. Dennis Hallman is riding a 2 fight win streak. The last win by KO over Karo Parisyan at UFC 123. Ebersole’s last win was a decision win over Chris Lytle at UFC 127. Both fighters have been out of action for only a handful of months. Hallman has been fighting for approximately 15 years as a professional. Only last year did he realize he has Celiac’s disease. An auto immune disease affecting the intestines. he simple explanation is he cannot process gluten (wheat) as it makes him sick, depletes his energy and slowly kills him.I know people with Celiac’s disease, it’s pretty tough to eat properly when you have it. It’s damn near impossible to attempt any sports when you are ‘glutened’ which Hallman would have been every time he stepped into the Octagon. Now that he has been properly diagnosed, his diet and training have changed to reflect this. If you’ve seen the weigh ins, you know he looks phenomenal. On the strength of his performances while not properly treating Celiac’s disease I give it to Hallman by decision.
Middleweight bout: Jorge Rivera vs. Costantinos Philippou
I know next to noting about Philippou, his first fight in the UFC was a loss. Rivera is coming off a controversial loss to Michael Bisping. Rivera is known for his aggressive style and heavy hands. I think those hands will prove to be the deciding factor. Jorge Rivera by KO/TKO.
Welterweight bout: Rory MacDonald vs. Mike Pyle
Rory Macdonald has been touted as the next GSP, Rory has an impressive win over Nate Diaz (younger brother of Nick Diaz) punctuated by several highlight reel slams of Nate. Mike Pyle is a UFC vet with a 21-7-1 record, he has the age and experience over Rory. Pyle is strong, I think the younger MacDonald is stronger. I give the win to MacDonald by decision.
Preliminary card (Spike TV)
Light Heavyweight bout: Matt Hamill vs. Alexander Gustafsson
Matt Hamil is an inspiration. A talented wrestler, a standout on The Ultimate Fighter, So far, the only UFC fighter with his own autobiography turned into a feature film. (Rich Franklin signed a deal, movie is not made yet. Hamil’s movie is already on the market). Hamil has a notable win over Tito Ortiz. Gustafsson has a 11-1 record, he’s 4-1 in the UFC. His only loss was to Phil Davis, a spectacular wrestler, as is Hamil. Hamil’s wrestling will be the key I believe. I give this win to Hamil by decision.
Featherweight bout: Chad Mendes vs. Rani Yahya Chad Mendes is the best 145lber not named Jose Aldo. At 10-0 sporting wins over Eric Koch, Cub Swanson, Javier Vazquez and Michihiro Omigawa, Mendes is a force to be reckoned with. You may wonder why, if he’s such a bad as, why isn’t he fighting Aldo? Aldo pulled out of their Title fight due to injury, Mendes didn’t want to wait, so he chose to fight, enter Rani Yahya. Yahya is coming off a high point in his career with a win over formerly top ranked Mike Brown. Yahya is a veteran with a good skill set, I just don’t think it’s enough to derail the talented and hungry Mendes. I give the win to Chad Mendes by decision.
Preliminary card (Facebook)
Featherweight bout: Mike Brown vs. Nam Phan Mike Brown is another fighter on the 1 way train out of the UFC. He’s got a 6-4 record since joining Zuffa, with his last to loses in the UFC. Mike is in a position he’s never faced in his career. The possibility of being cut due to loses. How does that affect him mentally? I think it motivates him, extremely. At his best, Mike Brown puts people to bed, at his worst Mike Brown hurts people for 3 rounds. Mike has taken several months off to get his mind and body right. Nursing several injuries through his last few fights, the down time could be the best thing that happened to him. Nam Pham is coming off of a split decision loss to Leonard Garcia (the Mexican Zombie as the Korean Zombie calls him). Sporting a solid record of KO/TKO’s during his run in the smaller promotions, Phan is dangerous on his feet and on the ground. Does he have enough to take out Mike Brown? I don’t think so, I don’t believe he’s been in the cage with someone who hits as hard as Brown in their weight division. With Brown’s recent run, I think Phan will come in overconfident leading to a Mike Brown win by KO.
Rumble young man Rumble.