It’s hard to imagine that UFC 149 is actually going to happen this Saturday in Calgary. I don’t have the statistics to back it up but this event has to lead all previous events in “changes due to injury”. I’m sure Dana White and Joe Silva will be happy to get this one over and in the books.
You only need to check out the CageWall event page at: http://www.cagewall.com/event/UFC-149-Faber-vs-Barao to see the related news stories over the past few months to see what I mean. Injuries took out Jose Aldo, Big Nog, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Claude Patrick, George Roop, Siyar “The Great” Bahadurzada, and two Thiagos, Silva and Alves.
The show must go on though and we are still left with a good card. No Keith Jardine, but it’ll do.
My predictions are below. This post can also be used as a discussion post to express any related views you may have on this event.
Watching this past season of TUF: Live, I really grew to dislike Urijah Faber, and the whole Team Alpha Male camp for that matter. Bunch of pretty boy wannabe champs with Napoleon complexes led by their leader Urijah Frodo. Before TUF: Live. I actually disliked Dominick Cruz and liked Faber but that completely turned around.
With that said, you can probably guess what my pick is here. Even with personal feelings aside though, I still like Barao in this one. He’s pretty much the best fighter out there without a title. A distinction that will hopefully go away after this fight.
Barao is eight years younger, quicker, and could pose the same difficulties as Aldo did for Faber. Faber though does have better power striking, and has been in more high profile big pressure bouts, so it won’t be a cake walk for Barao. I can see Barao though just picking him apart and possibly getting a submission late, but most likely it will go the distance as both of these guys have great chins.
Barao by Decision
I have to admit that I hadn’t seen Hector Lombard fight before so I decided to watch Hector Lombard Highlights (2012) HD on YouTube and his last fight November 2011 against Trevor Prangley. He has slowed a bit now that he’s 34, but still looks pretty beastly.
As for Boetsch, I’m a big fan but picking him over Hector doesn’t seem like a very wise choice. Boetsch’s KO of Yushin Okami in the 3rd round in Yushin’s home country has been one of my favorite fight moments this year. As his nickname suggests, he’s a Barbarian, and is riding a 3-fight win streak, so he seems to be peaking at the right time in his career. He’s 31 and his tweets this past week seem to indicate that he is confident and ready for the biggest fight of his life.
With all of the Boetsch praise however, I’m still going with Lombard on this one. He’s made it clear that he wants to take on Anderson Silva and win the UFC belt, so he will surely be looking to impress, especially given Weidman’s killer elbow KO over Munoz. IMHO, neither is a good matchup yet for Silva. I would like to see Rashad come down to take on Silva and if Lombard beats Boetsch, Lombard-Weidman would be a good matchup with the winner taking on Silva, after he crushes Evans of course. Will leave that to Mr. Joe Silva though.
Lombard by KO in the 2nd
Cheick Kongo seems to have become the bridge you need to cross to enter the land of elite heavyweights. Shawn Jordan is a big Baton Rouge semi looking to cross that bridge. Jordan is a lot like Kongo’s last opponent, Mark Hunt, but more well-rounded and 11 years younger. This doesn’t bode well for Kongo who was TKO’d by Hunt in the first round. Kongo is certainly capable of turning back heavyweights that aren’t ready, just ask Matt Mitrione and Pat Barry, but Jordan seems ready.
Jordan by KO in the 2nd
Matt Riddle is one tough mutha and fun to watch. Clements will be a great test for him as he looks to continuously improve in the UFC. Clements is fighting in his home country and should put up a good fight but I think Riddle does a bit more in this one with a strong finish.
Riddle by KO in the 3rd
I became a Brian “The White Anderson Silva” Ebersole fan his last time out against TJ Waldburger at UFC on FX 4 in June. He now jumps back into the Octagon only a month later replacing Claude Patrick against Head, even after he expressed interest post-Waldburger fight in moving down to lightweight because he’s getting tired of facing big welterweights. At least his ‘hairarrow’ chest (http://youtu.be/wUVb0GtfiYY for more details on the hairarrow) will only need minimal shaving now since it’s only been a month. Seriously though, Ebersole’s got skills and experience and should at least get the decision over Head, but could also get the late submission.
Ebersole by Decision
Not a big fan of either of these TUF alumni fighters. McGee likes to grapple and wrestle. Ring likes to stay on the outside and kick. Very boring fighters, which should make for a very boring fight. I never liked Ring since his TUF days but McGee I started out liking. I then had to suffer through all of his fights, painful. The fight will probably end up in a no decision due to the judges falling asleep halfway through, but I will say McGee does a bit more hugging/grappling/wrestling to get the decision.
McGee by Decision
These are two tough and scrappy bantamweights that should go toe-to-toe and deliver a very entertaining fight. Delorme has certainly shown that he can take a punch, but that’s not something you want to be known for since it means that you are getting punched a lot. Rivera should be able to tag him enough times and then get a big shot in to finish it.
Rivera by KO in the 2nd
Canadian Ryan Jimmo will be making his UFC debut against 39-year-old MMA veteran Anthony Perosh. Jimmo has won his last 16 fights and is the former MFC Light Heavyweight Champion. He’s a beast of an athlete, especially when you compare his physique to Perosh’s.
However, Perosh far exceeds Jimmo when it comes to experience against tough competitors. He’s on an impressive 3-fight win streak, although in the past he has shown a vulnerability of getting KO’d by big punchers like Mirko Cro Cop and James Te Huna. Jimmo certainly fits the bill of a big KO power fighter but he’s no Mirko or Te Huna. Having watched many Perosh fights, I have to give him the edge here. He just needs to make it past the first round and then slowly break down Jimmo.
Perosh by Submission in the 3rd
There’s a good chance most of this fight takes place on the ground. Both of these guys are submission specialists so it will be interesting to see who is better. Caraway has better “big fight” experience and a season on TUF under his belt, so have to give him the edge in this one.
Caraway by Decision
I would really like to pick the Canadian Antonio Carvalho here, but I just can’t do it. Pineda is coming off a tough loss to vet Mike Brown at UFC 146, but was on a 7-fight win streak before that including a nice first round submission of Mackens Semerzier before his loss to Brown. I look for him to get back to his winning ways with a decision over Carvalho.
Pineda by Decision
Again, would love to take the Canadian here, especially since I haven’t taken any one of the six fighting on this card, but I’m going with the ‘Calgary Curse’ which injures prospective fighters and weakens Canadian fighters.
Kuivanen by KO in the 2nd