UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche at Anaheim, CA

There are two fights I am really interested in on this card:

1) The Main event, featuring the fight female fight in the UFC, as former Strikeforce Bantamweight Champ Ronda Rousey (6-0) takes on former U.S. Marine Liz Carmouche (8-2).

2) The Light Heavyweight battle between Dan Henderson (29-8) and Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (18-3)

Ronda Rousey is a huge favorite (-1200) over Carmouche (+775) and that is probably justified because no female fighter has come close to defeating RR as she has won all six of her fights in the first, using her Olympic level judo skills to secure arm bars vs all her previous opponents. It is hard to see how Carmouche will avoid the same fate. Carmouche lost a 3 rd decision to Rousey’s last opponent, Sarah Kaufman. It took Rousey only 54 seconds to defeat Kaufman. It will be impressive if Carmouche can take this fight past the first round. All that said, Rousey better not take Carmouche too lightly, because Carmouche has delivered TKO’s vs. four opponents.

I don’t think Rousey will underestimate Carmouche. There is lot riding on this fight for Rousey and the UFC.

Rousey by Submission, 2nd round.

Henderson vs. Machida is a great fight on paper, matching up two of the very best Light Heavyweights in the UFC. Machida is a favorite at -220 vs +170 for Henderson, but this fight could very easily go either way because both fighters have proven that they have the ability to deliver
KO’s. Hendo has put 13 opponents to sleep, while Machida has done the same to 7 opponents. Machida is the best pure martial artist in the UFC and Henderson has demonstrated that he is very dangerous as both a striker and a wrestler (He represented the U.S. in the Olympics as a Greco-Roman wrestler).

This fight is a very tough call me because both fighters are so skilled and I also like both fighters. They are both class acts. However, I’m going to have to pick Machita to win because he is still in his prime at 34, while Henderson is in the twilight of his career at age 42. To be fair, I must say that there really hasn’t been much of a noticeable decline in Henderson’s ability yet, but Henderson is coming off a knee injury and has not fought in a year. I think ring rust for Henderson may give Machita an advantage. Machita, with his karate influenced fighting style, has also demonstrated that he can be very elusive in the Octagon and that may enable him to avoid Henderson’s vaunted overhand right, known as the H-Bomb.

Machita wins by decision.

UFC 155 – Las Vegas: Predictions

The UFC ends 2012 with a pretty good card in the Vegas. I noticed that some mma fans are a little disappointed in the overall quality of this card because some big names had drop out due to injury, but think this card is still very appealing and has the potential to provide very competitive fights. The top four fights are all fairly close in terms of odds, there are no overwhelming favorites. I think the oddsmakers have it right. I have decided who I think is going to win these fights, but I can’t say I would want to go “all in ” on any single fighter who will be action in the top four fights. Without further ado, here are my picks:

Heavyweight Championship:

Champion Junior Dos Santos (15-1) vs. former champ Cain Velasquez (10-1)

This is rematch. The first time these two met Cain was the HW Champ, but he didn’t leave the Octagon as champ because Dos Santos KO’d him at the 1:04 mark of the fight. Dos Santos is simply the best boxer, by far, in the UFC HW division. Dos Santos trains with Team Nogueira in Brazil and has a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Dos Santos claims he is capable of handling himself on the ground if he gets taken down, but no HW that he has faced in UFC has been able to get him down and keep him there, and he has already faced some fighters with very good take down skills, such as Shane Carwin, Frank Mir and Gabriel Gonzaga.

Velasquez was an excellent NCAA DIV I wrestler at Arizona State, placing 5th in the U.S. in 2005 and 4th in 2006. He later moved on to train at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose, where he has developed a strong mma skill set, and has added boxing, muay thai and Jiu Jitsu to his mma arsenal. Velasquez also fights at a very fast pace and up until he met Dos Santos it did not seem that any UFC HW could beat him. He was, of course, undefeated in the UFC, before that first fight with JDS. However, Dos Santos was the first really high caliber striker that Velasquez had faced and he clearly wasn’t able to defend against the barrage of strikes were thrown at him.

Cain may indeed have the better all around mma skill set, but will he have an opportunity to use all his skills? I don’t think he will. I think Dos Santos will once again use his exceptional boxing and takedown defense to keep this fight standing and in the end Velasquez will not be able to fend off Junior’s powerful strikes.

Dos Santos wins by KO, 2nd round.

Lightweight: Joe Lauzon (22-7) vs. Jim Miller(21-4)
This might be the most competitive fight of the night. Both of these fighters are very well rounded and have complete mma skill sets, but Jui-Jitsu is a strength for both. Miller is also a good wrestler. He wrestler at the high school level in Sparta, New Jersey and later in college, at Virginia Tech. Lauzon is particularly dangerous in the first round. He usually starts at a very fast pace and is always looking for a quick submission. However, Lauzon also takes risks with some moves, leaving himself open to being submitted and he tends to fade in later rounds. Miller is a very durable fighter, with a good chin and high endurance. I think Miller will have the advantage if this fight goes beyond the first round and I think it will because I think Miller is too strong and skilled on ground to be submitted by Lauzon.

Miller by submission, 3rd rd.

Middleweight: Tim Boetsch (16-4) vs. Constantinos Philippou (11-2)

Basically, this breaks down to a wrestler vs. boxer battle. Boetsch is a former NCAA Division I wrestler (Lock Haven University in PA) and is also a Black Belt in Jeet Kune Do. Philippou is a Greek Cypriot who originally pursued boxing before deciding to become a mma fighter. His professional record as a boxer is 3-0, but he also has 60 amateur fights to his credit. After moving to the U.S. he joined the Serra-Longo gym on Long Island and has developed other aspects of his mma game there, including wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu, but he still relies heavily on his boxing skills.

Boetsch is a smart fighter and I think he knows he would likely lose this fight if it remains standing and becomes a boxing match. I think Boetsch will attempt to take this fight to the ground and use superior wrestling ability to win this fight. This fight could very well be decided by the effectiveness of Philippou’s takedown defense. Philippou may indeed have good takedown defense, we’ll see. He trains with Chris Weidman, one of the best wrestlers in the UFC at Serra-Longo. Ironically, Weidman was originally scheduled to fight Boetsch at UFC 155, but had to withdraw due to a training injury. I probably would have picked Weidman to win that fight, but I can’t pick Philippou to win against Boetsch because I think Boetsch’s greater mma experience and his more diverse skill set will give him the upper hand.

Boetsch wins by decision.

Middleweight: Alan Belcher (18-6) vs. Yushin Okami (28-7)

This fight presents another rematch. Okami won the first fight between them by decision, back in 2006. Both of these fighters are very well rounded. Okami has a black belt in Judo, but he can wrestle and box well too. Belcher has a background in Kickboxing, Taekwondo, Jiu Jitsu and Judo.
Both of these guys can are capable on their feet or on the ground.
Belcher has won his last four fights and I think he is hotter fighter right now. I expect his win streak to continue.

Belcher wins by decision.

UFC 154: St. Pierre vs. Condit – Montreal

The UFC returns to Montreal and hometown hero Georges St. Pierre returns to the UFC after being out of the sport for 18 months due to the fact that he tore his ACL in December of 2011.

St. Pierre’s fight against Carlos Condit will decide the UFC Welterweight championship and another Welterweight fight on this card may decide who gets the next shot at the Welterweight belt. That fight is Martin Kampmann vs. Johny Hendricks. I think those are the two most interesting fights on the card.

Martin “Hitman” Kampmann (20-5) vs. Johny “Big Rig” Hendricks (13-1)

Fighting Styles:

Kampmann: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai.

Hendricks: Boxing, Wrestling (Former NCAA DIV I Wrestling champ at 165 pounds, Oklahoma State)

This should be an excellent fight, although I’m not sure how long it will last because fighters can throw very punches and have KO ability. Now, I’m sure they are both aware of that so they may exercise some caution and not just come out throwing bombs, although I think Hendricks will throw his deadly left hand any time he sees an opening.

Kampmann has proven to be a very resilient fighter, who knows how to find ways to win when he is behind. The Danish fighter, training out of Las Vegas with team Xtreme Couture, has developed a very well rounded MMA game. He prefers to keep fights standing in order to use his exceptional striking skills, but he can be dangerous on the ground with his Jiu-Jitsu. Kampmann has won 8 fights by KO and 7 fights by submission.

On paper this seems like a pretty close match up. If I thought that Kampmann could keep this fight standing I would probably pick him to win, but I don’t think that will be the case. I’m going to give the edge to Hendricks because I think the combination of his power punching and his world-class wrestling will prove to be too difficult for Kampmann to defend.

Hendricks wins by KO, 2nd round.

Georges St. Pierre (22-2) vs. Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit (28-5)

Figthing Styles:

St. Pierre: Karate, Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Condit: Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The fight will unify the UFC Welterweight title. Condit has held the title of interim Champ during St. Pierre’s extended absence due to ACL reconstruction surgery. St. Pierre and Condit are two of favorite fighters in the UFC because they both very skilled, well-rounded, intelligent fighters and they are both generally respectful of their opponents.

I think very highly of Condit’s ability. His defeat of the very formidable Nick Diaz really impressed me. That fight showcased Condit’s very well rounded ability as an MMA fighter and it also demonstrated that he is a very smart and disciplined fighter who can stick to a plan to defeat an opponent who in some respects might be more skilled. Diaz wanted to draw Condit into strictly a stand up fight and just trade strikes with him because Diaz has good hands and excels at boxing. Diaz taunted Condit in a number of ways in an effort to get him to just exchange strikes, but Condit used a full repertoire of strikes and kicks to keep Diaz at bay and ultimately won a very hard fought decision.

GSP will present an entirely different type of challenge to Condit. He won’t do any trash talking, but he will try to dictate where this fight goes. GSP is one of the best wrestlers in the UFC and he no doubt try to take this fight to the ground, where his strength and strong wrestling may give him an advantage over Condit. Both fighters are products of the famed Jackson’s MMA, in New Mexico, although Greg Jackson is remaining neutral for this fight and not training either fighter for this event. I don’t think that will matter too much because both fighters have assembled excellent training teams to support them.

I have read conflicting reports about GSP condition post recovery from ACL surgery. Some reports say he as good as new and others say he not 100% of what he once was. He looks petty good in the video of his training sessions that I have seen, but we really won’t know until he gets back in the Octagon for a real fight. If GSP is 100% of what he was that will prove to a real problem for Condit. GSP will probably be able to take down Condit fairly easily if he has retained his quickness and then Condit’s ground skills will be put to the test. OTOH, if Condit can keep the fight standing he probably stands a significantly better chance of winning the fight because his striking and kicks are very accurate and he does have KO power in his fists.

St. Pierre wins by unanimous decision.


Well, I went 2 for 2 tonight. I wish I had put some money down on these fights in Vegas.

Hendricks KO’d Kampmann in 46 seconds! Wow! I was really surprised that the Big Rig was able to land his powerful left hand so quickly because I know Kampmann was aware it would be coming. I watched a recent interview with Kampmann in which he acknowledged that Hendricks was dangerous with his left and that he didn’t want to get caught like Jon Fitch (who was KO’d by Hendricks in 12 seconds). Oh well, easier said than done I guess.

Georges St. Pierre won his fight against Carlos Condit in very convincing fashion with a unanimous decision, but Condit proved to be a very worthy opponent for the UFC Welterweight champ. GSP won the fight 4 rounds to 1, but Condit came close to finishing GSP in the 3rd round when he land a beautiful kick to the side of GSP’s head, which put him down on his back. Condit followed up by swarming GSP and landing some solid strikes. To GSP’s immense credit he was able to keep his composure and work his way back to his feet, surviving the round and Condit’s most serious threat to him in the fight. GSP used his superior quickness to execute take downs of Condit in the 4th and 5th rounds and punish him with relentless ground and pound. Still, Condit fought well off his back and delivered some strikes and elbows that definitely did some damage to GSP.