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Video Games & UFC

Peacemaker Reviews - The Ultimate Fighter Season 21: ATT vs. Blackzilians (EXPLICIT)

JJ Mortimer

The advertisements for this season of The Ultimate Fighter - American Top Team vs. Blackzilians once asked, "Which side are you on?"  Which side of B-level promotional prospects/rejects are you on?  Which side of fighters who neither care to win, or only choose to blanket themselves on top of other fighters for the duration of the fight to eek out a victory ARE YOU ON?

I'm on neither, because that's like asking if I happily choose to be constipated with sharp cramps for a month, or have explosive, fiery diarrhea for that same duration of time - minus the cramps.  Either way, I don't give a shit about either of them and I want nothing to do with them.

If it wasn't for the final two episodes, season 21 of The Ultimate Fighter would have been a bucket of diarrhea.  Why would anyone want to watch a bucket of diarrhea, you ask?  Well, I'm asking the same thing because this season sucked worse than a two-toothed vampire prostitute that bites.  The point system was meaningless, Glenn Robinson (the owner of the Blackzilians) was a whiny little priss that mingles with his fighters only to boost his own ego, and the majority of American Top Team's fighters seemed to forget that winning was part of the reason why you fight.

The first four fights that the Blackzilians won were boring as a Richard Linklater film.  The Blackfailians' fighters implemented a highly-successful game plan, honed over many generations of combat sports known as "Wrestle-fucking".  They used it so well that porn stars would have been bored by it were it done in the nude.  The opponents at ATT looked like they were being raped.  If you watched the fights muted, you would think you were watching a recreation of an episode of Cold Case Files involving an unsolved man-on-man raping.

The only saving factor mid-season was ATT's Hayder Hassan, the first fighter from that camp to score a victory and to actually knock an opponent out.  Then the Blackzilians went back on a roll until ATT won a couple to make the final episode actually have a little bit of drama.

All that being said, the second-to-last episode had the best come-from-behind victory (not a reference to the man-rapings from earlier in the season) with ATT's Michael Graves choking out Jason Jackson after being kicked in the cock and balls and having the back of his head beaten on like a red-headed prison inmate for nearly an entire round.  Great fight, especially when watching Glenn Robinson bounce around afterward like an elementary school child complaining that a bully spilled his carton of chocolate milk.

The final episode fittingly had the best all-around fight.  For the third time, Hayder Hassan, the Jesus Christ savior of his ENTIRE FUCKING TEAM, stepped up and fought hard and well, pulling out a split decision victory.  I actually thought Vincente of the Blackzilians won the fight, but Hassan winning was actually icing on top of the shitty cake.  ATT celebrated, but in reality, the fact that he won three of the fight fights that his team could claim actually made his entire team look even worse.  More fighters from the Blackzilians won their fights, which proves that the whole point system adopted this season (for whatever reason) was a complete joke.  A dick joke.  With no punchline.  The season came and went. 

Of course Hayder was picked for the finale.  He's the only fighter who went unbeaten, with 60% of his team's success (on paper) owed strictly to him.

On a technical front, my real complaint about this season was the complete lack of entertaining substance that even approximately 15 other seasons were able to bring to the table.  NOTHING happened in the house, yet the show tried to fill it's inexplicable one-hour run time with repeated scenes, unnecessary slow-motion shots, and boring training sessions that showed nothing of creative value from the coaches, nothing of individuality from the fighters, and no reason to give a shit about any of these guys.  Other seasons actually had something going on in the house because it wasn't two gangs going at it (despite the men being broken up into two different teams).  This season had almost a family/gang atmosphere because half the people knew each other, and the other half knew each other.  There weren't sixteen individual fighters from different backgrounds and varied parts of the country mixing it up with each other.  The only way this season could have had any drama was if the two teams recreated scenes from West Side Story, The Warriors, or The Outsiders in the Ultimate Fighter house, but with pool cues and pieces from broken shot glasses.

I sincerely hope they abandon this format for the next season.  No more team-based point system.  What WOULD be interesting is if they mixed two weight classes from the opposite ends of the spectrum - straw weight women and heavyweight men, all living in the same house.  And they all train with each other.  I'm just scared that they will promote wrestle-fucking for that season to boost the ratings.

 

SEASON 21 FINAL GRADE:  D+

I would also like to add that the Coaches/Owners Challenge was hilarious.  Watching Glenn Robinson run the final stretch of a relay race was like watching a 250-pound trash bag full of ass fat jiggle its way toward a finish line.  Even when money was on the line, his tweety-bird legs just couldn't manage the strength necessary to haul his oxen-like proportions toward a short-term financial goal.


UFC 181 - The Return to Greatness

JJ Mortimer

UFC 181 marked the first time in a couple months that I sat down with the old group of family members and ordered a PPV event.  I was becoming a bit disenchanted with a lot of decisions the company (UFC) had been making, involving some uninteresting fights with uninteresting fighters, on pay-per-view cards that weren't worth the $60 they were charging me on my Verizon cable bill.  This even, though, was exciting on paper and was filled with fighters I enjoy and knew would put on a good show.

And HOLY SHIT were we not disappointed.  Even in my excitement building up to the card (a renewed excitement, almost like a foreshadowing that this event would bring me back into the regular mix of actually reserving the Saturday night time to watch these events when they are on), what transpired was greater than I had hoped.

Initially, I expected the titles to stay in the hands of the men who held them.  As the Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez fight began, my thoughts swayed.  Gilbert looked like he had a great game plan and knew exactly what he needed to do to stop the mostly inactive current champion in Pettis.  In the first round, Pettis looked a bit slow (except for a few flashy kicks), his hands didn't look the same, and Gilbert's pressure looked to stifle everything that made Pettis a dangerous fighter.  Then the second round happened, and Pettis pushed Melendez's head down and pulled the Alpha Male-reminiscent guillotine choke.  The finish was a tremendous surprise, especially given the pedigree of Gilbert Melendez's grappling credentials.

Then Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler happened.  I had in my mind that Hendricks would win no problem this time, and initially, after the opening barrage by Lawler, it appeared that way.  Jump ahead all the way to the end of the fifth round with Lawler pumping himself up as though feeding off of the gritty energy from the pro-him crowd, and the first words that came out of my mouth were, "If only this fight was scored by the old Japanese rules of scoring a fight at the END of the entire fight, not every round." 

Robbie Lawler pulling the "surprise" split decision victory to become the new Welterweight Champion actually shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.  The majority of Hendricks' takedowns resulted in nothing offensive, if only to "score points" (as Melendez would keep putting it as coach of the current season of the Ultimate Fighter).  I remember asking if anyone had Dana White's Twitter feed handy in the fourth and fifth round because he had to have been pissed with all the holding Hendricks was doing.  That kind of "late in the fight" performance is exactly the kind of thing that makes for boring fights, even if earlier in the fight he was scoring with some great combinations and leg kicks. 

What actually surprised me the most was that the judges saw the fight in favor of the guy who was on the opposite side of the takedowns for what as far as I can remember is one of the first times in UFC or even MMA history that a high profile fight was scored for the actual aggressor at the most important time of the fight - the bitter end.  The very bitter, bitter end.

I couldn't be happier with the decision.  I'm happy to see Robbie Lawler's journey through his young adult life in the early days of the UFC and throughout his growing career as one of the top fighters in the world today.  Johny Hendricks is a great fighter as well, but I don't like seeing champions playing it relatively straight and safe.  I like seeing risk takers, and that's what Anthony Pettis did.

As for the rest of the card, I was very pleased with the amount of actual finishes.  Tony Ferguson's rear-naked choke of Abel Trujillo was pretty solid given the beat-down he was narrowly taking in the first round.  Todd Duffee's return from his two-year layoff battling Parsonage-Turner syndrome was almost as fast as his UFC debut as he knocked out Anthony Hamilton with a right hand powered from the ground up 33 seconds into the first round. 

As a fan of Brendan Schaub, it was a bit difficult to watch Travis Browne demolish him the way he did.  It was unfortunately expected, as I saw Browne on a much higher level of fighter than Schaub and knew it would end pretty much exactly this way back when the fight was first announced.

Overall, I'm happy to have watched this card on my return to the old family digs of watching the PPV with the old crew again.  The night was filled with finishes all around (with an awesome head kick by Josh Samman in the prelims, and a rare "bulldog choke" ala Carlos Newton on Pat Miletich by a 4-5 record Raquel Pennington), and you couldn't ask for a more stunning finish to the night.

-------------------------------------------------

PREDICTIONS FOR FUTURE MATCHUPS:

Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald 2 for the Welterweight Championship

Johny Hendricks vs. winner of Hector Lombard vs. Josh Burkman

Anthony Pettis vs. Rafael dos Anjos if he beats Nate Diaz, OR the winner of Donald Cerrone vs. Myles Jury

Gilbert Melendez vs. Rafael dos Anjos if he loses to Diaz, OR Khabib Nurmagomedov OR Edson Barbosa

Todd Duffee vs. Ben Rothwell

Travis Browne vs. winner of Junior Dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic

Tony Ferguson vs. Bobby Green

Upcoming Video Game Releases That Are Going to Steal My Money

JJ Mortimer

I love this time of year, not only because the best movies are released, but the best video games are also released.  And almost, ALMOST, too many of them to play.

In the coming weeks we get:

1)  "Dragon Age: Inquisition" - the game I'm looking forward to most because I am a huge fan of the prior games AND of the story and lore.  I have also loved the music in these games, showing that more effort and care has been going into the audio of video games than the audio in a majority of movies that demanded good musical scores.  "Dragon Age" never disappointed, and I have hopes that this new game will bring me back into its world with a memorable cue.

2)  "Far Cry 4" - the third game was one of the best first person shooter/RPGs I've ever played, despite playing a character that is the biggest douche in the jungle.  Sniping in "Far Cry 3" was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences I've had in a first-person shooter, and I'm hoping that given the Nepalese setting of this fourth game, we can get some cliff-diving head shots under our belt.

3)  Next-gen release for "Grand Theft Auto 5" - been playing a lot of the XBOX 360 version online, and I'm very curious to see the differences the XBOX One brings to the table (especially with the load times, because gawdamn).  Playing through the story for a second time could be pretty fun, despite having the lamest mini games from any of the "GTA" games (seriously, yoga?).

4)  "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfighter" - I hesitated to put this game on the list only because the series didn't seem to progress forward in a positive way with "Ghosts", but I have some minimal hopes that making this game more futuristic won't in any way rip off "Titanfall".  Not at all...  Should still be fun for a few weeks, as long as the story mode is longer and more fulfilling.

5)  "The Evil Within" - just released on the day of this writing, I will simply give my money over to it based on the fact that Bethesda Softworks produced it.

 

EARLY NEXT YEAR, we also get:

6) "The Witcher 3" - I must admit, I didn't finish the second game and had actually wanted to, but other games pulled me away.  Hopefully, amidst all these other game releases, I will give it time again to prepare for the third game in what I felt was a truly ambitious game, both graphically and in story.  The cut scene reveal trailer was also pretty badass, and I understand that in no way does it represent how the game will actually play, but if it looks anything like the older-generation game did, this game will be awesome.

7)  "Evolve" - from the makers of "Left 4 Dead".  No more expression is necessary.

 

ON A SIDE NOTE, I am not a fan of the "Assassin's Creed" games, so I will not be purchasing "Unity" unless someone buys a copy for me.  I don't like spending what feels like real time horseback riding from one town to the next in what feels like a fifty-mile journey.  I must admit, though, that the "jacking-off glitch" from one of the previous games IS pretty hilarious.

I also already beat the last three "Halo" games, so there's really no need to get an updated version of "The Master Chief Collection".  Maybe if the price goes down on it, but I want to spend the majority of my time on newer games (and the online "GTA 5").

Peacemaker (Early Look) Reviews - "Alien: Isolation" (XBOX One)

JJ Mortimer

I'm roaming around about the fourth mission into the game, and I have yet to see the Alien.  Yet, the suspense of such an encounter, coupled with the game's very intricate sound design, make the inevitable a heart-pounding experience.

Then I see it.  I'm searching through a room for a way to turn off a security lockdown system, when the damn thing comes crawling out of a ceiling air duct.  My character (the daughter of Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley from the movie) has just enough time to duck behind a desk as the heavy-pounding footsteps of the Xenomorph exit the room, disappearing without a trace.

I almost shit myself.

There have been a couple times already where I jumped out of my seat while playing Alien: Isolation (the XBOX One version), whether it be by the sudden run-in with a human searching to shoot my brains out with a gun or just the sheer anticipation of a "close encounter of the turd kind".  Compared to previous games of the survival genre that I've played, this game is probably the scariest game I've played so far since the first Dead Space, and on par with the second Dead Space and F.E.A.R. 2.  The game reminds me the most in atmosphere and still-air dread of the Dead Space series, in that the lack of music in the general gameplay makes for a very intriguing experience when you play the game on a good sound system.  Every detail, every scratch, and every metallic bump while crawling around in the dark in a near-abandoned space station makes for a pants-pissing possibility.

I don't want to overhype the game, because there are a few little things that aren't perfect (they still can't seem to get the audio dubbed over the mouth movement properly yet in the majority of video games), but they are little things that don't take away from any of the gaming experience.

I've also briefly played through the "Crew Expendable" mode which allows you to play as one of three characters from the 1979 film, and also within the confines of the Nostromo.  Nearly all the actors have returned to lend their voice talents to their 35-year old characters, and you get to play as one of three - Tom Skerritt's Captain Dallas, Sigourney Weaver's Ripley, or Yaphet Kotto's Parker (I chose Skerritt because every time I hear his name, I hear his line from Steel Magnolias:  "Nothing like a good piece of ass.").  This was the game mode where I actually first saw what the Alien looked like in game form, and also learned that about five ounces of flamethrower fuel will NOT back the creature down.

Hiding doesn't help if the bitch sees you going into the locker.

Hiding doesn't help if the bitch sees you going into the locker.

So far, I'm digging this game quite a bit.  I'm playing on Normal difficulty, and already I ran into a spot that I died about a dozen times in before realizing that there are many, many different options to get through certain sections using the gear that you attain throughout your scavenging.  I'm also looking forward to the mystery of the gigantic, immersive game, which takes places roughly fifteen years after the events of the 1979 film.  As Ripley's daughter, you are searching for the clues to what really happened on the Nostromo, while experiencing the same shit in another ghost-town space mall yourself.

Highly recommended if you want the closest thing to a playable movie experience possible, with legitimate tension and attention to keeping with the "futuristic" details of the film (which of course seem outdated, but luckily were kept in touch with how the film looked without updating it to our contemporary standards).

Fuck you, Bilbo! ...I mean "Ash".

Fuck you, Bilbo! ...I mean "Ash".

"Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor" Early Look

JJ Mortimer

middle-earth-shadow-of-mordor-us-esrb-xonejpg-0d2c6b.jpg

"Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor" early look review (XBOX One version).  I currently have logged in approximately eight hours of play.

Too soon is this review in relation to the release of this game for me to give a complete overview of my experiences with the game, but I felt it was necessary to give at least a first impression, because first impressions can mean a lot when it comes to the overall playability of a sandbox-style game like "Shadow of Mordor".

First off, this is not a happy-go-lucky romp through The Shire with a hobbit or two.  This is a brutal, dark game, taking place primarily around the gates of Mordor.  Your character, Talion, is a recently-murdered ranger who was resurrected by a spirit to be a tool of his malice against the forces of Sauron.  In playability, the game resembles most closely "Batman: Arkham City" with its approach to gang-style battles, jumping and switching your attacks from one orc to the next while trying to parry and dodge other incoming attacks.  There are also specific missions you can take on to progress the story, but there is a plethora of other side missions that can be had to increase the game's play time.

Speaking of plethora, there are more orcs and Uruk-hai than you can shake your broken sword at.  At times, there are almost too many.  So far, there doesn't seem to be a "cleansing" target to the game - many of the enemies you slash, stab, and decapitate will only be replaced by a handful (or sometimes a platoon) of other orcs roaming the darkened lands.  The battles can feel a bit repetitive after a couple hours, but as you gain experience, so do your weapons and your fighting style.  Sure enough, little details can be upgraded and added, giving Talion alternatives and options to just simply pressing the X button to hack-and-slash your way through as though re-enacting a scene from a Cecil B. DeMille movie.

On the XBOX One, the game is pretty beautiful, though I have very little to compare it to given this is the first game I've played on the new system.  Regardless, the animations on "Shadow of Mordor" are brilliant, as is the voice acting and musical score.  The cinematics flow nicely with the gameplay, never truly interrupting the pace of the game.  I also really enjoy the game's "power struggle" concept, in which after defeating certain orc captains, the power of Sauron's army will shift and balance as new orcs emerge to take over leadership spots.  If you are defeated, the orc that killed you will level up, seemingly making him more difficult to destroy the second time around.

The game's "Nemesis" system generates unique orcs every time the power struggle changes, making each play through of the game different to every player.

The game's "Nemesis" system generates unique orcs every time the power struggle changes, making each play through of the game different to every player.

This is not Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" with hobbits and lembas bread.  This is the dark ages of Sauron, and the violent struggle between the rangers who defend the Land of Men from the powers of darkness - often with a head lopped off in a pool of bluish-green blood.

Aaaand it's gone.

Aaaand it's gone.

Random Bits of UFC Bitching

JJ Mortimer

Random bits of shit (in regards to UFC/MMA) that got on my nerves for whatever arguable reason at the moment:

1)  If I have to hear Gilbert Melendez say "score points" to his fighter during a bout on this women's-only season of The Ultimate Fighter, I may actually shit rocks.  Or, better yet, I want to see one of them knock her opponent the fuck out as he's instructing her to score those bullshit-in-the-eyes of fans "points".  It's not about points - it's about damage.  Make damage.  When a demolitions crew sledgehammers a wall, they aren't hitting it to score points; they are swinging to bust a fucking hole in that shit, leaving nothing for the contractor to do.

2)  The lack of heavyweight fights on the pay-per-view cards is astounding.  All of the fun bouts (the giant, near-300 pound behemoths who are great for the first minute-forty-five, who then become giant lumps of shit) are left to Fight Pass events or free cards.  Don't get me wrong, I love watching fights for free, but you give me no incentive to pay for a card when the fun bouts are already free the week before.

3)  Over-saturation is waning my interest.  One PPV a month was an EVENT.  Now, it's just a Wednesday and Friday. 

4)  The fighters in Bellator are fighting like they are trying to entertain the fans more than the majority of fighters in the UFC are.

5)  I know shit happens, but the amount of champion injuries is aggravating.  Cain hurt himself.  Aldo hurt himself.  Weidman hurt himself.  Jones hurt himself.  My head hurts.  Give me a fucking fight to cure this ache.

6)  MMA judging is for the shits.  A new scoring system is a must.

7)  I hate the number of fighters, especially the great ones, who are going to the dumps because of past domestic problems (especially involving abuse of a woman).  Part of me wants the media to stay uninvolved so that we can see good fights, but the other socially and moralistically responsible side wants them to not have been so fucking stupid in the first place by making fighters look like they're all bullies.

8)  Make weight, you pieces of shit!  If you don't understand the Imperial system of measurements and weights, LEARN IT because it is part of your job.  We do not use kilograms in sporting in the United States.

9)  I know it's a bit old now, but the Stephan Bonnar/Tito Ortiz debacle in the cage at Bellator was exactly the kind thing I had NEVER HOPED would happen if MMA went mainstream.  I had respect for Scott Coker and what he did with Strikeforce, but this bullshit was ridiculous.

 

That's it for now, thank God.

Video Games, Bitches!

JJ Mortimer

I'm going to add video games to this section now.  I'm personally fed up with the UFC Fight Pass bullshit enough for me to stop reporting on the majority of MMA events.  I will still put my two cents in when I deem it fit, but more of my spare time has been spent getting lost in the world of RPGs, sandbox games, and indie platformers for me to find it pertinent to lend my perceptions in that field to people who may also have an interest in my take on current and not-so-current video games.

Currently, I'm playing almost exclusively RPGs on the XBOX 360, and will soon upgrade to the XBOX One in order to give a personal view on two upcoming next-gen adventures:

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, a Lord of the Rings-based game surrounding a tale outside of the words of Tolkien (release date September 30) is a game taking place during the Third Age between the events of The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring.  Ive been watching some behind-the-scenes footage on the making of this game, and the detail looks great.  My main point of interest is on the consequences of how you play - a lot of the actions you make in the game apparently play a lot on how the story progresses, along with the development of character interactions at later times in the game.  Should be fun.

The second game is one that was destined for next-gen consoles:  Dragon Age: Inquisition (November 18). 

I've played the other two Dragon Age games and enjoyed them both immensely, albeit for different reasons.  The first had a more engaging story and soundtrack, but the battle system was a bit faulty, as was the more hack-n-slash version of the second game.  I think I enjoyed the changed system of the second game better than most other fans of the series did, but the repetitive dungeons took away a little of the overall enjoyment.

But, what gets me most excited about the third in the series is strictly based on the fact that both previous games' stories, at least for me, gave me the sensation of watching an HBO miniseries.  I became attached to the characters I created, and strove to create good people who made good decisions.  I'm not one to play an RPG and choose the "asshole" responses in dialogue wheels, and the stories of the Dragon Age world always kept me wanting create something good in the Darkspawn-infested world.

I also feel that Dragon Age: Inquisition will look where it belongs on the next-gen console.  The other games were relatively watered-down in their graphical approach, but a lot of those holes were easily filled by imagination.  This game will probably not have the same problem.  What's also exciting is the addition of a customizable keep that will act as a hub for your character during your adventures, as well as added depth to the consequences of your actions (similar to Shadow of Mordor), which developer Bioware has said has a deeper value than the previous games.

I can't wait for either of them, and am expecting these, as well as the next-gen updated Grand Theft Auto 5 to take all the spare time I have (away from all my non-jiu jitsu endeavors).  Autumn and winter, here we come!

 

UFC on Fox 12 - RESULTS

JJ Mortimer

A great night of fights highlighted by an engaging main event, and a destructively-fast co-main event.

Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown

In the main event, Robbie Lawler won a decisive unanimous decision victory against a very game Matt Brown.  Both men went toe to toe, at times both being rocked in the first round.  In the later rounds, the fight began to swing decisively in Lawler's favor as his experience and calmness under pressure kept him in the lead.

PREDICTION:  ROBBIE LAWLER will defeat Matt Brown via TKO in Round 3

ACTUAL:  ROBBIE LAWLER defeated Matt Brown via unanimous decision.

BETTING RESULT:  Correct fighter / Incorrect method / Incorrect round

 

Anthony Johnson vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogeira

In the co-main event, Anthony Johnson surprised possibly nobody by not just beating Antonio Rogerio "Little Nog" Nogeira, but destroying him in under a minute.  Johnson may very well be the scariest man in the UFC's light heavyweight division.

PREDICTION:  ANTHONY JOHNSON will defeat Little Nog via TKO in Round 2.

ACTUAL:  ANTHONY JOHNSON defeated Little Nog via KO in Round 1.

BETTING RESULT:  Correct fighter / correct method / incorrect round

 

 

Bobby Green vs. Josh Thomson

PREDICTION:  GREEN will defeat Thomson via unanimous decision.

ACTUAL:  BOBBY GREEN defeated Josh Thomson via split decision.

 

Jorge Masvidal vs. Daron Cruickshank

PREDICTION:  CRUICKSHANK will defeat Masvidal via TKO (head kick and punches).

ACTUAL:  JORGE MASVIDAL defeated Daron Cruickshank via unanimous decision.

 

Kyle Kingsbury vs. Patrick Cummins

PREDICTION:  KINGSBURY will defeat Cummins via unanimous decision.

ACTUAL:  PATRICK CUMMINS defeated Kyle Kingsbury via unanimous decision.

 

 

 

UFC on Fox 12 - Lawler vs. Brown PREDICTIONS

JJ Mortimer

By JJ Mortimer

UFC on Fox 12 should continue the string of fantastic free cards, when compared to the initial lack of quality of the majority of PPV cards we've been given this year.  Granted, Dillashaw winning the Bantamweight Championship and Machida putting on a hell of a fight against Weidman were great PPV moments this year, but overall, the truly great CARDS have been coming from these free events.

Saturday night will be no different, as Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown smash each other's faces in what is sure to be an early contender for Fight of the Year, and worthy of our PPV money had it actually been a "pay event".

MAIN EVENT:  Robbie Lawler versus Matt Brown

If you love Hollywood-style movie stories surrounding fighters, than Matt Brown is the guy to root for.  He is on a seemingly impossible streak of wins, and fights in a way that very few other fighters perform.  He grinds, constantly pushes forward, and never stops or allows for a boring fight.  He's also like a good old-fashioned blue collar FIGHTER, and not just some guy who has good abs and wears gloves to occasionally hold someone on the ground.  He truly is the definition of a fighter.

On the other hand, Robbie Lawler is a similar kind of pit bull.  You put both of these men in a cage together, and neither of them are really going to be the main aggressor - they are both going to push each other to the limit.  One dog versus another dog, and all you'll see are torn throats and pools of blood.

Only downside is, I feel this may be Matt Brown's time to fall.  I am hoping he can pull out the victory, but Robbie is a smart fighter, and will take advantage of the supposed (and often displayed) weakness of Brown's ability to take body shots. 

PREDICTION:  ROBBIE LAWLER will defeat Matt Brown via TKO in Round 3.

 

CO-MAIN EVENT:  Anthony "Rumble" Johnson vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogeira

Simply put, Little Nog hasn't fought in over a year-and-a-half, and Anthony Johnson is a man with new respect for the game, and vicious disposition who has been active in a weight class that is now comfortable to him.  Nogeira's span in the UFC has been very lackluster, and his fight with Rashad Evans was one of the most unexpectedly boring fights from last year.  Anthony Johnson is on a streak, and is going to be too powerful for the aging Nogeira. 

I can see Johnson being a bit tentative in the opening minutes, but by the end of the first, he will be in full swing and will drive a punch into the floor, which just so happens to be blocked by Nogeira's face.  All Johnson has to do is not get rear-naked choke (the only method he's ever lost a fight to, in reality).

PREDICTION:  ANTHONY JOHNSON will defeat Little Nog via TKO in Round 2.

 

Clay Guida vs. Dennis Bermudez

Ever since Greg Jackson taught Clay Guida how not to lose a fight, he's actually at times become a bit of a boring fighter.  No matter what, I still look forward to watching him.  Both he and Bermudez are active fighters, and Bermudez is on a six-fight win streak, but for some reason I see Guida coming out on top on this one with his superior conditioning, which is a difficult call because this fight can go the exact other way for the exact same reason.

PREDICITON:  CLAY GUIDA will defeat Dennis Bermudez via split decision.

 

Bobby Green vs. Josh Thomson

GREEN will defeat the now-out-of-temporary-retirement Thomson via unanimous decision.

 

Jorge Masvidal vs. Daron Cruickshank

CRUICKSHANK will defeat Masvidal via TKO (head kick and punches).

 

Kyle Kingsbury vs. Patrick Cummins

KINGSBURY will defeat Cummins via unanimous decision.

 

 

The "Jits Shits"

JJ Mortimer

Jits Shits:  "A result of grappling pre-competition jitters;  a phenomena in which, in lieu of vomiting, the human body chooses to void the bowels (obsessively and repetitively) of any and every ounce of excrement out through the anus, and hopefully not onto the gi."

My greatest foe on the mat or in the cage in my five-year stint as an amateur mixed-martial arts competitor was my lack of control on the inner workings of my body in the minutes before competition.  I have been complemented on at least a few occasions on how calm my demeanor is before the fight, but I must admit that I have a fantastic poker face; I may appear to have the confidence of a man with a Royal Flush, but my stomach is readying for the inevitable visit to the toilet for a royal flushing.

Yep.

Yep.

I envision adrenaline as this little coffee pot hanging over my stomach, slowly dripping its fluids drop after drop into the organ's near (and soon to be completely) emptiness.  As I sit still, trying my best not to envision what activity I am about to partake, my stomach begins to swirl and gurgle like an angry dragon ready to shoot fire out of the opening of a cave.  The more I try not to think, the worse it gets.

One hour out from competition, I hit the can.  All is done, and all is clear.  I do some stretching, some light warming up, and I even lie down to try and take a nap.

Fifteen minutes go by.  The dragon is slightly upset.  Toilet visit number two.  Twenty minutes from competition.

At this point, if I'm competing in a grappling tournament, you have to have to put your gi on with your belt tied, and usually there is someone to check to make sure your attire is at regulation in terms of size, smell, and decor.  No pink gi tops with blue pants that smell like cabbage vomited into a baby's dirty diaper.  After the initial check, you wait.  And as Tom Petty once sang, "The waiting is the hardest part." 

Waiting, my friends, makes the coffee-addled dragon an unhappy camper.  The tight belt around the waist is like a barbarian trying his best to put a choker on said dragon, and giant serpents, as you may know, do not like restriction.

I ask permission to leave the waiting area to go to the restroom.  Permission is granted.  I get to the toilet with about ten minutes to spare, but the problem is now that the body is looking for every bit of treasure to add to the toilet booty.  But there is hardly anything left.  And as anyone knows, when you sit down on the toilet five minutes before you have to do anything, you are in for one of the messiest, most burning and rushed sensations you can ever comprehend.  The discomfort becomes quite apparent as your stomach clenches and cramps, doing what it needs to do to get rid of every ounce of fluid at this point.  Basically, take the discomfort of having to shit right before leaving for work, and multiply it by ten, but add in the fire blast from the dragon Smaug, and THAT is what it is like for me right before I go onto the mat for a jiu jitsu tournament.

"About to compete, I see?  Have some fire out your ass for your troubles!"

"About to compete, I see?  Have some fire out your ass for your troubles!"

Luckily, in jiu jitsu, the jitters I get before hand are less than what it once was when I was competing in MMA.  I'm more confident of a ground fighter than I ever was as a stand-up fighter, but the jitters don't give a damn.  My stomach is like that brown-nosed little kid in the fourth grade who kept trying to help his teacher by always raising his hand and ask unnecessary "extra credit" questions, but all the teacher wanted was for him to sit down, shut his mouth, and not become so evident that he was apparently the only voice in class when there were other children to worry about.

My stomach can be related to that little bastard, doing his best to help me out by voiding my stomach of unnecessary....shit.  The rest of my body is like the other quiet children, who want nothing more than for their teacher to not get his arm broken.

 

Just for fun, here's a video related to this situation.  You don't have to watch the whole thing, but when you see it, you will understand why my stomach finds it necessary for me to listen to it:

UFC 175 / "Ultimate Fighter Finale" Results & Thoughts

JJ Mortimer

UFC 175 was a night of strange happenings and settings, but indeed it was exactly the kind of PPV the fans deserved.  After a couple shit turds of an excuse for main events this year, Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida had potential to be just another typical five-round touch-and-go fest (which is typical of a Machida fight, for better or for worse).  What we got instead was a fight that became a slug fest in the later rounds, and a fight that, despite Weidman retaining his belt, saw both men's stock raise considerably from a fight fan's perspective.

MAIN EVENT: CHRIS WEIDMAN (CHAMPION) vs. LYOTO MACHIDA

PREDICTION:  Lyoto Machida would win by decision.

ACTUAL:  CHRIS WEIDMAN wins by decision, remaining the Middleweight champion.

The fight started slow with a much larger Weidman pressing the action, making it very difficult for Machida to counter and land significant strikes with his back close to the cage.  This was the story of the first three rounds, but somewhere in the fourth Machida opened up and started landing.  Not just little punches, but big punches, and Weidman looked dazed and tired for the first time in his career.  The fight would end with Machida in a flurry, winning the bi-partisan crowd over in a back-and-forth battle that had Lyoto bloodied and battered, but Weidman victorious. 

 

CO-MAIN EVENT:  RONDA ROUSEY (CHAMPION) vs. ALEXIS DAVIS

PREDICTION:  Ronda Lousey (Rousey) would win by first round armbar.

ACTUAL:  Ronda Rousey wins by 0:16 Donkey Kong slam and KO.

There's not much to say here.  Ronda has nobody else to fight right now.  This was just a perfect example of feeding a trout to a shark, and it's almost like watching a James Bond movie where the villain sends his victims to the giant evil henchman who can cut their head off with a karate chop to the neck.  You watch the fight not hoping that there will be anything different than the inevitable, but to see just how devastating the result is going to be.  To be clear, Alexis Davis thought referee Yves Lavigne's leg was the teddy bear she spoons with for the better part of thirty seconds after her whoopin'.

 

URIAH HALL vs. THIAGO SANTOS

PREDICTION:  Uriah Hall would win by split decision.

ACTUAL:  Uriah Hall wins by unanimous decision.

A great fight through-and-through, but the highlight wasn't just the fact that Uriah Hall won, but the manner in which he won.  He stayed true to his word (which I had feared would have been a ploy) and came into the cage as a fighter.  Both men landed good shots, but Hall was entertaining to watch, moving around with fantastic footwork even IF his right middle toe wasn't broken.  But it was.  And eww, it was:

At the end of each round, the doctors kept trying to get a closer look at the toe, but Halls' corner men kept shooing them away.  "He's alright.  He's fine," they continued to say, leading the doctors away from the concern of a single injured toe being a fight-stopping mechanism.  Hall continued to bounce on his feet, showing fantastic footwork until the last second, where finally he limped back to his corner in pain.

This is the kind of fight that draws casual fight viewers into fans.  This is the kind of situation and circumstance that the UFC suit-wearers should dream of and respect to the highest degree - a man with a legitimate injury, who puts aside all things to continue on the course of being a world-class fighter.  And succeeds.


URIJAH FABER vs. ALEX CACERAS

PREDICTION:  Urijah Faber would defeat Alex Caceras via rear-naked choke (Round One)

ACTUAL:  Urijah Faber defeats Alex Caceras via rear-naked choke (Round 3)

"The California Kid" versus "Bruce Leeroy" is, in my memory, the biggest mismatch in Zuffa-era UFC history.  Despite the fact that the fight turned out be surprisingly competitive, I can't think of anything logical that would have drawn the matchmakers to think that putting Caceras against Faber was a good idea in the first place.  The fact that it WAS competitive was a surprise - there's literally no damn way anyone would have though that the fight would have gone outside of the first round.  In the end, Caceras has nothing to feel sorry for, because he put on a great fight and was able to land some good shots against the never-UFC-champion.


Ultimate Fighter Season 19 Finale

MAIN EVENT:  B.J. PENN vs. FRANKIE EDGAR

PREDICTION:  Frankie Edgar would defeat B.J. Penn via unanimous decision (49-46)

ACTUAL:  Frankie Edgar finishes a strange B.J. Penn via TKO (Round 3)

I'm really curious to know what the mindset was behind the team training B.J. Penn for his first fight at featherweight.  His stance was too tall, he had no power behind his punches, and just couldn't do anything on the ground outside of holding his feet on Edgar's hips from his back.  While Edgar's performance was impressive (yet again), there was something sad about watching Penn go out the way he did.  He hadn't fought in nearly two years, and was re-motivated to come back and fight one more time.

After the fight, he made mention that he shouldn't have returned, but he was proud to have fought hard and through the pains of competition in the fashion in which his father had taught him.  Once again, he hung up his gloves and announced that this was his last fight.  This time it's for certain.  And he has nothing to be ashamed of for coming back - he is one of the main reasons a huge portion of fight fans are watching MMA today, and an even bigger reason why many fighters even exist today.  Bittersweet and nostalgic is the final return of B.J. Penn.


"ULTIMATE FIGHTER 19" FINALISTS

Light Heavyweight Final:  MATT VAN BUREN vs. COREY ANDERSON

PREDICTION:  Matt van Buren will defeat Corey Anderson via decision.

ACTUAL:  Corey Anderson defeats Matt van Buren via TKO (Round One)

If only these guys fought like this on the show.  By "these guys" I am also referring to Matt van Buren, because he looked like shit in this fight.  And I was hoping he would have eaten shit on the show as well, because he's an annoying piece of work that gives a lot of true fighters in this lifestyle a bad name.  I was more than happy to get my prediction wrong, and to see Corey Anderson perform explosively, finishing van Douchebag before he could even get comfortable inside the cage.

Middleweight Final:  DHIEGO LIMA vs. EDDIE GORDON

PREDICTION:  Dhiego Lima defeats Eddie Gordon via TKO (Round Two)

ACTUAL:  Eddie Gordon defeats Dhiego Lima via TKO (Round One)

This one was a little sad to watch.  Lima was the one fighter the entire season of the show worth rooting for, but he just came up short against a guy in Gordon who was a boring, wrestle-fuck grinder on the show.  I'm not sure anybody expected to see Gordon come out swinging the way he did, but it was surprising (and exciting) to say the least.



POSITIVES:  Ultimate Fighter finalists were surprising in their quick finishes.  Machida probably won more fans in his loss to Weidman than Weidman did in his defense of the belt.  Uriah Hall was the entertaining (and tough) fighter we wanted to see since we first saw him.  Faber versus Caceras was more competitive than anyone (including myself) gave credit to.

NEGATIVES:  Stefan Struve apparently fainted in the back room and hour before he was supposed to make his return to the Octagon.  I was really looking forward to his fight with "Meat Head" Matt Mitrione, but I am concerned about his future in the sport given his heart issues.

POSITIVE & NEGATIVE:  Ronda winning in the way she did.  While she is impressive and dominant, she is also, in a sense, too impressive and dominant.  She just showed that there is literally nobody in the UFC women's bantamweight division that belongs in the cage with her.  Nobody...yet.

WTF MOMENT #!:  George Roop turning in his best marionette impression while getting knocked the hell out:

WTF MOMENT #2:  During a post-fight interview with Ultimate Fighter winner Eddie Gordon, Fox Sports had to put a completely redundant stat at the bottom of the screen, stating that he has "the 4th fastest KO/TKO in a UFC Middleweight debut".  That's almost as retarded as if someone asks you how your day is going, and you respond with, "It's not the best, but if I had to make a list it's probably my 4th favorite day so far this week."

BULLSHIT!:  Uriah Hall NOT getting a "Performance of the Night" bonus for fighting with a broken piece of body.  His dedication to the fight and to entertain the crowd was the exact kind of thing that the UFC brass should be commending.  His broken toe wasn't a "health issue", and he wasn't putting himself in any danger by continuing to fight.  What he did showed guts, and from it he received his glory.

OVERALL BETTING PERCENTAGE:  I went 4-for-7 on my fight picks (57% accuracy)

 

UFC 175 Final Grade:  A

Summary:  UFC 175 had surprises, great finishes, and a middleweight championship that was one of the most exciting back-and-forth battles in recent title fights.  This was a great card, one that may be a bit elevated by the fact that i watched it in a movie theater with a small crowd of fans, but that just added to the fact that THIS is what the fans are paying their money for. 

UFC 175 Predictions (BONUS - Ultimate Fighter Finale)

JJ Mortimer

Machida looks like Rambo, and Weidman looks like a damn circus clown.

Machida looks like Rambo, and Weidman looks like a damn circus clown.

This weekend I have the good fortune of seeing UFC 175 inside a movie theater, at the Thousand Oaks Muvico 14.  I have heard a lot of good things about seeing the fights there (the Premiere seating, the food, alcohol, being able to hear every detail of the fight like you were in the cage with the fighters, etc), and I am feeling like I will be very partial to my review on Sunday in response to the setting with which I see the event.  I have very little doubt that these fights will be better than the near-travesty that was UFC 174, but the giant screen and engrossing sound will make up for whatever lack of action there may be.

At least I can hope.

UFC 175 - Weidman vs. Machida

First off, I am very excited about this Middleweight title fight.  This is a fight that I've been hoping for, even before Vitor Belfort was originally scheduled to challenge Chris Weidman.  Now that Lyoto Machida is the new contender, I don't think there is anyone else in the division who has a better chance of beating the current champion.  Machida will do all of the things that Anderson Silva should have done in his first fight against Weidman, but will do them even better.  The speed of Machida's footwork is better (in my opinion) than Silva's ever was, and his "wait and see" approach to his attacks throws opponents off by sheer anticipation.  Watching Machida fight is often like watching a horror film in the level of suspense - you know he's going to land, you know it's going to be devastating, but it's just a matter of when.

Weidman, on the other hand, has had two very interesting fights with Silva that left a lot of people questioning whether he was truly fighting the best Silva that there was.  In my mind, Weidman performed admirably and cleanly defeated (pun intended on the leg kick) Silva both times.  But Machida is the fucking Dragon.  He's going to burn Weidman down with superior conditioning, wearing him down to the bitter end of a hard-fought decision that will see a lot of wrestling come into play.

MAIN EVENT Prediction - Chris Weidman (Champion) vs. Lyoto Machida

Lyoto Machida will defeat Chris Weidman via decision to become only the third fighter in UFC history to have held a belt in two different weight classes.

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CO-MAIN EVENT - Ronda Rousey (Champion) vs. Alexis Davis

I'm not going to say much more than "who the hell is Alexis Davis?"  I'm sorry to say that, but it's true - she's just one of the few of the limited amount of women fighters left to challenge Ronda in the UFC, at least until they can fill their roster with Holly Holm or Cyborg.  Either way, the odds on Alexis Davis winning are SO LOW that I bet $15 in the off chance she will win because the return is $104.

PREDICITON:

Ronda Rousey defeats Alexis Davis via armbar (Round One), throwing my $15 in the trash.

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Stefan Struve vs. Matt Mitrione

Welcome back, Struve!  I've missed watching this guy fight regularly, but my heart tells me that his first fight back in many months (after medical complications) may not be his best fight.  I have hopes for his bright future, but I have Mitrione taking this fight.

PREDICTION:

Matt Mitrione defeats Stefan Struve via TKO (Round Two)

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Uriah Hall vs. Thiago Santos

Finally, the UFC gives Uriah Hall someone he can beat without being reluctant to do so.  His latest interviews have claimed that he is back to being a fighter without the mental baggage in claim.  I disagree with that statement, because you can't just say that and expect everything to be different than your last three fights.  I give Uriah the upper hand though, but he won't win the way he thinks he's going to win.

PREDICTION:

Uriah Hall defeates Thiago Santos via split decision.

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MISMATCH of the CENTURY:

Urijah Faber vs. Alex Caceras

Who the hell thought this was going to be a good match-up?  Seriously, I'm looking at this fight not from a logical point of view, but a theoretical perspective:  The reason Faber WON'T lose to Caceras is because if he DOES, he will have to retire out of embarrassment.  Faber isn't retiring in that fashion, so he will win by his patented "rear-naked Alpha choke".

PREDICTION:

Urijah Faber defeats "Bruce Leeroy" via rear-naked choke (Round One)

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ULTIMATE FIGHTER 19 FINALE

Season 19 of the Ultimate Fighter reality show was a bit of a letdown.  In retrospect, after this season, I agree that the show should go onto a hiatus.  What was once a format to see who the very best fighter was has become a "weed out the few that really suck" contest.  Seems to me that every season, we get a few fighters who eventually fight in the UFC anyway, regardless of whether they made it to the finals or not.  But, that's a complaint and review for another time. 

On Sunday, we get a rematch with coaches B.J. Penn and Frankie Edgar in a fight that has very little relevance in the Featherweight division other than Edgar probably being able to defeat the legendary Penn for the third time.

MAIN EVENT - B.J. Penn vs. Frankie Edgar

There is nothing in this match-up that tells me the outcome will be any different than the last two encounters.  I'm a huge B.J. Penn fan, but his conditioning has always been an issue.  Edgar's on the other hand is what initially destroyed Penn, and this will again be the case this time around.  My only disappointment with this fight is that it ISN'T a three-rounder, because B.J. would come out even stronger.

PREDICTION:

Frankie Edgar defeats B.J. Penn via decision (49-46), going 3-0 against "The Prodigy".

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"ULTIMATE FIGHTER 19" FINALIST PREDICTIONS:

Light Heavyweight Final:

Matt van Buren will defeat Corey Anderson via decision.

Middleweight Final:

Dhiego Lima defeats Eddie Gordon via TKO (Round Two)

UFC Fight Night 43 & 44 Results

JJ Mortimer

UFC Fight Night 43 - Results

Fight Night 43 was stuck on the UFC's Fight Pass service, which was unfortunate because many people didn't get to see the awesome return of Nate "The Great" Marquardt to the Middleweight division. 

The Co-Main and Main events were headlined by New Zealand's own fighters Soa Palelei and James Te Huna, and the hometown crowd was quickly demoralized, depressed, and guilty for having spent their money because both men were defeated pretty handily.

Co-Main Event:  ACTUAL:  Jared Rosholt defeats Soa Palelei by decision.  PREDICTION:  Soa Palelei would defeat Jared Rosholt by decision.

     I initially predicted the complete opposite of how this fight resulted.  I had Palelei dominating the sloppy heavyweight matchup, but Rosholt decided that his slop was better than Kiwi slop, and took the fight to the ground, sweating out a decision.

Main Event:  ACTUAL:  Nate Marquardt defeats James Te Huna by armbar submission (Round 1).  PREDICTION:  James Te Huna would defeat Nate Marquardt by KO (Round 1).

     Never underestimate a guy who is right back in the division where he belongs.  I thought Marquardt looked small at Welterweight, but at Middleweight he looked right at home, landing those hard, surprising shots that made him famous in the first place.  He dropped Te Huna early with a quick knee that required a time machine to see, and then dominated the hometown boy with his black belt level jiu jitsu - something a lot of people forget he has - eventually tapping him with an armbar at the end of Round One.  Pretty fucking cool.

 

UFC Fight Night 44 - Results

     Again, I'm pissed off because of how good this card was.  I'm not pissed because of IT, but because, once again, a free show was better than the majority of the pay-per-view events we've been forced to buy this year.  Nearly all the fights on the card were fought by men who wanted to prove that they belonged in the upper tier of entertainment combat sports.

     Before Jeremy Stephens and Cub Swanson took to the cage, there were already two fights I had felt were strong contenders for Fight of the Night.  In the last pay-per-view card (UFC 174), I was hard-pressed to even think how Dana White would even choose a fight to be "Fight of the Night" when nearly all of them sucked hairy nut sack.

In the Co-Main event, Kelvin Gastelum and Nicholas Musoke put on a good fight, where a visibly angry Musoke wanted to take his anger out on Gastelum's innards for having not made weight the night before.  Kelvin Gastelum is young, but he needs to get his shit together having had trouble making weight twice now in his four UFC showings.  Regardless, Gastelum looked great in the last two rounds, but I would still like to see what happens to him after a loss.   ACTUAL:  Kelvin Gastelum defeated Nicholas Musoke by decision   PREDICTION:  Kelvin Gastelum defeats Nicholas Musoke by decision.

     In the Main Event, Cub Swanson came back after a shaky second round against Jeremy Stephens to really define his need to get another title shot.  Both guys looks pretty damn good, but Cub's footwork and head movement I believe is what saved him about three different times from getting knocked the fuck out.  On the other hand, Stephens carried the trend of fighters growing giant beards and getting beaten up because of it.  His epic facial hair didn't save him in the later rounds as Cub started to get disgusted by it, choosing to throw body shots instead. 

The result was what a main event fight should be - if it's going to be five rounds of action, make it five rounds of ACTION.  These guys deserved their bonuses.

ACTUAL:  Cub Swanson defeated Jeremy Stephens by decision.  PREDICTION:  Cub Swanson defeats Jeremy Stephens by TKO (Round 3).

 

In the end, my main reaction is not that there are too many UFC events, but there are too few events with an assortment of weight class fights.  In my opinion, EVERY event should have at least one or two heavyweight fights, a light heavyweight fight, and then a bunch of fights close to or AT the weight class of the main event so that we can witness potential contenders for whoever wins/defends the title for that particular class.  I get tired of seeing events with only featherweights or bantamweights.  Variance is key.

Also, when I look forward to pay-per-view events, I want to see more entertaining fights like the ones we got on both cards, rather than fights that seem to only matter in terms of title contention.  What I've found is that the majority of fighters who are in line for a title shot are often overlooking their current opponent, or are playing it safe in an attempt to solidify their position in the rankings. 

The main event at UFC 175, Machida vs. Weidman, looks great on paper, but I have to admit that it's probably going to be pretty boring.  And Ronda Rousey vs. Alexis Davis?  Come on, now.  Put Cub Swanson and Jeremy Stephens on the pay-per-view and leave Ronda on the free cards.  I'm tired of that bitch.

Two UFC Fight Nights (June 28) - Predictions

JJ Mortimer

This weekend there are two Fight Nights - one is free on television, and the other requires you to pay more money for a membership to a service that is incomplete in order to watch an event that is taking place at a time when you are probably asleep.

And someone here is going night-night.

And someone here is going night-night.

First is UFC Fight Night 43 - Marquardt vs. Te Huna

MAIN EVENT

Nate "The Great" Marquardt vs. James "Makes me want to eat a tuna sandwich" Te Huna

Both men are fighting for their jobs.  On paper, this is an odd fight to have as a main event AND on the UFC's illustrious Fight Pass because the transcript looks like two losers who haven't won a fight in over a year.  Nate is nowhere near the fighter he once was when he fought Anderson SIlva for the title (I was hoping he would get a rematch because I felt at the time he was the only man able to beat Silva), and Tuna Fish Sandwich is from New Zealand, so naturally they put him on the New Zealand main event.

Regardless, whoever loses this fight (and someone will lose DEVASTATINGLY) is going to get their termination papers, or whatever they called "walking papers" back in the 30s.  Was it walking papers?  OK, then that's what Nate's going to get because the man's chin is made of paper mache and The Tuna, err, Te Huna, is going to mold his fist into his face.

James Te Huna will defeat Nate Marquardt by KO in Round 1.

CO-MAIN EVENT

Soa Palelei vs. Jared Rosholt

For some reason, Palelei is the betting underdog in this fight.  This is a man who once shook Pat Barry's hand and Pat's eyes rolled over into the back of his head and made him reconsider contact sports.  It was actually a punch but gawdamn what a punch.  Either way, my money is going on the underdog of this sloppy man-belly fight fest as Palelei will smash Jared Rosholt's head into the other side of the UFC mat as he sits on top of him like He-Man on Battle Cat.  Battle Fat...these guys are quite lumpy.  But, it will be a decisively tiring effort as all that punching on Rosholt's evolutionarily-advanced concrete skull will only slow him down and lead him to a decision victory.

Soa Palelei defeats Jared Rosholt via unanimous decision.


Another horrible action Photoshop deal.

Another horrible action Photoshop deal.

Next is UFC Fight Night 44 - Swanson vs. Stephens:

MAIN EVENT

Cub Swanson vs. Jeremy Stephens

Both men are on a winning streak (Swanson with 5, Stephens with 3), and both have never looked better.  What makes this an intriguing matchup is that, in my eyes, both of these men are extremely aggressive, almost to the point of being careless at times.  Swanson keeps his hands low, and Stephens rushes forward with ill-intent.  Technically, Stephens has this fight mainly because of his slightly better face defense and a need to remember fourth grade mathematics.  On the other hand, Swanson's inability to plan ahead for future use of language skills might give him the edge he needs to beat a more complete fighter in Jeremy Stephens.

Cub Swanson defeates Jeremy Stephens in Round 3 via TKO


CO-MAIN EVENT

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Nicholas Musoke

I don't know Musoke either, but Gastelum is pretty motivated for a young fighter, so no matter who he's fighting at this point, I'm giving him the slight edge based solely on the fact he's living his dream. 

Kelvin Gastelum defeats Nicholas Musoke via decision.

UFC 174 Results

JJ Mortimer

Usually I post a picture here from the night's event taken from Yahoo Sports news or MSN, but neither of them were apparently impressed with the card enough to embed up-to-date action photos.

Overall, the card was a complete letdown.  The welcome return of a former champion resulted in an undeserved victory, another fighter's opponent looked drugged and lazy, a title contender overlooked his opponent, and a champion showed that he desperately needs to fight up a weight class to give himself a little bit of a challenge.

I went 2-for-4 in my predictions tonight, leaving me 13-for-19 over the last few PPV events.

*I didn't predict the outcome of the Ovince St. Preux / Ryan Jimmo matchup, so no real comments can be made by me on how the only stoppage on the entire main card came from a verbal tap-out do to a freak accidental / potential arm break.

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ANDRE ARLOVSKI vs. BRENDAN SCHAUB

PREDICTION:  Schaub defeats Arlovski via KO in Round 1.

ACTUAL:  Arlovski defeated Schaub via Split Decision.

I feel that, considering the complete lack of action for the first two rounds, two of the judges just randomly picked a name on their sheet and their blind finger happened to land of Arlovski's side.  The third round was clearly Schaub's, and the first two could have gone either way.  In any case, the fight was completely uneventful (other than the loaf of bread that appeared to be hiding inside Schaub's right cheek at the end of the third round), and I was happy to see Arlovski win - just not like this.

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RYAN BADER vs. RAFAEL "FEIJAO" CAVALCANTE

PREDICTIONCavalcante defeats Bader via TKO in Round 2.

ACTUAL:  Bader defeated "Feijao" via Unanimous Decision.

Bader looked impressive; but in my eyes, the fact that he couldn't finish a fighter in "Feijao", a man whose conditioning has come into question in the past and clearly looked tonight like his corner accidentally drugged his water bottle, I feel a little less impressed with the winning performance.  A one-sided boring fight.

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TYRON WOODLEY vs. RORY MACDONALD

PREDICTIONMacDonald defeats Woodley via decision (29-28) 

ACTUAL:  MacDonald defeated Woodley via decision (30-27)

Again, another fight where a competitor complaining that he should have the next title shot gets dominated by the fighter he's currently overlooking.  After the first 60 seconds, Woodley was completely out of his game as MacDonald dominated the living shit out of him.  The one upside to Woodley was his ass was on the cage enough to cover up that god-awful sponsor, Dude Wipes.

MacDonald should get the next shot at the welterweight title.

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DEMETRIOUS JOHNSON vs. ALI BAGAUTINOV

PREDICITONJohnson defeats Bagautinov via Unanimous Decision (50-45)

ACTUAL:  Johnson defeated Bagautinos via Unanimous Decision (50-45)

Seriously, did anyone else see another outcome?  Johnson put on a dominant performance, but there was no surprise in the fight, and nothing to show  that there is currently anyone else in the division to give him any kind of trouble.  This fact makes for a very boring future, and a dilemma for the matchmakers and UFC PPV card-fillers.  The crowd was audibly bored with the fight, as well.

 

UFC 174 Final Grade:  C-

Overall, the card was a complete letdown.  The auditorium was not very packed as the Canadians were clearly more aware than I that the card was going to be uneventful.  Two pretty obvious decisions and two unexpected and boring decisions made for a lackluster event.  And in the case of Demetrious Johnson, I feel the next thing for him to do is go back UP to Bantamweight and challenge for that title.  There is nobody left for him at flyweight, and the division is pretty small.

UFC 174 Predictions

JJ Mortimer

I almost wrote this card off a month ago, but now it's starting to feel exciting.  We get a title fight with Demetrious Johnson, arguably the best fighter in the UFC, and the return of one of my original favorite fighters in Andrei Arlovski.  The only possible downside is that Arlovski is going to get finished, and Johnson is going to dominate an over-matched opponent, making for a very one-sided affair.

in the MAIN EVENT:

DEMETRIOUS JOHNSON (UFC Flyweight Champion) vs. ALI BAGAUTINOV

Johnson will retain his title based solely upon that fact that pronouncing Bag-a-uuu-tee-nov's name is damn near impossible.  Champion names should be relatively easy to roll off the tongue. 

Seriously though, Johnson is too fast and there isn't much of anyone who can compete against him just yet.  Johnson wins the fight via unanimous decision (50-45).

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in the CO-MAIN EVENT:

TYRON WOODLEY vs. RORY MACDONALD

I can't stand Rory MacDonald.  The guy once used the girliest Rihanna song to walk out to, and didn't do so out of irony or fun.  He did it because he's a hipster douchebag, and has terrible taste in music.  Unfortunately, he's also a very talented fighter.  ALSO unfortunately, he's a talented boring fighter.

On the flip side, Tyron Woodley is ALSO a relatively boring fighter when he tries to make it a wrestle-fuck match with his opponent, and his conditioning is nowhere near as good as MacDonald's (wow, that's a pun out of context).  I give Woodley the advantage in the first round, but MacDonald will survive and take the fight to a decision.  MacDonald wins via unanimous decision (29-28), making him next in line for the welterweight title shot.

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RYAN BADER vs. RAFAEL "FEIJAO" CAVALCANTE

I'm actually looking forward to this fight, because I'm not the biggest Ryan Bader fan.  I'm also not a huge "Feijao" fan, but he has had a lot of success knocking out wrestlers in the past, so I see him having similar successes against the glassier-chinned-than-usual Bader.

Cavalcante defeats Bader via TKO in ROUND 2.

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ANDREI ARLOVSKI vs. BRENDAN SCHAUB

Since he learned how to submit people, I've become a bit of a better fan to Schaub.  He's still kind of a doof, and he's also fighting one of my all-time favorite fighters.  Back in the early-to-mid 2000s, Arlovski was a seemingly unbeatable, ripped-as-hell heavyweight.  But, this isn't 2004, and he's had a string of losses outside of the UFC that exposed how suspect and paper-thin his chin is.  His standup skills are not as good as they once were (his fight against Anthony Johnson in WSOF is evidence of that), and Schaub is only getting better.  I don't think Schaub will pull a submission off on the Sambo master, but I do think he has it in him to put Arlovski to sleep.  I'm going to be bold and say Schaub will defeat Arlovski via KO in ROUND 1.

 

SUMMARY:

Johnson wins by unanimous decision (50-45)

MacDonald wins by unanimous decision (29-28)

Cavalcante wins by TKO (Round 2)

Schaub wins by KO (Round 1)

UFC 173 Results

JJ Mortimer

It was a shocker and an upset, but far from upsetting.  TJ Dillashaw did what many (including myself) did not think he had in him to accomplish - defeating, nay, DESTROYING, the man considered by some to be the pound-for-pound best fighter alive.  It was an outcome I wanted but did not expect.  And my hands JUST stopped sweating from the tension.

What made Dillashaw's victory even sweeter was that he didn't just ride out the clock to secure the victory.  He stayed aggressive, never once paying attention to how many points he may be up on the scorecard.  He came into the first round strong, and ended up plastering a head kick with follow-up punches to ground Barao, finishing the fight in a TKO victory with the attitude of a man who was down on the scorecards and also had nothing to lose.

I would have to agree with Joe Rogan in that TJ Dillashaw's Championship performance tonight was one of the greatest performances in modern fight history.

PREDICTIONBARAO defeats Dillashaw by TKO (Round 3)

ACTUAL:  DILLASHAW deated Barao by TKO (Round 5) to become the new UFC Bantamweight Champion

 

CO-MAIN EVENT - Daniel Cormier versus Dan Henderson

PREDICTION:  CORMIER defeats Henderson via unanimous decision.

ACTUAL:  CORMIER defeats Henderson via submission (rear-naked choke) in Round 3

Dan Henderson asked for this fight, and from the very beginning of the announcement, nearly everyone could see it was a huge mismatch.  Cormier had the size advantage, youth advantage, skill-set advantage, and the momentum.  Henderson, on the other hand, while having the heart of a fucking lion for asking for this matchup, was also taking the fight during his first non-exemption for his testosterone replacement therapy.  He was underweight (199 lbs), and Cormier looked like a heavyweight in comparison. 

I have to give Henderson all the respect he deserves for the amazing feats he has accomplished in the past in Pride AND the UFC, but he either needs to drop to the Middleweight class or stop asking for such high-level opponents.  I want to see him win, but he has no chance against Jon Jones or Chris Weidman.

 

Robbie Lawler versus Jake Ellenberger

PREDICTION:   LAWLER defeats Ellenberger via TKO (Round 2).

ACTUAL:  LAWLER defeated Ellenberger via TKO (Round 3)

Pretty damn close to my prediction.  Lawler fights with the experience of a man who just doesn't give a shit for all the right reasons.  Ellenberger, on the other hand, looked completely out of place for the most part.  Lawler struck him hard from the very start, and ended up putting the man out of his misery with a couple well-placed eye punches.  Possibly one more fight and Lawler will get another shot at the title.

 

Jamie Varner versus James Krause

PREDICTION:  VARNER defeats Krause by split decision.

ACTUAL:  KRAUSE defeated Varner via TKO (disgusting rubbering of a broken left ankle in the first round).

Honestly, watching the replays of Varner's rubber ankle was one of the most stomach-churning things that I've seen since Jon Jones broke his big while toe trying to rape Chael Sonnen.  And Anderson Silva has broken his leg since then, but STILL, for some reason, watching Varner gut it out and try to simply walk on a foot that had absolutely no support was fucking disturbing.  Some things just get me more than others, I guess.

 

In the end, I got 2 out of 4 correct on my main card pics.  Since UFC 172, my predictions stand at:

11 correct pics on the winner in 15 total fights.

For you betting fans, that a 73% success rate.

 

UFC 173 Final Grade: A

Dillashaw surprised in the best possible way, which made up for the disappointment of seeing one of my all-time favorite fighters in Dan Henderson get man-handled like a vegan in a steak-eating competition.  Lawler was on point, and Varner's attempts at walking in defiance of human anatomy and gravity will give me nightmares for at least two days.

UFC 173 Predictions

JJ Mortimer

At first, this card felt like a list of heavy favorites versus MASSIVE underdogs, but after last week's Fight Night (with nine underdog victories, according to Las Vegas betting odds), chances are this PPV event will have some surprising results.

But, then my brain takes control and looks at the card objectively, and now I can't decide what the hell to think.  Here are my predictions anyway, both objective AND subjective natures taken into account:

 

MAIN EVENT - UFC Bantamweight Championship

Renan Barao (Champion) vs. TJ Dillashaw

I have high hopes for Dillashaw, but I just don't see this coming out as well for him as I may want.  Current champion Renan Barao is explosive, experienced, and fights (and looks) like a wild animal primate mutant.  TJ will put up a good fight for the first round, but will get caught somewhere in the second or third in a vicious flurry that will allow Barao to maintain his belt.

PREDICTIONBARAO defeats Dillashaw by TKO (Round 3)

 

CO-MAIN EVENT

Daniel Cormier vs. Dan Henderson

This fight is the one that came across as the biggest mismatch on the card.  Henderson has balls, and has never asked for or expected an easy fight.  Even at 43-years old, he puts himself constantly in line for title contention.  Unfortunately, Daniel Cormier is just too damn strong a wrestler, and more dynamic at his point in his career than Henderson is in his.  The fan inside of me wants Henderson to win HUGE with an overhand right that will give Cormier his first (and devastating) loss, but Cormier is going to press him against the cage and make for a relatively boring fight.

PREDICTION:  CORMIER defeats Henderson via unanimous decision.

 

Robbie Lawler vs. Jake Ellenberger

I have high hopes that this will end up being fight of the night.  Robbie Lawler is Robbie Lawler, and Jake Ellenberger can take a hell of a punch.  The only thing that concerns me about the current Lawler is how willingly he looked to have given up in the last round of his title shot against Johny Hendricks.  Fortunately this is a three-round affair, and I can see the first round being pretty back-and-forth, with Lawler coming out on top with a TKO victory in the second round (ground and pound).

PREDICTION:   LAWLER defeats Ellenberger via TKO (Round 2).

 

Jamie Varner vs. James Krause

Coming off of a two fight losing skid, Varner will hopefully be fighting with "job security" on his mind.  Both of his previous losses were exciting, close fights, and I see the same thing happening on this one.  Krause had a hell of a win streak before losing his last fight, but I see a certain immediacy in the mind of Varner that will put him on top, and help him retain his job.

PREDICTION:  VARNER defeats Krause by split decision.

 

UFC Fight Night - Brown vs. Silva Results

JJ Mortimer

1.  Matt Brown vs. Erik Silva - PREDICTION: BROWN will defeat Silva via TKO (Round 2) ACTUAL:  BROWN defeated Silva via TKO in Round 3.

Matt Brown is truly the "Immortal."  After getting dropped early with a body kick in the first round, he defends choke attempts by Silva to return to his feet and fire back with a barrage of strikes in what could possibly be one of the best rounds I've witnessed in the past year of MMA.  After pushing the pace through the second round (and surviving another tough body shot), he comes back in the third and demolishes a withered Silva to earn yet another TKO/KO victory in his seventh straight win.

Expect a title shot next for Matt Brown.

2.   Lorenz Larkin vs. Costas Philippou - PREDICTION:  PHILIPPOU will defeat Larkin via unanimous decison (29-28).  ACTUAL:  PHILIPPOU defeated Larkin via KO in the first round.

3.  Erik Koch vs. Daron Cruickshank - PREDICTION:  CRUICKSHANK will defeat Koch via TKO (referee stoppage) in Round 2.  ACTUAL:  CRUICKSHANK defeated Koch via TKO in Round 1.

4.  Soa Palelei vs. Ruan Potts - PREDICTION:  PALELEI will win via sloppy, gassed-out, fat-man decision.  ACTUAL:  PALELEI won via KO in Round 1.

5.  Eddie Wineland vs. Johnny Eduardo - PREDICTION:  WINELAND will defeat Johnny Eduardo.  ACTUAL:  EDUARDO defeated Wineland by KO in Round 1.

6.  Nik Lentz vs. Manny Gamburyan - PREDICTION:  LENTZ will defeat Gamburyan.  ACTUAL:  LENTZ defeats Gamburyan by unanimous decision.

 

Overall, I went 5 for 6 in my predictions (83% success rate).

Again, a free UFC event outperforms a UFC PPV event.  It seems like nearly every Fight Night that premiers before a "high profile" PPV event ends up scoring the more knockouts, finishes, and exciting encounters between the two.  I was very pleased with the fact that nearly every underdog on the card (according to the betting odds) was the victor, and the main event put a cap on just what it means for fighters to truly fight for their money.  Matt Brown's devotion to fighting and putting on exciting fights garnered him an additional $100,000 in bonus money.  For any fighter complaining about pay, try fighting with as much heart as Brown, and perhaps you will earn the money you think you deserve.  Just a thought.

UFC Fight Night Overall Grade:  A

UFC Fight Night - Brown vs. Silva Predictions

JJ Mortimer

Both men look like they need more fiber in their diets.

Both men look like they need more fiber in their diets.

A few predictions for this Saturday's fight card, many fights of which I don't have any real investment in but will watch because I'm a fan of MMA:

1.  Matt Brown vs. Erik Silva - Brown will defeat Silva via TKO in the second round.

Erik Silva is so hot-and-cold in his performances, choosing to be "creative" with his striking and failing miserably in one fight (versus Dong Hyun Kim), and then looking explosive and fantastic in another (against Jason High).  On the other hand, Matt Brown is a granite-chinned hyena who will laugh in the face of Silva and beat the ever-living shit out of him.  Also, judging by patterns on Erik Silva's fight history, he has exchanged losses and victories back and forth for six straight fights, while Brown has WON six straight fights (five of which were KO/TKO victories).

2.   Lorenz Larkin vs. Costas Philippou - Philippou will defeat Larkin via unanimous decison (29-28).  Lay-and-pray on both men's parts (pun both intended and not intended) will make this an uneventful match-up.

3.  Erik Koch vs. Daron Cruickshank - Cruickshank will defeat Koch via TKO (referee stoppage) in the second round.  Probably with knees.  Probably to the face.

4.  Soa Palelei vs. Ruan Potts - Palelei will win via sloppy, gassed-out, fat-man decision.

5.  Eddie Wineland will defeat Johnny Eduardo by the simple fact that he's awesome and carries his hands so low as to raise suspicion that he doesn't give a shit about his memory of fourth grade math.  That's a scary dude who fights like that.

6.  Nik Lentz will defeat Manny Gamburyan because Manny trains with Ronda Rousey, and I can't stand that bitch right now, so I give the edge simply to Lentz for that reason alone.

Lastly, Erik Silva, Erik Koch, and Nik Lentz all have names in this odd pattern of omitting the letter "c".  At least Johnny Eduardo spells his name common-like with more than one "n" - unlike Johny Hendricks (which to me reads "Joan-y Hendricks".  I can't help it)..