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.
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.
Ronda Rousey defeats Alexis Davis via armbar (Round One), throwing my $15 in the trash.
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.
Matt Mitrione defeats Stefan Struve via TKO (Round Two)
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.
Uriah Hall defeates Thiago Santos via split decision.
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".
Urijah Faber defeats "Bruce Leeroy" via rear-naked choke (Round One)
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.
Frankie Edgar defeats B.J. Penn via decision (49-46), going 3-0 against "The Prodigy".
"ULTIMATE FIGHTER 19" FINALIST PREDICTIONS:
Light Heavyweight Final:
Matt van Buren will defeat Corey Anderson via decision.
Dhiego Lima defeats Eddie Gordon via TKO (Round Two)