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UFC 226 and TUF Finale Preview – Why Can’t We Have Nice Things


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Going into this week, I was pumped to see all of the pre-fight night promotional stuff that the UFC planned for International Fight Week. Recently though, International Fight Week has had some rough luck. In 2015, Jose Aldo pulled out of his scheduled fight with Conor McGregor due to injury. In 2016, Jon Jones popped for a banned substance just days before his scheduled fight with Daniel Cormier, and then the whole Brock Lesnar USADA Exemption Mark Hunt thing occurred after the fact. In 2017, Amanda Nunes was hospitalized the day before the fight due to a sinus infection. And Now, Unfortunately, the string of International Fight Week Misfortunes continue as Max Holloway was pulled from the card due to experiencing concussion-like symptoms. The saving grace of the weekend is still intact though and it is the fight between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic.

The Ultimate Fighter Redemption: Finale

Middleweight: Brad Tavares (+110) Vs. Israel Adesanya (-130)

Brad Tavares has really come into his own over the last two years, since his return to the Octagon after an extended layoff, he is 4-0 with his victories coming over Caio Magalhaes, Elias Theodorou, Thales Leites, and Krzysztof Jotko. Tavares is now the only High-Profile Hawaiian fighting this weekend upon learning the news of Max Holloway’s Concussion. Tavares is on the up and up, which makes his matchup with Middleweight Prospect Israel Adesanya much more intriguing. Israel Adesanya is a Middleweight Prospect out of New Zealand with a record of 13-0 and might be the best Kickboxing Prospect the UFC has ever seen. In his two UFC Fights, he has seen two extremes in victory. Against Rob Wilkinson, Adesanya ran away with the fight, utterly destroying Wilkinson on the feet. But against Marvin Vettori, he was put in very tough positions, scrapped through and ended up winning by split decision. Israel Adesanya has told people not to doubt him and I didn’t doubt him in his last two fights, I am doubting him in this fight against Brad Tavares, It’s too much too quick for the Kiwi. Brad Tavares Def. Israel Adesanya

Other Selections:

Lightweight: Joe Giannetti (-165) Def. Mike Trizano (+135)

Featherweight: Brad Katona (-185) Def. Jay Cucciniello (+145)

Featherweight: Alex Caceres (-130) Def. Martin Bravo (+110)

Women’s Flyweight: Barb Honchak (-175) Def. Roxanne Modafferi (+155)

Middleweight: Julian Marquez (-150) Def. Alessio Di Chirico (+130)

Women’s Flyweight: Montana De La Rosa (-175) Def. Rachael Ostovich (+155)

Lightweight: Luis Pena (-370) Def. Richie Smullen (+310)

Lightweight: Allan Zuniga (+160) Def. John Gunther (-185)

Featherweight: Matt Bessette (-175) Def. Steven Peterson (+135)

Middleweight: Gerald Meerschaert (+175) Def. Oskar Piechota (-230)

Featherweight: Tyler Diamond (UNL) Def. Bryce Mitchell (UNL)

I am 269-165-6 with my picks since I started doing this.

UFC 226

Light Heavyweight: Gokhan Saki (-130) Vs. Khalil Rountree (+110)

Gokhan Saki’s record is somewhat underwhelming when people take a look at it. People don’t understand that Saki’s realm of dominance isn’t necessarily the octagon but the Kickboxing ring. As a professional Kickboxer, Saki went 83-12 and won a K-1 championship and Glory Kickboxing championship in his career. As you can see, while he hasn’t been inside a cage often, Saki still has a wealth of Combat Sports experience. Khalil Rountree has a longer MMA Career, but his accolades don’t hold similar weight to Saki’s. Rountree is 6-2 with 1 no contest, in his no contest fight he was outworked by Michal Oleksiejczuk for the entire 15 minutes, and seemed to gas out very quickly. If he gassed out that Quickly against Gokhan Saki he would’ve been six feet under within a minute. Gokhan Saki Def. Khalil Rountree

Lightweight: Michael Chiesa (-160) Vs. Anthony Pettis (+140)

This is a great fight for both of these competitiors. Chiesa can show that he is still a top level talent in the 155 pound division and Pettis can show that he still has the ability to fight with the best of the division. This is a very even matchup when you take a closer look at it. Pettis has only lost to top lightweights since losing his belt back in 2015 and Chiesa has only lost to game opponents who we found out were a level above him in overall game. I am going to pick Chiesa, from what I’ve heard on various podcasts and articles, Pettis’ problem is a mental one, he is in his own head about what to do and just cant get out of his funk. Chiesa is a very talented grappler and can rely on that if he needs to negate Pettis’ Striking. Michael Chiesa Def. Anthony Pettis

Welterweight: Paul Felder (-155) Vs. Mike Perry (+135)

Mike Perry really dropped the ball when he lost to Max Griffin in his hometown of Orlando last April, and I was surprised when he was matched up with Yancy Medeiros for UFC 226. Medeiros is a fighter higher up in the rankings then Max Griffin and I was expecting Yancy to come in and mop the floor with Perry. Alas, Medeiros pulled out of the fight due to injury and Perry was left without an opponent. In comes Lightweight Paul Felder, who lost his opponent James Vick when he was moved to a much more high profile matchup. This was the second time in a row that Felder’s fight fell through as Al Iaquinta was moved up to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 for the Strap. Felder thought, Fuck it I’ll fight Mike Perry. I’m picking Felder, Perry is as I said multiple times before, a One-Trick Boxer. Felder can win in multiple ways and he’s fired up. Paul Felder Def. Mike Perry

Heavyweight: Derrick Lewis (+325) Vs. Francis Ngannou (-400)

Derrick Lewis is coming off of a scary KO victory over Marcin Tybura and looked like his old self in the victory. Francis Ngannou was exposed during his title fight with Stipe Miocic. We found out that Ngannou has no ground game to speak of and very poor conditioning. Now typically I’d say that those flaws would be huge hinderences for Ngannou, but not against Derrick Lewis. Lewis is a classic Heavyweight, he is one who will stand in the pocket and trade often, no matter who the opponent is. I think Francis will win, I think it will be via TKO due to Strikes. Francis Ngannou Def. Derrick Lewis

Heavyweight: Stipe Miocic (-215) Vs. Daniel Cormier (+195)

Stipe Miocic is the most successful Heavyweight Champion ever and might be the best Heavyweight the UFC has ever seen. Daniel Cormier is an established champion at Light Heavyweight and had a storied Heavyweight run during his time in Strikeforce. I love this fight so much as it is the Realest Superfight the UFC has ever put on. Stipe Miocic began his tear through the Heavyweight division after his defeat at the hands of Junior Dos Santos. Miocic defeated Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovski, Fabricio Werdum to win the belt, Alistair Overeem, and avenged his loss to Junior Dos Santos, winning all by KO or TKO. He then faced the most exciting UFC Heavyweight Prospect in the history of the promotion in Francis Ngannou by pummeling him in every grappling facet that he had. Stipe has been tested as a champion and has passed every test with flying colors, but he hasn’t faced anything like DC. Daniel Cormier is a top three fighter in the UFC at the moment, and finished his last opponent, Volkan Oezdemir by TKO. By casual MMA Fans, Daniel Cormier is known as Jon Jones’ Rival/Punching bag, but by hardcore fans, he is known as a shining example of how a fighter should carry himself (Let’s just forget the UFC 178 press conference fight didn’t happen). DC’s Wrestling is elite, he has knockout power in both hands and is very smart when the grappling exchanges occur. I have a feeling that this fight will likely stay standing up for a majority of the fight, and I feel like DC will not be able to get around Miocic’s eight inch reach advantage. If the fight does go to the ground, I think that Miocic’s Wrestling background will be able to keep him alive in the exchanges that DC will probably get the better of. When coming to a decision of who to pick, I looked back to UFC 192, where Daniel Cormier took on Alexander Gustafsson. Gustafsson had a sizeable reach advantage in their battle, much like Miocic will have, Gustafsson also has stout all-around MMA Skills, much like Miocic. The difference between the two is Miocic has pulled away from the competition when it mattered, and it will happen again. Stipe Miocic Def. Daniel Cormier

Other Picks:

Middleweight: Paulo Costa (-400) Def. Uriah Hall (+325) *Hall could upset anyone on his best day, tossing money on the underdog here isn’t a bad move.

Bantamweight: Raphael Assuncao (-170) Def. Rob Font (+150)

Welterweight: Curtis Millender (-165) Def. Max Griffin (+145)

Lightweight: Gilbert Burns (+100) Def. Dan Hooker (-120)

Lightweight: Drakkar Klose (+160) Def. Lando Vannata (-185)

Women’s Strawweight: Jamie Moyle (-190) Def. Emily Whitmire (+165)

 

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