Monday, August 24, 2009

"Guerrilla's Pick" / - 8.25.09

What is an adept prognosticator to do about the upcoming Nogueira v. Couture main event bout? This fight is literally a nightmare to select as there are so many variables and unanswered questions surrounding both fighters that even my lucky coin stood on edge when I attempted to call it in the air.
One rule I follow with tremendous success is to never pick a fighter coming off a TKO loss in his last outing coupled with a layoff which disqualifies both warriors as Randy lost via TKO to Lesnar last November and Nog put in his worst looking performance ever as Mir vanquished him with a TKO last December. Another criteria I use is to stay away from a fighter who seems to be tailing off and has had many brutal wars from which to recover. Again, this leaves me scratching my follically challenged head as I wonder in absolute amazement when the sand will finally drain from the competitive hourglass on Captain America.
In the opposing corner, Nogueira was reportedly suffering from an injured leg and a staph infection in his dreadful showing against a sharp Mir just after Santa, but sure looked like a lummox lumbering around the octagon attempting to protect himself. His stand-up game completely deserted him and shots he once shrugged off staggered him and scrambled his faculties. Just plain ugly!
So, I look to the line for guidance and again no help as I'm actually a bit surprised to find Couture the favorite at -170 as he does tend to struggle against larger fighters who are skilled in submissions. Barnett, Ricco, and Lesnar all handled Randy and neutralized his dirty boxing. I would feel very comfortable selecting the intimidating Minotauro of Pride days but that line is cause for concern.

So I'm left to dissect strategies....Randy needs to assert himself early, dominate the clinch, cause damage to slow Nog, and transition well in scrambles avoiding the chokes. We know he'll be fit and have a master plan and a backup, but can he execute if the real former champion returns? Nogueira needs to be sharp in his boxing, don't let Randy dictate and bring the armor he once donned absorbing gut-wrenching ground and pound shots from Fedor. Get the fight to the ground in dominant position and wear out the light heavyweight while looking to choke.

My selection in this fight is going to be to give the nod to Nogueira and though Couture has burned me before (first Belfort fight ), and selecting 170 dogs has a very low success rate, I'm willing to throw out that last performance against Mir as Antonio bounces back and secures the victory against one of my favorite UFC fighters .......Minotauro by late choke or UD.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Guerrilla's Pick" / - 8.5.09

Anderson Silva steps up to 205 to clash with the popular ultimate fighter hero Forrest Griffin. The spider is considered by most as one of the top pound for pound fighters in the business. Armed with devastating precision strikes, fearsome Thai skills, a ruthless clinch, and an underrated ground game, Silva is downright menacing. Forrest is a scrappy, determined, refined brawler who never backs away from danger. Griffin eagerly climbed into the cage as an overwhelming underdog against Mauricio Shogun and stopped the Pride GP Champion in stunning fashion when most had an overnight stay in the hospital booked for him.

This match is interesting as Forrest will ignite the crowd with his charisma and his endearing undaunted attitude. He is in the most peril in round 1 though as Anderson is out to prove his KO power in this division after criticism over recent lackluster performances. Forrest is typically a slow starter who actually needs to get hit at times to boost his adrenaline and get into the bout. This will prove his undoing however, as Silva will oblige and knock out the former champ late in round 1........Run Forrest ......Silva TKO

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Guerrilla's Pick" / - 8.4.09

In a battle between the two best lightweights, BJ Penn is forced to train and diet dropping back to 155 to defend against a focused, determined, and anxious Kenny Florian. The prodigy is an aptly named, naturally gifted fighting virtuoso who typically steps up in weight looking for challenges. He is particularly dangerous at the lightweight level where he doesn't give away any size or strength. Florian is a master student of the game, improving his skills immeasurably as he takes out each opponent and he is mentally unflappable.

This is indeed an intriguing bout as natural ability is up against intense determination and desire. The question here is can Ken Flo execute a perfect game plan and remain steadfast in his quest for the belt pushing Penn and avoiding damage while dragging him into deep water to break his spirit? Or is BJ simply too talented at this weight?

The line touts Penn as a 2 to 1 favorite , the only 55-er that would be favored by that margin over Florian. While I would be cautious to lay such a big number against Kenny, I simply cannot pick BJ to lose at this weight. We will see the best KF ever, but he is not GSP and is overmatched against this fighter. Penn-cil in BJ for tough UD.....

Thursday, July 9, 2009

UFC 100 (pt. 3)



Prior to the main event bouts, Dan Henderson collides with Michael Bisping in an intriguing match-up of vastly different styles. Hendo is one of the most decorated of MMA athletes, as he was the champion in two weight classes in Pride before climbing into the cage. Bisping is a charismatic fighter who sports an impressive record (18-1) with his only blemish coming as a split decision loss to Rashad Evans. He did struggle however against Matt Hamill one may call into question the quality of his opponents for the majority of his victories. Chris Leben is the only name that all but the most avid fans can retrieve from memory without consulting the record books. This bout is clearly an enormous step up in class for the Englishman.

Henderson will look to clinch and utilize his superior wrestling skills to control Bisping. His opponent should look to mix it up, strike, and scramble to avoid the dangerous Greco-Roman positions where Hollywood is lethal. The line has Henderson a slightly better than 2 to 1 favorite at -215 and a quick glance at his resume will validate that number.

I look for Dan to control the action early and then unleash a looping overhand right coming off the clinch that sends Bisping down for the "count" (pun intended !).....Hendo KO 2.


Monday, July 6, 2009

UFC 100 (pt. 2)



The co-main event of the evening pits Jackson Submission fighter Georges St. Pierre (Champion) against the #3 ranked Thiago "Pit Bull" Alves from American Top Team. GSP has dominated this division and recently dismantled the current gritty #2 Jon Fitch (also on the card). Considered by many at the top of the pound for pound best argument alongside Anderson Silva and Fedor Emelianenko, it is no surprise that GSP is an overwhelming -300 to retain the belt.
Alves is an aptly nicknamed voracious competitor who has 4 quality wins over Koscheck, Parisyan, Hughes, and Lytle. He also battled Fitch valiantly yet was vanquished by a brutal up kick during a scramble. He blazes around the cage with a torrent pace that would even make Clay Guida take notice. This brings to mind a quote from GSP prior to facing an over matched Frank Trigg , "He can't andle my riddum" (sic). Alves most certainly can and thrives on tempo.
This is a fascinating matchup as I have learned in this sport that just when you start to consider a fighter virtually unbeatable it becomes time to re-size the belt. Sure GSP is well-rounded, exquisitely trained, and confident but I submit that the line in this fight is too high. 3-1 is tough to lay down against a young fireball who fights with conviction and the aforementioned pace. I do know a very savvy MMA virtuoso who is a sorcerer with underdogs who has taken Alves in this battle.
I think an extremely important factor in this fight is the height differential as GSP is a large Welterweight while Alves is rather short and compact. I'm obviously tempted to take the challenger in this bout but my final pick is going to be GSP as I wouldn't lay the wood but do think he simply has more ways to win. GSP late in the bout after being pressed by a game "Pit Bull"......

Saturday, July 4, 2009

UFC 100



UFC 100 sports an epic card with several fascinating matchups and the potential for two belts to change waists in the octagon. I expect this card to shatter pay per view records as most purist MMA fans would be remiss to not witness one of the most anticipated events in the eight sided cage's tumultuous history.

The heavyweight title fight is indeed an intriguing rematch as Las Vegas Combat Club's Frank Mir battles Minnesota Martial Arts monster Brock Lesnar. It is interesting to note that the MMA world rankings lists Mir as the #3 heavy and Lesnar #7 as Brock has beaten the #5 (Couture) and is a solid -220 favorite across numerous Vegas lines. The money has obviously disregarded both the prior outcome and the ranking ladder.

The keys to a Mir victory are bounteous while Lesnar's game plan appears simple and resembles the old Green Bay Packer power sweep as he will attempt to assert his size, brute strength, and athleticism to control the top and pummel Mir as he unleashes hammer fists that would make a carpenter jealous. Mir must counter with his world class JJ skills and transition effectively. He needs his top cardio fitness level to remain dangerous and seize any small advantage with superior submission techniques to throw a lock on Brock.

Mir is known to be a fight professor as he was remarkably proficient with his stand up striking and game plan against a heavily favored Nogueira in his last visit inside the cage. I suggest he review the Herring match in which Lesnar manhandled the Texas crazy horse. He also needs to flow like water during scrambles and avoid the type of punishment he took in his attempt at leg locks and heel hooks in the Freeman fight. Simply, he needs to assert himself mentally, and use his experience and tactical wisdom to give Lesnar threats from all angles while avoiding dangerous positions.

The MMA purists seem to love to hate Lesnar yet the line is telling you who the action is on. There is no way this one goes the distance and while it’s tough to bet against fighters greater than 2 to 1 favorites I'm going out on an arm-barred limb to pick the upset here as Mir the underdog submits the mammoth Viking midway thru round three.

- J.Seijas/