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/

Sunday, June 7, 2009



JUNE 7, 2009 --11:45 /

It's hard to think of any other 5 rounder in memory where a championship re-match (with essentially the same results via a completely different route), would lead to immediate calls for a third encounter. And soon. Does that make sense? Well, the fight fans among you know exactly what I'm talking about.

The WEC and ZUFFA are in precisely this situation because two of the sports "biggest heart" contenders threw the kitchen sink at each other tonight. Despite the fact that the belt is still worn by the "no fluke" and deserving champ in Mike Brown, the question of who is the best in the world at 145 lbs. is still not answered. Not for my money.

Like most other viewers I was saddened to see the fight go the way it did after the third round, because I, like most of us, thought it would have been best to have had a "fair" fight between these two equals reach a very decisive outcome. That's not what we got. I remained a little bummed about it until the 5th round when it hit me (and apparently it hit Kenny Florian then also), that we were witnessing greatness.

Brown's accomplishment aside, to the keen eye it was Faber who stole the spotlight. Taking the 4th and 5th rounds as a microcosm of Faber's heart and desire to once again reign over the division, fans were treated to the grittiest performance in MMA this year. People may argue it, and it remains to be seen what happens in this crazy sport between now and New Years, but this was a legendary moment in the career of Faber, but also in MMA history. It will be tough to top it at years end on the subjective "best of the year" lists. But let's not argue or look too far ahead. Let's just agree this was a beauty.

Brown clearly knew by the beginning of round 4 that Faber was having problems with his hands. The fact that Faber wasn't throwing them anymore might have been a clue! The fluid switch by Faber, without a hint of self pity, to vicious attempts to end all it by knockout or deep cut from his elbows was an "elevated" display to say the least. Note to Dana White - both these guys are keepers (obv!), and the 3rd fight between them deserves a bigger stage... a much bigger stage. Can you say MSG? Hmmm? The Timing could be right!

For the die-hards and newly converted both, let's just put a fine point on why exactly Faber easily deserves the 3rd crack at Brown (besides the obvious fact that noone else is going to "hang" with Mr. Brown). It came with 1 minute remaining in the 5th round, and in case you missed it, Faber had Brown in a fight ending choke. Flat out. A fight-ender. In case your wondering, that was the only serious threat right there of the fight concluding in a stoppage. Again, Florian deserves praise for his commentary here, as he deftly noted that the choke was deep (real deep) and that Faber couldn't finish it with a broken hand. Possibly 2 broken hands.

To all the reasons listed above, add to them the fact that the broken right hand happened on a nifty lick to Brown's head, and while Brown did seem to out-muscle Faber once again, Faber was starting to find a home for the right hand more and more prior to breaking it. Faber also (astoundingly) actually seemed to improve(!) his rhythm in the last 2 rounds, flying with a "broken wing". Faber may have come to realize that Brown's best hadn't hurt him...this time. A result of confidence from training on the fine points of avoiding clean punches from Brown ? Likely. It explains the total lack of hesitation with the elbows. Remember "the elbow" ? The one that missed. The one that sealed Faber's fate in the first fight ? A distant memory now. Apparently it matters from which distance and what state of mind you throw those things !

Hats off to the only belt with 2 champions - 145. Come on Dana, don't make me beg. Do number 3 at MSG !

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Jackson Ducks Machida


After Lyoto Machida’s second round dismantling of Rashad Evans at UFC 98, it seemed evident that Quinton Jackson would be Lyoto’s next opponent. They were even rumored to be coaching against each other on the next (tenth) season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, on the Spike television network. This rumor fell apart as Dana White announced that his next coaches would be Jackson and Evans. This begs the question as to why Quinton would give up a title shot against Machida simply to avenge some smack talking from Rashad Evans.

After Jackson soundly defeated Keith Jardine by unanimous decision, Rashad, who held the belt at the time, rushed into the cage, got nose to nose with Jackson and did some smack talking. Evans later claimed that it was a gut reaction to watching his training partner lose a unanimous decision to Quinton. This is fine and dandy and is an age-old technique for promoting and building hype around a future fight but realistically this should be set aside when the opportunity of a title shot comes along. After all, is not the goal of every athlete to hold a championship?

There is no doubt that if Quinton got a win over Lyoto he would get his fight with Rashad and settle any score that he may have had. There would probably be more money to be made. Unfortunately at this stage of the game, Rashad has been placed on a tier below Machida, as have many others. The aura of Machida is now akin to the likes of Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva. They’ve cleaned out their respective divisions with such authority that great fighters appear to be second rate in their shadow. This is where Rashad has landed. Just days ago Rashad Evans was an unbeaten champion and today he is the equivalent of Rich Franklin in the Light Heavyweight division. For some time he appeared unstoppable and while he obviously remains a force to be reckoned with, he is not at the same level as the man who defeated him. This was clearly shown at UFC 98. 

Now, while Quinton Jackson has proven himself as the type of fighter who will take on all comers, perhaps he sees only defeat for himself in a bout with Machida. I can think of no other reason to turn down that title shot. A loss like that will surely drop his stock and place him in a heap with many other extremely talented, now “second- tier” fighters…and I use the phrase respectfully. Although he’s coming off of two impressive wins over Wanderlei Silva and Keith Jardine, a fight with Rashad is undoubtedly a much safer gamble for his career and undoubtedly Rampage realizes this.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

 Machida KOs Evans, Remains "Untouchable"

 GueRRillaFight 5.24.09

It took just under four minutes of the second round at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for Lyoto Machida to knock out  the defending Light Heavyweight Champion, Rashad Evans.  Both fighters had been undefeated coming into the night of Rashad's first title defense and it was inevitable that someone would leave with a blemish on their record. 

 The first round began with a long feeling out period with Machida controlling the center of the octagon.  Rashad’s use of jerky head and shoulder movement did little to take the challenger out of his game.  Instead, Machida remained composed, relaxed and patient while remaining just outside of Rashad’s range.  True to form, Lyoto, with his unorthodox, karate style, landed lightning fast kicks to the legs and body of Rashad, at one point knocking Rashad down and winning  the first round without taking on any damage of his own.  His precise speed and technique appeared to have Rashad questioning his own strategy as Lyoto ended the first round without being so much as grazed.

 The second round began just as the first had but this time both fighters were a little more aggressive and willing to throw.  While Rashad was finally able to connect with his opponent midway through the round, he didn’t inflict any damage.  Machida turned things back around quickly and after a barrage of strikes, a vicious left-hook put Evans to sleep at the 3:57 mark ending his undefeated moniker and relinquishing his title to an unscathed Lyoto Machida.

 In interviews after the fight, Machida declared that “karate is back” while Rashad Evans simply stated what the rest of us had just witnessed. “He (Lyoto) was very difficult to solve, very fast and explosive.”  It would seem that the next fighter to have an opportunity to solve the riddle of now 15-0 Lyoto Machida will be former champion, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. 

 -Nando /


Friday, May 22, 2009

Hughes Vs. Serra; Bad Blood

Hughes vs. Serra  …Better late than never  5.22.09

 Saturday night’s showdown between Matt Hughes and Matt Serra is not only a battle ripe with animosity but it is also a fight that has quite possibly been equalized by time.  A few years back, Matt Hughes was a full fledged 170lb smashing machine.  He ruled the welterweight division in a dominating fashion winning 14 straight fights before running into a speed bump named B.J. Penn back in 2004.  After that loss, he racked up six more wins before Georges St. Pierre staked claim on the division.  Hughes went on to lose a second time to St.Pierre and then to be TKO’d by Thiago Alves.  Though these losses are nothing to be ashamed of, they do show that he is indeed beatable and maybe the hands of time have caught up with him. 


In the interim the corn fed country boy from Illinois has become arch rivals with quick talking, tell-it-like-it-is New Yorker, Matt Serra.  Serra’s stint on The Ultimate Fighter reality show spawned a mutual dislike between himself and Hughes and also led him to an opportunity to fight then title holder, Georges St. Pierre.  He seized the opportunity and shockingly, dismantled the champion with a vicious and relentless tenacity, defeating GSP in less then three and a half minutes by way of TKO.  Slated to face Hughes after that fight, Serra incurred a back injury that put him on the sidelines for just over a year.  His return to the octagon was met with a brutally dominant, one-sided beating by GSP, who reminded the world why he is by quite possibly the greatest fighter on the planet.


Now here we are and more than two years have passed since either fighter has tasted victory in the octagon.  While Hughes is pegged as a slamming, take-down, ground-n-pound, one trick pony, it has undoubtedly proven to be quite effective throughout his career.  Serra on the other hand has been slated as a slick submission wiz who realistically only has one submission in the UFC back in 2002 against a one dimensional stand-up fighter named Kelly Dullanty who never again fought in the big show.  His submission skills may help him avoid damage on the ground but it is highly unlikely that he will submit a crafty veteran like Matt Hughes.  His greatest hope for victory is in having lightning strike twice (think GSP 1) and connect with one of his jack hammer like punches.  If not, Serra can expect a long night, and a probable loss to two time welterweight champion, Matt Hughes.

 Nando /