Ultimate Fight Night 25 goes down tonight in New Orleans, and all that hot sauce and bourbon has whipped us into a fight picking frenzy. Representing the home team will be Louisiana’s own Seth Falvo, who will be doing battle against Head to Head newbie (read: loser) Jared “DangadaDang” Jones. Which Jake will reign supreme? Will it be a good night for The Ultimate Fighter, or a complete disaster? Will the stars of Swamp People get roped into a video interview with Joe Rogan? Find out all this and more, and then tell us what we forgot in the comments section.
Let’s skip the foreplay: Shields or Ellenberger, who ya got?
JJ: As unimpressed as I’ve been with Jake Shields‘ UFC career thus far, I just can’t see how Ellenberger wins this one. Though his submission defense looked great, his takedown defense looked pretty exploitable against Carlos Eduardo Rocha, and if Dan Henderson can’t knock out Shields, then it ain’t happening, homie. I got Shields by UD in a match that I forget about quicker than every Saturday Night Live sketch of the past 10 years. The real question is, will the recent loss of Shields’ father have an effect on his game plan?
SF: In any other city, I’d be inclined to agree with you, Jared. But this is New Orleans. A city where the underdog has recently been able to thrive. A city renowned for its Voodoo culture. And, as anyone who has had one too many hand grenades and went home with a dress wearing local they found on Bourbon Street can tell you, a city where not everything is what it seems. Not that that’s ever happened to me or anything.
You’re only as good as your last fight. When we last saw Jake Shields, he was completely unable to take Georges St. Pierre to the ground and didn’t fare better trading punches with the champion until he managed to steal the fifth round. Jake Ellenberger, meanwhile, dominated Sean Pierson in a fight he took on only seventeen days notice. When you add on not only the death of Jake Shield’s father, but also that other distraction Team Cesar Gracie has been dealing with, it’s possible that Jake Shields isn’t as focused as he needs to be. This one has the potential to get interesting. Maybe not “Ellenberger pulls off the upset” interesting, but at least “watchable while sober” interesting.
With 8 participants, this card is practically flooded (no offense Seth) with TUF alum. That said, who will have the best night? The worst?
I’ll go against the grain and say that Matt Riddle will have the best night. Matt Riddle has been out of action for eight months after losing to the aforementioned Sean Pierson at UFC 124. It’s more than likely win or go home in his tilt against UFC newcomer Lance Benoist, a 5-0 submission specialist who has never been out of the first round. Before you get too excited about Lance Benoist, keep in mind that only two of his past opponents have winning records. Factor in Matt Riddle’s grappling prowess and Octagon jitters for Benoist, and Matt Riddle is bound to have a pretty good night. As for the worst night, is there anyone reading this that actually thinks Shamar Bailey is going to beat Evan Dunham? Didn’t think so.
JJ: I want to say McGee has the best night, but I vowed never to bet against South Korea after watching Oldboy for the first time. I’m going with the dark horse here and picking my boy Cody McKenzie for the win. Word is he’s been spending some time at Team Alpha Male since his loss to Yves Edwards, and if you combine the already lethal power of “The McKenzietine” with those Alpha boys’ well known guillotine, it’s a wrap for Vagner Rocha, who showed absolutely nothing against Donald Cerrone other than a willingness to take leg kicks. As for the worst night, that’s going to Jonathan Brookins. Say what you want about his grappling ability, but his stand up looked awful against Michael Johnson, and Eric Koch is a straight up beast on the feet.
And as for my school, we opted for indoor plumbing and a library over a glorified sinkhole. In other words, you chose poorly.
Since the main event most likely won’t win any awards, which match will take FOTN?
JJ: This one’s easy: Alan Belcher vs. Jason Macdonald. Both guys are looking to establish themselves, Belcher due to the layoff, Macdonald due to his somewhat lackluster Octagon run as of late, and both guys are known for putting on exciting fights each and every time. Expect a back and forth brawl until Belcher puts Macdonald’s lights out late in the second. And that’s that.
SF: Hard to argue with that. But you can almost say the exact same thing about Court McGee vs. Dongi Yang. McGee has been out of commission for almost a year, and has the TUF Winner expectations to live up to as well. Likewise, Dongi Yang has shown that he’s more than capable of living up to his reputation as a fight finisher, but a loss to Court McGee would put him at an uncomfortable 1-2 in the UFC. Don’t expect either guy to retreat during this one, folks. And don’t blink, either.
You’ve got $50. You could spend this money at Taco Bell, like you planned to, and eat for the rest of the week. Or, you could opt to feed your crippling gambling addiction. What is the safest way to do both tonight?
SF: Truth be told, there really aren’t too many “safe” bets on this card. But if you’re looking for “safe”, then why are you eating at Taco Bell in the first place? Cognitive Dissonance, anyone?
There are some pretty attractive underdogs on this card, such as Cody McKenzie and Dongi Yang. Even Clay Harvison, as mediocre as he’s looked, has a pretty favorable matchup against the one dimensional Seth Baczynski (especially given his conditioning issues). But if we’re going for “safe”, then the safest parlay I can come up with is Koch-Dunham-Riddle-Waldburger-Lopez. You won’t get rich off of this, but at least you’ll be able to upgrade to Raising Cane’s for the next week or two.
JJ: Am I really going to let someone from the land of fried squirrel and alligator attacks lecture me on safety? I think I’ll stick to triple steak burritos back here in civilization, thank you very much. I’d say that Evan Dunham is my ticket to the aforementioned taco glory, but at -500 there’d be next to no return on that bet, so I’m opting for a moderately safe parlay of Shields-Koch-Yang-Belcher. And with that, I’ll be resting easy on my pillow-sized tortilla shell while you are busy catching bullfrogs or whatever it is you people do for fun down there when it isn’t Mardi Gras.