(‘You seem like a nice boy. It’s a shame what Rashad is going to do to you.’)
Merry Christmas, Potato Nation. In the spirit of giving, we present to you our customary pre-event face-off. It was either this or a gift card to The Pottery Barn. So, you know, you’re welcome. Enjoy the holiday, and all the best to you and yours. Don’t forget that we’re back on schedule tomorrow and liveblogging UFC 92 on Saturday. Doin’ work, son.
Exactly when and how will the three marquee fights end?
BG: Let’s start with the easy one. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira subs Frank Mir via armbar at 2:52 of round 3. And it’s not just because he has better jiu-jitsu and can absorb more damage. He will win because that’s how the TUF 8 story ends. It is written: Big Nog represents everything that is good and pure about this sport, while Mir is the cocky John Kreese–like asshole who didn’t care that the house pranks were interrupting Efrain Escudero’s sleep. (Monster!) Minotauro is going to beat Mir standing for the first two-and-a-half rounds, and then an ill-advised takedown attempt from Mir during the third will blow up in his face, leading to the submission win for Nogueira. We need this to happen, just like we need Lesnar vs. Nog for the real heavyweight title.
If Forrest Griffin can stick to the game plan he had against Rampage — playing it smart and safe, but pouncing when there are opportunities — he’ll beat Rashad Evans in a split decision. Here’s a fun stat: Evans has never won a unanimous decision in the UFC, even though five of his eight Octagon appearances have gone the distance. I’m not saying that judges don’t like him (although who knows, maybe they don’t), but it may suggest that if a fight goes to the scorecards, it’s because he wasn’t able to dominate his opponent. Also, Rashad’s never gone five rounds — Griffin has been there before.
Finally, Wanderlei Silva beats Quinton Jackson via unanimous decision in UFC 92’s Fight of the Night. It’s a difficult outcome to predict because of all the variables separating Silva/Jackson III from the previous two installments but Silva definitely has the advantage. I’m going to give Rampage the benefit of the doubt and say he’s eating normally this week, rather than following his occasional fasting/hallucinating routine. And while Wolfslair might not be the most acclaimed MMA camp in the world, the friendly and nurturing environment he’s found there will give him the confidence he needs to not perform like a shambling wreck. Jackson might get beaten to a pulp, but he won’t be knocked out.
BF: I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of some way Mir might win, just to be contrary, and I’ve got nothing. He definitely won’t sub Big Nog. He doesn’t have the cardio or the faith in himself to outpoint him over the course of five rounds. And if Mir becomes the first person to knock Nogueira out there’s simply nothing left for me to believe in. Nog submits Mir via rear naked choke at 3:55 of round two. That’s that.