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Tag: UFC predictions

The CagePotato Rapid-Fire: UFC on FOX 10 Main Card Quick Predictions


(You’ll never go wrong betting on a guy who looks like a stunt-double for a low-budget Jamaican remake of ‘Indiana Jones.’ / Photo via MMAFighting.com)

By Shep Ramsey

UFC on FOX 10 takes place tonight in Chi-Town, and it could be a good night for fading superstars to shine bright like a diamond. Fresh off his title-fight loss to Anthony Pettis, Benson “Smooth” Henderson will attempt to get back up in the mix against Josh “The Punk” Thomson, whose April smash-up of Nate Diaz marked his first UFC appearance since he wound up on Yves Edwards’s highlight reel nine years prior. Meanwhile, Gabriel Gonzaga is working his way to another shot at heavyweight gold, and he faces Stipe Miocic in a *you-don’t-really-get-a-title-shot-but-your-next-fight-could-be-big* contest.

Like many experts in our field do, we’re going to break down these UFC on FOX 10 main card fights in whichever way we damn please, spitting out our rapid-fire predictions by leaning heavily on pre-determined notions and gut feelings. Read on, and be sure to visit our “Henderson vs. Thomson” liveblog, which kicks off tonight at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.

Benson Henderson vs. Josh Thomson

The biggest fight on this card could be the most entertaining as well — unless Benson Henderson decides to do the right thing and use his superior grappling skills to make this an ugly, dominant fight. But Thomson isn’t too shabby himself when it comes to laying and praying himself; his win over K.J. Noons before getting a title shot in Strikeforce was a prime example of what can happen when one partner is just not in the mood to cuddle.

So, maybe it’s going to come down to striking, and unless Thomson lands a game-changing head-kick like he did against Diaz, Bendo should prove to be the quicker striker who throws more when it comes to volume. Anthony Pettis will surely be watching with a close eye, because if Thomson outlasts Henderson, they have a date. And if Henderson wins and T.J. Grant is still concussed, he’s got his own third date against Pettis. And you know what they say about third dates

Winner: Benson Henderson

Method: Unanimous Decision (5 Rounds)

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CagePotato Roundtable #29: What’s Your Wildest MMA Prediction for 2014?

Free Cage Potato dog
(2014: The year that Dana White buys this dog. For Bjorn Rebney. Too soon?)

When former CagePotato.com contributor Jason Moles announced his retirement in 2013, it appeared that there wouldn’t be a “Crazy Enough to be True” predictions column for 2014. Rather than let the opportunity to make outlandish assumptions about the state of our favorite sport pass us up, we’ve decided to offer our wildest ideas in the form of a CagePotato Roundtable. Read on for our picks, share yours in the comments section, and please continue to send your ideas for future CagePotato Roundtable topics to tips@cagepotato.com.

Ben Goldstein


(Mariusz Pudzianowski defends his UFC Poland Super-Heavyweight Title against honorary polack Bob Sapp. / Photo via Sherdog)

Though the UFC once laid claim to the title of fastest-growing sport, the promotion has begun to hit its ceiling in the United States. And they know it — which is why they’ve been pushing so hard for World Fucking Domination lately. After finding major success in international markets like Canada and Brazil, the UFC has been busy laying the groundwork in overseas locales as far-flung as Singapore, India, Turkey, and Poland.

The problem is, none of these upcoming markets have the talent pool available to produce a world champion in the foreseeable future. Or a top contender. Or a fighter who could credibly compete anywhere on a pay-per-view main card. That’s why I’m predicting that 2014 will see the unveiling of individual UFC titles for countries/continents. I mean, Vitor Belfort is already the middleweight champion of Brazil, right? They might as well give him a belt and make it official.

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Ben vs. Jared — ‘UFC 167: St-Pierre vs. Hendricks’ Edition


(PRIDE t-shirt > tailored suit. Always. You should know this by now, Rory. / Photo via MMAFighting)

The UFC’s latest pay-per-view spectacular goes down tomorrow night in Las Vegas, and we’ll be liveblogging the main card action beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. To help get you in the mood, CagePotato founding editor Ben Goldstein and staff writer Jared Jones have reunited for a bullshit session about all of UFC 167‘s most important themes. Or at least some of them. Mostly we’ll be posting GIFs and talking about online gambling, like usual. Enjoy…

You don’t actually believe Johny Hendricks has a shot here, do you?

BG: No sir, I do not. I really don’t see how this fight plays out any differently than GSP’s second fight against Josh Koscheck, to be honest. Yes, Hendricks can knock you out with his (generously telegraphed) left hand if you stand in front of him, but he’s just not a technically sound striker, and St. Pierre won’t be standing in front of him except for the brief moments that precede a blast double-leg takedown. Yes, Hendricks is a skilled wrestler, but as it applies to MMA, St. Pierre is a much, much better wrestler.

GSP will spend all five rounds out-striking Hendricks and scoring the occasional takedown just to prove that he can, running up his already absurd statistical records in the process. In fact, I’m so sure that this will be the outcome that I’m not even looking forward to this fight all that much. Jared may have given this one a “coolbeans!” in this week’s GIF-Ranking column, but to me, GSP vs. Hendricks is nothing more than Matt Hughes’s ambivalent shrug.

JJ: Did Rudy Ruettiger have “a shot” at making the dress roster of the 1975 Notre Dame Fighting Irish? Did Michael Oher have “a shot” at rising from the ashes of a broken home to eventually be drafted in the 2009 NFL draft?! DID KIRK GIBSON, DOWN TWO DECENT LEGS AND STOMACH RIDDLED WITH THE FLU, HAVE “A SHOT” AT PINCH-HITTING A 9th INNING, WALK OFF HOME RUN IN GAME 1 OF THE 1988 WORLD SERIES?!!

Matt Serra has arms the size of Baby Sinclair, yet he was able to touch the chin of GSP. Johny Hendricks, on the other hand, punches like a Super Saiyan Goku on steroids. So yes, Ben, I think he has “a shot.”

And that’s pretty much it.

As a fan, how psyched will you be if Robbie Lawler knocks Rory MacDonald the fuck out?

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UFC 167: St-Pierre vs. Hendricks — Main Event Breakdown


(The bourgeoisie and the proletariat shed their blood for the world’s scraps, while a shadowy bald figure in the background pulls the strings. Can’t you see? WE’RE ALL JUST PAWNS IN THE GAME, MAN. / Photo via Facebook.com/MMAFighting)

By George Shunick

UFC 167 is shaping up to be — on paper, at least — one of the most loaded events of the year. This isn’t a surprise; the UFC marks its 20th anniversary this month and does so with what should be a sufficient amount of bombast. Headlining Saturday’s festivities will be the UFC’s reigning king of pay-per-view, Georges St-Pierre. His opponent is Johny Hendricks, a decorated collegiate wrestler with a left hand that will lay waste to whatever unfortunate being happens to lie in its path. There can be no doubt that Hendricks, in this sense, might pose the single greatest threat that GSP has faced in his MMA career. He might also be the easiest matchup GSP has faced in years.

Against St-Pierre, Hendricks epitomizes the idea of a “puncher’s chance.” He has virtually no advantage over GSP except power — power so substantial that the threat of it seems to have obscured glaring weaknesses that St-Pierre is particularly gifted at exploiting. Granted, his power is impressive. If he hits GSP flush with his left hand, he can end the fight in an instant. He should, for the first few rounds at least, be capable of keeping the fight on the feet. He’d better, because he has little chance of victory on the ground. His bottom game is solely focused on returning to his feet, and he has not shown the ability to threaten from top position. Recall how easily and how often Carlos Condit, a well-rounded fighter who does not possess extraordinary wrestling ability, was able to return to his feet in Hendricks’ last fight. No, if Hendricks wants to win he needs to look for the kill shot.

Here’s where Hendricks runs into problems. If he lands his left hand, the fight is his. The tricky part is actually landing it. His two best knockouts — against Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann — came against opposition with terrible footwork. Hendricks can cover ground extraordinarily fast; backing up against him doesn’t work well at all. Even if he misses the left hand, by pushing opponents straight back they invariably end up against the fence. This is where Hendricks does his best wrestling; against Condit, every single one of his takedowns came after he backed Condit up with left hands and put him against the fence. In some of his previous fights, Hendricks has relied on pushing opponents into the fence and grinding out (sometimes questionable) decisions. It’s an effective strategy, so long as he’s the superior wrestler and his opponents back up in a straight line.

Unfortunately for Hendricks, neither qualifier applies to this fight.

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‘UFC 166: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3’ Main Event Breakdown — Why The Champ Will Repeat History


(Photo via Getty)

By George Shunick

Remember when Mark Hunt could have been the next contender for the heavyweight title? When everyone fantasized that the heavy-handed, iron-chinned Samoan might have challenged Cain Velasquez? It would have made an extraordinary narrative; the nigh-unbeatable champion facing a one-dimensional specialist who had improbably salvaged his career at the last possible opportunity with the ability to put anyone’s lights out. It’s the stuff movies are made of.

In this case, reality is better.

No disrespect to Mark Hunt or what he managed to achieve, but it’s a good thing Junior Dos Santos put him down with that spinning wheel kick. There is no better fight to make in the heavyweight division than Dos Santos vs. Velasquez. With Daniel Cormier dropping to light-heavyweight, none even come close. Velasquez and Dos Santos are the two best heavyweights by a considerable margin, each with the tools, the experience and the will necessary to defeat the other. Their story doesn’t depend on any degree of improbability, appeal to sentiment or require any context beyond this simple truth; that they are the epitome of their profession striving to attain a title beyond the title. They are attempting to lay claim to the title of the best heavyweight of their era, to establish the successor to The Last Emperor.

While both Dos Santos and Velasquez are well-rounded and durable, those qualities manifest themselves in different ways. Dos Santos is more fluid in his stand-up, hits with more power, and moves with seemingly less effort. His cardio is solid, and he actually has a relatively fast pace for a heavyweight. And in his loss to Velasquez last year, he showed an exceptional ability to mitigate damage from the bottom while regaining position and standing. Velasquez, on the other hand, seems to be force incarnate. He knows no direction but forward, his cardio is unrelenting, and while he lacks Dos Santos’ pure stand-up ability, he is able to transition effortlessly between kickboxing and wrestling. This is particularly effective because he always pushes forward, constantly threatening the takedown, which opens up opportunities for his underrated hands and hard kicks.

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Ben vs. Jared — ‘UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen’ Edition


(Poster via Nixsons.com)

With a UFC event scheduled for this weekend that’s actually worth watching, it’s time for another installment of Ben vs. Jared, in which CagePotato’s founding editor Ben Goldstein and long-suffering staff writer Jared Jones go cabeza-a-cabeza to discuss some of this card’s major themes. For example: Is Shogun vs. Sonnen the most pointless match on the UFC Fight Night 26 main card? Is it safe to board the Matt Brown hype train? Will Joe Lauzon make history again? And is it Yuri or Iuri? Prepare for serious business…

So, Shogun vs. Sonnen at light-heavyweight — what’s at stake here? Anything? Anything at all?

BG: I think Shogun’s career is at stake, for one thing. If he loses to a one-dimensional middleweight (no offense, Chael), it’ll drop his UFC win percentage below .500, and bump him out of the UFC light-heavyweight contender picture, maybe permanently. He’ll enter that twilight stage of his career where he’s just showing up for “fun fights,” still famous enough to headline smaller UFC events in Brazil, but no longer part of the overall conversation. Or, he can just retire and run a gas station like his brother. Neither scenario is ideal, but the one that doesn’t require him to sustain traumatic brain injuries seems a little healthier.

For Chael, this fight is more of a no-lose proposition, just like his previous light-heavyweight appearance against Jon Jones. A win against Shogun would be a career highlight, and a loss just means he goes back to middleweight where he belongs, for a battle against Wanderlei Silva that he’s already trying to hype up. Sonnen has already exited the title picture in two different weight-classes, but I don’t even think that matters to him much anymore. Whether he’s shouting behind a FOX Sports broadcast desk or cutting promos after a fight, the man’s just content to have a microphone.

JJ: Fuuuuuuck no. “Out of the light heavyweight picture?” Shogun has been out of the light-heavyweight picture since the current champion put him out of the light heavyweight picture at UFC 128, and I say that as a Shogun fan. The fact is, Shogun can’t stay healthy, he can’t put a win streak together, and his BADBOY tights are getting more constrictive by the day. Training with Freddie Roach may prolong Rua’s career a year or two longer than he would have lasted without it, but Shogun has got to be about the oldest 31-year-old in MMA. He was just used as a stepping stone for Alexander Gustafsson (unless you honestly thought the UFC was setting him up to be slaughtered by Jones again), so as far as I’m concerned, he IS in the “fun fights” part of his career. Again, Shogun fan talking here.

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Ben vs. Jared: UFC 162 Edition


(Double chin-smush. So intense. / Video via YouTube.com/UFC)

Are Chris Weidman‘s chances for an upset as good as everybody seems to think they are? Is Tim Kennedy better at talking than he is at fighting? Does UFC 162 feature the most stacked Facebook prelims in the history of curtain-jerking? And Dave Herman‘s getting fired, right? Read on as CagePotato founding editor Ben Goldstein and staff writer Jared Jones debate these topics — and so much more — and be sure to come back tomorrow night for our “Silva vs. Weidman” liveblog, beginning with the FX prelims at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.

Chris Weidman has become the fashionable pick for an upset against Anderson Silva. You don’t actually believe he’ll pull it off, do you? I mean, you’re not a moron, right?

JJ: Now, I may be a moron, but there is one thing I am not, sir, and that, sir, is a moron.

If we were to have this debate immediately after Weidman had finished knocking Mark Munoz into an ice cream cake-induced depression, I would have told you that Anderson Silva was a dead man walking. “Weidman brings the kind of grappling prowess that, like Chael P. Sonnen before him, will all but completely suffocate Andy’s offense,” I would say whilst smoking a corncob pipe and farting into a wine glass, “And his striking, while clearly not on Silva’s level, has improved enough to keep the soon-to-be former champ hesitant in those rare moments when he won’t be fighting off his back.” I would have mocked you for daring to claim otherwise, then had security escort you out of my chalet bungalow when you inevitably lost your cool like a common miscreant.

And honestly, not a lot has changed since Weidman punched (and punched and punched) his way to #1 contender status almost a year ago to the day. That’s the problem. Weidman has been recovering from shoulder surgery and Silva has been retiring roided-up LHW’s in between increasingly shitty movie appearances. Am I crazy enough to pick a Chris Weidman coming off a year layoff to upset ANDERSON FREAKING SILVA? What do I look like, a moron?

BG: I feel like this wave of Weidman-support isn’t so much based on realistic analysis of the matchup, so much as fans’ natural desire to see some change after seven years of having the same champion dominating the competition, and other UFC fighters’ totally understandable self-interest in having that dominant champion go away for a while. It’s wishful thinking, basically.

Instead of discussing what Chris Weidman could theoretically do to Silva, you only need to consider Silva’s body of work in the UFC to understand that this fight probably won’t go the challenger’s way. And that’s fine. Weidman is still a young athlete who only started competing as a professional mixed martial artist in 2009. Experience counts in this sport, and Weidman just doesn’t have it. Whatever work he’s been doing in the gym, it won’t prepare him for that moment when he realizes — perhaps too late — just how talented and fearless Anderson Silva really is. I will now link you to the greatest GIF in MMA history.

The good news is, Weidman has a long career still ahead of him. Three years from now, Anderson Silva might be retired, and Chris Weidman will still be beating up top contenders. He’ll have his moment. Saturday night will not be that moment.

Tim Kennedy seems to talk a lot for a guy without many significant wins. Will Roger Gracie silence him for once, or will Kennedy finally live up to his own hype? 

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Ben vs. Jared: UFC 160 Edition


(Cain doesn’t see an enormous head. He sees a big, beautiful, blood-piñata, just waiting to burst open and spill its bounty. / Photo via MMAFighting.com)

BG and Danga are back mahfuckas, baaaaaaaaaaaaam! [*cough*] Excuse me. What I meant to say was, UFC 160 goes down tomorrow night in Las Vegas, so CagePotato founding editor Ben Goldstein and staff writer Jared Jones have teamed up once again to discuss all the important themes surrounding the event. Which heavyweight fight on the main card is more likely to end in an upset? Should we write off KJ Noons as nothing more than UFC shark-bait? What’s a Nurmagomedov gotta do to get some respect around here? Read on, and throw down your own opinions in the comments section.

It seems pretty obvious that the UFC is trying to set up Dos Santos vs. Velasquez III, but who stands the better chance of throwing a wrench in their plans, Hunt or Silva?

Jared: ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS. The last I checked, Mark Hunt was riding high on the most unexpected win streak in UFC history, turned his last opponent’s jaw into mashed potatoes, and will now be harboring the kind of silent-but-deadly rage that can only be brought about by jet lag. “Bigfoot” is coming off an upset win over a sans testosterone-abusing Overeem, sure, but picking him over the man, the myth, the pseudo-Mexican who reenacted the rock scene from Cannibal Holocaust on him almost a year ago to the day? No thanks, my dude.

Ben: I hate to agree with this jackass — and how dare you try to persuade me by linking to a track from Primus’s underrated Rhinoplasty EP, Jared — so for the sake of argument, I’ll go ahead and say ARE *YOU* KIDDING *ME* WITH THIS?? Mark Hunt has built up a dubious win streak slinging haymakers against guys who allowed him to do so. Junior Dos Santos is far too disciplined to become another victim of the same old rock-’em-sock-’em Super Samoan routine. In a brawl, Hunt has a chance against anybody. But this won’t be a brawl — it’ll be boxing match, and JDS is about as good as they come in that department.

And sure, Hunt has scored a string of upsets against guys like Cheick Kongo and Stefan Struve. Meanwhile, Antonio Silva has scored far more unexpected and dramatic upsets against guys like Fedor Emelianenko and the aforementioned ‘Reem. Bigfoot has heart for days, and fists big enough to dummy up anybody in the heavyweight division on any given night, including the current champion. How many times are you gonna sleep on this guy? #BigfootEra

Gray Maynard vs. T.J. Grant: Who will earn the right to suffer a narrow split decision loss to Ben Henderson next?

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UFC 148: Sonnen vs. Silva — Main Event Breakdown and Prediction


(Guys, seriously, you gotta stop this or I’m gonna have a harder time hiding this erection than Jean-Claude Van Damme.) 

By George Shunick

This weekend, the MGM Grand Garden Arena will host the most highly anticipated fight this year when middleweight champion Anderson Silva faces off against, err, “middleweight champion” Chael P. Sonnen. As we all know, Sonnen was the man who almost took Silva’s title at UFC 117, dismantling the champion through punishing ground and pound and even rocking MMA’s greatest striker on the feet before succumbing to a triangle choke after winning the previous 23 minutes of the fight. Following the fight, it was revealed Silva fought with a badly injured rib and Sonnen had a testosterone to epitestosterone ratio of 16.9 to 1. Regardless, due to Sonnen’s trash talk and how close their last fight was, this fight has the potential to be one of the best fights of the summer.

However, will this be the “biggest rematch in the history of the business,” as Sonnen claims? Maybe, but I doubt it. You could argue Lesnar-Mir II is more likely to be successful financially, or that Liddell-Ortiz II or Liddell-Couture II/III were more culturally significant for a burgeoning sport, but virtually all lacked such a compelling narrative or contained the level of talent featured here. Moreover, in hindsight, they were rather one-sided matchups. Edgar-Maynard II and III were probably of a higher caliber that Silva-Sonnen II will be, simply by virtue of being two of the greatest fights in the history of the sport, but lacked the hype and context that this matchup possesses.

This matchup has the potential to rank alongside Fedor-Nogueira III, which saw the two greatest heavyweights in MMA history – and the two top-ranked heavyweights at that time – fight for the Pride heavyweight title; both fights possess a historic air about them, feature top level talent, and take place within the narrative framework of a rivalry. But I still think the gold standard for a rematch will remain Jackson-Silva II, which had every ingredient you could wish for in a rematch turned up to 11. It had two of the greatest fighters in MMA history, in one of the greatest rivalries in MMA history, in one of the greatest fights in MMA history, culminating in one of the greatest knockouts in MMA history. Suffice it to say, Sonnen-Silva II has a lot to accomplish to validate Sonnen’s comments.

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UFC 147: Silva vs. Franklin 2 — Main Event Preview & Analysis


(“Axe Murdering” — a Wanderlei Silva highlight film by Potato Nation hall-of-famer Perdew.)

By George Shunick

If it wasn’t for the utter disintegration of UFC 149, UFC 147 might be the most disappointing card of the year. Originally supposed to feature the rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen in Brazil, then Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva, we are now stuck with Rich Franklin squaring off against the latter Silva. Of course, it’s cards like this that always end up surprising all the naysayers with copious amounts of glorious violence, so maybe there’s hope after all! OK, so while you’re not going to go out of your way to buy this card any time soon, at least the main event still might be worth pirating online. (Sorry Dana, you’re the one who’s trying to charge $50 for this.)

Now I may be in the minority on this one, but I’m actually more excited for Franklin-Silva than I was for Belfort-Silva. Why? Because it’s not a glorified squash match. Look, I’m a big fan of Wanderlei. I can’t think of something more enjoyable than watching that bloodthirsty sociopath do more damage and evoke more terror in Japan in eight years than Godzilla did in over half a century. But between his once-granite chin being reduced to rubble, his age compromising his speed and cardio — all while retaining the punching technique of a wind turbine — Silva is no longer the force he once was. Against a heavy-handed striker, he’s in trouble. Against a striker of Belfort’s caliber, he’s toast.

Fortunately for Silva, Rich Franklin isn’t quite as dangerous. Despite a permanent role on UFC highlight reels with his knockouts of Nate Quarry and Chuck Liddell, Franklin can no longer be considered one of the top strikers in the middleweight division. Like Silva, he’s alternated wins and losses since their last meeting. Both have suffered a brutal knockout loss since then as well; Franklin to Belfort and Silva to Chris Leben. In fact, Franklin and Silva match up fairly well with each other; both have solid stand-up and sound – if unspectacular – ground games. Much like their previous meeting, this has the potential be a close, dramatic fight.

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