(Will Serra prove to be MMA’s Buster Douglas, or will he send thousands of Canadians home drunk and angry?)
As UFC 83 draws nigh, we’re faced with the daunting task of predicting the winners in Saturday night’s bouts. But just picking the victor isn’t enough. In addition, we’ve decided to get really specific with our predictions, to the point where it’s mostly absurd. This makes it almost as much fun as the UFC drinking game, where you chug every time Mike Goldberg sounds way too excited about some upcoming movie/event/paid sponsor.
Hope you’ve got your Molsons ready for the UFC’s first Canadian event. It could be a long night.
Here’s the thing: a lot of people have been quick to write off Matt Serra, and we can understand why. His victory over St. Pierre was so utterly shocking – and he hasn’t been back in the Octagon since – that it’s hard not to think of that win as a one-in-a-million lucky shot. In other words, Serra seems to have about the same odds as someone launching a half-court shot at the buzzer. Sure, you can do it once, but twice in a row?
We have to consider the possibility that Serra might legitimately present problems, stylewise, for GSP. Then again, how has Serra been preparing for this fight? Well, he had back surgery, filmed a reality show, and worked out with Pete Sell. Will that get you ready to face someone like GSP, who may be one of the best pure athletes in MMA? Doubtful at best.
CP Pick: Georges St. Pierre.
Unreasonably Specific Prediction: TKO, 2:35 of round 3.
What to Watch For: the expression on Serra’s face when the Montreal crowd gives him a good old-fashioned Canadian razzing during the introductions. Will it be a look of grim focus, or ‘I-got-your-boos-right-here-ya-turkeys!’ Wait and see.
You’ve got to feel for Rich Franklin. One day he’s the UFC’s media darling, starring in Xyience commercials where it’s at least implied that he’s sleeping with high school girls, and then he gets demolished by Anderson Silva twice and it’s back to the middle of the pack.
The beatings he suffered at the hands of Silva might have made him look bad, but Franklin’s still better than most in the division. While Travis Lutter has great ground skills, it’s not a big enough upside against a guy like Franklin. You have to do everything he does, only better. Basically, you have to be someone like Anderson Silva, and Lutter isn’t.
CP Pick: Rich Franklin.
Unreasonably Specific Prediction: TKO, due to fatigue and punches, 4:40 of round 2.
What to Watch For: Franklin’s post-fight interview, wherein he will not mention any desire at all for another fight with Silva.
Quarry has struggled with injuries recently, this much is true. But for all the people who refer to his injury troubles as a “question mark”, I have to ask, when have you ever seen his performance in the Octagon affected by injuries? Quarry recently had surgery and claims that he’s better than ever as a result. While I can’t go that far, Quarry is smart enough that he wouldn’t take this fight if he weren’t 100%.
Starnes is talented and has good size for a middleweight, but he also has the stigma as something of a quitter. Some of that is unfairly applied to him, but not all of it. He suffered a nasty cut his last time out, and that might make him a little gun-shy, but all that aside I have to think that the longer this fight goes, the better Quarry’s chances are.
CP Pick: Nate Quarry
Unreasonably Specific Prediction: TKO, 1:52 of round 3.
What to Watch For: as tough as he is, Quarry will get weepy and emotional when talking us through the Mickey’s replay. He’s just a big softie.
Word on the street is that Bisping was more jovial than most when meeting the media earlier this week, which leads one to believe that he isn’t having trouble cutting to 185. If that’s the case, he could be a handful for McCarthy, who is putting all his faith into his jiu-jitsu.
Is McCarthy a threat on the mat? Sure. Anyone who’s put the time in at American Top Team and has won all his fights by submission knows his way around an armbar. But McCarthy hasn’t fought in a year and a half, and he’s never beaten anyone who’s as good (at least on paper) as Bisping. Regardless, he seems to think it’s in the bag. Someone should tell him that there’s a difference between confidence and hubris, and it has to do with the outcome.
CP Pick: Michael Bisping.
Unreasonably Specific Prediction: TKO due to ground-and-pound, 4:15 of round one.
What to Watch For: guest commentator Kenny Florian will almost certainly make a remark about McCarthy’s jiu-jitsu that somehow manages to refer back to the fact that Ken-Flo is a black belt.
For those of you who only know Danzig through TUF and thus regard him with the standard amount of skepticism, let me assure you that he is, in fact, the real deal. He has skills on the feet and on the mat, and he’s a hard worker who’s made the best decision of his life in linking up with Xtreme Couture.
Bocek is on this card because he presents no significant threat to the UFC’s investment in Danzig, and because he’s Canadian. The crowd will be behind him in force, but Danzig only has to beat one guy when the bell rings. Fortunately for him it’s a guy with much less experience who’s never beaten anyone of note.
CP Pick: Mac Danzig.
Unreasonably Specific Prediction: rear naked choke, 3:18 of round one.
What to Watch For: no way are we getting through this fight without Mike Goldberg mentioning several times that Danzig is a vegan who put forth a “dominant display” on TUF. Goldberg is like a talking toy bear: he only has a few phrases to choose from once you pull his string.