(God help the man who tries to get away with a little extra grease on this fight card.)
It’s been a while since we’ve made predictions for a fight that are so incredibly detailed and specific that they can’t possibly be accurate (or can they?), but with UFC Fight Night 17 just a day away it seems like the perfect time to a little prognosticating.
The fighters weighed in this afternoon, so now all that’s left is to find some way of making people forget about Vaseline and Strikeforce for just a couple of hours. Coincidentally, “Forget About Vaseline and Strikeforce” is also the title of my forthcoming tell-all memoir. I think it’s going to do well. I really do.
J-Lau seems like he might be setting himself up for a fall by talking about how quick and easy this fight is going to be. At least, that’s how it would happen if life were like sports movies. It isn’t, though. In real life the Bad News Bears remain a rag-tag group of losing rapscallions all season long and Coach Buttermaker ends the season as a sex offender with ten percent liver function. Sorry, but that’s the reality, people. Lauzon wins this with his superior jiu-jitsu, catching Stephens in a rear naked choke after mounting him and punishing him with a few bony elbows.
When Will It Happen: 3:51 of round 1.
What to Watch For: The post-fight interview, where Lauzon calls out Hermes Franca for his UG comments and picks a much tougher fight for himself in the process.
Some people like tremendous underdog/UFC newcomer Stojnic to pull off the upset for stylistic reasons, while others favor him for more nationalistic ones. It doesn’t matter. Velasquez is going to do what Velasquez does, which is crush guys like this. He’ll score a takedown in the first minute, then bounce Stojnic’s head off the mat like a basketball with a brutal series of punches until the referee waves it off and Mike Goldberg drops a sweet, “It is all over!” on us. For his part, Joe Rogan will sum up the performance by saying, “Wow.”
When Will It Happen: 2:02 of round 1
What to Watch For: As Stojnic lies prone on the canvas the camera will zoom in on his open but vacant eyes. If you look closely, you’ll almost be able to see the pleasant dream he’s having about frolicking with a family of talking dolphins. Sadly, this will only make him more disappointed when he wakes up.
That sound you’ll hear when Fioravanti enters the Octagon will be the collective voice of America saying, ‘Oh yeah, I remember him now.’ That’s just the kind of fighter he is. You forget he even exists until you see him again, and then it’s like he never left. He’ll give “Rumble” Johnson a tough fight here. But late in the second Johnson will begin picking him apart on the feet and scoring takedowns at will. Early in the third he’ll catch Fioravanti with a groan-inducing kick to the ribs. Fioravanti will fall back against the face and Johnson will add the old Bas Rutten three hooks and two knees combo to finish him off. Two of the hooks and at least one and a half of the knees will be unnecessary.
When Will It Happen: 1:22 of round 3
What to Watch For: Johnson’s victory dance, which will be obviously choreographed and rehearsed, not to mention clearly inspired by Kid n’ Play, but undeniably awesome at the same time.
Neer is a tough guy, but Danzig is the better fighter. He’s better than Neer in every aspect of the game, and Neer will take it. Ultimately Danzig will be unable to put him away, but neither will he ever be in trouble. He’ll spend most of the fight with his right hand growing out of Neer’s face, but Neer will probably never look more than slightly annoyed at this. Danzig wins the unanimous decision.
When Will It Happen: Are you stupid or something? I just told you. Decision. After three rounds. What is your problem?
What to Watch For: In the Octagon after the fight Mac Danzig will celebrate by eating a delicious Whopper, thanks to his new sponsors at Burger King. When a shocked Joe Rogan asks Danzig to explain this act in light of his long, often cloying position as a very vocal vegan, Danzig will explain that he was just fucking with us all along. That guy.
Enjoy the fights. And don’t forget to come back for the liveblog. We’ll be here. You know, if you feel like dropping by.