Saturday, April 18, 2015

UFC on Fox 15

As much as I'd like to believe otherwise, I am unlikely to change the world with a couple of blog rants left to the whims of fate, so let's start with something both simple and likely to make me look like an idiot: Fight predictions!

Just the main card this time.

Paige VanZant (-135) vs. Felice Herrig (+105)

I like VanZant as a personality and as a fighter.  She definitely has more potential to be great than Herrig, and there would be something pleasing about seeing her throw the figurative finger at everyone who dumped on her because of Reebok's decision to offer a sponsorship (key words: Reebok's decision).  But the question is who's going to be better tonight, and I'm not convinced VanZant has risen to the level necessary to take down someone who, in the last five and a half years, has only lost to top opposition (Barb Honchak, Carla Esparza, Tecia Torres).  If she does win, it puts her in a very good position, and the UFC will probably start hearing the jackpot going off.  But I think Herrig takes this one.

Pick: Herrig via decision

Result: I'm an idiot.

Cub Swanson (-155) vs. Max Holloway (+125)

The battle of the probably irrelevant.  Swanson lost his last fight to Frankie Edgar, and is not in any position to challenge Jose Aldo or Conor McGregor.  Holloway has yet to beat anyone of note.  This is a gateway fight for Holloway, and like VanZant, if he wins it sets him up for some major fights very soon.  But anything short of a demolition is going to make him look unable to match up well against the best in the division, and I don't foresee that happening.  I'll pick Swanson, although I think it's even more of a toss-up than the betting line indicates.

Pick: Swanson via decision

Result: I'm still an idiot.

Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (-1400) vs. Chris Camozzi (+750)

If ever a fight this lopsided were worth a bet, Souza would be the one to place your money on.  Dana White himself said Camozzi was only re-signed for the fight because no one else would face Souza on a week's notice.  I hope Camozzi is getting paid enough to absorb the beatdown he's about to suffer.  At least he has some idea what he's getting into, having been submitted by Souza to start the four-fight losing streak that saw him bounced from the UFC in the first place.

Pick: Souza via first round TKO

Result: I might look like an idiot for saying the BJJ ace was going to get a TKO, but that was just trying to be a little different because there was no way to get the winner wrong here.

Luke Rockhold (-165) vs. Lyoto Machida (+135)

When Machida was flying up the ranks, and word was no one could solve his karate/sumo blended technique, there was no question he had a troublesome, slick style that would make him dangerous to anyone.  Even once he started losing fights, nobody ever suggested he was immediately out of any fight he took (his odds against Jon Jones never looked good, but then, no one's odds do).  And he's still that fighter today.

The problem for him is that Rockhold is a better fighter.  Apart from his utter screwing at the hands of Vitor Belfort, who was so juiced he could have doubled as the Kool-Aid Man, Rockhold hasn't lost a fight in over seven years.  Machida is probably the most skilled fighter Rockhold has faced, and deserves to be no more than a slight underdog, but the only way he wins this fight is if the old, unsolvable Machida reappears and he plain outsmarts Rockhold.  I don't like the chances of that happening.

Pick: Rockhold via decision

Result: I'm surprised Rockhold got the finish, given Machida's defensive competence.  But maybe that's just a sign of how legit his chances are against Weidman, and that for whatever complaints Souza might have, Rockhold deserves the next title shot.

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