UFC 171 is going down this Saturday, March 15, in Dallas, Texas. There are a ton a neat-looking fights on the card, all culminating in crowning a new welterweight champion while Georges St. Pierre leaps around Captain America. For more information, please consult the UFC’s official UFC 171 page, and for less information, but a dumb joke or two, you can take a peep at my UFC 171 Event Primer. There are thirteen bouts on this card, so me and the ever-fantastic Burnsy are gonna have to dive head-first into these predictions, while special guest Eric Jackman, AKA @NewYorkRic, from MMAFighting.com’s “The MMA Hour”, shares his picks for the main card.
Featherweight – Daniel “The Pit” Pineda vs Rob “The Hammer” Whiteford
Jessica: I’m always nervous when a guy with double-digit losses (That isn’t Jeremy Horn, who has roughly a million fights under his belt) steps inside the cage, but I think Pineda’s grappling is going to confound the United Kingdom’s Whiteford. Pineda wins by submission.
Burnsy: I’m taking Pineda because if Whiteford wanted to be awesome, he would have changed his nickname to “The Pendulum” for this fight and a lot of people wouldn’t get it, but nerds would be like, “Rad, bro.”
Middleweight – Robert “Bubba” McDaniel vs Sean “Tarzan” Strickland
Jessica: I really do not like Bubba McDaniel, so any time he can be beaten spectacularly, I get excited. Strickland’s got good knockout power, so that’s what I’m going with, “Tarzan” by KO.
Burnsy: For some reason I was really upset with McDaniel after he lost his last fight, probably because I want a guy named Bubba to be great. He gets a newcomer here, so in accordance with my debut rule, I take Bubba.
Flyweight – Will Campuzano vs Justin “Tank” Scoggins
Jessica: Scoggins looked good in his UFC debut, and the regional fights I’ve caught on YouTube have also impressed me. Campuzano was a tough match up for Sergio “Baby” Pettis, but I think Scoggins is going to punch-kick him really hard for a KO win.
Burnsy: Scoggins by some sort of a KO. He’s another one of the young guys that I’m excited about for no reason other than so I can eventually say, “I always liked this guy!” if he ends up with a good career.
Lightweight – Renee Forte vs Frank “Sitkayan” Trevino
Jessica: I don’t know what a “Sitkayan” is, but Forte has never really impressed me (If your ‘best’ win is against Terry Etim, spoiler alert, you don’t have a best win). Trevino wins by decision (If he does a full Wai Khru before his fight, I’m bumping this up to a TKO victory)
Burnsy: It’s rule-breaking time. Forte is 1-2 since making his UFC debut at UFC 153 and Trevino is undefeated heading into his own debut tomorrow night. I’ll take Trevino in this case, at least so I can try to trick people into believing that he’s Lee Trevino’s grandson.
Welterweight – Sean “Black Magic” Spencer vs Alex “The Domincan Nightmare” Garcia
Jessica: I was really impressed with Garcia’s debut, even though he was fighting a dude way out of his weight class. Spencer’s looked okay at times, but I think Garcia hits too hard. Garcia wins by KO.
Burnsy: This could be a very good fight between two guys trying to elevate to “Up-and-comer” status, but I like Garcia a little bit more. The question is how does he finish Spencer off? In his last five fights (all wins), he has recorded two KOs and two submissions, with one unanimous decision. My guess? He’ll get Spencer to tap.
Featherweight – Jimy “The Kid” Hettes vs Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez
Jessica: After he beat the dog mess outta Nam Phan, I thought Jimy Hettes was gonna be the new king of the featherweights. Losing to Marcus “Let me tell you about Dragon Ball” Brimage really tarnishes that crown. I’ve long called Bermudez variations on “big dumb dummy”, but he’s been in some really good fights recently. I think Bermudez knocks Hettes cold.
Burnsy: Five wins in a row for Bermudez since losing his UFC debut to Diego Brandao, so I’ll stick with the hot hand here.
Women’s bantamweight – Raquel “Rocky” Pennington vs Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade
Jessica: I have a feeling that Andrade’s BJJ threat is going to keep Pennington a little nervous about using her wrestling, which means it’s time for an awkward kickboxing match! If that happens, I’ll go with Andrade, and yeah, it’s about 70% because of the name.
Burnsy: I’ll take Andrade because her only loss in the UFC is to Liz Carmouche, and she’s my favorite.
Welterweight – Kelvin Gastelum vs Rick “The Horror” Story
Jessica: Kelvin is heating up! Terrible jokes aside, Story’s a bit of a weird fighter to predict. He can look good against Thiago Alves or Johny Hendricks, but then get beat handily by one-day replacement lightweight Charlie Brenneman. Gastelum, though, is pretty dang awesome. I expect the Kelvin Special, which is Kelvin punches a dude really hard, drops him, and then dives onto the fight ending submission.
Burnsy: Obviously I’m picking Gastelum. He’s probably my favorite young fighter in the world right now, unless you put a gun to my head and make me choose between him and Gunnar Nelson. When the day comes that those two have to fight, I might cry. Hopefully, it’s for the No. 1 contender to the winner of the main event. That said, let’s talk about how sad I am that next month I get to go to UFC on Fox in Orlando and my two favorite young fighters have just recently fought. Unreal, UFC. At least I get Travis Browne.
Light Heavyweight – Ovince “OSP” St. Preux vs Nikita “The Al Capone” Krylov
Jessica: I’ve been a fan of OSP since his StrikeForce days, when he fought twice in like five weeks. Krylov is a goobery goon, so I’m looking forward to St. Preux punching his head off.
Burnsy: For as much as I bitch and moan about the lack of charisma in the UFC, Krylov’s UFC profile pic drives me nuts. I just can’t take this guy seriously. He’s like a horrible WWF gimmick from the 80s. St. Preux all day, please.
@NewYorkRic: Krylov because this:
(Burnsy note: Eric and I didn’t plan that difference in opinion over Krylov’s gangster gear. Sometimes the best disagreements happen for the sake of drama.)
Welterweight – Jake “Rorse Facie” Shields vs Hector “Lightning” Lombard
Jessica: I recently found out that Jake Shields is one of the most active strikers in all the lands, throwing roughly 17 punches per minute, and outworks opponents by 75% in that category. He’s also the least accurate puncher, averaging a 12% connection rate on his power head strikes (That’s 2 punches per minute). With all that said, Shields is excellent at stifling his opponents and making them look terrible, while he merely looks awful. I’m expecting Shields to American Jiu-Jitsu Buzzsaw his way to a decision victory.
Burnsy: I really like that we’re getting a lot of ranked welterweight action at UFC 171, because this log jam has gotten worse with some of the Top 15 fighters losing recently, and hopefully some of these results will open things up and stir up some new blood. That said, this is a shit or get off the pot fight for me, because whichever fighter wins, the loser should have to stand in the corner while the newer blood like Nelson and Gastelum get some more shots to move into the rankings. I’ll take Shields to win here, because I’d like to see him, Carlos Condit (if he wins), Rory MacDonald and the loser of the main event have to basically throw down twice to get back to the No. 1 spot. Again, it’s such a log jam of talent, but the new guys behind them deserve some shots to mix it up, too, even if they get their asses kicked in trying.
@NewYorkRic: Shields landed one out of thirty takedowns against Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley (his last two opponents). Let that settle in for a second. You have to watch an NBA game to see comparable levels of unsuccessful scrapping anywhere else.
Lombard is a tree stump that cannot be unrooted. Look for him to stuff a whole bunch of takedowns and land one clean one to turn the lights out.
Lightweight – Diego “The Dream” Sanchez vs Myles “Fury” Jury
Jessica: Diego recently said that he’s back to doing yoga again, which he had stopped because someone (I’m assuming it was Bobby Boucher’s mother) convinced him that it was FROM THE DEVIL. This can only mean terrible things are in store for Myles Jury. Diego is going to win by crazy-fueled decision.
Burnsy: I’ll take Jury every time until he loses, and for all the bitching that I just did about rankings, he better crack the Top 15 when he gets the TKO against Sanchez.
@NewYorkRic: Sanchez has looked lackluster lately and simply been through too many wars. Jury isn’t a world beater by any means, but I’m fading Sanchez hard at this point. He’s still too tough to be finished though, so Jury by decision.
Welterweight – Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit vs Tyron “T-Wood” Woodley
Jessica: Woodley’s found dynamite in his hands, which can be a disastrous thing for a grappler to discover because they look for the knockout instead of using the ground game to their advantage, and Condit is pretty bad at avoiding take downs. If this were a five round fight (All fights need to be five rounds, dang it!), I’d say Condit would get a stoppage once Woodley gassed out late in the fight with utmost certainty. Since he’s got limited time to work, my confidence in Condit landing a spinning sh*t KO is lower, but that’s still the outcome I’m putting most of my faith behind, based on the broken thinking that Nate Marquardt knocked out Woodley, and Condit is better than Marquardt.
Burnsy: I like Woodley a lot, even though he did a lot of talking in Strikeforce, only to lose to Nate Marquardt when the belt was finally on the line. His KO of Jay Hieron was one of my favorite fights of 2013, and I thought he did better than he was given credit for against Shields. I don’t really have a problem with Condit, but I don’t think he should be the No. 2 welterweight right now. But I’ve already established that I think the division’s rankings are all out of whack. Still, if Condit wins this one, I think he deserves to fight the loser of the main event for a shot at the winner’s belt. However, I don’t think he’s going to win. I’ll take Woodley and my shake-up in the welterweight ranks continues.
@NewYorkRic: When analyzing this match-up, I’m left with two questions:
1. Why doesn’t Condit give a shit about defending takedowns?
2. Why does Woodley’s Twitter handle have three Os?
Woodley takes Condit down over and over en route to a decision win.
Welterweight title – Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks vs “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler
Jessica: It really sucks that Hendricks pretty much won the welterweight title except didn’t, and now, in his first unofficial defense, he’s going to lose it to Robbie Lawler. I don’t know if Hendricks punches harder than Melvin Manhoef, but Lawler has a Granite City, Illinois jaw, and he’s probably the hardest puncher Hendricks has faced. Plus, he won’t care if he’s down four rounds to zero, he’ll still throw heaters to the last second of the fifth, and I think that’s where he wins this fight. Lawler with a fifth round TKO to bring the belt back to Bettendorf, Iowa, like it’s 2003 again.
Burnsy: For the sake of transparency, I don’t ever look at Jessica’s picks before she makes them, and she doesn’t see mine, because she writes her picks first. However, this time I was curious to see who she picked, because I hate this awesome main event so much. I want Hendricks to win, because after his title shot against GSP, he deserves to be the champ. I’m picking Hendricks to win, because I like him so much, and even though I agree with Jessica and think Lawler will win. I know it doesn’t make sense, but nothing about what I write ever makes sense.
@NewYorkRic: The career resurgence fairytale ends here, as Hendricks’ combination of power and wrestling will be too much for Lawler to handle. Big Rigg either knocks him out early or wins a decision comfortably.