I hope everyone is well rested because UFC Fight Night 66, coming live from Manila, Philippines, kicks off at the too damn early time of 7:00 AM ET on Fight Pass. All of the excellent fight pickers are groggy and hungover, so these predictions should be interesting. Let’s find out who’s going to be a winnah in Manila.
Important Standings of Note:
Jessica: 376-253-4 (60%)
Burnsy: 394-234-5 (63%)
Vince: 192-124-2 (61%)
Ryan: 8-2-1 (77%)
Danny: 161-77-1 (67%)
Spilled: 76-56-2 (57%)
Sydnie: 16-12 (57%)
Chris: 39-12-1 (76%)
NY Ric: 36-26-1 (57%)
Ghost: 6-7 (46%)
Seth: 32-15 (68%)
Biss: 41-39-1 (51%)
Jared: 36-21 (63%)
Melanie: 2-0 (100%)
Flyweight – Nolan Ticman vs Yao “The Conqueror” Zhikui
Jessica: Zhikui is 1-3, and I’ve sadly been posting a similar record these last few events. That doesn’t mean I have any solidarity for him, I just recognize familiar incompetence. I’ll take Ticman to out-grapple Yao and take a decision.
Melanie: Ticman by submisison
Jared: I’d be lying if I said that I know who either of these guys are, and so is anyone else who claims otherwise. Nolan Ticman? Yao Zhikui? Are these people even real??
Ah, one of them has a professional record of 1-2. That’s one win, two losses. And he’s fighting in the UFC. I will be picking against him.
Flyweight – Roldan “The Executioner” Sangcha-an vs Jon “The Heat” Delos Reyes
Jessica: Delos Reyes might have lost his last two, but those fights were against solid competition in Dustin Kimura and Kyoji Horiguchi. Roldan most recently fell to Richie Vaculik, so I’m edging towards JDR here. Neither man has gone to a decision, and I see that trend continuing, as Delos Reyes wins with a second round TKO.
Jared: Delos Reyes by virtue of having fought better competition.
Bantamweight – Ning “Smasher” Guangyou vs Royston Wee
Jessica: Guangyou is only an apprentice at smashing. Maybe if he was a smash master, he’d have a chance, but c’mon, he’s fighting Royston Wee. Wee locks up a second round submission.
Melanie: Ning by TKO
Jared: Not too long ago, I wrote a lengthy piece about how the UFC’s signing of Royston – a 2-0 Chinese fighter who hadn’t completed in 3 years — signaled the end of an era wherein “UFC-caliber fighter” actually meant something. I complained about this, that, and even the other thing, using words like “oversaturation” and “subpar” to bolster my inane ramblings. Royston, of course, went on to win his first two UFC fights.
In hindsight, I can’t help but feel that I overreacted and was unnecessarily harsh on Wee, because it’s not like it was *his* fault that the UFC’s quality standards were so rapidly diminishing. And compared to guys like Yao Zhikui, Wee’s a goddamn killer. He’s undefeated! He has UFC wins!! He’s practically Asian Fedor compared to these chumps!!!
The point is, I’m going to ride the Wee hype train until it derails and pick him for the upset here. If he proves me wrong again, well, I’ll probably just forget this ever happened. Kind of like TUF China.
Welterweight – Li “The Leech” Jingliang vs Dhiego Lima
Jessica: Lima got put away by Tim Means, who is a scary dude, while Jangle Leg last lost to Nordine Taleb, who’s decently solid. I’m going to give the edge to the Leech for no discernible reason (Maybe that’s why my picks are always so terrible, I make them based on no factual information). Jingliang wins a decision against Lima and his wonderful Jimmy Durante nose.
Jared: Calling the majority of these undercard fights a “coin toss” would be giving them far too much credit. These fights suck, you guys, and that’s coming from an undercard JUNKIE over here. I guess I’ll take Jinglang because “The Leech” is an awesome nickname and Lima’s chin is too touchy to place any confidence in.
Lightweight – Zhang “The Warrior” Lipeng vs “Ragin” Kajan Johnson
Jessica: That kind of knockout is tough to come back from. I’ll take Lipeng to win with a third round TKO.
Jared: 9-8-1 vs. 19-11. Neither of these guys are consistent enough for me to make any sort of prediction for this fight. Abstain.
Lightweight – Tae Hyun “The Supernatural” Bang vs John “Super Saiyan” Tuck
Jessica: These dudes should throw some heat at each other’s heads and have a fun fight. Tuck’s okay, but other than Ronda Rousey, showing an overt love of Dragon Ball Z doesn’t lead to winning fights. Tae Hyun, I do let you Bang, bro. The Supernatural wins with a second round KO.
Chris: I’ll always be a fan of Tuck’s because of his fight against Al Iaquinta to get into the TUF house. He fought through a grossly disfigured toe injury long before Jon Jones and Uriah Hall made it cool.
Tuck by toughness.
Jared: Bang wore a cowboy hat to the weigh-ins, so let’s go with him. “Excellent analytical skills, bro!” – Me, to myself.
Featherweight – Mark Eddiva vs Levan “The Hornet” Makashvili
Jessica: Another pair of sluggers, with both guys nabbing at least half of their wins by knockout. I’m going to give an edge to Makashvili because hornets are scary. Levan wins with a third round TKO.
Jared: Eddiva has the experience, but Makashvili is the huge favorite for a reason here. The dude packs a wallop, has solid takedowns and the ground skills to boot. I’ll take the newbie for the win.
Featherweight – Phillipe “Super” Nover vs Yui Chul “The Korean Bulldozer” Nam
Jessica: Get all the way the f*ck outta here, “next Anderson Silva AND Georges St. Pierre”. Nam is going to bulldoze Phil and knock him out in the first.
Melanie: Nover by decision
Jared: One of these men is nicknamed “The Korean Bulldozer.” The other is a male nurse, bro. I’ll let you figure out who’s who, but I’m going with the former.
Welterweight – Hyun Gyu “The Ace” Lim vs Neil Magny
Jessica: This fight is causing legit consternation. I really like Lim, and his gutsy performance against Saffiedine last year is an awesome moment. Meanwhile, I used to shudder at the mere thought of having to watch a Neil Magny fight, but now I’m one of the more ardent worshipers of the Cult of M A G N Y. One of Lim’s big problems is bad cardio, but this is only a three-round fight, so I don’t think that will be a major problem. On the flip side, Magny can shoot laser beams from his eyes. I’ll take MAGNY to win by decision. May his reign last a thousand terrible generations.
Melanie: Magny by KO
Chris: This is the most intriguing fight of the card. While the main event is a true spectacle, this fight has real implications for each fighter’s career trajectory. Lim is extremely strong with three finishes and a valiant decision loss to Tarec Saffedine.
I’ve followed Magny’s career since his fight to get into the TUF house and am pleased with the methodical approach he employs. His ill-advised takedowns may be ineffective against the much larger Lim which then will pit Lim’s KO power versus Magny’s technical approach.
I’m really excited for this fight and am just going to say R1 – Lim R3 – Magny
Jared: It’s hard to pick against a guy who set the record for most UFC wins in a year in 2014, but I’m a huge fan of Lin’s style and am going with my heart here. Lim by highlight reel KO.
Middleweight – Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz vs Luke “The Big Slow” Barnatt
Jessica: I think the stat is that Munoz has landed three strikes in his last three fights, or something equally depressing. While Mark does have the ferocious power to put Barnatt to sleep, and Barnatt has the mediocre defense to allow it to happen, I don’t see Munoz actually landing the big shots. He’s retired, he sold his gym, the man has nothing left, so I’ll say Barnatt uses his gangly reach to win a decision.
Melanie: Munoz by decision
Chris: Luke Barnatt is going to really hurt Mark Munoz and that makes me sad
Jared: Mark Munoz has landed three total strikes in his last three fights. Three. He was nearly choked to death by Roan Carnerio in his last fight, and has already stated that tomorrow will be his last fight as a professional. Never, ever bet on a guy who already has one foot out the door. Unless that guy is Chris Lytle.
Middleweight – Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi vs Costas Philippou
Jessica: Gegard really only loses to the very top of the division, and Costas ain’t it. Mousasi should be able to kickbox his way through Philippou and put him down in the third with a TKO.
Melanie: Philippou by decision
Chris: Gegard Mousasi is going to outwork Costas Philippou and that is going to be very exciting. Gegard was one of those guys I’d waited forever to see in the UFC and he’s put on consistently good fights, regardless of his record. He’s got enough in the tank after 43 fights to remain a top 5 MW, so I’m picking him to finish Costas.
Jared: MOO-SAUCE-SEE! MOO-SAUCE-SEE! MOO-SAUCE-SEE!!!
Featherweight – Frankie “The Answer Edgar vs Urijah “The California Kid” Faber
Jessica: “Kick in the Door” versus “California Love” is a pretty damn epic battle, and that’s just the walkout songs. Faber’s never lost a non-title fight, but he’s never non-titally fought Iron Edgar. Faber hits hard and is good at jumping on hurt dudes, and Edgar spends at least one moment in every fight as a hurt dude. Despite all that, I’m going all-in with the Answer. Edgar wins with a fourth round TKO.
Melanie: Edgar by decision
Chris: I love this reborn Frankie Edgar. He’s painfully self aware of his place in the UFC, his size & cardio, his history as a finisher, his marketability, and his willingness to bend instead of break in the face of opposition in and out of the cage mean he’s going to be emerge as the winner Saturday morning.
Faber is just a hair longer in the tooth and older dog with an older bag of tricks.
Plus, I’m an East Coast guy and ain’t picking no Californian over Edgar no matter how pretty his smile is.
Jared: I didn’t think I could get more excited for this fight until I found out that these two legends will be walking out to Biggie and Tupac, respectively. It’s East Coast vs. West Coast to the grave, baby! Unfortunately for Faber, Edgar does all the things he does but better than he does them. He’ll outmuscle and outwork Faber in classic Frankie fashion and hand “The California Kid” the first non-title fight loss of his career.
Performance of the Night
Jessica: Bang, Wee
Fight of the Night
Jessica: MAGNY vs Lim