With the fire and blood-soaked vengeance of Sunday’s “The Spoils of War” still fresh in our minds, I think it’s safe to say that our Game of Thrones-themed MMA tournament has hit peak #content relevance. I’d even go so far as to say that, based on the footage, Dickon Tarly beats any current UFC heavyweight 10 times out of 10. Classic Dickon. Always getting his named confused with Rickon.
Anyways, following a series of across-the-board blowouts in the Winterfell and King’s Landing divisions, we got treated to a couple hard fought decisions and, in my opinion, the first upset of the tournament in the Narrow Sea Division last week. Will this almost pattern of near-madness continue in the Wild Card Division this week? The name sure suggests that it might!
Brynden Tully vs. Ser Arthur Dayne
Known alternatively as “The Blackfish” and “The Sword of the Morning,” respectfully, Brynden Tully and Ser Arthur Dayne are, at best, two characters you kind of remember. After narrowly escaping the Red Wedding thanks to a well-timed trip to the bathroom, Tully made a brief reappearance last season to dole out an old fashioned ass whooping to Jamie Lannister that sadly never came to be. Ser Arthur Dayne, on the other hand, is perhaps best (or only) known by fans of the show for his impressive showing against a young Ned Stark and 3 of his cronies at UFC 11: Tower of Joy, Tower of Pain. (God, I miss when the UFC used to name its events.)
That is some Dominick Cruz-esque head movement and footwork right there, Joe.
Brienne of Tarth vs. Beric Dondarrian
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, there are still plenty of fight fans who insist that MMA Math (person A beat person B, who beat person C, therefore A beats C) is a legitimate way of making predictions. If that’s the case here, then I fully expect Brienne of Tarth to walk right through Beric Dondarrian. They both share a common opponent in Sandor Clegane, with Brienne managing to score a brutal come-from-behind KO over “The Hound” and Beric… not so much.
But here’s the thing I don’t like about Brienne of Tarth: She’s a classic over-trainer. You know that guy who treats every sparring session like it’s a life or death street fight? That’s Brienne of Tarth. She got bested like ONCE by Arya Stark — a teenage (?) girl who Brienne only knew as “the youngest Stark I failed to protect” at the time — before switching into full blown Kill Mode in what was ostensibly a sparring session last week, and I’m just not sure that I can put a lot of stock in a person like that.
So while Beric has suffered the much harder losses, I like his chances to put up a good fight here. The man’s got one hell of a chin on him, and it’s hard to doubt a guy who has come back from the brink of defeat (or death) as many times as he has. He’s like the Scott Smith of Game of Thrones.
Wun Wun vs. Syrio Forel
Arya Stark vs. Jaqen H’Gar
Ohhh yes, a classic “master vs. pupil” match to close things out.
If Arya Stark‘s sparring session with Brienne “I Will 100% Try to Kill You in a Sparring Session” of Tarth last weekend taught us anything, it’s that she could probably take out Jon Jones sitting on Brock Lesnar’s shoulders and both can punch but only one can kick in the span of about three moves. That puts her a pretty distinct advantage against Jaquen H’gar, IMO, who we’ve seen do little more than speaking in confounding riddles and Yoda-esque life lessons since about season two.
Then again, H’gar once took out a half dozen Lannister bannermen without batting an eye, so maybe Arya is in a bit over her head (which currently, only stands about an apple box high). Regardless, I’m just happy anytime I get to see two shapeshifting assassins battle it out, which up until this point in my life has been, like, once.