The UFC is back, friends! This Saturday, from Las Vegas, we’ve got a huge PPV, headlined by a light heavyweight title fight. The punches and kicks will start at 7:00 PM ET on Fight Pass, so get ready to join us for our live discussion.
Important Standings of Note:
Jessica: 295-176-3 (63%)
Burnsy: 287-183-4 (61%)
Vince: 145-87-1 (62%)
Danny: 161-77-1 (67%)
Spilled: 76-56-2 (57%)
Sydnie: 16-12 (57%)
Chris: 27-9 (75%)
NY Ric: 36-26-1 (57%)
Ghost: 6-7 (46%)
Seth: 24-11 (69%)
Biss: 21-12-1 (63%)
Bantamweight – Alexis “Sneaky Zebra” Dufrense vs Marion “Belizean Bruiser” Reneau
Jessica: Reneau has a good amount of KO wins, so I’m banking on that to let her punch the Zebra in the face. Reneau wins by third round TKO.
Burnsy: Let’s start out the New Year by pointing out that the female fighters are pound for pound way better at making up nicknames. Sneaky Zebra is just plain fun, while Belizean Bruiser is a solid throwback to fighting’s classic days. That said, I’ll pick this one by putting Jessica and myself at odds to start fresh, with the Zebra taking the W.
Vince: Sneaky Zebra? That’s great. Tough to say here, knowing mostly nothing about either, Dufresne looks to be a weight class heavier and in fact didn’t make weight for the fight. Does that mean she’ll tire easily? Also, Reneau fights out of the 559. Should I pick the hometown girl? Sure, why not.
Welterweight – Omari “Lakec” Akhmedov vs Mats Nilsson
Jessica: Dagestani. Knuckle. Game. Cartel. Akhmedov is going to send Nilsson crashing to the Mats in the second round. Omari wins by knockout, bro.
Burnsy: Jessica already made the classic play-on-words that I was really eager to make. Akhmedov wins.
Vince: Nilsson has lost to all of the Scandinavians I’ve heard of and Akhmedov is Dagestani. I’m taking Akhmedov by brutal black-assing (“black-ass” is what Russians call people of the Caucasus. that’s how white Russians are, by the way, where being literally Caucasian means you get called black ass.).
Lightweight – Evan Dunham vs Rodrigo Damm
Jessica: I hope this is a fun grappling match and not a tepid kickboxing fight. If Damm didn’t look to be nearly 50, I’d have a little more faith in him, but as it stands, I’m taking Dunham to win by wrestling-influenced decision.
Burnsy: “Happy New Year, UFC fans! Now watch this pink slip fight between two guys who can’t buy a win.” I hate thinking about a guy losing his job to start 2015, so Dunham gets the win and Damm gets one more chance.
Vince: Ah, the battle of the underachievers. Dunham?
Heavyweight – Shawn “The Savage” Jordan vs Jared “The Killa Gorilla” Cannonier
Jessica: Two big dudes that will hopefully Slang N Bang until one goes sleepy time. Even though Jordan has hit some speed bumps, I think he’s probably better than the dudes Cannonier has been feasting on, so I’ll take Jordan to win by second round TKO.
Burnsy: I would love to pick Cannonier to win, as his story is pretty great. He’s a former service member with very limited fighting experience, as he’s never fought outside of Alaska. Does that mean he brawls with Palins and grizzlies? Maybe. But he had to raise money to afford taking time off from work, getting from Alaska to Arizona, and training at an Arizona gym. And it was all because the UFC called him and asked if he wanted to fight Jordan. His response? “Let’s do it.” Damn it, I’m so torn. I know this guy is too inexperienced to beat a guy like Jordan, even if he was a first round gimme for Matt Mitrione and Gabriel Gonzaga. Screw it, I’ll take the new guy. It’s a new year, so give me a feel good story with Cannonier.
Vince: I was expecting big things out of Shawn Jordan before his losses to Mitrione and Gonzaga. However, those guys are pretty good. I have to take Jordan over the guy I’ve never seen fight.
Bantamweight – Marcus “The Bama Beast” Brimage vs Cody “No Love” Garbrandt
Jessica: “No Love” was Rich Clementi’s nickname, and I dislike Clementi, so I’m taking Brimage to win a decision using Dragon Ball Z techniques.
Burnsy: Brimage got off to such a hot start in the UFC, winning his first three fights before running into the unstoppable Notorious. Then he also lost to Russell Doane, before winning against Jumpingjack Turntable at Fight Night in November. Garbrandt is a newbie who looks like a background extra from SoA. I like Brimage to join Cannonier in making the former service members 2-0 at 182.
Vince: Brimage never impressed me, and then he won his last fight by stunner headkick. Meanwhile Garbrandt is coming in with five straight KOs, four in the first round, mostly against nobodies. Jessica can suck rocks because Rich Clementi rules, but I’m going to have to take the Bama Beast by virtue of the fact that I’ve actually seen him fight before.
Lightweight – Danny “Last Call” Castillo vs Paul “The Irish Dragon” Felder
Jessica: Castillo is an Alpha Male, and those guys do really well, so I’m thinking he’s going to wrestle the heck out of Felder and win a decision.
Burnsy: I’m going to play my undefeated fighter card here and give Felder the win to move to 10-0.
Vince: Am I supposed to know who the f*ck Paul Felder is? Looks like he’s beaten a who’s who of who’s that? I’ll take the always solid Castillo over an American-born guy with “Irish” in his nickname.
Welterweight – Hector “Showeather” Lombard vs Josh “The People’s Warrior” Burkman
Jessica: Josh is the last hope for the made up fighting style known as American Whu-Hit-U, so I’ve got to pick him. Burkman will crack Lombard and submit him in the first round, kind of like the Fitch fight.
Burnsy: This is an interesting fight, even if it seems like it’s a prelim filler match. On one hand, Burkman said that being released from the UFC in 2008 was a blessing and it helped him get his shit together in the octagon and life. On the other hand, Lombard apparently wants to beat him to a pulp over some pre-fight-week shenanigans. I’m gonna give this one to Lombard, the pissed off welcoming committee.
Vince: You never know which Lombard is going to show up on fight night, the buzzsaw asskicker or the guy who lost to Tim Boetsch via boredom? I like Burkman, but I’m going to flip a coin and say buzzsaw asskicker. Lombard.
Flyweight – Kyoji Horiguchi vs Louis “Goodnight” Gaudinot
Jessica: Horiguchi Mane is really good, so I think he’ll beat up Gaudinot a lot and take a decision.
Burnsy: Gaudinot needs to get his act together coming off his overturned first round submission of Phil Harris. Drugs are bad, mmkay? You know whose act is together? Horiguchi with his three consecutive wins in the UFC. That moves to four after this one.
Vince: Yay, a karate guy! Boo, flyweights! Horiguchi looks solid, and like a future fan favorite, but his shaky takedown defense gives me paws (to dog him with). I’m going to say Horiguchi will use his footwork and spacing to pick Louie Greenhair apart.
Middleweight – Brad Tavares vs Nate “The Great” Marquardt
Jessica: Marquardt is going to unleash one of his Tekken-esque combos and take out Tavares in the second with a TKO.
Burnsy: Marquardt scored a desperation win in awesome style with an armbar of James Tuna Fish at Fight Night last June. Now, he faces Tavares, who is facing a possible pink slip if he loses for a third consecutive fight. I think Tavares is a better fighter than his last two results would suggest, so I’m going to take him to get back on track.
Vince: Marquardt had been thoroughly unimpressive before the Te Huna fight, then he went out an armbarred him in front of his home crowd. Meanwhile, Tavares just lost to Tim Boetsch. Still, that last Marquardt fight was in New Zealand. Is it wrong of me to wonder whether the testing was as stringent there? I’m going to wonder anyway. Tavares.
Lightweight – Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs Myles “Fury” Jury
Jessica: Cerrone is on an incredible run, so he’ll knock out Jury in the first.
Burnsy: This fight, you guys. Cerrone’s five-win streak against Jury’s six-win streak, and a shot at the No. 1 or 2 contender (or maybe even a title shot) hanging in the balance. This is so, so tough. I think Cerrone is the far more complete fighter at this point, but I’m going to mix things up and take Jury here. THE JURY IS IN!
Vince: Both of these guys are on the craziest runs I’ve seen outside of your mom’s pantyhose, and they’re both crazy talented and well-rounded. Jury is faster than Cerrone, but I’m taking Cerrone. Jury is another day at the office for Cerrone, considering the kind of competition he’s been up against, while Cerrone is a gigantic step up in competition for Jury.
Light Heavyweight – Jon “Bones” Jones vs Daniel “DC” Cormier
Jessica: Jones is really good, I won’t deny that. However, I dislike him as a person, so I’ll be hoping that Cormier can get hands on him, wrestle him to the ground and break Jonny Bones. Cormier wins by third round submission.
Burnsy: The hype for this fight has been too good. Like, I’m almost convinced it’s on the level of The Great White Hype and Jones is just gonna take one swing at Cormier in the first and end it. There’s almost no way, in my mind, that this will be as good as Jones-Gustafsson, but I have been wrong once or twice before. The biggest problem with this fight, for me, is that it’s not Jones-Gustafsson II. I like the way that the UFC has been mixing things up and making guys work and wait for rematches, but if Cormier wins, we don’t get that rematch anytime soon. It’s a real conundrum. So after some thinking and soul-searching, your winner and… NEW LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION!!! DANIEL… DEEEEECEEEEEE… CORMIER!!!
(And that’s fine, because a three-way rivalry between Jones, Gustafsson and Cormier would be great for the next two years while Rumble, Big Bad Bader, Phil Davis and OSP fight each other some more and inject new blood into the Top 5. I’m always about the big picture.)
Vince: First off, let me say that I hate “grudge match” fights. Fights between two guys that are kind of friendly are always way better, my theory being that guys who are publicly feuding go in tight, afraid of being embarrassed. So, the “grudge match” hype bullsh*t is for the casual fan. I mean, I get it, but for real fight fans, I don’t care that much about the soap opera crap. Are you still there, pussies?
As for the fight, I believe Cormier is legitimately a better boxer and a better wrestler than Jon Jones. Does that mean I believe he can get through Jones’ Dhalsim limbs and get close enough to him to implement it? I don’t know. And in the absence of having seen anyone do it before, I have to pick Jones. I will still be rooting for Cormier. The light heavyweight division needs a shakeup, and if Cormier can’t beat Jones, and Gustafsson can’t beat Jones, his only viable opponent will be the scale. I have to think he won’t always be able to make 205.
Performance of the Night
Jessica: Cerrone, Burkman
Burnsy: Jury, Horiguchi
Vince: Cerrone, Jordan
Fight of the Night
Jessica: Dunham vs Damm
Burnsy: Cerrone vs Jury
Vince: Cerrone vs. Jury