Another weekend, another UFC Fight Night card exclusively on Fight Pass! Most Fight Pass cards are built more for the local audience, since the prelims have a lot of regional fighters, and the start time is suited for those in attendance, and this card in Japan is probably the best example of that. The prelims begin at 12:00 AM ET and the main card isn’t set to start until 3:00 AM ET. That’s some devious trickery right there. So you know what you have to do? You have to use some devious trickery of your own. Get some noisemakers and party favors and champagne poppers and whatnot to trick yourself into thinking you’re staying up for a New Year’s Eve card from PRIDE or DREAM or K-1 or all of them combined (The addition of Gomi and Hunt will help in this situation) so you can power through the night.
Important Standings of Note:
Featherweight – Maximo “Maxi” Blanco vs Dan “The Hangman” Hooker
Jessica: Maxi is back in Japan against a random dude, so this is basically his last chance to show something impressive that isn’t post-fight backflips. Blanco by second round KO, and if he loses, he needs to get thrown into the Sea of Japan.
Spilled: Blanco means means white… So this is the White Hooker fight. Only appropriate it should be seen on the internet. But seriously, Ben Fowlkes. I’m gonna say Hooker puts Blanco to sleep and sneaks off with his wallet.
Burnsy: I’m picking Blanco so I can hopefully hear Joe Rogan shout, “HE JUST KILLED HOOKER!”
Lightweight – Kazuki Tokudome vs Johnny “Hollywood” Case
Jessica: Case got his start in something called Brutaal Fight Night, and I just can’t condone such ridiculous spelling. Tokudome takes this by split decision, not infinitives.
Spilled: Johnny Case’s nickname is Hollywood. Really. dude? How THE FUCK is your last name Case and you don’t go with Johnny “Basket” Case? Or Johnny “Mental” Case? I am disappoint. Also because considering his impressive win streak… there is a strong *Case* to pick him over Tokudome. I’m gonna say TKO in this Case. Remember when Kiss sold out the Tokudome?
Burnsy: I’m taking Tokudome as the hometown guy. Wait, he’s Japanese, right? Oh god, I made this awkward. This is the worst.
Bantamweight – Michinori Tanaka vs Kyung Ho “Mr. Perfect” Kang
Jessica: You can’t be “Mr. Perfect” with a loss on your record, let alone seven. Tanaka is an Alpha Male, and that’s the new hotness, so I’ll take Tanaka to win by decision.
Spilled: Kang’s nickname is Mr. Perfect. And he looks like the Korean version of the douchey rich popular kid in an 80s movie. Tanaka is undefeated and too cool for a nickname. Plus he looks like an Anime hero. Tanaka by something mystical.
Burnsy: More like Mr. Imperfect. Thanks, that’s just one of the many jokes that you’ve come to expect from me. I’m taking Tanaka.
Welterweight – Hyun Gyu “The Ace” Lim vs Takenori Sato
Jessica: Sato got obliterated by Erick Silva last time out, and Lim nearly finished Saffedine on one leg. Lim is going to flyingly knee Sato to death in the second.
Chris: After Lim’s valiant showing against Tarec Saffedine it makes sense that the UFC wants to give him a chance to grow and build his star in the Asian market. He’s a big welterweight with KO power so the UFC has paired him with Sato who has been knocked out in 6 of his 9 losses. I smell a showcase fight for Lim and am picking him to win by KO. Look for a POTN sleeper pick here as well.
Sato was brought into the UFC as chum for Erick Silva and I think the same thing is happening again with Lim. It’s a shame because Sato is only 29 and if he gets smashed again it’s unlikely he will stick around.
Spilled: Lim beats Sato based on what we in the business of punditry call “a gut pick”
Burnsy: I like the word Ace, because it reminds me of Chris Farley talking about Veronica Vaughn in Billy Madison. So him.
Featherweight – Katsunori Kikuno vs Sam Sicilia
Jessica: Because I’m not smart, I’ve got a weird love for Kikuno and his rad CRESCENT KICKS, so I’m taking him to win by first round knockout (Via CRESCENT KICKS!)
Spilled: Kikuno over Sicilia via a flurry of feet and fists. And you can quote me on that. I quote me on that.
Burnsy: These guys both last fought at UFC 173 in May, and Sicilia took the UD over Aaron Phillips, while Kikuno got knocked the fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck out by Tony Ferguson. I’m going to flip the script and take Kikuno to win this time, because Sicilia bores me.
Bantamweight – Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres vs Masanori Kanehara
Jessica: Other than the times he smokes weed or fights one of the best dudes in the division, Caceres puts things down to the maximum effect. I’m taking Bruce Leeroy by third round submission, possibly a Glow-goplata.
Spilled: I’m a big fan of Bruce LeeRoy Alex Caceres but then I saw Kanehara’s Sherdog pic. That’s kinda hard to fuck with that look… I predict A DRAW!
Burnsy: I do not pick against the glow. Bruce Leeroy is the MASTAHHHHHHHHHHHH.
Flyweight – Kyoji Horiguchi vs Jon “The Heat” Delos Reyes
Jessica: FREE (Hori)GUCHI! Kyoji wins by second round TKO for no reason other than he’s out of Krazy Bee with KID Yamomoto and that dude’s cool, right?
Spilled: Horiguchi via late round TKO or unanimous decision over Reyes.
Burnsy: Kyoji’s on a nice little winning streak, including 2 since joining the UFC, so I see no reason to stop that now.
Welterweight – Kiichi “Strasser” Kunimoto vs “Filthy” Richard Walsh
Jessica: Ok, one guy is Filthy Dick and the other is named after Dave Strasser. This is a bad joke, right? I don’t trust an Aussie to have take down defense, so I’ll go with Kunimoto to submit Walsh in the second.
Spilled: Kunimoto… I dunno what “Strasser” refers to but I think his nickname should be “Kiichi the Killer” cause he does kinda look like Ichi the Killer with the blonde hair. Kiichi The Killer taps out Walsh via chokage of some sort.
Burnsy: I have to pick the guy named Filthy. I think that’s in my contract.
Bantamweight – Miesha “Cupcake” Tate vs Rin Nakai
Jessica: I’ve written several words about how weird the whole Rin Nakai pseudo-sex slavery videos are, so I’ll just say that sometimes I pick with my heart (Dan Henderson now and forever), sometimes I pick with my brain (Dillashaw over Barao) and sometimes my brain picks “most hilarious outcome” which is why I’m going with Nakai to win by decision. I’m really wanting her to just slam Tate until Miesha’s arms and legs comically fly off.
Chris: It’s difficult to study tape on Nakai because doing so will either get me fired from my job, or in trouble with my wife. With that said, I’m super excited for this fight. Tate may never enter the pantheon of great female fighters but she is an excellent part of the 135 division. A sort of Frank Mir, Shawn Sherk fighter, having held the belt but her championship is overshadowed by losses to the greats of their divisions. I was happy to see her power through the Carmouche fight and felt like she earned the win, somehow powering through the round by round scoring criteria.
Nakai has huge muscles and I’m curious to see if Tate will try to drag her into deep waters, hoping to tire her out and seek a late finish.
Spilled: Does anyone else get a subtle kinda vibe that Rin Nakai is how shall we say…. batshit crazy? But like in a totally awesome & uniquely Japanese way? Plus she’s undefeated. Plus look at those guns! I think Rin is gonna be like a Powerpuff Girl and Meisha Tate will be like Mojo Jojo. Nakai by unanimous decision.
Burnsy: I really like Miesha Tate as a person, but I’m still not convinced that she’s a good fighter, no matter how many times I watch her fight. I’m all for new blood in the women’s division, so Nakai, please.
Welterweight – Yoshihiro “Sexyama” Akiyama vs Amir Sadollah
Jessica: I like Sadollah well enough, but jeeze, dude hasn’t fought in two years. Akiyama is a dirty cheater, but I expect him to judo Amir a bunch and win by decision.
Chris: Wow. While I’m happy to see these guys fight, but it’s been a minute. Has Amir changed his nickname to “HOLLA” yet? Because that could be a game changer. Othewise I’d say that the guy who got outwrestled by Dan Hardy is going to enter Sexyama’s highlight reel via judo throw. Seriously, if the Sexy One can do that to Jake Shields then he should be able to tie up Sadollah and send him for a ride. The strange thing is that Akiyama is 1-4 in the UFC and 39 years old. It’s mathematically unpossible for him to win.
Akiyama via decision.
Spilled: I find it hard no matter how hard I try to resist Sexyama… picking/rooting for Sexyama that is. I’m straight and all but you can’t deny the man’s magnetism. Sexyama via Sexyamaing up the judges in a similar fashion. Sorry Amir. You’re in the belly of the sexy beast.
Burnsy: Sexyama is probably in my Top 3 favorite nicknames. One day I’ll publish that ranking and the world will celebrate.
Lightweight – Myles “Fury” Jury vs Takenori “Fireball Kid” Gomi
Jessica: Unless Gomi can pull another Hadouken out of his shorts, I don’t see him winning this fight. Jury’s got too much length and youth and non-box shaped headedness for Gomi to overcome. Jury sends it to the judges for a decision win.
Chris: I think the UFC is slowly bringing Jury up the ranks, and wisely so, because it is crowded! So why clog it up with an undefeated prospect with a good finish rate and some skills on the mic. Gomi currently “back,” after defeating Isaac Vallie-Flagg, but that could change at any minute. Never able to mount a serious run in the UFC, the once-great lightweight stands as the benchmark for fighters who need a name win, but cannot hang with the elites yet. It’s a fitting matchup, as Jury most recently beat Diego Sanchez who took a questionable decision from Gomi in March of last year. Gomi for his part can have a great victory lap at home, but at 35 years old I have to go with the youth movement.
Jury via decision. Side note: can we get a Jury vs Iaquinta rematch after this?
Spilled: Gomi vs Jury. Hmmm…. I dunno man. I dunno…. If I have to pick and I do, kinda… I’m going with Jury via decision. Unless Gomi KOs him then I can finally use my The Jury is Out! line. But I don’t see that happening.
Burnsy: THE JURY IS IN!
Heavyweight – Mark “Super Samoan” Hunt vs Roy “Big Country” Nelson
Jessica: YES! YES! YYYEEESSS!!! This fight, y’all! Holy cow, this fight should be bonkers like WHOA! Both dudes hit hard and can take hard hits. Nelson does have decent grappling, but Mark Hunt learned wrestling basically mid-fight against Bigfoot Silva and he’ll probably just throw Roy to the side like a sprig of parsley. Hunt’s got way better boxing (Nelson only knows one punch – GIGANTO OVERHAND RIGHT) and as long as he doesn’t break a toe in the first minute, he should be able to use that and his footwork to avoid getting clipped by Nelson and land his own punches with impunity. Hunt takes a fourth round TKO.
Chris: How can we really pick this one? Do you have King Kong or Godzilla? this is a total coin flip. I just tried and Hunt won 3 out of 5 flips. Does anyone else want to see the atomic butt drop?
I’m more interested in the matches to make after the fallout of this fight. I’d like the loser to fight Overeem and the winner to fight Travis Browne or Brendan Schaub, or Josh Barnett.
Spilled: Hunt vs Nelson… Roy Nelson should win this fight on paper. Based on his wrestling & chin alone. However when you factor in heart both what mine is telling me and what Hunt has… I’m going to tell my stupid brain to shut up and pick the Super Samoan.
Burnsy: This better be three rounds of head smashing. Yes, I know the main event is 5 rounds, but these guys will be asleep on top of each other like two hybernating bears by the fourth round. I’m reluctantly taking Hunt, because I love Roy but I think he’s mentally checked out (I hope he proves me wrong) since he basically fell out of the title hunt around the same time he was posturing for a new deal. Hunt, on the other hand, is never out of it, even when he has a GIANT HOLE IN HIS LEG, and he really believes that he can contend for the title. I’m happy no matter what happens here, so long as it’s not a draw.