What's good, fellow MMA enthusiasts? I continue to struggle to think up a decent name for my blog so each week, I am just going to change the title until I find something that I like. This week it is "Punch. Kick. Choke. Blog." because sometimes you have to return to the fundamentals to figure out your game. This week I am talking about UFC Fight Night on Fox: Lawler vs. Dos Anjos, which you can watch for free as long as you have a TV and an antenna. So ring the bell because it's go time!
UFC Fight Night: Lawler vs. Dos Anjos
Location: Winnipeg, Canada
UFC Fight Pass Prelims
Jordan "The Young Gun" Mein vs. Erick "The Tiger" Silva 170lbs
Erick Silva was at one time a hot young prospect in the UFC. After amassing a 3-3 UFC record, he was given a main event fight against Matt Brown at UFC Fight Night 40: Brown vs. Silva. I was live in attendance for that fight and I thought that Silva was possibly in a coma or worse in the middle of the Octagon after he was TKOed in the third round after taking massive damage throughout the fight. He didn't move on the canvas for a long time after it was called. I respect Silva's toughness and heart, but still to this day, I wonder how much of an impact that fight had on his overall health and career. Silva has the UFC experience edge, but he is 1-3 in his last 4 fights.
Jordan Mein has been with the UFC since 2013 and is currently in the worst slump of his career having lost his last 3 fights in a row. He will be fighting in his home country, and judging by his past fights, will be looking to keep this one on standing, as he has never won an UFC match with a submission.
This might be a good old-fashioned loser leaves town match, as both of these guys desperately need a win here. I am leaning toward Silva because he is durable enough to withstand a pounding on his feet and has the jiu jitsu advantage if/when this thing goes to ground.
Another FS1 Prelim and another week where I am asking...
#15 Jan Blachowicz vs. #14 Jared "The Killa Gorilla" Cannonier 205lbs
I am interested in the 205lbs fight between these two guys because this division definitely needs some new contenders. That also means there is the potential for fast track career advancement by putting on a great performance here and getting a shot against a top guy in the near future.
Back in the day Jan Blachowicz was straight running shit in KSW aka Konfrontacja Sztuk Walkiin in Poland. KSW is one of the bigger names in European MMA. Check out their latest promo shot on their website below which looks like the fighter selection screen in a Dropkick Murphys video game....
Jan has losses to Alexander Gustafsson and Jimi Manuwa (both decisions). His finishes are pretty evenly spread over subs, KOs, and decisions, but his losses are what are really interesting. While he has been defeated 7 times, he has only been subbed once and TKOed once.
Jared Cannonier comes into this fight with a 10-2 record, which includes a decision loss to Glover Teixeria. Cannonier was undefeated coming into the UFC and then was unceremoniously KOed in his debut fight. Welcome to the big leagues, kid. He learned from his loss, though, and has complied a 3-1 record since then (the loss to Teixeria).
If I had Biff's Gray's Sports Almanac from Back to the Future II, I would wager a guess on who wins this fight. That being said, I have no clue who will walk away with the W, but I do know that it is a career altering fight for both men. A win opens the doors to even more opportunity and a loss pushes you even further away from your goal of a world title.
Fox Main Card
This week I am introducing a new feature to the blog that is pretty self explanatory. To get you hyped up for the main card...
Music That Makes Me Want to Watch People Get Punched in the Face
"Stick Tight" by Terror
#3 Glover Teixeira vs. #7 Misha Cirkunov 205lbs
To steal a line from Joey Diaz, "Great Googly Moogly!" We are kicking off this card in style with two 205 pounders going at it. Teixeira is currently the 3rd ranked fighter in the Light Heavyweight division who was once regarded as arguably the best 205lbs fighter on the planet before signing with the UFC. Since he joined up, his career has been filled with ups and downs. After going undefeated in the UFC in his first 5 fights, he finally tasted his first loss to Jon Jones via decision at UFC 172. He is currently 1-2 in his last three fights. Those two losses were both Knock Outs to Anthony "Rumble" Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson, so now the question is, is his chin going or did he just get put to sleep by two men that could KO anyone on the UFC roster? Maybe it's a little of Column A and a little of Column B.
Misha Cirkunov has been on a steady climb up the ranks in the 205lbs division, winning his first 4 fights in the UFC. In his last fight, he was KOed by fellow up and comer Volkan Oezdemir in just 28 seconds. Oezdemir will be challenging Daniel Cormier for the 205lbs title at UFC 220. This is a crucial fight for Cirkunov as we try to figure out if he belongs among the elite in his division or if he is just another guy who fizzles under the pressure of being a top contender.
Cirkunov's grappling and submission game is strong and he is going to need that against a warhorse like Teixeria. Cirkunov better pack a fucking lunch because if he has to stand with Teixeria, he is going to have to weather one helluva violent storm of punishment. Teixeria can be beat standing up, but you have to be willing to stand in the pocket and trade with him. That is something most guys don't want to do and for good reason because it's worse for your health then eating tomacco plants. I am not willing to give up on Teixeira just yet so I am leaning towards him for the win.
#10 Santiago "Gente Boa"Ponzinibbio vs. "Platinum" Mike Perry 170lbs
This is another fight where the story is two men that look to get a big win to propel themselves into the upper tier of their division's rankings. Mike Perry isn't even ranked yet, but he has been doing some good old-fashioned American shit talking to get people's attention. His brashness, questionable face tattoo, and ultraviolent stand up definitely has people talking, and I would wager to say why he has this opportunity for a high profile fight on Fox in the first place.
Ponzinibbio looks to be the perfect opponent for Perry as he will look to keep things on the feet as well. Currently he is riding a 5 fight win streak that includes 1 KO, 2 TKOs, and 2 unanimous decisions. While he is not as outspoken as Perry, he can definitely throw them hands.
While I am not a Mike Perry fan, I do want to see him win this fight. Why? Because the world of MMA needs heels. It needs bad guys who make you willing to pay to watch fight because you want to see them get beat up. There is nothing I would enjoy more then seeing Mike Perry get his wish and receive a chance to fight Robbie Lawler on Pay-Per-View.
#3 Ricardo Lamas vs. Josh Emmett 145lbs
The story here is originally Lamas was supposed to fight Jose Aldo, but that fight went down the tubes when Frankie Edgar had to pull out of his fight with Max Holloway at UFC 218 and Aldo was subbed in for him. While Josh Emmett's record looks great on paper at 12-1, when you start to compare his fight resume against Ricardo Lamas's, you can quickly see that these two men are at two very different points in their career. Lamas is hands down the toughest fight that Emmett has taken to date. I hope he can make it interesting, but he has been thrown into the deep end of the pool by the UFC match makers, and now it's time to find out how well he can swim. I am putting my money on Lamas in this one.
#2 "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler vs. #4 Rafael Dos Anjos 170lbs
I am not a religious man but I do believe a select few people were put on Earth to do specific things. I truly believe that Robbie Lawler was placed on this planet to violently fuck people up inside of a Octagon. If this guy was born in 80 AD, he would've been right at home spearing other gladiators in the face. His 5-round war with Rory MacDonald was one of the greatest fights of all time, and he brings that same level of intensity with him every time he steps into the cage.
Dos Anjos is a stud as well with an incredible resume. He has victories over Benson Henderson, Nate Diaz, Anthony Pettis, Donald Cerrone, and Neil Magny. His last three losses were to Khabib Nurmagomedov, Eddie Alvarez, and Tony Ferguson, which is nothing to scoff at. He is proficient in both striking and grappling and has some of the nastiest leg kicks in the game today.
Look, I am going to be honest with you, I am biased as a motherfucker about this fight. I never bet against Robbie Lawler. Ever. Seriously, he could be matched up against one of the Xenomorphs from Aliens and I'd figure out a bullshit way to rationalize it: "While I'll concede that the Xenomorph has the reach advantage with its barbed tail and bleeds acid that will eat through the floor of the Octagon, I am still picking Lawler in this one because he has heart and is undefeated in bouts against interstellar alien lifeforms." So yeah, I expect this to be the usual Robbie Lawler fight where he keeps it on the feet and turns this into a battle of wills. I like Dos Anjos, but Lawler is the bigger man and he is always looking for the knock out.
That's it for the column this week. Now that you know my thoughts, tell me yours in the Craft Brewed Sports Facebook Group.