UFC on Fox 15: Machida vs. Rockhold — Shortcut predictions for the entire card
Through no fault of their own, the UFC are apparently undercutting their own pay-per-view, UFC 186: Johnson vs. Horiguchi, by airing an inarguably superior card just a week earlier. Granted, no titles are on the line, but, based on sheer talent and name value alone, there exists absolutely no contest.
The word “stacked” gets thrown around quite an unnecessary bit, however, in this case, it’s easily applicable. There’s just no way around it; this is among the best free fight cards MMA fans could possibly hope for these days.
Here are my predictions for the entire card in five sentences or less per fight.
#2 Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida vs. #4 Luke Rockhold: This compelling southpaw vs. southpaw matchup pits two of the most formidable middleweights against one another in an almost assured title elimination matchup. A little birdie told me this might be “The Dragon’s” last run at capturing another belt, as the 36-year-old has stated plainly to some loose-lipped confidants that he has only five more fights left in him before retirement—an assertion that could foster either placidness or urgency in the karate master. But, since this is the fight game, I’m going to assume it’s urgency, and there is truly no better technician at middleweight—outside of former champion Anderson Silva, current champion Chris Weidman and Jacare Souza—than Machida. Rockhold carries a lot of momentum into this fight with him, however his showing against Vitor Belfort was revelatory, both technically and mentally, in broadcasting his combative shortcomings. The fact that Machida has rarely shown deficiencies in either of those categories sings to his advantages going into this highly-anticipated set-to. Machida by TKO.
#1 Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Chris Camozzi: Bless Chris Camozzi for having the stones to step into the cage on such short notice, but there is exactly nowhere where the Factory X Muay Thai product has any sort of advantage over the multiple jiu-jitsu gold medalist-turned deadly MMA practitioner. This is all for show, people. Souza by submission.
#5 Cub Swanson vs. #9 Max “Blessed” Holloway: This is a far closer matchup than many are giving it credit for being and essentially boils down to Swanson’s explosive power versus Holloway’s technical superiority. Were this a five round affair, the advantage would invariably go to Swanson, whose ability to put his opponents away rarely wanes. But considering this bout occurs over three rounds, the smart money is actually on “Blessed,” who is among the finest by-the-book strikers at featherweight. Holloway by unanimous decision.
#8 Felice “’Lil Bulldog” Herrig vs. #12 Paige “12 Gauge” VanZant: The hottie vs. hottie matchup is here y’all! The UFC are hinging their hopes on a possible pop culture phenom in VanZant; and rightfully so—she’s articulate, easy on the eyes and is young enough that an early investment and a protracted exclusive contract would easily pay dividends regardless of how her career inevitably unfolded. As it stands, however, she’s 4-1 with a UD loss to Tecia Torres. Can Herrig—a notoriously high potential underachiever—finally make good on the promise she’s shown, or will she collapse once again beneath the pressure of another high-profile fight? My money’s on VanZant, nine years the junior of Herrig, who should still be making considerable jumps forward in her MMA progress. VanZant by UD.
#12 Jim Miller vs. Beneil Dariush: Oddly, Dariush is the favorite in this matchup. Well, I for one think that’s fucking stupid. Jim Miller by submission.
#8 Ovince Saint Preux vs. #13 Patrick “Durkin” Cummins: Saint Preux currently sits atop the FightMetric.com list of hardest hitters (calculated by strike-to-knockdown ratio) currently employed by Zuffa, LLC. Of course, he’s only fought six times in the UFC, but, then again, he’s fought six times in the UFC and has only lost once (to Ryan Bader by UD). After an unparalleled trial-by-fire debut against Daniel Cormier back in early 2014, Patrick Cummins’ UFC record has been absolutely pristine. Unfortunately, his striking acumen—which has, since the Cormier bout, been concealed by underwhelming opposition—will be exposed as deficient against the Haitian-American from Miami, FL. Saint Preux by TKO.
Corey “Beastin’ 25/8” Anderson vs. Gian Villante: Anderson by UD.
#6 Takeya Mizugaki vs. Aljamain “Funk Master” Sterling: Sterling by UD.
George “The Silencer” Sullivan vs. Tim “The Dirty Bird” Means: Means by TKO.
Diego “DB” Brandao vs. Jimy “The Kid” Hettes: Brandao by UD.
Eddie “Truck” Gordon vs. Chris Dempsey: We’re going to see just how much Josh Samman scrambled Eddie Gordon’s eggs when he faces off against Chris Dempsey, who himself is coming off of his first knockout loss to Ilir Latifi. My money’s on the dude with a 100% takedown success record inside the Octagon. Call me crazy. Gordon by UD.
(Featured image: FoxSports.com.)
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