Tate x Nunes / Hunt x Lesnar / Cormier x Silva
Jones 2 / Aldo x Edgar 2 / Cain x Browne
Picks, Parlays, and Predictions
UFC CC: Two Cancelled Cards but Who Cares at a Time like This
Tate x Nunes
Hunt x Lesnar
Cormier x Silva
Edgar x Aldo
Cain x Browne
Zingano x Peña
Gastelum x Hendricks
Dillashaw x Assunção
Northcutt x Martin
Sanchez x Lauzon
Mousasi x Santos
Miller x Gomi
BI-CENT EDITIONMiller (-230)
$2.01 to win $23.20
EVIL EDITIONSanchez (-115)
$6.66 to win $121.97
I feel this bicentennial in my genitals so I'm breaking down every fight on the main card. [Edit: Thanks for the extra work, Jon.]
I haven’t missed a card since UFC 66, making this my 280th UFC. My perspective is both seasoned and underqualified.
Tate x Nunes for the women's bantamweight belt
Hellooooooo new main event. Not to be a downer, but I think Nunes should be fighting Holm or Peña and Rousey should have made her triumphant comeback for a, possibly winnable, fight here at 200. Methinks the Rowdy one will be close by. Either way, not only did the stars not align for that fight, but I’m not a UFC matchmaker so here we go.
I’m a big Meisha Tate fan and I think she has the shutdown potential to become a grinding, GSP-style champion, even though she, thankfully, has more of a flair for the dramatic. Her skills are as well-rounded as her heaving bosom and her tenacity makes it incredibly hard to put her away. Tate was the Strikeforce champion before Ronda and now, with Ronda out, she’s the UFC champ. It seems she only comes up short when she’s unable to dictate the fight, forcing her to compete in a discipline where her opponent excels.
Nunes has been on a small tear, her most notable victory being a one round destruction of Olympic wrestler Sara McMann. I’m still not sold. Nunes has killer muay-thai and a solid ground game – that’s not bringing anything new to the table. Nunes is sharp on the feet, but I think Tate plays it safe, mixing in big strikes and hunting for takedowns. We’ve seen Nunes fade in later rounds and that’s where I think this is going.
To make things even weirder, Cat Zingano is fighting on the <i>undercard</i> of this same event and she has stoppage victories over both Tate and Nunes. I personally hope Zingano beats Peña like a piñata and gets another shot at the title, even though I wouldn’t be mad at a Peña breakout. Wait, what fight are we talking about?
Hunt x Lesnar
Squeezed in between the two legitimate title fights of the night, we’ll be treated to this borderline exhibition bout. Call it a revival of Brock Lesnar’s triumphant UFC 100 performance and historic post fight tirade. Let’s hope we’re treated to at least a fraction of those fireworks.
Mark Hunt is a crackerjack on the feet with the heaviest hands in history and Brock Lesnar, who hasn’t fought since 2011 after amassing a more-impressive-than-it-looks 5 and 3 record, seemingly hates to get hit. The Samoan sounds like the easiest pick on the card but the heavyweight division is full of impractical possibilities. Don’t count out the 300lb lifetime athlete in Lesnar.
Brock might charge across the cage, eat a glancing blow and barrel into Hunt for a freight-train style takedown that will stay down. It can happen. While it seems much more probable that Hunt picks his shots and blasts Brock into next week, I don’t know if he has the defensive wrestling strength to stop the Aryan barbarian. Alternatively, I’m not sure Lesnar has the time or dedication to catch up to Hunt’s concussive striking. Tough call, but I’m picking Hunt for legitimacy purposes. Whoever’s back hits the canvas first loses. This fight should go off like a firework and give the audience a jolt in time for the main event.
Cormier x Silva
The UFC saved Punchface Christmas! I don't have much to say here, I'm just glad Cormier is going to get paid. The Spider, obviously, will get his patented Anderson Silva money. All we can thank Jon Jones for at this point is for freeing up some payroll. MMA is prizefighting and this is a prize fight. Don't act like you're not excited.
I can't envision anything but a crushing Daniel Cormier victory, maybe even one we'll all be sad about afterwards, but Silva is Silva. The man was once an untouchable middleweight, he's undefeated at light heavyweight, and he's a no-questions-asked hall-of-famer. Anderson also, at the age of 41, has the balls to take on the 205lb champion on two days notice. He's made out of magic. I can't wait to watch two world class athletes compete from the comfort of my couch. All glory to everyone involved.
Aldo x Edgar 2 for the interm featherweight belt
Is it safe to say McGregor isn’t coming back to featherweight? Or was the UFC desperate to have three title fights on the same card? I’m not sure of the legitimacy of the gold on the line, nevertheless I'm a fan of the rematch. They were the two best featherweights when they fought in 2013 and they may very well be the two best featherweights in 2016.
Frankie Edgar was once just a simple wrestleboxer. One of the breed’s best for years, he handedly won the lightweight strap before he became outsized and was forced to drop down to featherweight. His first fight at 145 was against Aldo, where he dropped a razor-thin decision. Frankie has refused to lose since, elevating every part of his game, finishing fights and training with the mysterious Crown Prince of Bahrain. Yeah, I don’t know either, but he seems better off. He outworked the ultra-dynamic Cub Swanson and made mincemeat out of Chad Mendes. This isn’t 2013 Frankie and this won’t be the same fight.
Jose Aldo has also experienced quite a bit of change since their last meeting. Aldo, once the undisputed king of featherweight with a shiny eight year win streak, got blasted in all of thirteen seconds by McGregor before the Irishman decided to bounce out of the division. Jose was stripped of his crown and now he's picking up in the pieces in a division with a deserted champ. CAN HE DO IT?! Really though, it will be interesting to see how he rebounds after such a dominant reign. His striking is dangerous and precise and yadda yadda, but his first fight with Edgar was close enough. I’m sensing an upward trend from the kid from Jersey and I think he overtakes Jose in the distance. Leg kicks be damned!
Cain x Browne
Brown Pride meets Browne Pride. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. After destroying the same two opponents for the last four years, the once indomitable Cain Velasquez is now opening up a main card. Beltless. At least he gets his name etched on the most stacked event in the sport’s history.
There are a few things we can count on from Cain, the former heavyweight champ: when he loses, he loses big and when he wins, he wins big. He also gets injured when he trains, but that’s neither here nor there. Velasquez’s cardio, unstoppable wrestling, and sheer output make him a hell of a match for anyone at heavyweight. Unfortunately, he decidedly lost his belt in his last fight. Sure, it was his first return to the octagon after a long two year layoff but it didn't look like Cain. I feel uneasy. He looked like a shell of his former self in Mexico, of all places, and I can’t be sure of his stature until he’s put up against a variety of opponents. He may have just been the perfect puzzle piece for a resume full of rematches.
What does Travis Browne have going for him? At 6’7” and 240+ lbs, he’s a literal giant monster. Not only that, but he has to be riding high after his latest pair of wins for, allegedly, beating his wife and then subsequently beating the domestic violence charges. Inside the cage, he’s fresh off another W after repeatedly poking Matt Mitrione in the eyes (ref?) under the guise of a TKO victory. I don’t know him personally, but I feel safe assuming Browne is a terrible, terrible person. He made it too easy to pick a side. Travis also seems stuck at the Glendale Fighting Club which I don’t think will help him round out his striking, nevermind his grappling. His biggest strengths are his durability and power but those will be negated when Cain wraps his knees up and drags him to the canvas without too much effort. From there, it’ll be the classic knee-onda-belly-anda-punchca-the-face. Old Cain would have done it, anyways.
The lost picks of...
Cormier x Jones 2 for the light heavyweight belt
[I wrote this before the news. He couldn't do it, I guess. Most hated fighter in history?]
Something about this grudge makes me cringe. It’s too real. Daniel Cormier seems to be unbelievably determined and hard-nosed, tackling any problem life threw his way until life threw him Jon Jones – rather Jon Jones threw him. The same Jon Jones who has accomplished so much more in the UFC with almost no shred of sincerity or professional demeanor. It’s enough to drive a man insane!
Since their last meeting, Cormier has soundly defeated the next two best guys at light heavyweight. He won the strap via karma and now gets his chance to avenge his one and only loss to Jones. Cormier didn’t get mollywhopped in the first fight but he broke. Jones was able to leisurely sweep the Olympic wrestler off his feet and DC became visibly frustrated. Cormier rallied later in the fight but was focused on takedowns in an effort to reclaim his pride. That’s how I saw it, anyway. Daniel Cormier absolutely has the tools to win, but we’ve barely seen Jones stumble. Cormier has a tough puzzle in front of him and it's going to try to kick his knees off. We're asking a lot from the 37 year old.
Jon Jones is the best fighter on the planet and his big secret to cutting weight used to be partying his ass off. I’m sure he’s up to the same tricks, but he better stop smashing up his cars for the next few years to avoid getting stripped of the title again. He lost the belt to himself but his antics have never affected his performance. Come fight time, all eyes are on Bones Jones. He comes equipped with the most creative and effective style of MMA you've ever seen and the man will charge headstrong into his opponents strengths just to prove that he’s better. That's psychologically defeating. He's not bad on de-feet, either. Jones fights at a methodical, grinding pace, slashing with elbows, knees and everything between. McCarthy will be officiating and will hopefully be keeping Bones' dreaded eye-poke pawing in check but that's not the x-factory. Nothing Jones does is predictable except winning. I won’t be happy when it happens, but I’ll be entertained.