UFC 226

Miocic x Cormier / Holloway x Ortega

Picks, Parlays, and Predictions

The Super Friends Cover The Superfight

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Superfights don’t come along often enough in MMA, and an event of this magnitude calls for an equally impressive pairing. For the first time, Bean and Cheese is reaching beyond this realm and dipping its fingers into the proletariat. We’ve summoned forth the only man we know whose passion for this sport rivals our own. Human rock golem and longtime friend Aaron Creed has agreed to go pick-for-pick against yours truly in a collaborative exhibition. With 226 words or less, we each combined years of knowledge with cursory rationale to predict every fight on the main card. Join us for an inflammatory breakdown that’s sure to jeopardize our friendship.

Fighter portraits created, as usual, by our own lovely and talented Marea Korea.

Kyle's Picks

Miocic x Cormier
Ortega x Holloway
Ngannou x Lewis
Perry x Felder
Chiesa x Pettis
Saki x Rountree
Costa x Hall
Font x Assuncao
Millender x Griffin
Hooker x Burns
Vannata x Klose
Moyle x Whitmire

Kyle's Parlays

“Stand Your Ground” EDITION
Miocic (-275)
Ortega (+130)
Ngannou (-380)
Chiesa (-160)
Saki (-160)
$2.26 to win $21.38

“Free Meal” EDITION
Miocic (-275)
Perry (+115)
Vannata (-170)
$5 to win $18.28

“Hip Hop Hooray” EDITION
Holloway (-160)
Hall (+325)
Hooker (-150)
$5 to win $52.55

Aaron's Picks

Cormier x Miocic
Holloway x Ortega
Lewis x Ngannou
Felder x Perry
Chiesa x Pettis
Rountree x Saki
Costa x Hall
Assuncao x Font
Millender x Griffin
Burns x Hooker
Klose x Vannata
Moyle x Whitmire

Aaron's Parlays

“The Gentleman's Bet”
Holloway (-160)
Chiesa (-160)
Felder (-145)
Assuncao (-175)
$10 to win $60

“The Spazfest”
Lewis (+290)
Rountree (+130)
Klose (+140)
$10 to win $205

“The Grind and Bomb”
Cormier (+215)
Costa (-450)
Millender (-170)
Burns (+120)
$10 to win $124.50

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Stipe Miocic


x


Daniel Cormier

for the Heavyweight Championship

Kyle

We haven’t seen a light heavyweight champion move up to challenge a heavyweight champ since the Randy Couture days. This fight is even better because both Cormier and Miocic are currently titleholders in their respective divisions. Stipe Miocic is more than an Al Bundy lookalike, he’s the most dominant heavyweight in UFC history. Nobody has defended that belt more than twice and Saturday marks Stipe’s fourth effort. His wrestling base helps dictate where the fight takes place and his boxing provides the constant threat of a quick KO. Some also credit his immigrant mentality.

Olympic-calibur wrestling and all-round personality make Cormier hard to hate. That hasn’t stopped most fans from trying. Despite his loss(es) to Jon Jones, DC has been an unstoppable force for almost a decade and was undefeated during his early run at heavyweight. His skills are similar to Miocic’s, albeit inverted, with a disposition towards grappling and boxing in his back pocket.

In the clinch, DC usually finds an advantage. Size is an issue, though. Cormier is used to fighting larger men, but Stipe is a giant. Cormier won’t ragdoll Miocic and if he can’t force Stipe to lock up, he’s liable to be picked apart. Daniel hasn’t put any lights out in a long time and the power disadvantage will eventually become overwhelming. Miocic one-twos a win after a respectable effort.

Official Prediction:
Miocic melts through Cormier’s cuddly exterior and reduces him to a fleshy heap.

Aaron

There seems to be a strange fog that surrounds Daniel Cormier. He is likeable, relatable, charismatic, and a badass motherfucker. Yet somehow with all of these characteristics he has as many detractors as fans. I believe this fog obscures the true image of Cormier, causing many fans to see a fractured picture of the man. Oh, and the fog also has a name, Jon “Dick Pill” Jones. Take Jones out of the picture and you have a fighter who held a Heavyweight belt from Strikeforce, and then came to the UFC and became Light Heavyweight champion. You have a fighter that, aside from losses to Jones, is undefeated across the two most dangerous weight classes in fighting. Yet the truth remains, he did lose twice to Jones, and for many that is a blemish that cannot be ignored. His opponent, Stipe Miocic, is the most dominant Heavyweight Champion to ever compete in the UFC with the most title defenses in company history. He has shown he has the mentality, the skill, and the toughness to challenge any and all. It’s a rare thing that a Heavyweight gets sat on his ass by Alistair Overeem, and gets up and wins the fight. Easily my favorite fight in the history of the Heavyweight Division.

Official Prediction:
If Cormier can survive the first half of the fight, I think he embraces the grind in the second half and secures 3 of 5 rounds. Cormier by unanimous decision.


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Max Holloway
x

Brian Ortega

for the Featherweight Championship

Kyle

We’ve finally reached an appropriate impasse at featherweight. Reigning champion, and Hawaii’s native son, Max Holloway has looked unstoppable in his last 12 performances. His tenacity and durability are unmatched and his pressure-heavy striking guarantees that he never takes a step backwards. Not only does he have masterful technique, he’s entertaining both inside and outside of the octagon. It is what it is.

Ghoul-faced Brian Ortega has been gifted the antithetical style. Ortega is eerily calm, doesn’t mind losing rounds, and is a grappling phenom. The undefeated prospect also managed to knock out Frankie Edgar in his last performance. Nobody saw that coming. Instead, we’re accustomed to seeing Ortega grab necks and squeeze hard enough to make the crowd cringe. His grip strength appears otherworldly and he’s only getting better.

While the challenger may have a power advantage, that shouldn’t infer a striking advantage. Holloway has, and will, kickbox circles around his competition. I just worry about the strength difference. We haven’t seen Max forced to grapple in a while and the big question is if Ortega can score a takedown. If the fight hits the mat, the champ is in trouble. It’s an unreliable X-factor, but the long arms and neck of Holloway will be juicy targets for a determined Ortega. It’s the night’s most entertaining, and skillful, matchup and it could go either way.

Official Prediction:
Ortega eventually grabs ahold of one of Holloway’s limbs and transmutes it into a golden belt.

Aaron

Ortega is undefeated as a professional Mixed Martial Artist AND is the number one contender in the UFC. Either one of these facts is incredible on it’s own merit, combined they are completely astonishing. In his last win Ortega managed a KO over Frankie Edgar, and I should probably mention that Edgar had previously NEVER BEEN KO’d in 28 professional MMA bouts. Holloway, however, has three losses on his resume. If I was being completely superficial in my analysis I would say that Ortega takes this fight. But obtuse observations based on flippant variables like unblemished records are poison when it comes to MMA. Holloway as a mixed martial artist can not be assessed by points tossed on a spreadsheet. There is no way to quantify what lives within Holloway that would cause him, in the last few seconds of a fight he is winning, to risk it all and stand on an imaginary line and trade nothing but hands against an athlete like Ricardo Lamas. Holloway will not whither, he will not break, he will not be cast asunder. If Ortega hopes to win this fight he must be prepared for a war of attrition. I don’t think we’ve seen the kind of tenacity from Ortega that it’s going to take to dethrone Holloway. While Ortega is never out of a fight, he doesn’t win every minute, every exchange, and it will be during one of these stretches that Holloway creates a gap so far that Ortega won’t be able to find his way to the other side.

Official Prediction:
Call me crazy, but I’m going Holloway by submission, after drowning Ortega in the later rounds.


Francis Ngannou
x
Derrick Lewis

Kyle

A clash of Titans. Houston’s Derrick Lewis, affectionately known as “The Black Beast”, has brutally knocked out almost every man the UFC has served him. The same can be said of the statuesque Francis Ngannou. Both fighters tip the scale at the 265-pound limit and offer no quarter to their opponents. It’s kill or be killed.

Derrick Lewis is similar in size to Francis, but has opted for a more rotund figure. A cannonball, if you will. Of the two, Lewis has the more proven cardio. Francis’ heavily-muscled physique isn’t built for a twenty-five minute fight. In his last outing, Ngannou gave the champ hell for one and a half rounds before completely running out of gas. He wants to hit you as hard and fast as possible. Fortunately, this bout will be three rounds and neither man likes to grapple. In classic heavyweight fashion, the biggest advantage will come down to who hits who first.

I’m willfully ignoring any potential strategies and have buckled up for a banger. Based on physical attributes alone, I’m taking Ngannou. In all honesty, I might as well flip a big, black coin. My heart will be rooting for Lewis to connect. I just happen to believe there’s a powerful team of supervillains doing everything they can to ensure Ngannou fulfills his prophecy as the next mainstream star.

Official Prediction:
Ngannou drives his Ford Explorer fist directly through Lewis’ face.

Aaron

If you aren’t familiar with Ngannou’s power at this point then you might want to close your browser and fire up your most recent Tamagotchi save because you have no fucking reason to be reading this. Interestingly, though, if you follow Ngannou’s training, he has been working a lot on his wrestling. As with any newly polished skill I wouldn’t be surprised if Ngannou is itching to show his improvement. I think we may see Ngannou attempt to use some wrestling in this fight, though, I also expect that as soon as he lands a take down he is going to experience one of the more bewildering moves in MMA, The Derick Lewis “just stand up” maneuver. For the uninitiated, almost every time Lewis has been taken down he ignores all conventional grappling technique and somehow just plants his feet and stands up. Once this occurs I think Ngannou will abandon that silly grappling stuff and initiate full SWANGIN AND BANGIN mode. I genuinely think this fight comes down to who catches whose chin.

Official Prediction:
I’m going Lewis by KO by way of pure chaos.


Michael Chiesa
x
Anthony Pettis

Kyle

This meeting was originally planned for April, but a bus window exploded in Chiesa’s face and he was forced to reschedule. If anything, that’s given him more time to prepare for the veteran Anthony Pettis. Chiesa is a lanky grappler who was the winner of Ultimate Fighter season something something. The bearded back-snatcher has had an impressive run at lightweight, despite a few defensive shortcomings. He’s earned a performance bonus in half of his UFC appearances and is always collected, even when he’s choked unconcious. Just don’t talk about his mom.

His opponent, Anthony Pettis, used to be a one-stop-shop for spectacular moments. Recently, they’ve been few and far between. After testing the waters at featherweight, he’s moved back up to lightweight in search of a resurgence. Pettis’ striking is still sharp and dangerous, but he has issues when he’s offensively overwhelmed or forced to wrestle. The former Wheaties box feature has dropped five of his last seven fights.

While all of Pettis’ losses were against top-5 competition, the majority of them were in decisions where he was forced to wilt. Anthony doesn’t like to engage in wars of attrition. Once his body fades, his head leaves the fight. Chiesa probably won’t want to trade fists, or feet, for very long, but he has the smothering top game necessary to outlast Pettis until the final bell.

Official Prediction:
Chiesa grapples his way to a decision and ushers the elder Pettis brother into obscurity.

Aaron

If I were making this pick in 2014 I would write “Pettis.” and be done with it. In fact, back in 2014 I distinctly remember disliking Pettis because he was so good that it seemed unfair. With that being said, the reality is Anthony “Showtime” Pettis had one of the great fall-offs in modern day MMA. Last time I checked in the year of our lord, 2018, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis has lost 5 of his last 7 fights. In contrast I genuinely believe Chiesa is the best version of himself we have ever seen. Of course his last fight was a loss to Kevin Lee, but it is my humble opinion that Kevin Lee may well be the best fighter at lightweight, and on top of that we all know that if the fight wasn’t stopped prematurely Chiesa was simply going to flex his neck so hard that he submitted Kevin Lee anyway.

Official Prediction:
All jokes aside I see Chiesa closing the distance, initiating Gumby Jitsu and pulling off a RNC.


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Gökhan Saki
x
Khalil Rountree

Kyle

With nearly 100 kickboxing bouts under his belts, the UFC picked up Gökhan Saki on his striking merits alone. After stepping away from the ring in 2015 as Glory’s Light Heavyweight Champion, Saki made his UFC debut late last year and decimated his opponent. It wasn’t necessarily high-ranked competition, but the Turk made it look easy. Not only was Gökhan precise and technical, he managed to stuff two takedowns and put his power on display. While he’s not bulletproof, his striking is leagues beyond what we’re used to seeing in the octagon.

Fortunately, Khalil Rountree loves a chaotic brawl. He thrives there. Technique be damned, Rountree loves to swing hands until consciousness leaves your body. While his defensive wrestling could use some work, he’s good at controlling the clinch and could probably muscle a takedown. However, I doubt this fight goes to the ground until someone gets violently KO’d.

Neither man has stellar cardio, but I think it’d be wise for Khalil to clinch and wear on Gökhan early. The problem is, that’s not his style. I think they exchange early and Saki uses his expert timing to punch holes in the heavy-handed slugger. I don’t see Saki getting sucked into a sloppy brawl where he throws 20 years of experience out the window. Rountree’s balls will get the better of him.

Official Prediction:
Saki chops down the overly-aggressive Rountree after the fight cloud dissipates.

Aaron
1-1 Gokan Saki takes on 6-2 Khalil Rountree in the Main Card opener. When I first thought about this bout, my initial feeling was that if the fight is contested predominantly on the feet, the advantage has to go to Saki. But then I actually started to analyze Rountree and his history as a mixed martial artist. An interesting fact that I found was that if you take into account his TUF fights and his amateur MMA fights, Rountree has competed in 16 contests. He has only lost by decision or submission, never by TKO. On the contrary Saki has been finished multiple times in his career, most recently in his MMA debut. I don’t see Saki winning a decision here, and I REALLY don’t see Saki submitting Rountree. The only way I see Saki winning here is by TKO, and I genuinely believe this requirement plays in Rountree’s favor. Although Saki may be the better striker, Rountree hits like a fucking Bison.

Official Prediction:
With all these factors taken into account, I think Rountree fights a better MMA fight, and ends it by TKO.