ALar takes a look at UFC 165
Well, well, well… There was an outcry from MMA fans the last month or so that the brass over at Zuffa were over-saturating their product and pumping out far too many shows. After we were blitzed with 3 shows in 7 days, I’ll admit those over-saturation cries have fallen on deaf ears. I have been suffering from some serious UFC withdrawal over the last two weeks, let me tell you! This Saturday we have not one, but TWO UFC titles on the line along with a slew of other solid fights. In the evening’s co-main event, Renan Barao will look to defend his Interim Bantamweight Championship against Eddie Wineland. Barao has looked unbeatable as of late and as Dominick Cruz’s return looms somewhere in the distance this fight might be the last time that useless ‘interim’ title gets defended. The night’s crown jewel pits superstar Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones against rangy contender Alexander Gustafsson. Will Gustafsson’s reach be as advantageous as the UFC marketing for this fight says? I’ll let you know in my preview!
Prelims on Facebook (Picks in Bold)
Nandor Guelmino v. Daniel Omielanczuk
Roland Delorme v. Alex Caceres
Jesse Ronson v. Michel Prazeres
John Makdessi v. Renee Forte
TV Prelims on FOX Sports 1
Mitch Gagnon v. Dustin Kimura
Kimura is undefeated, and I expect him to stay that way. Kimura by Kimura. Yea, I said it.
Chris Clements v. Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson
You know we love Wonderboy around here… Wonderboy by TKO. 2nd Round.
Ivan Menjivar v. Wilson Reis
Menjivar was supposed to fight Kid Yamamoto in this slot, but Kid pulled out due to injury. Cakewalk decision for Menjivar here.
Mike Ricci v. Myles Jury
Personally, I think Mike Ricci is pretty darn overrated just because he is Rory Mac’s BFF. Myles tools on him for three rounds here and wins a unanimous decision.
Main Card on Pay Per View
Pat Healy v. Khabib Nurmagamedov
I spelled Khabib’s last name correct first try there, that deserves some sort of reward… I belong to the camp that think Khabib is an absolute stud and could pose a serious threat to damn near anyone in the division. His grappling is highly technical and he has the power in his strikes to back it up. Healy is coming of a “No Contest” after he originally submitted Jim Miller back at UFC 159 but didn’t pass the post fight drug test. Healy is no slouch of a grappler himself, but I have a ton of confidence in the younger Khabib to lock in a submission and start the card off with a finish. Nurmagomedov by submission.
Costa Philippou v. Francis Carmont
Jeez, we haven’t see Costa since he defeated Tim Boetsch last December. Costa left Ray Longo’s gym since then and has begun training at Bellmore Kickboxing Academy. No reason was really given for the switch, but it doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. Longo’s gym seems to be a breeding ground for studs as of late… Costa has super heavy hands which he will look to use against TriStar product Francis Carmont. Carmont is a typical TriStar fighter, i.e. well conditioned with a strong grappling base. Recently, he hasn’t looked to finish fights and has walked away with decision wins in his last two. I don’t see Carmont as being having the moxie to mount any attack that puts Costa in danger. Carmont has never been knocked out and Costa may experience some ring rust, therefore I am calling for a Phillippou decision here.
Brendan Schaub v. Matt Mittrione
When two big Heavyweights get in the cage, I always say that someone is going to end up taking a nap on the mat and let’s hope that’s the case with this fight on Saturday. Both fighter’s are incredible athletes, but their technique may leave something to be desired in regards to the martial arts. I mean, just check out what Schaub did at Metamoris… Mitrione is coming off that phantom KO of Phil De Fries in April and I believe he will maintain his winning ways against Schaub. Schaub claims he doesn’t have a weak chin, but if Mitrione lands one of his giant paws on that jaw, expect Brendan to take that proverbial nap. Mitrione by KO.
Renan Barao v. Eddie Wineland
Well, we know that according to Joe Rogan, Renan Barao is a “MONSTER”. He has proven so by running through all of the competition that the UFC has thrown at him. Barao is a HUGE Bantamweight and has the skills to back up the size. In my opinion, he is the best Bantamweight in the world and will have no problem dispatching Dominick Cruz if he ever returns from injury. But that is a topic for another day, I hope…
Truth be told, I thought Eddie Wineland lost his last fight against Brad Pickett… BUT the judges scored it the other way and here we are. Wineland is a boxer at heart with a decent wrestling base and I’m afraid that this fight will look just like the Barao/Faber tilt. Barao will rain down thunderous leg kicks on Wineland’s lead leg and hamper his speed and agility. This will allow Barao to break down Wineland and work towards a patented submission victory.
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship Bout
Jon Jones v. Alexander Gustafsson
Longer reach… Tallest opponent ever… Sorry. I just don’t buy into Alexander Gustafsson being a challenge for Jon Jones. There is no one currently fighting in the 205 lb. division that is, or ever will be, a challenge for Jon Jones. (Where you at, DC?) Still, Jones is a Champion and a marketable star so you have to throw him in the cage against an opponent every four months. Sure, anything can happen in the fight game, but the likely scenario on Saturday night is a Jon Jones victory.
Gustafsson obviously provides a test in size for Jones, as his last two opponents (Belfort/Sonnen) have been blown up 185ers. How could Gustafsson win you ask? Submission? Nope. His grappling isn’t in Jones’ stratosphere. A knockout? His only shot if you ask me. Catching Jones on the button and getting a flash KO. As we well know, Jones has never really fought anyone as big as ‘The Mauler’, but he trains regularly with dudes like Travis Browne, so I doubt the size throws him off his game at all. In all reality, this is going to be another dominating performance by Jon Jones. I see him toying with Alexander on the feet, maybe letting him get through one round, and then working a takedown and finishing the fight in the second. Don’t forget, Gustafsson hasn’t seen the cage in 2013, a crash course against Jon Jones isn’t exactly what he needs to get back on his feet. Jones by TKO. 2nd Rnd.
I won’t be taking this card in live as I will be watching my beloved UConn Huskies get trounced by Michigan, but it still should be an exciting night of fights. Tweet us @MoaiMartialArts to let me know what I missed!