Fun card…. When in doubt take the Jackson Wink fighters (the local MMA gym made famous by Jon Jones)….
Corey Anderson 13-4, LHW rank #5 vs Jan Blachowicz 25-8, LHW rank #6
Corey is a large wrestler who usually wins by decision or gets finished….until the sublime knockout of the wildly dangerous Johnny Walker on November 2. Jan is a large submission specialist (BJJ Black belt) with an equally electric KO finish of Luke Rockhold (retired him with that broken jaw) that is fresh in everyone’s memory.
What happens here? Who the heck knows. Two big, equally dangerous guys on the ground turns this into a boxing match. And though I would typically favour Blachowicz, he couldn’t knock out Jacare in 25 minutes of mostly boring action on November 16th. Corey seems to be the more confident guy coming in (again I think the Souza matchup surprised the crowd, and Jan himself), and thus the odds reflect it. My call is take the underdog: Jan somehow gets it done on the +185 line seems very reasonable.
Diego Sanchez 38, 29-12 vs Michel Pereira 26, 22-10
I mean let’s consider one thing: Diego Sanchez won The Ultimate Fighter…. Not the 28th version…. THE ORIGINAL SEASON!! He has tallied and relishes in the amount of strikes he has taken (1,672) and number of stitches he’s had in his face (500), and that “he’s still able to speak.” The guy is an utterly ridiculous, semi enthralling, loveable psychopath. I am rooting for you, Diego, especially in your hometown…. I am not however betting on you. His opponent, Michel Pereira is only famous (to me anyway) for literally gassing himself out before a fight because of DANCING his way into the ring. Amazing that this is the Co-Main event of the night (honouring Sanchez, no doubt). The bet can only be Pereira as we know long fight careers end with a loss (If Diego wins, they both should call it a day on their careers).
Scotty “Hot Sauce” Holtzman 13-3, standing at 5 foot 9 vs. Jim Miller 31-13, 5 foot 7
My favourite bet of the night. Miller is a legend of the game, and though seemingly always close to exiting stage left, he’s somehow found himself on a two-fight win streak (Clay “Gas tank for days” Guida is a fire hydrant, that was a nice finish), and enjoying a bit of a rebirth with his last 5 fights having ended in the first round (career extending durations). Holtzman is an ex ice hockey player/bruiser (I’m surprised there aren’t more in the UFC, hockey players are athletes), and onto big things in this loaded division. His few losses are to his quality opponents (Lentz, Emmett, Dober) and while Miller is a crafty, quick, veteran wrestler I think his victory over Guida in his hometown this past August was his swansong… I also think the power differential will be too large. Hot Sauce gets a big KO victory and onto bigger and better fights. He’s on my shortest of WATCH lists.
Devin Clark (Jackson Wink) vs Dequan Townsend at Light Heavyweight
What???? The Tarantula just fought January 25th. It was a bruising 15 minute loss to a dangerous Bevon Lewis at Middleweight. Why is he fighting again so soon, and up a weight class? And to Devin Clark, an experienced Light heavyweight wrestler/boxer (have you seen this dudes tour de france legs?) I see very little danger for Clark in this fight. In fact if Townsend wasn’t doing the organization a favour by filling in, I’d make a random prediction that you won’t see Dequan in the UFC again. I am hoping for a quick finish, because these two guys burn out so easily that the crowd will boo throughout the second and third round if not. Clark will finish the tarantula….. Or he will hug him to death in a complete eye sore — record it so you can fast forward.
Lando Vannata 10-4-2 vs Yancy Medeiros 15-6
Hell of a fight. Both have multiple (like 5 each) performance of the night awards. Both in need of a win. This will be lively. I always like Hawaiians in fights (tougher breed). I do in this one as well, especially with Medeiros part of the Nick (really Nate, these days) Diaz army (BJJ skills). Yancy by submission or a very bloody decision, to get back on track.
Tim “The Dirty Bird” Means vs. Daniel Rodriguez
I mention only because the dirty bird fights the toughest, usually loses, but always brings the heat. Can only be on the Bird.
Merab Dvalishvili vs Casey Kenney … Great fight, too tough to predict the lower weight classes… but screw it, I see Merab getting it done (jacked with big energy makes him a bit more dangerous) by taking Kenney down over and over and over again. Merab wins, because… wrestling.
John Dodson vs Nathaniel Wood……..Again, see above on the lighter classes… Wood has a ton of momentum, and will likely win on points because of his height and reach advantage, but doesn’t have a ton of experience. Dodson is formidable and has fought and lost to the division’s best. Toss up, but i’ll take Wood.