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Fightlinker staff’s UFC on Versus predictions

Sunday, March 21st marks the debut of UFC programming on Versus. Now we can watch the Ultimate Fightin’, hockey, bullriding and hunting without changing the channel, FINALLY. The card has had its fair share of alterations, but it’s still a pretty quality show for free. (At least it means we don’t have to sit through another on-the-scale ‘Oh screw it, just give him 10% of my purse’ moment from Anthony Johnson.) Basically the line-up is full of guys the UFC wants pushed to a casual audience. Some are gonna succeed and some are gonna falter, but they’ll all draw a lower rating than some super-bass fishing show that came on earlier in the day. Thanks, Versus.

- Rodriguez

James Irvin vs. Alessio Sakara
I’d put my life savings – all $.39 of it – on a team of scientists coming to the conclusion that James Irvin is the most unlucky fighter of all time. After the blown out knees, falling out of cages, eyeball attacks, Anderson Silva beatdowns, drug addictions and anchor tattoos, it’s obvious the guy has just been run ragged through life’s ringer. We shouldn’t be surprised if a part of the Broomfield Arena’s roof fall on him during the walk to the cage. Well, when life hands you lemons, throw them at somebody. That’s exactly what Irvin’s gonna do on Sunday when he puts his “>fist right through Alessio Sakara’s face. Tons and tons of angry has just been festering inside of Irvin while he’s been sitting around for the past two years and he’s ready to take it out on the face of Mr. Glass Chin. It’s gonna look like Sakara got the ol’ Raspberry Beret by the time Mario Yamasaki ends the fight 29 seconds too late.

Prediction: Irvin by KO, round 1.

Cheick Kongo vs. Paul Buentello
Andrei Arlovski is the only person who’s ever KO’ed Buentello. Kongo knows he shouldn’t fear Buentello, he should fear the consequences of standing with him. And he will, which is why I think this fight is gonna be a suck-fest. Not even the cool kind with Amy Reid, I’m talking Gray Maynard-style, leave the room kinda boring. The safe prediction is that Kongo will do more fist pumps during his entrance than punches during the fight. Expect the Frenchman to surrender his striking ability in favor of complete inactivity from the top position. I’m gonna grab a pillow right after “El Rey” finishes playing so I can get a nice 15 minute nap. Wake me up when it’s over.

Prediction: Kongo via unanimously boring decision.

Junior dos Santos vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
Speaking of suck-fests, unlike seemingly everyone else, my mouth is not full of dos Santos’ hype. (And by ‘hype’ I mean ‘dong’.) I don’t see what the big deal is – he punched out a morbidly obese Werdum, an Octagon-jittered beanpole named Struve, Mirko’s eyeball and a short-notice Yvel. I’m supposed to be impressed by that? He looked like The Toxic Avenger after the Crocop fight from repeated lead-left punches. Heads up: the next coming of Fedor shouldn’t be that hittable. The guy has been spoon-fed strikers since management realized they had a golden ticket after the Werdum fight. Well, now he’s going against a guy who can both cave his head in and break his bones. Am I gonna catch some heat for not praying to dos Santos? Of course I am, but at least I won’t look stupid when he loses. (And if he wins, Gabe has a glass chin. There, now I’m right either way.) Gonzaga is gonna derail Junior’s hype train that should have stopped in Overratedville back in January.

Prediction: Gonzaga by submission, round 1.

Jon Jones vs. Brandon Vera
Remember when Brandon Vera was in Jon Jones’ position about four years ago? This fight is a lot like Mortal Kombat’s “Mirror Match” where you fight your own character. Problem is, Vera is fighting his past self as his current self. That’s a recipe for disaster. We might be in for something special tomorrow, guys. An epic, call your friends, feel dirty for watching it beatdown from Jonny Jones on Brandon Vera. I mean, if he beat a deaf guy bloody then just imagine what he’ll do to someone with all six senses. Actually, instead of imagining you could just watch the show tomorrow at 6 PM PST/9 PM EDT, for all you confused people without TV Guide channel (step it up, it’s called ‘two jobs’).

Prediction: Jon Jones by unanimous decision.

- Clint

Alessio Sakara vs. James Irvin
This is one of those fights they put on because A) both guys live and die by the sword and B) have enough name pull to get people to watch Versus. Both guys can bang but both guys have mixed records in the cage. Alessio is 5-4-1 in the UFC while James is 4-4. I have to pick James Irvin beings that Sakara has a chin like a toddler and Irvin has fists of steel, but knee’s of glass.

Prediction: Irvin via TKO/KO in the 1st round.

Cheick Kongo vs Paul Buentello
My heart say Paul but my brain says Cheick via ass rape. And not a KO ass rape but more like “I’m gonna hold on to you so I don’t get my head ripped off” ass rape. Both guys can bang but Kongo has a prevalence to take shit to the ground and try to wear a guy out… Paul has a belly that leads to a quick wearing out.

Prediction: Kongo via TKO in the 3rd.

Junior Dos Santos vs Gabriel Gonzaga
I see this one ending quickly when Gabe tries to take Junior down only to get KO’d. I know Gonzaga has some pretty good striking but Junior is better plus Gonzoga has been dropped 3 times in the UFC. Dos Santos is just more of a beast that Gonzaga, don’t let the fur vest fool you.

Prediction: Dos Santos via KO in the 1st.

Jon Jones vs. Brandon Vera
This is the fight most people want to see… whether you want to see Jon Jones rape Vera or just to see if Jones is the real thing. I think he is the real thing but only tentatively. I see both guys as having similar skill sets but Jones is more explosive. Vera has more fights under is belt but hasn’t looked as good as he did a few years ago. Vera is decision machine and that how i see this fight going down except not in his favor.

Prediction: Jones via Unanimous Decision.

- Subo

Alessio Sakara vs. James Irvin
I just kind of want to grab a really, really small bag of popcorn and watch. My heart’s with Irvin – dude is more than due for a little good luck to come his way. My head’s with him, too.

Prediction: Irvin, KO round 1.

Cheick Kongo vs Paul Buentello
I know a number of gamblers taking Paul here. This is a perfect example of betting for value, not on what one thinks will be the actual outcome of the fight. Kongo is bigger, stronger, younger and better than Buentello at his bread and butter. A suppose a puncher’s chance always justifies a three to one or better bet… actually, if that were the case, Hardy would be a steal at +800, and he’s not. Kongo by something that makes us believe again, then something disappointing that reaffirms his spot as an attractive gatekeeper in a few months.

Prediction: Kongo.

Junior Dos Santos vs Gabriel Gonzaga
… man, this card kicks ass. Gonzaga probably gets Nog if he wins, and Dos Santos-Velasquez makes me smile deep down inside, as it would feasibly allow me to knock Fedor down to fourth in my HW rankings (though a Yoshida win would… change nothing). Despite all we’ve heard about JDS’ ground game, I’ll give Zag the edge there, but how does he get there without being put there? It’s not quite old and busted v new hotness, but I’m going with new hotness.

Prediction: JDS by TKO in round 2.

Jon Jones vs. Brandon Vera
A recurring theme: take a foreigner (yeah, I said Brazilian earlier – he’s Filipino and I am ashamed) once considered to the the future of at least one division and put him against the latest phenom. Vera probably has more one shot power and more technical MT, and I’ve never seen Bones on his back so I’ll give Brandon that facet, too. Wrestling is no contest – yes, Vera defended the occasional takedown attempt by Randy and didn’t get completely owned in the clinch, but I watched Jones bounce Matt Hamill around in a way that frightened and disturbed everyone that had ever watched Matt Hamill fight or wrestle. One loss due to 12-6 elbows isn’t enough to get me off the hype train.

Prediction: Jon Jones via unanimous decision.