Saturday, 12 November 2016

UFC 205 picks

The UFC has been accused of over-saturating the market with cards in recent times but with only one event since UFC 204, which I completely missed due to being overseas in a country where the bouts take place circa breakfast time, I feel refreshed and ready for more action, plus of course sufficiently jet lagged to stay up all night with minimal effort. With all the layoffs and cuts at the company since WME took charge, the way has been paved for a significant streamlining going forward which will hopefully mean fewer fights between no-names at big events and an end to having to pretend to remotely care about said no-names. While the dream would be to reestablish itself as a federation for the truly elite, there's no avoiding the dilemma at the lower end of Merit vs Marketability. While I might huff and puff about Conor McGregor not deserving a title shot at 155 lbs, I have to admit I saw this story about Demi Lovato's possible plans for 2017 and got irrationally excited. Apparently I've learned nothing from CM Punk.

Picks after the jump.

[C] Eddie Alvarez vs [C] Conor McGregor

 While it's patently absurd that McGregor gets a shot at the Lightweight title despite never having defended his Featherweight belt and just barely scraping past a marginal contender in Nate Diaz, I think he has a pretty good chance in this contest. While it appeared at "Welterweight" that his punching power did not translate, I'd suggest that the lack of a weight cut and thus a more hydrated brain played as much of a factor in how the two fights with Diaz played out. Alvarez can be hurt by superior strikers and the Notorious one is not lacking for killer instinct.

An early KO/TKO finish is likely his only path to victory as Alvarez is the better wrestler and grappler and based on the evidence, despite Conor's Trump-like boasting, the better cardio. I think he well knows that, will chase it and ultimately get it. It's always dangerous trying to guess at a competitor's mental state but Alvarez has started to look a bit tired of it all. That potential mental edge would serve as the difference for me and I think tomorrow, Conor McGregor will have two belts that he refuses to defend.

[C] Tyron Woodley vs [2] Stephen Thompson

Another defending champion who has been relentlessly booed for months and he is also finding it difficult to handle but at +170 I find Tyron Woodley slightly undervalued and like him to defend. It promises to be a razor thin matchup but over the course of five rounds, he can take Thompson down and hurt him enough to score a decision. I don't believe Wonderboy has faced anyone with the same kind of explosive power that Woodley brings to the table and again, that mental edge in this case the same but different - Woodley with a point to prove, Thompson anointed perhaps too soon.

[C] Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs [2] Karolina Kowalkiewicz

I expect it to be "And Still" in this fight too. While Karolina wins handily in a cute-off, their fighting styles seem quite similar to me... except Joanna Champ is just better - faster, more powerful and a whole lot more vicious. I think Karolina is tough enough to survive any early finish but after two back-to-back defense by decision,  I think the champ will be looking to win in some style and end it in the fourth or fifth. With them both being the pride of Poland, it has been just a little too cordial between these two ladies in the lead-up to this bout for my liking. If they both come out holding up the flag, does it become redundant?

[2] Chris Weidman vs [4] Yoel Romero

I think this one ends up a clear victory for Weidman. There will be a strong motivation for him fighting at home without the pressure of being the main event. While Romero is a top-tier Middleweight, I think he got extremely lucky in winning a split decision over Jacare Souza and has a tendency to tire out quickly. It's not that I can't envision a path to victory for him but I really don't get him being bet up as much as he has been and think Weidman is just superior in every regard. Plus of course a Weidman victory would be a nice affirmation of his favored nominee's election this past week, although that didn't work out so well for the USMNT.

[1] Miesha Tate vs [8] Raquel Pennington

Miesha has a habit of making winnable fights look unnecessarily difficult but again overall I think she is the marginally superior fighter. Pennington has had a nice run against some so-so competition but as long as she keeps her head in the game I think Tate can utilize her wrestling to edge a very close decision. Either way I'm not exactly expecting fireworks from this fight.

My picks: McGregor, Woodley, Jedrzejczyk, Weidman, Tate

Chris picks: Alvarez, Woodley, Kowalkiewicz, Romero, Tate

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