Saturday, 10 December 2016

UFC 206 picks

With the paucity of star power on display at UFC 206, especially coming off the larger than life New York card, I almost get the feeling that much like Tony Soprano, I came in at the end and the best is over. New UFC owners WME-IMG appear at this point to have no clear vision of how to carry the company forward. By all accounts, it was their refusal to compromise that led to Georges St-Pierre not being a part of this event that was clearly arranged with him in mind. I'm thinking his presence on the card would have been a great help after Cormier-Johnson was called off. Expect the PPV numbers for this event to be atrocious. With Conor McGregor's hiatus, Ronda Rousey's likely retirement and GSP's exile, if the best they can offer us is a Woodley-Thompson rematch, that situation will not improve anytime soon.

Picks after the jump.

[2] Max Holloway vs [5] Anthony Pettis

Most of the problem is entirely self-created. Of course, no one on that side would ever acknowledge this but by pumping Conor McGregor so hard and high all the oxygen got sucked out of the room for the other fighters, especially in the Featherweight division. If the champion of the division refuses to fight in that division, then what is the point of it existing, especially in the major league? While the circumstances surrounding McGregor being stripped of the Featherweight belt were absurd, it would have had to be done sooner or later what with him apparently not returning until October 2017 at the earliest - ironic considering an indignant fanboy had insisted to me we would see him fight five times next year versus everyone else's one or two.

Regarding interim titles, there was no need whatsoever for McGregor-Mendes to be an interim title fight, there was no need for Aldo-Edgar to be one and there was no need for Holloway-Pettis to fight for an interim belt so it's almost karmic that it will now not be after Anthony Pettis missed weight - which brings us right to the pick.

This one is real easy. I thought from the moment the fight was booked that Holloway would win and now I am even more confident - Missing weight is indicative of failure in preparation and against someone as slick and efficient as Max Holloway that creates a frankly unbreachable chasm. Pettis is hard to finish so I foresee a dominant decision in the 49-46 or 50-45 range. The money line is -205 which is fairly OK given how confident we should be in a Holloway win.

I'm not sure Pettis warranted a number one contender fight in only his second fight at Featherweight coming off a three fight losing streak at Lightweight but it should a good, fun fight to watch- just not one I'd pay for.

[5] Donald Cerrone vs [14] Matt Brown

This is another easy one to pick. Matt Brown is coming off four losses in his last five fights struggling badly against higher tier opposition while Cowboy appears to be getting better and better every time out at Welterweight. Brown will no doubt try and target Cerrone's eye which seems to have suffered a bafflingly gruesome injury but I don't think he will be able to connect enough times to make a difference and will ultimately be finished. His pretending to hate Cowboy is good shtick for pro wrestling aficionados but really seems to have come out of nowhere and usually does not end up working out for the aggressors in these situations.

[4] Cub Swanson vs [11] Doo-Ho Choi

I've learned over time that the purpose of life is to fuck me over so while I am cautiously picking the Korean Superboy to record his fourth straight knockout win in the UFC, I fully expect him to lose in frustratingly underwhelming fashion much like Ishihara did to Artem Lobov a couple of weeks ago. Swanson was contemplating retirement earlier in the year and when that starts to be contemplated it's usually not far behind. Choi on the other hand is surging and with some English lessons, could be a star and a hero to young Asians everywhere. Hopefully so anyway.

[10] Tim Kennedy vs Kelvin Gastelum

This is the hardest fight on the main card to pick because we don't really have a sense of where either one is but I like Kennedy despite his two-year layoff and overeagerness. Based on the evidence to date, I don't think Gastelum takes a professional approach to his career and on top of that, he makes a smaller Middleweight. If Kennedy can avoid a cheap early finish, eh should be able to outwork and wear down Gastelum for a three-round decision.

Jordan Mein vs Emil Meek

This fight is not really main card quality but made it on thanks to the cancellations and injuries that have plagued UFC 206. The returning Mein is Canadian, the only one on the main card but he has never really shown himself to be anything above journeyman-level to this point in his career. I'd be lying if I said I knew much of anything about Emil Meek but if the universe is just (I know, haha) it will grant him a stunning first round knockout as retribution for the Ontario Athletic Commission forcing forcing him to trim his long and magnificent beard.

I pick: Holloway, Cerrone, Choi, Kennedy, Meek

Chris picks: Holloway, Cerrone, Choi, Gastelum, Mein

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