Friday, 7 July 2017
UFC 213 Picks
Some thoughts on other upcoming fights; Travis Browne vs Oleksiy Oliynyk is the exact type of fight I'd book in World of Mixed Martial Arts 3 when trying to get one guy and easy win and burn fights off the other's contract. Shameless. I don't think Oliynyk will be able to get a takedown so Browne's deteriorating skills should hold up.
The fights on the TUF Finale prelims are better than most of the main card. Who the hell is Drakkar Klose? The one to keep an eye out for is Jessica Eye vs Aspen Ladd. Ladd is an undefeated all-rounder with good potential. Women's Bantamweight is struggling for storylines and as of later this year could be struggling for numbers so her rise could be fast. In the main event, I think Michael Johnson is a very bad matchup for newcomer and WSOF star Justin Gaethje. Gaethje has talked about getting a KO finish but I think against Johnson that's easier said than done and his intensity will be matched every step of the way.
Cynthia Calvillo's rise has already been fast and nine days later she takes on Joanne Calderwood in Scotland. The outcome depends on how much Calderoowd's takedown defense has improved. My guess is "not enough". One more win after this and you can expect to see her in a title fight. UFC matchmakers have been very kind to friend of Conor. In the main event, expect Gunnar Nelson to lay waste to Some Guy Who Should Only Be Headlining Prelims and also be a fight away from gold.
Picks after the jump.
[C] Amanda Nunes vs  Valentina Shevchenko
In the third round of that fight, she was completely dominated by her opponent. There's a reasonable argument to be made that had the fight lasted longer, Shevchenko would've finished her. Nunes claims her cardio has improved since that fight and is considerably better than when she lost to Cat Zingano but she hasn't had an opportunity to prove it and frankly I don't think it is. Endurance is one of the hardest aspects to improve especially with an all-action style like that which Nunes possesses.
Shevchenko usually starts very, very defensively seeking to gauge what her opponent's gameplan will be. She usually drops the first round as a result. However, she has already faced Nunes once before and may have a better idea of what to expect. I don't think she ought to worry about opening up sooner on Nunes in terms of being countered as her technique is far tidier although Nunes does have a huge reach advantage.
I know who I want to see win the fight which gives me certainty in my pick. This bout hinges on Nunes finishing it within the first two rounds. Anything longer I would expect Shevchenko to win. In terms of pure brute strength I think she can get it done despite Valentina's toughness. She opened as a -146 favorite but has since been bet down to +100 which I think will give her extra motivation. Never underestimate the power of "Nobody Believed In Us".
 Yoel Romero vs  Robert Whittaker
In this case I buy it. Whittaker has won six straight at Middleweight, four by TKO and I think he will finish the "Soldier of God". Romero will likely try and overpower Whittaker early with his wrestling but the Auckland native is fast and as Jacare Souza discovered, very difficult to take down.
I'm hoping that ultimately a victorious Whittaker will fight Michael Bisping to unify the belt in either Australia or England. While he is technically a New Zealander, his roots are Australian enough to qualify the event as a fight verion of the Ashes.
 Daniel Omeilanczuk vs Curtis Blaydes
 Fabricio Werdum vs  Alistair Overeem
The other two bouts in this series occurred at very different stages of each of these fighters' careers and I don't believe have much bearing on this encounter, even from a psychological standpoint. That general aspect does play into my pick though.
Werdum has been increasingly difficult with speculation that he is unhappy with UFC management and intends to fight out his contract and leave. After the first round against Travis Browne alst summer, he seemed to tire and coasted to an unimpressive decision. He hasn't fought since, having been booked against Ben Rothwell who was withdrawn and turning down bouts against the likes of Junior Dos Santos.
Overeem by contrast has been excellent in his approach apart from the Miocic fight. He has fought very smart and still has power to spare with his strikes. I see him being cautious but still outworking a less motivated Werdum on his way to a clear decision.
 Anthony Pettis vs Jim Miller
I pick: Nunes, Whittaker, Blaydes, Overeem, Miller
Chris picks: Nunes, Romero, Blaydes, Werdum, Pettis