The MMA Minute – WEC 51: Aldo vs. Gamburyan

Wait, what? An MMA fight on a Thursday night? A card that includes a title fight and a total of 4 current or former title holders? What? Well, we’ll take it!

This is really a pretty unbelievable card. Jose Aldo is the current Featherweight champ, probably a top 5 pound for pound fighter, and has completely torn through the division. Manny Gamburyan lives up to his nickname of ‘Anvil’ quite well, once he gets into the cage he’s just like a pitbull, and I think if anyone is going to give Aldo a run for his money, it’s Manny.

To add to this fight, we’ve got Mike Brown (in a preliminary fight! that’s crazy!) and Miguel Torres, both fighters that have been in a slump recently, but were both considered unbeatable, once upon a time. Jamie Varner has held the Lightweight title, and Donald Cerrone has 3 Fight of the Night honors, including the 2009 fight of the year against Ben Henderson. This is really the cream of the WEC, a premier event indeed.

Main card

I really hate picking against Manny, but I just can’t pick against Jose Aldo, I think he’ll hold onto the belt. I like Varner to win a barn burner over Cerrone. I figure Torres has to get on the right track again eventually, this seems as good a time as any so I’ll go with him. I’m gonna go with Roop over Jung and Garcia to beat Hominick. I also expect Mike Brown to put a win together in his preliminary match.

The MMA Minute – UFC 119: Mir vs. Cro Cop

In the world of MMA, promotions are forced to deal with alot of problems with injuries and mixing and matching because of those injuries. The main event of tomorrow’s UFC 119 is a great example of those problems. This was supposed to be the first event when both of the Nogueira brothers fought on the same card (my wife still insists they are the same person) but sadly, Antonio Nogueira had to pull out of his re-match with Frank Mir due to a recurring hip injury.

The co-headliner itself is a fight that has been pushed back because of injuries. Ryan Bader was supposed to face off against Nogueira a few months ago but had an injury to deal with and Nogueira was outfought in a decision victory over Jason Brilz. So now we finally get to see how the two of them match up.

Main card

I’m going to have to go with Mir in the main event, Cro Cop won’t be 100% after filling in on short notice, and even at 100% he’s not the same level fighter as Mir. After his last showing, I have to think Little Nog will come out strong against Bader but I’m going to go with Bader for the upset. I went against Lytle in his last fight against Matt Brown, I’m not making this mistake again, Lytle should be able to beat Serra. For the last two fights I’m picking Dunham over Sherk and Guillard over Stephens.

The MMA Minute – UFC Fight Night 22 Aftermath

We got a pretty decent night of fights for a fight night. My picks started out pretty strong and then hit a road bump.

Quick Hits

  • Lightweight bout: England Ross Pearson vs. United States Cole MillerMiller defeated Pearson via submission (rear naked choke) at 1:49 of round 2.

Miller came in with a nice flurry of knees and punches and rocked Pearson, dropping him to the ground. He pounced and sunk in the rear naked choke to finish the fierce Brit in nice fashion and setting himself up nicely in the Lightweight division.

  • Lightweight bout: United States Jim Miller vs. Brazil Gleison Tibau Miller defeated Tibau via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).

I wasn’t sure Miller put enough together to take this decision. Tibau had a couple of takedowns in the 2nd, so when I heard the vote tallies, I thought maybe he’d stole the fight with that round, but Miller was definitely the more aggressive striker for the entire match, and shot himself into title contention in the stacked Lightweight division.

This was only the 2nd UFC fight for the Brazilian Oliveira, but he looked good. After getting a pretty strong shot to the no-no spot, he came out and finished the fight in quick fashion, jumping on Escudero’s back as he stood up and finished with a standing rear naked choke. At only 20 years old, this kid will be fun to watch for a long, long time.

Palhares is a very dangerous heel hook fighter. He almost got Marquardt in one of those hooks, but Marquardt pulled out and stood up. For whatever reason, Palhares stopped and pointed at Marquardt’s ankle and looked at the ref. Marquardt jumped on the opportunity and pounded out the TKO.

Just the small speedbump in the Escudero fight, otherwise a solid night of fights going 3-1, now I gotta get back to watching the premier of Ultimate Fighter.

The MMA Minute – UFC Fight Night: Marquardt vs. Palhares

Fight Nights are always a chance for the UFC to offer a fighter a chance to rebound and move up in his division. They’re also a great chance to see some of the up and coming fighters, typically paired against foes to display their skills, or given an equal opponent to see if they have the chutzpah they think they do.

This is a card that offers a little of both. Nate Marquardt was expected to use Chael Sonnen as a jumping off point for a re-match with Anderson Silva. Sonnen instead advanced past Marquardt and nearly took down The Spider on his own. Efrain Escudero and Charles Oliveira are both fighters on their way up in the Lightweight division, and will try to use each other as proof they are ready for bigger names and opponents. Here’s your card with picks after.

Main card

I just can’t see Marquardt letting Palhares beat him, so I’m sticking with him. The Escudero and Oliveira match is difficult to pick, but I think I’m leaning slightly toward Efrain to move up the ladder. After that, I’m going with the Millers (no relation) in their respective matches. Don’t forget that the 12th season of The Ultimate Fighter kicks off immediately following the fights.

T.W.I.S.T. for September 5-12

Let’s face it, all the news I was going to talk about yesterday was football related anyway… so why bother posting a brief line or two about semi-interesting stories, and then turn around on Monday with another post to talk about all the football that was played yesterday. So at least during the football season, T.W.I.S.T. will be moved to Mondays, so that I can recap some of the football that has just been played along with any other worthwhile news from the sports world.

Before we jump into the football, I should point out that Chicago is trying to put together a deal to get Carmelo Anthony out of Denver. Their trio of Rose, Boozer, and Melo would be a very interesting match to the trio in Miami (Bron-Bron, D-Wade, and Bosh). Oh, and I should also throw in that the new look Team USA is surprisingly close to a title at the World Basketball Championship. Alright, enough about basketball, let’s move on to the important stuff.

Let’s go way back to September 6, when Boise State met Virginia Tech. My pick for national champion almost went out the door in week 1! But after taking a big lead early and then getting knocked around for awhile, Boise was able to survive and hold onto the chance for a title shot, beating VT 33-30. However, any good vibes they get from that game was probably canceled out the very next week when Virginia Tech turned around and lost to Division 2 opponent James Madison 21-16.

In other college football news, Michigan QB Denard Robinson is clearly the front runner for Heisman out of the gate. He finished Saturday, against Notre Dame, with 502 yards total offense including 258 yards rushing on 28 carries, one of those carries being an 87-yarder for a TD, the longest run in Notre Dame’s stadium… ever. This guy is sick, you really need to take some time to watch him play if you get a chance.

In semi-local/national sports news, the Omaha Nighthawks signed a few of the late NFL cuts, most notably former Pro Bowler Cato June. Omaha put together a really solid roster for a first year team (QB Jeff Garcia, RBs Ahman Green and Maurice Clarett among others), it will be interesting to see how it translates to the field.

Probably the biggest story out of week 1 in NFL action is the screw job Detroit got in Chicago. WR Calvin Johnson clearly caught the ball, even landing on both feet in the endzone and transferring possession from one hand to another before falling to the ground (all in bounds). But because he let the ball go after it hit the ground, he didn’t “finish the series” that is required to display possession, and it was ruled incomplete. Sure, the call was correct by the rule, but the rule needs to have some area to account for situations like this. If a running back can dive for the end zone and fumble the ball as it hits the goal line, and have it count for a TD… that catch should have counted.

Oh, and for the games tonight, New York Jets vs. Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs, I pick the Jets and Chargers to win.