And Now for Something REALLY Stupid: UFC 129 Predictions

Posted: April 24, 2011 in Fandom, MMA
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


I hate people making sports predictions. First, I can’t separate what I predict will happen from what I want to happen, so I usually suck at it. Every single season, I pick the University of Maryland men’s basketball team to win the national title, even when they aren’t in the tournament. Second, on any given day, a lucky punch, unlucky injury, bad judges, a bad referee, or some other unforeseen circumstance makes any prediction completely useless. If you don’t have all the facts, your prediction is nothing more than a guess.

Still, it’s not as stupid as picking the NFL draft order, which no one ever gets right beyond the third pick, and tons of people get paid do that, so what the hell. I’m going to give you my UFC picks . . . free of charge, of course, and before Sherdog releases their picks. Try not to take these, or Sherdog’s, seriously. To a large extent, I don’t.

George St. Pierre (GSP) vs. Jake Shields

Are you kidding? Jake legitimately beat Dan Henderson, and Dan Henderson is still a good fighter, but I didn’t even give Jake the Kampmann fight. Even if you believe he won that fight, how good did he look? I just don’t see this one as even close. GSP is not only extremely talented, but he also does his research. He clearly comes into every fight with a game plan tailor-made for his current opponent. He will do the same thing here. Unfortunately, GSP doesn’t knockout his opponents very often, and we shouldn’t expect that to happen here. On the ground, Jake is at least good enough to fend off submission attempts from GSP. While the fight will have a clear winner, it will nevertheless go the distance.

GSP by incredibly obvious decision.

Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick

No offense Mark, but Aldo has a rare combination of explosiveness, patience, and talent. Usually someone that explosive does so at the expense of his defense (e.g., Leonard Garcia), but Aldo showed tremendous patience against Manny Gamburyan and beat him by being flat-out better. He’s not a crazy fighter; he’s just crazy good. Hominick’s last fight was a thorough thrashing of George Roop, and he’s had a good run of late, but that run ends Saturday night.

Aldo by 2nd round KO.

Randy Couture vs. Lyoto Machida

Lyoto is the future, and Couture is the past. If Couture really wanted to continue fighting, he probably could do so at a reasonable level for a couple more years, but not at a championship level. Lyoto, on the other hand, is at a championship level. Moreover, his success and “unsolvability” should be credited largely to the way his style matches up against most other UFC fighters. Many of you don’t want to hear this, but the UFC is a grappler’s league. Anyone capable of earning a high-profile fight as a boxer isn’t about to settle for UFC money (see, e.g., Nick Diaz who wants to box now that he thinks he’s pro-boxer material). Although there are a couple of people with western-style boxing that are good enough to beat Machida (both of them in the LHW division have done so), everyone else is a boxing wannabe. Machida doesn’t have much striking competition in the UFC, and his traditional style will always give a grappler serious trouble. Couture falls into this trap. Even in his prime, he’d have a difficult time with Machida.

For what it’s worth, I’m a huge fan of both of these fighters, which means my pick isn’t based on emotion. I do believe it’s more important to the sport for Machida, the guy with an MMA future, to win this, but still, this is a reasonably objective pick. It has a much better chance of being correct than my picks typically are.

Machida by 2nd round KO.

Now things are going to get a little goofy and very unreliable. . . .

Benson Henderson vs. Mark Bocek

All else equal, pick the guy who earned a spot in the UFC over the guy that fought in the WEC because he didn’t. I don’t care that Henderson was the lightweight champ of the WEC. That’s a “medium fish in a small pond” situation. Besides, Henderson got tagged by a jump roundhouse kick. That’s pretty lame. On the other end of the cage will be 4-year UFC veteran Mark Bocek, who just can’t seem to stop submitting people. True, he couldn’t submit Jim Miller, but no one ever has, and Miller’s losses are few and far between.

Bocek by 1st round submission.

Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Jason Brilz

This fight has a subtitle: “The Old Guy v. the Chubby Guy.” Matyushenko is the archetype of the gate-keeper. He’ll never fight for a UFC championship, but if you want to know if you deserve even to be in that conversation, you have to beat him. Brilz doesn’t deserve to be in that conversation, and this fight will show that. I certainly don’t think Brilz can finish this fight, but I doubt he’ll even win a decision if it gets that far. I don’t think it will. As much as I’m tempted to pick against the stupid nickname, I won’t.

Matyushenko by 3rd round TKO.

As for the chubby comment, the next thing you know, I’ll be making fun of people for being bald.


Rory MacDonald vs. Nate Diaz

Both of these guys finish with strong technique, so this fight has “technical finish” written all over it. Unfortunately, some fights like that wind up not having a finish because both fighters are too good and cautious to fall into a submission. MacDonald should get the edge on being capable of finishing with strikes, something Diaz can’t do reliably, but Diaz is awfully wiry, evasive, and experienced in the UFC. This will be a close fight, and I don’t think the fans will be happy with it.

Rory MacDonald by split decision.

Kyle Watson vs. John Makdessi

This fight demonstrates another reason I don’t like other people making picks: They’re not honest and/or smart enough to admit when they can’t make a pick, and instead take a wild ass guess as if that’s somehow better.


No pick.

Sean Pierson vs. Jake Ellenberger

This is a risky pick because I don’t have much data on Pierson, but if I risk it all and lose, nothing actually happens to me, so I’m going to go for it. I refuse to pick against Ellenberger here, and I’m also having trouble not seeing him finish the fight. I’ll at least assume that Pierson puts up a good fight.

Ellenberger by 3rd round KO.

Pablo Garza vs. Yves Jabouin

Again, no pick, except to say that Garza will not win by a flying kick, flying elbow, or flying anything.


Ivan Menjivar vs. Charlie Valencia

Valencia is a scrapper, but in that weight class, who isn’t? I bet Menjivar is a scrapper, too, but I wouldn’t know because I’ve never heard of him.

No pick.

Claude Patrick vs. Daniel Roberts

Both of these guys win, and both of these guys finish, at least recently. Ummmm . . . I don’t know.

No pick.

Jason MacDonald vs. Ryan Jensen

Jensen has been a so-so fighter, but he’s been a so-so fighter in the UFC. MacDonald is being given a second chance after a long run in obscurity. He’ll blow it big time.

Jensen by 1st round submission.

Jason Probst’s Prelim Picks on Sherdog

Georges St. Pierre over Jake Shields by decision (we agree)
Jose Aldo over Mark Hominick by 2nd round knockout (we agree)
Lyoto Machida over Randy Couture by decision (we agree on why Machida will win, though not on how)
Benson Henderson over Mark Bocek by 3rd round submission
Jason Brilz over Vladimir Matyushenko by one-sided decision
Rory MacDonald over Nate Diaz by decision (we agree)
Kyle Watson over John Makdessi by, “flip a coin . . . decision or late submission”
Jake Ellenberger over Sean Pierson by 3rd round knockout (we agree)
Yves Jabouin over Pablo Garza by 2nd round knockout
Charlie Valencia over Ivan Menjivar by decision
Daniel Roberts over Claude Patrick by late stoppage or a one-sided decision
Ryan Jensen over Jason MacDonald by decision

Follow me on Twitter @MMADork
Follow Maryland Athletics on Twitter @UMTerps
Follow the NFL on Twitter @NFL
Follow the UFC on Twitter @UFC
Follow George St. Pierre on Twitter @GeorgesStPierre
Follow Jake Shields on Twitter @jakeshieldsajj
Follow Randy Couture on Twitter @Randy_Couture
Follow “Nathan” Diaz on Twitter @NateDiaz209
Follow Vladimir Matyushenko on Twitter @vladthejanitor
Follow Jason Brilz on Twitter @JasonBrilz
Follow Jim Miller on Twitter @JimMiller_155
Follow Jake Ellenberger on Twitter @EllenbergerMMA
Follow Ryan Jensen on Twitter @RyanJensenUFC

And now I’m officially tired of posting fighter Twitter handles.

  1. kesseljunkie says:

    Bald people are sessy animals!

    Based on your predictions, I’m putting $6000 from the kids’ college fund on the Couture fight.

  2. […] I was dumb enough to make my picks public, this postmortem will be more about the fights themselves than the interesting storylines that […]

  3. […] I said in my last picks article, picking fights is ridiculous. This isn’t a team sport. This is a one-on-one fight, and a […]

  4. […] I have a good record: 45-24 (65%) for the main cards, and 86-50 (63%) an overall (going back to my first Stupid Predictions article for UFC 129). It’s time for another 80% success rate, so I’m back on the wagon for more. This is a […]

  5. […] Sadly, I didn’t get to see the UFC 139 card last night. Justin told me that the Henderson-Rua fight was one of the best ever. I’ll try to watch a replay of these fights, but because I haven’t so far, my postmortem will be short. I went 9-3 last night, but came into the main event without a single bad pick. That seems strange, but it leaves me with a record of 47-27 (64%) for the main cards and 95-53 (64%) overall (going back to my first Stupid Predictions article for UFC 129). […]

  6. […] remind you, going back to my first Stupid Predictions™ article for UFC 129, my record stands head and shoulders above most of the talking heads at 47-27 (64%) for the main […]

  7. […] sucked, but it goes into the record books with all the others. The bottom line for this run from my UFC 129 Stupid Predictions™ article to this one is 50-29 (63%) for the main cards and 99-60 (62%) overall. My run still beats most of […]

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