Another good round of picks for me.

Unfortunately, Saturday was a busy day for me, so I missed most of the preliminary fights. I also couldn’t hear the audio very well during the fights I saw, so I couldn’t have participated in my proposed drinking game, Dumb and Dumber, even if I weren’t driving Saturday night. I can, however, brag about my pick percentage. My main card pick percentage was 4-1 (80%), having picked incorrectly in a fight that just about everyone else picked incorrectly as well, and my overall percentage went to 8-3 (72%). This leaves me with a Stupid Predictions™ record of 39-20 (66%) in main cards, and 72-44 (62%). Not too shabby. Does anyone publicly calling me “stupid” have a better record to share? Have any of the professionals that pick fights amassed as good a record as mine? Considering the inherent stupidity of picking fights, picking correctly two times out of every three fights is about the best that you can expect to do.

Gray Maynard vs. Frankie Edgar for the UFC Lightweight Championship

This fight validated my feelings on these two fighters, though I was surprised Edgar could finish the fight. As with Edgar-Maynard II, the exceptionally strong Maynard got in a clean shot that rattled Edgar. As with Edgar-Maynard II, Maynard became complacent, relying on that first-round one-hit performance to carry him for the rest of the fight. In this case, however, that very reckless strategy cost him the fight. One could easily make an argument for 10-7 in the first round of Edgar-Maynard II, meaning that if the judges ignorantly gave Maynard any of the remaining four rounds, he could steal the win. In this fight, his first round performance was at best a 10-8 and arguably a 10-9. Edgar was hurt but not down. It would have taken some seriously bad judging for Maynard to win based on that first round.

On might defend Maynard on the grounds that judges are often seriously bad because they don’t know the rules. That’s certainly reasonable. Maynard’s wild haymakers in rounds 2 and 3, which never came close to hitting Edgar, would certainly be considered “effective aggression” in the eyes of many of the judges (even though that’s nonsense under the rules). Maynard could win on those grounds, but he set himself up for a possible finish, and I’m relieved that the judges weren’t given the chance to screw up the fight.

One might also defend Maynard on the grounds that Edgar is clearly a better wrestler and technical striker, so loading up the haymaker is the only way Maynard can win. Fair enough, but that’s why he lost this fight, why he should have lost Edgar-Maynard II, and why he’ll never be champ. This isn’t roshambo; it’s fighting, and technique matters.

Me: 1-0
Probst: 1-0

Jose Aldo vs. Kenny Florian for the UFC Featherweight Championship

All night long

As I was watching the fight, I looked to my fellow Meetup members and asked, “This is looking a lot like a fourth round knockout after all, isn’t it?” They seemed to agree. Florian faded badly, and Aldo got more aggressive. I don’t know how Florian held on, but he was true to form in being unable to compete in championship rounds. Although he lost rounds 2 and 3 as well, at least he looked like he had a right to be there. Once the bell sounded for round 4, Florian had already lost. Florian needs to move back up to lightweight and lose there instead. At least he’ll look healthy when he first gets into the cage.

Me: 2-0
Probst: 2-0

Chael Sonnen vs. Brian Stann

Again, I feel greatly vindicated. Not only did I predict the winner, but it’s clear I had the correct reasoning. Stann remains a one-dimensional fighter and had no chance of stopping Sonnen’s ground game. His greatest victory came on the two occasions he was able to pull guard, but he couldn’t keep it. Sonnen isn’t known as someone who finishes fights (though I at least kept open the door to a stoppage), but even he could finish Stann on the ground. This result was inevitable regardless of how it eventually ended.

This video probably won’t last long, so here’s a snapshot.

Sonnen Says Silva Sucks

Michelle asked, “If Anderson Silva doesn’t speak English, why does he seem to understand what Chael is saying?” His reactions appear congruent with what Sonnen was saying, and Soares wasn’t translating. Also, it seems cowardly that Silva was in attendance to do the ceremonial congratulations to the winner of the fight and acknowledge him as the rightful challenger, but because Stann lost, he didn’t get out of his chair.

From a marketing standpoint, Sonnen once again proved that his win will be better for the UFC than his opponent’s would have been. His opening line, “Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck!”, was childish but brilliantly funny at the same time. The rest of his speech drifted far too deeply into the realm of professional wrestling for my tastes, but the hype is already off to a rousing start. Many people hate Sonnen, but he has a significant base of people that love his persona, and who else can say that they combine that with his talent level and marketability? Josh Koshcheck is almost there, except everyone hates him. Matt Hughes had talent and was seen as a “good guy,” but Hughes never had the personality to get people riled up. When he tried, his arrogance and unlikeability came through. Sonnen has a combination that no one else in mixed martial arts possesses.

Me: 3-0
Probst: 3-0

Melvin Guillard vs. Joe Lauzon

Guillard choked, so he was choked. He believed his own hype, and his arrogance got him caught. This fight ends with Lauzon in a pine box nine times out of ten, but Guillard won’t get nine more shots to prove that point. With a Guillard win, the lightweight division could have been cleared up for the foreseeable future, but this really throws the lightweight division into disarray. Edgar’s next challenge will be Gilbert Melendez and the winner of Benson Henderson v. Clay Guida (in whichever order), but after those two fights, the waters get very muddy. Lauzon isn’t currently deserving of being in that mix, but knowing that his chance wouldn’t come any sooner than three title bouts from now, that gives him a chance to prove it, along with several other fighters that have the chance to leapfrog ahead of Guillard. Donald Cerrone and Matt Wiman immediately come to mind, but I could list at least ten other lightweights that have recently impressed us or will soon have the chance.

Here’s a dream matchup: Guillard v. Florian, but tell both of them that a title shot is on the line before the fight. I suspect I know how the fight would turn out, so hire Shonie Carter as the referee.

Me: 3-1
Probst: 3-1

Nam Phan vs. Leonard Garcia

Garcia probably deserved to win the round he was given by the judges, but he proved again that he refuses to learn. There’s no need for the rubber match he’s requested. He’s lost two fights, and even though they were both entertaining to the fans that seek only blood, we’ve been there, we’ve done that, and it’s time for these fighters to move forward towards their goals. Garcia will almost certainly fail, but Phan has far too bright a future to be bogging himself down in a semi-annual match against a fighter with nowhere else to go.

Me: 4-1
Probst: 4-1

Jeremy Stephens vs. Anthony Pettis

This was a close fight. I picked the right winner, but just barely. Stephens was as tough as I gave him credit for being, but he did better than I predicted. Still a win’s a win, for both Pettis and me.

Me: 5-1
Probst: 4-1

Demian Maia vs. Jorge Santiago

This is so frustrating. Maia should have been able to finish this fight, but he didn’t. As with Pettis-Stephens, though, a win’s a win.

Me: 6-1
Probst: 4-1

Stipe Miocic vs. Joey Beltran

Another fight going exactly as I suspected. Miocic beat Beltran senseless, but Beltran was tough enough to keep himself in the fight long enough to lose a decision.

Me: 7-1
Probst: 4-1

Steve Cantwell vs. Mike Massenzio

As I said, I flipped a proverbial coin on this pick, and the coin came up Cantwell. Still, I won’t claim any sort of a moral victory due to me giving Massenzio some credit. Truthfully, I didn’t expect Massenzio to be this much better than Cantwell. Mazzenzio was fighting for his roster spot, and he came through. Cantwell has probably lost his roster spot. Will anyone miss him?

Me: 7-2
Probst: 4-1

Aaron Simpson vs. Eric Schafer

This is exactly what I picked. No explanation is necessary.

Me: 8-2
Probst: 4-1

Tiequan Zhang vs. Darren Elkins

Zhang remains an important cornerstone for the UFC’s efforts to expand into the Chinese market. The UFC better have a back-up plan.

Me: 8-3
Probst: 4-1

Make sure to listen to Fight Fans Radio Monday through Thursday at 3pm for MMA news and analysis. Also listen in on Saturdays at 3pm before fight cards for my live Stupid Predictions™ segment.

Follow me on Twitter @MMADork
Follow Fight Fans Radio on Twitter @fightfansradio
Follow Erika Lewis on Twitter @FightFan_Erika
Follow the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Twitter @UFC
Follow Jason Probst on Twitter @jasonprobst
Follow Frankie Edgar on Twitter @FrankieEdgar
Follow Gray Maynard on Twitter @GrayMaynard
Follow Jose Aldo on Twitter @josealdojunior
Follow Kenny Florian on Twitter @kennyflorian
Follow Chael Sonnen on Twitter @sonnench (this is an unverified account that Sonnen continues to disclaim, but everyone believes it’s his)
Follow Brian Stann on Twitter @BrianStann
Follow Melvin Guillard on Twitter @Young__Assassin
Follow Joe Lauzon on Twitter @JoeLauzon
Follow Nam Phan on Twitter @NamPhanMMA
Follow Leonard Garcia on Twitter @badboygarcia
Follow Jeremy Stephens on Twitter @LiLHeathenMMA
Follow Anthony Pettis on Twitter @Showtimepettis
Follow Demian Maia on Twitter @demianmaia
Follow Jorge Santiago on Twitter @SantiagoMMA
Follow Stipe Miocic on Twitter @smiocic
Follow Joey Beltran on Twitter @mexicutioner760
Follow Steve Cantwell on Twitter @stevencantwell (unverified account with only a single tweet)
Follow Mike Massenzio on Twitter @MikeMassenzio
Follow Aaron Simpson on Twitter @aaronsimpson
Follow Eric Schafer on Twitter if you can find his Twitter handle. I couldn’t.
Follow Tiequan Zhang on Twitter if you can find his Twitter handle. I couldn’t.
Follow Darren Elkins on Twitter @Darren_Elkins

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