Okay, so here are my picks for tonight:

Makdessi v. Patrick

I love Makdessi, but for once I’m ignoring my heart. Patrick by decision.

Varner v. Trujillo

Varner has his moments. Something tells me tonight will be one. Varner by KO/TKO.

Mir v. Overeem

This is a question of who will underachieve the least. If Mir would stop trying to be a boxer, I’d have him all the way, but he just doesn’t get it. Overeem by KO/TKO.

Aldo v. Lamas

The past few months have reminded us that no one is unbeatable, but I have trouble believing Lamas will be the one to finally (recently) solve Aldo. Aldo by decision.

Barao v. Faber

This is a championship match, so the seemingly unstoppable Faber will choke again. It’s not that it won’t be a good fight, mind you. It will, but Barao will win. Barao by decision.

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I’m really too busy to write about this, but I’m always hoping to find a way to get a legitimate journalist to cover MMA, and Mike Wise of the Washington Post is on the fence about doing so. One of these days, maybe something will get him curious enough to watch, then interested enough to write. Tonight might be the night. The women have arrived, and the greatest MMA fighter ever is back to reclaim his title.

Manny Gamburyan v. Denis Siver

This is a toss up. Siver used to be good, but now he’s at the level of Gamburyan. Quite an endorsement, eh? When in doubt, I root for the judo guy.

Gamburyan by decision

Michael Johnson v. Gleison Tibau

I still don’t know why Johnson gets such a push when so many fighters are getting their pink slips for losing a single match.

Tibau by decision

Uriah Hall v. Chris Leben

Leben’s best days are behind him. While Hall is still developing, I think he’s good enough to get the win.

Hall by decision

Jim Miller v. Fabricio Camoes

Miller has disappointed me lately. I actually see this as a punishment for that. If he can’t beat Camoes, he’s in danger of getting bounced by the UFC. I never thought I’d say this so soon.

Miller by submission

Josh Barnett v. Travis Browne

I can’t see why so many people are picking Barnett. No way.

Browne by 3rd round KO/TKO

Ronda Rousey v. Miesha Tate

There is absolutely no reason to think this fight isn’t going the same way all of Ronda’s fights go. It’s a complete no-brainer. For those who hate Ronda, I say think with your brain, not your heart. And to everyone, I remind you, I told you so … 2-1/2 years ago, well before Dana White and Scott Coker knew she existed.

Rousey by 1st round submission

Chris Weidman v. Anderson Silva

Weidman has the style and skill to beat Silva, but he showed last time that he’s susceptible to being pulled into Silva’s game plan. Lightning doesn’t strike twice. 99.99% of the time, Silva wins the striking battle. Despite what most are saying, I think Anderson goes in there and does the same goofy dance he always does, gets under Weidman’s skin, and knocks him out. The only question is whether it will take more than one round. I’ll play it safe.

Silva by 2nd round KO/TKO

And now I’m off to Baileys in Ballston Mall. If you’re in Arlington, say hi.

Unless I don’t like you.

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Follow Mike Wise @MikeWiseGuy

So, my last published picks were embarrassing, but I went 4 for 5 on the last card. I regretted my decision not to publish what would have been redeeming,  and I’m on a mission to get Mike Wise to start writing about MMA, so I’m back at it. Unfortunately, I’m on my phone, so no formatting, pretty pictures, or links to sources. I’m just giving picks for the fights I’m willing to pick. We’ll settle up later.

Story – Once a contender. Tonight, I think he’ll be good enough.
Herman – He’ll get back on track (or lose his job).
Cerrone – He’ll also get back on track.
Koscheck – Hate him, but he’ll win after faking an eye poke.
McDonald – Well, duh.
Sonnen – I’d pick him to beat Muhammad Ali. I can’t pick against him.
GSP – No title is safe, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Two Titles on the Line
c/o UFC.com

For those who read my blog, you must remember my Stupid Predictions segment where I constantly outclassed the “professional journalists” that cover MMA. My record is … well, on the record. I always published it along with the records of others who were paid money to make predictions. I stopped doing Stupid Predictions (and Fight Fans Radio, to which you should still be listening!) because I ran out of time to properly research, which would have inevitably placed me on the level of those “journalists.” However, I recently engaged in a Twitter conversation with Mike Wise of the Washington Post and asked when he would start writing about MMA. His response wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but I have at least some hope that a real journalist will eventually start covering this sport. Then you won’t need me anyway.

In the meantime, I decided to dust off my MMADork blog and write another Stupid Predictions post, not so much to fix what’s wrong with MMA Journalism, but just to get a particular prediction off my chest. To keep things from getting too ridiculous, I’ll stick to the main card; I’m really not what I once was. But John Makdessi will win.

Let’s do this.

Pat Healy v. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Good night.
c/o StephanieJoplin.com

Khabib Nurmagomedov is really good. He’s undefeated at 20-0, and he’s proved himself capable of finishing fights, doing so 70% of the time, split evenly between KOs/TKOs and submissions. However …

I have a lot of faith in Pat Healy’s talent. Pat Healy choked out Jim Miller. Think about that for a second. Pat Healy choked out Jim Miller. That shows a ridiculous amount of talent, and if anything, his marijuana use would’ve slowed him down. I understand why the commission had to overturn the victory, but these picks are about who’s more talented, not who’s breaking technical rules. If Pat is high tonight, it’ll be declared a no contest, but otherwise, he’ll hand Nurmagomedov his first loss in a tough match.

Healy by decision

Costas Philippou v. Francis Carmont

Costas Philippou sort of snuck up on me. I never thought much of him, but he steadily amassed a ton of wins, some against some contenders. His only losses were a unanimous decision in 2011, and a split decision in 2008. Of his 12 victories, over half (7) are finishes. Of course, Joe Silva, matchmaker for the UFC, knows his job, and he’s given Philippou a good matchup. Carmont has won his last 10 fights, and if it goes to the ground, Carmont has the advantage. However, Carmont’s competition hasn’t been as stiff as Philippou’s, and I don’t think he’s guaranteed to get the takedown.

As with Daniel Cormier, I’m sick of picking against Philippou and looking like an idiot for doing so. I’ll take my chances that his run continues.

Philippou by 2nd round KO/TKO

Brendan Schaub v. Matt Mitrione

Brendan Schaub started out with so much potential, but he’s since found himself cleanly beating only the (relatively) low-level guys, while eking out decisions or being put to sleep when fighting the higher-level guys. He may one day meet the expectations we had for him, but I’ll acknowledge it only after I’ve seen it.

Matt Mitrione might not be a fan favorite, and losing to Cheick Kongo is nothing to brag about, but he wins fights, and usually finishes them. Losing to a top contender like Roy Nelson is not an indication you can’t handle Brendan Schaub.

Mitrione by 1st round KO/TKO

Renan Barao v. Eddie Wineland

Renan Barao is the bantamweight champ, and he hasn’t lost since 2005. One might counter that argument by pointing out he’s an old man that’s been fighting too long, but that’d be a bad assumption. He’s only 26 years old, and there’s no slow-down in his step. He can knock you out, submit you, or out-athletic you by going the distance and getting a decision. Also of note is that he’s done these things to some top-notch competition.

Then there’s Eddie Wineland, who hasn’t lost since … 2011. He’s hot and cold, and that won’t cut it against a talent like Barao. Wineland is good enough to be in the UFC, but he won’t win the belt tonight.

Barao by 2nd round submission

However, I wouldn’t be shocked if I got this wrong. Why? See my next entry.

Jon Jones v. Alexander Gustafsson

Don’t look too closely if you’re squeamish.
c/o Cagewall.com

Finally, we get to the main event, which is the one for which I’m dying to make a pick. The smart money is on Jon Jones, but I’m sick and tired of being smart. It’s clear that no title is safe, and that goes back to April 30, 2011, when George St. Pierre should have been medically retired from his fight against a completely over-matched Jake Shields. (An accidental eye poke left GSP temporarily blind in one eye, which was hidden from the doctors.) Lately, the number of examples of unbeatable champs being exposed as vulnerable is staggering. Anthony Pettis won his rematch against a very different, much improved Benson Henderson, finishing Bendo by armbar in the 1st round and capturing lightweight gold. Anderson Silva, who hadn’t lost since 2006 (by DQ), and who really hadn’t lost since 2004, was knocked out in the 2nd round by a wrestler. This brings us to the man of the hour, Jon Jones, who barely won his last two fights. He was almost armbarred by Vitor Belfort, and despite dominating Chael Sonnen, was 27 seconds away from being medically retired due to a broken toe.

*** No title is safe. *** (Did I emphasize that enough?)

I don’t believe that trends are caused by ghosts or some cosmic force like karma. There’s a scientific explanation for them, even if we don’t readily see it. In this case, the trend of champions losing their belts would fall in the realm of psychology, or perhaps sociology, and I’m not qualified to do an analysis in either area. I do know what I see, though, and what I see are champions slipping, and that includes Jones specifically. Once seen as unbeatable in their respective weight classes, they now are succumbing to the rust of old age, the arrogance of young age, or outright sloppiness. On the other hand, Gustafsson is typical of their opponents in that he’s both talented and hungry, having the best takedown percentage of any of Jones’s other challengers. I think he pulls off the upset, even if he has to rely on a medical retirement to do so. I won’t make my pick that specific though.

Gustafsson by decision.

The Paid Prognosticator

That’s it for me. Now let’s see how Sherdog’s expert, Tristen Critchfield, think’s it’ll go down.

Nurmagomedov by decision.
Philippou by decision or TKO.
Schaub by decision … unless he gets knocked out.
Barao by late submission or unanimous decision.
Jones by some sort of finish in the 3rd round.

So, I picked Healy, Mitrione and Gus; whereas Tristen picked Nurmagomedov, Schaub (sort of), and Jones. It’ll take a no-contest for us to come away with the same record. Let’s see if I’ve still got something in the tank.

Enjoy the fights!

Follow me @MMADork
Follow Fight Fans Radio @FightFansRadio
Follow Mike Wise @MikeWiseGuy, even though he doesn’t understand trademark law*

* P.S. Sorry. I had to go there.

Despite attending the University of Maryland and following lacrosse for the past 10 years, I had never attended a lacrosse game at Byrd Stadium. That changed this weekend, and while I’m always happy to revisit the campus and hang out with a friend (Mike), the experience was very disappointing. Cornell beat the Terps 16-8. I’d say Maryland dropped the ball, but they couldn’t even pick up the damn thing.

For a few weeks, the Terps were the #1 team in the country. When the NCAA brackets were released, fans of the other teams were complaining that they’d have to face Maryland earlier rather than later. I responded by pointing out that 1) this Terps team has consistently underachieved all season, with even their wins sometimes being lackluster; and 2) lacrosse is one of those sports where the team that gets hot in the playoffs is unbeatable, so who you face, and when, isn’t as big of a deal.

But I digress…

I left the stadium with 5 minutes left in the game, but as far as I remember, MD had won only two face offs in the 3+ quarters I watched. There was a maddening number of plays where a Terp, all by himself, couldn’t pick up the ball with his stick. He’d play with it like a cat playing with a ball of yarn, swatting at it with seemingly no goal in mind. Before you knew it at least two Cornell players descended on the fiasco. One of them would easily scoop up the ball as if they were a college-level lacrosse player and take the ball the other way.

Seriously, it was as bad as I described it. It was embarrassing for a team that was supposedly the team you had to beat to win the championship this year, especially in light of the fact that Cornell does not look like a team that’s destined to win it all. It was sloppy and uninspiring, and there was rarely any hustle by the Terps when it really counted. Of course, I know I couldn’t do any better, but I’m not a college lacrosse player, so that’s irrelevant. Maryland had to be the most overrated team in lacrosse this year, and they should have to live with that.

Oh, well. Maybe the Caps will close out the Rangers tonight. Edit: Crap.

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Follow Mike @qstor2
Follow Maryland Men’s Lacrosse @MarylandMLax

Last night didn’t go well for me. Let’s look at the results.

Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar

Aldo didn’t fade, so my chances of a decent pick prediction percentage did.

Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

I was completely uninterested in this fight. I hear Nogueira won, which means I didn’t.

Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio Silva

Overeem got complacent. He should have won in 60 seconds. What a disappointment, but I have no gripe with Bigfoot. Good for him.

Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia

In my defense, no one picked Maia.

Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall

I got this one right, but I feel dirty. McCall was game.

Evan Dunham vs. Gleison Tibau

Dunham by decision or 3rd round KO/TKO. More than likely, a decision.

Did I say that? Damn, I still got it. At least until you see my record at the bottom.

Tyron Woodley vs. Jay Hieron

Yeah, I’m a dope.

Jacob Volkmann vs. Bobby Green

No, seriously; I’m a dope.

The Results

First, the bad news: My record is 2-6 (25%), which is pathetic. Blaming that on a plethora of upsets would be even more pathetic.

Now, the good news: The experts suck, too. Tristen Critchfield had only a couple more victories than I had, giving this “professional” a similarly pathetic record of 4-4 (50%) for the same 8 fights. This is from a professional. When I was researching, I had a pick percentage in the low 60’s on a bad day (upsets or not), with my best day in the 80s. Suddenly, I don’t feel so bad. Because I haven’t been hired as an analyst, you should. You’re getting the short end of the stick with these “journalists.”

I’m still pissed at Overeem.

Follow me @MMADork

I have a little bit of time on my hands, so here are some quick hits.

Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar

Aldo fades in the championship rounds, and Edgar takes over. Edgar by decision or possible 5th round TKO/KO.

Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

Rashad destroys Little Nog in embarrassing fashion. Seriously, why even sign this fight? Rashad by 2nd round TKO/KO after a brutal 1st round.

Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio Silva

Overeem by overhand … right … on the kisser. It’s a big target; hard to miss. Hey-yoo! Seriously, this is a 1st round KO. Silva was lucky to beat Travis Browne. He certainly isn’t in Overeem’s category.

Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia

I love Demian Maia, but I can’t seriously pick him to beat the guy who just knows how to win in the UFC. If Fitch’s fight against Eric Silva wasn’t a fluke and represents the “new and improved” Jon Fitch, then it could actually be exciting. More likely, however, is Fitch grinding out a boring decision.

Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall

Well, who else is either guy going to fight? There are only five people in the entire division. Benevidez by decision.

Evan Dunham vs. Gleison Tibau

I like both these guys. Dunham has been disappointing lately, but Tibau never finishes anyone. I’m going with Dunham. He’ll be able to keep separation from Tibau and pick him apart. It will take a while, though. Dunham by decision or 3rd round KO/TKO. More than likely, a decision.

Tyron Woodley vs. Jay Hieron

Hieron, I guess. Let’s say by decision.

Jacob Volkmann vs. Bobby Green

Volkman will put Green to sleep … with a political rant. Then he’ll beat him by 2nd round submission.

No picks on the remaining three fights.

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