Sports to Watch: UFC Fight Week (Part 2)

So you saw part one of our Sports to Watch special on the UFC Fight Week. But now its time to talk about the primetime, the crown jewel of this weekend. This is Sports to Watch, and we are going to cover UFC 194!!

Lets get right to it and not waste any time, and talk about a big match on the card.

1. Jacare Souza looks to move up the UFC Middleweight rankings against Jorge Romero111314-UFC-souza-and-romero-split-ahn-PI.vadapt.620.high.13

Oh my god, this fight is going to be good. This two dudes could alone go for knockouts if they choose to, but they are more submission based than standup. I think this fight comes down if Jacare doesn’t think its a good idea to go into the phone booth with Jorge. Jorge is a slugger and quick despite his size.

Prediction: Jacare by Decision. I think that Jacare can win this fight by knockout, but this fight needs to be an impact fight for him. Sure you could say that with the kind of legacy he has made, he doesn’t need an impact win, but with the fight that takes place later in the night, he definitely needs it. Jorge is no pushover, as he is going to bring a new level of hurt to Jacare that he hasn’t seen before. But I think Jacare can pull out a win and move up the rankings.

And speaking of rankings, our co-main event will decide who is champion of the Middleweight division.

2.Chris Weidman looks to keep his belt against Luke Rockhold060315-UFC-Weidman-and-Rockhold-PI-CH.vresize.1200.675.high.77

Now this fight is going to be less about power and more about smarts. Style wise, both of these fighters match up very well against each other. Both have excellent ground game, their stand-up is great and they can move around the cage with ease. This fight comes down to who can counter quicker than the other. Woodman has the experience of facing former champs four straight times, each ending with a knockout. Rockhold can say the same, only he has lost to one of those former champs in Vitor Belfort. A lot of the talk from Luke has been that Weidman is lucky due to when he beat Anderson Silva and his lineup of opponents when that’s simply not true; sure he has a win over Silva when he broke his leg, but look at his other wins: Absolute domination of both Silva and Belfort, and a all-out war against Machida in which he was dominating. Rockhold does have a lot of holes in his game, but can he cover them up while exposing Weidman’s?

Prediction: Weidman by Decision. I think people need to seriously stop doubting  Weidman’s ability in the cage. He might not be the most charismatic guys in the UFC, but the dude lets his work back up his game. His standup has been proven to be deadly, and he has a chin on him like you wouldn’t believe. I don’t think Rockhold gets the win, but it’s not going to be an easy fight. Rockhold does have a great kicking aspect to his style, but remember that Weidman is the same one whose leg check broke Anderson Silva’s leg. If Weidman can keep the fight close, at a pace he enjoys, he can start locking up shots for  Rockhold’s body and face.

Finally, we get to the main event, in a fight that has been building for almost a year.

3. Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor finally put their dukes up and prepare for the biggest fight of 2015120615-UFC-aldo-mcgregor-face-off-ahn-PI.vadapt.620.high.40

Short of living under a mountain, you know about this fight. McGregor v. Aldo. Ireland v. Brazil. This fight began its press tour last April and was scheduled to be a great fight. Little did Dana White know that this fight would be one of the greatest. As we got closer to the fight date, the hatred between these two rose like a 100 foot tall tsunami. The insults, the trash talk, the getting in each others faces, the belt grab, everything had us believing that in May, we would have one of the greatest fights to exist.

Then Aldo got injured.

Now, normally I’d keep going, but I can’t let that injury controversy slide. A lot of people, including people in the McGregor fan base, believe that Aldo had a bruised rib, and not a broken rib. Now while a broken rib is enough to keep you out of a fight, a bruised one isn’t. And if the prevailing theory that McGregor went into his interim championship fight with Chad Mendes with an 80% tear of his MCL, then Aldo has no excuse: He has a bad knee, you got a bad rib, lets fight. Instead, Chad Mendes was called up and fought McGregor for the interim belt.

But now we are here, were there will a unification of the belts this Saturday and I personally can’t wait. I’m the kind of the guy that likes the talk and verbal jabs, but loves the action put behind it. This fight is going to come down to three things.

  1. How healthy is Aldo? Look a bruised rib might not seem like a lot but I think the reason he pulled out isn’t because he didn’t want to increase injury to it, but because it involves his biggest weapon: his kicks. The pure force he puts into those kicks are dangerous, and the torque it takes to do it puts a strain on his body. Plus you also have to take into account McGregor’s stance in fighting: he is a lefty, the second he has faced in seven years. If Aldo throws a leg kick, he essentially leaves himself open for Conor’s signature, the straight left cross, and that could be a huge factor in the fight.
  2. Will this fight be a repeat of the Werdum v. Velasquez fight? Now I know that this fight is in a smaller weight class than the heavyweight fight that happened earlier in the year, but it has some of the same properties: The champion got injured, an interim fight was made. Now its outcome had it to where the interim champ dominated the champ and won soundly, but will that be the outcome of this one? Remember, like Velasquez went up against a guy unlike anything he has ever faced and got outworked. Aldo is coming into a fight with a guy that is physically bigger than him: longer reach, taller build, everything. This could impact the fight as well.
  3. The mental mindset of the fighters. Now you’d expect me to say how mentally unfocused Aldo might be, especially with him coming out the gate being aggressive towards McGregor, but I’m actually going to look at McGregor here. If we look at his timeline since winning the belt, he left to go right into coaching The Ultimate Fighter and then going into a training camp for this fight. In fact you could see the emotional drainage after his fight with Mendes, which he believed he could beat, but he was more humble than he’s ever been in his UFC career. He has done so much to make himself a household name, lets hope he didn’t do the same thing as Rousey and stretch himself too thin before a big fight.

Prediction. McGregor in the 3rd round. Look I’m all for keeping streaks alive and such but McGregor, style-wise, is unlike anything Aldo has ever faced. McGregor range is a counter to Aldo’s kicks, and if McGregor out paces him, while goading him, could tire out Aldo. I take nothing away from Aldo, he can throw a knockout like no ones business and he could easily win this fight. But if I look at McGregor’s range, along with his ability to throw power punches from just about any angle, it cuts down Aldo’s defense over time. Plus we don’t know how healthy that rib is. If he couldn’t use the bathroom but didn’t get surgery on it, it could be more messed up than originally thought. I think Conor gets this win in glorious fashion and proves his doubters wrong again.

 

Well, that’s my prediction of the fights this weekend. If you want to see part one of the analysis of this weekend, then check it out  here. Hope you have a great week watching all the fights and Ill see you back here next week.

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