It is PPV time! The UFC will roll out another stacked fight card sure to get hardcore MMA fans excited. But what about the general audience? With the lack of big name stars fighting on Saturday, September 5, the card likely won’t appeal to the general public. I am not speaking for myself, however, because I am excited for every fight available. Don’t worry if you are not. I have some info to share about Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in the coming weeks to keep you informed about the ins and outs of the fastest growing sport in the world. Let us start with UFC 191 on Saturday and a brief overview of the main card.
Women’s Strawweight Division – Paige VanZant (5-1; 2-0 UFC) vs. Alex Chambers (5-2; 1-1 UFC)
If there was ever a book written about how to build a UFC star, it would follow the process the UFC is using for VanZant. Astonishing to think, just a year ago, she was turned away from the reality series, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), because she was only 20 years old, and the minimum age to compete on it is 21 due to the presence of alcohol in the TUF house (more on TUF on a later article). UFC matchmakers are giving her opponents they are certain she will defeat, and although she is 2-0 in the UFC, it is pretty clear that she has some improving to do before giving her a more skilled opponent. She is a very raw fighter that will rely on her outstanding conditioning and athleticism to tire her opponents. She has trained with great wrestlers in Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes and UFC champ TJ Dillishaw, so her grappling/wrestling is good and steadily improving. She tends to leave her chin up while striking which could be dangerous when she faces an opponent that knows what she is doing. I am predicting a win for VanZant as her star will steadily rise. If she keeps this up, a title shot could come towards the end of 2016.
Light Heavyweight Division – Jan Blachowicz (18-4; 1-1 UFC) vs. Corey Anderson (5-1; 2-1 UFC)
Corey Anderson is another raw prospect on this card. He base is his wrestling skills as he only uses his striking to set up the wrestling. This means that he will throw punches as he gets close to his opponent and try for a takedown once he is within range. He has a long way to go. Blachowicz is one of the best strikers in this division. He is a stick and move guy. Punch-Punch-Punch-move away-throw some kicks here and there. He is an overall well-rounded fighter. His advantage, as well as his opponent, is that this division is very thin. Division Champ Daniel Cormier, Alexander Gustafsson, Ryan Bader, Rashad Evans, and then everyone else. There is that Jon Jones guy, former LW champ stripped of his title and currently awaiting trial on felony charges, as well. More on him at a later date. My prediction is Blachowicz in a unanimous decision.
Light Heavyweight Division – Anthony Johnson (19-5; 10-5 UFC) vs. Jimi Manuwa (15-1; 4-1 UFC)
Here is some friendly advice from your MMA “expert”: Don’t go use the restroom, don’t go to the kitchen and get a beer, put your phone away. This fight can end with one punch. Johnson is scary. Allow this visual to sink in. Johnson’s hands are a baseball bat, while his opponent’s face is the baseball, and he only swings for a homerun. Get it? Got it? Good. Manuwa and Johnson are essentially the same fighter, but Johnson is just more powerful. Johnson wins with a third-round TKO.
Co-Main Event: Heavyweight Division Andrei Arlovski (24-10, 1 N/C; 13-4 UFC) vs. Frank Mir (18-9; 16-9 UFC)
If I told you 3 years ago that these two fighters would be the co-Main event of a PPV, a common and likely reaction would be, “Wait, they haven’t retired yet?” These two have experienced a career resurgence with both fighters coming off consecutive knock-out finishes-Frank Mir making Todd Duffee face plant on the canvas and Arlovski knocking out Travis Browne in the best round in forever. That’s right, best round ever. These two former heavyweight champs are maybe one victory away from title contention, but they have glaring weaknesses in their game that could be demoralizing. Frank Mir is one of the best ever in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (basically submission wrestling). Just search for “Frank Mir breaks Tim Sylvia’s arm” or “Frank Mir breaks Nogueira” on YouTube for proof.
Viewer discretion is advised!
If the fight is taken to the ground, Mir has the clear advantage. I do, however, expect this to be a striking match. He is an adequate boxer, like Arlovski, and uses this skill to his advantage. But as with most heavyweights, cardio is not his friend. But just like Arlovski, he tends to finish or get finished. Since it is common for heavyweight fights to be stopped, either by knockout or submission, I predict a Frank Mir victory by second round KO.
Main Event: Flyweight Championship – Demetrious Johnson (Champ) vs. John Dodson
Don’t blink. Again. In the fastest division in the sport, there will surely be some exciting moments. Common knowledge is that the lighter weight divisions have faster, more exciting fights. These two fought previously in 2013 with Johnson winning in a very close fight. Johnson uses a combination of Muay Thai wrestling to his advantage over everyone in the division. Except Dodson. If Dodson’s punch connects, you are taking a nap. However, Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (a lot of fighters have weird nicknames-like “Cupcake”) is just a better well rounded fighter. Johnson by unanimous decision.