Cleat Geeks

UFC 191 Johnson VS Dodson 2

Paige-VanZant-being-groomed-to-replace-Ronda-Rousey-as-next-face-of-UFC-882448414There is a “hype-train” surrounding Paige VanZant, and rightfully so. Not only is she one of the most beautiful female competitors to ever grace the octagon,  but the woman has respectable fighting credentials. In her last fight, she was pitted against a very popular Felice Herrig. Felice is a veteran of a fairly new women’s sport, that had her first pro fight in 2009. I honestly believed that Paige would finally get the rude awakening that was inevitably waiting for her. After these girls touched gloves, it was obvious to see that VanZant was on another level. Felice struggled to keep up with the pace set by “12 Gauge”, in one of the most lopsided female UFC fights that I have witnessed.

VanZant’s opponent was, like Felice Herrig, also featured on The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned. Paige will look to go 2-0 against TUF contestants as she takes on 5-2 Alex Chambers in a 115 lbs. strawweight bout tonight. Alex “Astro Girl” Chambers has only seen the judges decision one time in her career. Her two losses were by decision, but she also has two submission, two KO/TKO, and one decision win to her credit. VanZant herself is only 5-1 in her career as this weight class is still in its professional infancy.AlexChambers

These girls will set a very fast pace right out of the gate, and Chambers is sure to hold some of the better submission skills that Paige has ever come across, but this fight should go in VanZant’s favor. I’m not sure “Astro Girl” will be able to go as hard as her opponent for all three rounds, which is fairly unfamiliar territory for her as only two of her fights have stretched past the first round.  We should continue to see the overwhelming stardom of Paige VanZant grow tonight as she looks to halt Chambers’ hopes of getting closer to Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s title.

 

johnsonkospeer.aim640Anthony “Rumble” Johnson earned himself a title shot against Daniel Cormier, after he went on a two-promotion, nine-fight win streak.  He took out Andrei Arlovki, Jake Rosholt, Alexander Gustafsson, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira during that impressive streak. We will never know the outcome, had Jon “Bones” Jones not gotten into legal trouble, causing him to be stripped if his title, and fight with Johnson. Instead, Daniel Cormier stepped in, and put Johnson on his back early and often, which resulted in a rear-naked choke loss. He now has a shot to get back in the win column, with a very tough match-up against the English “Poster Boy” Jimi Manuwa.

ManuwaManuwa’s only career loss was at the hands on “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson, by way of TKO. Anthony Johnson will be his toughest test to date, by far. Both of these fighter’s have very heavy KO power, but I would give the grappling advantage to Johnson. Manuwa will hold the conditioning advantage, but you couldn’t have two more alike fighters facing off. I see no possibility that this fight will end in decision, as both of these guys are very emotional fighters. This always spells an early end in MMA. Once the first punch lands, it will be personal for the recipient, and then it will be light’s out, one way or the other.

 

arlov-604x286Andrei Arlovski and Frank Mir are names that you would expect to be featured in a retirement announcement, rather than a co-main event for a UFC PPV card. To their credit, they have no intention of letting father time, or Uncle Dana write the end to their legacy. Frank Mir was the UFC Heavyweight champion in 2004. Andrei Arlovski was the next to hold the title in 2005, but they never have had the pleasure of being in the octagon at the same time. This is a fight that many fans believe they are owed, and thankfully for us, they are both very relevant fighters this late in their careers.
Arlovski had his fight pro fight in 1999, and Mir began his career in 2001. Let’s just take a moment to let that set in, as we near 2016. If this fight is as explosive as many expect, the winner may very well be in line to take on the winner of Werdum vs Velasquez 2. Current champion Fabricio Werdum will be very interested in how this one turns out, as he already has a decision loss on his record to “The Pitbull” Andrei Arlovski.
Frank Mir’s career looked to be over after he ended up on the wrong side of a four-fight losing streak. Former UFC Heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos, Current UFC Light Heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier, former UFC Heavyweight champ Josh Barnett, and Alistair Overeem, all made short work of the aging MIr. The fights with Cormier and Overeem ended in a decision, but they were decided long before the final bell. With some stroke of brilliance, Mir bit down on the mouthpiece and went on to win two first round KO’s over Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, and newly returned contender Todd Duffee. Both of these big knockouts took place just after the one minute mark of the first round. It is safe to say, that Mir’s heavy hands, have yet to age.mir
Just as these two fighters have mirrored each other’s career, their recent success is also a bit similar. Alovski may be on a four-fight win streak, but his last two fights were first round KO’s over big name opponents as well. Andrei avenged an earlier career loss, when he knocked out Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in the first round of UFC Fight Night’s 51st card. He followed up this performance with an even more impressive KO over Travis Browne. This was one of the most exciting heavyweight fights in recent memory as both fighters threw caution to the wind, and continued throwing punches until referee Mark Smith was forced to step in.
This will be a fun one to watch, but it is hard to decide who has the edge to win. This is more of a toss-up fight than most odds makers have it, but I expect to see Frank Mir continue his late surge for one more shot at the title. Arlovski is more than capable of competing with Mir’s stand-up, but Frank definitely has the edge on the ground. He is the same man that snapped Tim Silvia’s arm with a textbook armbar, and the very fighter that not only submitted Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, but nearly took his arm off at the shoulder. He is my favorite to win this fight, as his career heads into an all-or-nothing realm.

DEMETRIOUS-JOHNSONDemetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is favored to retain his belt tonight by decision for a few reasons. Reason number one is that the first war that these two men had ended in that very fashion. Second, not a lot of KO/TKO finishes take place at this weight class (flyweight, 125 lbs.), due to lack of power, and the speed that these fighters possess. Lastly, is because that’s just how DJ fights. He is so dominant that he can wear a fighter out on the feet until they’ve had no more. Once they realize that they stand a better chance if they shoot for a take-down, they are immediately stuffed by the sprawl of “Mighty Mouse”. Once they try to clinch Johnson to alleviate some of the pressure, they quickly find that no place is safe.
DJ is one of those elite Rouseyesque fighters that may never see defeat again at this level. He has earlier career losses to the ever-injured Dominick Cruz, and Brad Pickett, who has recently lost five of his last seven fights. Johnson has both nine submission, and nine decision victories, and has won his last two fights by submission. His last fight was one that will reign forever in the MMA history books. After 24 minutes, and 59 seconds of complete domination over a very game Kyoji Horiguchi, Demetrious sunk in the armbar just as the final bell was about to sound. It is the latest possible moment that any fight could end, and is the only one of it’s kind. He will have a tough test in John Dodson, but I believe another decision victory is in store for this UFC great.ufox6_weighin_073-jpg
John “The Magician” Dodson has only one loss in his last nine fights. That would be to the man he is set to face today. He even has a win over current bantamweight (135 lbs.) champion TJ Dillashaw during that span, Dillashaw’s only TKO loss in his 14-fight career. Dodson is easily one of the most entertaining fighters to watch. He always has a huge smile on his face, and cannot wait to do his celebratory back-flip off the cage after each win. Unfortunately, there will be no flipping here tonight. Although I would not be too surprised if Dodson were champ one day, I can’t see it taking place during the current reign of the “Mighty Mouse”.

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