Thursday, 19 April 2012

UFC 145 - Looking For Upsets

You may have heard that Jon Jones will defend his light heavyweight title at UFC 145 against former training partner Rashad Evans, or you might have been living in a cave.  Anyway, it just so happens that this is just the headlining fight of a really interesting card.  It seems like the UFC has decided that since the main event is a sure fire pay-per-view seller, they can fill up the under card with lesser known fighters.  Well that's just fine because as unknown as some of the fighters may be, some intriguing fights are in the offing.  On paper, it seems like a night of fights with pretty clear favourites, so let's have a look where the possible upsets lie.


Jones vs Evans

Aside from the ex-teammate feud, this is a massive fight between the two best fighters in the division.  Jon Jones brings incredible length and athleticism.  He may not be a great striker or grappler, but he has an innate ability to knit together his skills better than anyone else in MMA.  He lands unorthodox strikes, takes people down with ease and does not get taken down.  He has faced three ex UFC champions in his last three fights and battered them.  Rashad Evans is clever, experienced and a great wrestler for MMA.  His boxing is powerful and his hands are really quick.  He had no trouble dominating a physically imposing Phil Davis.  He comes in as a 5-1 or 6-1 underdog in this fight.  The odds are long for a reason though.  Although Rashad claims to have Jones' number from training, it is hard to believe that Evans has the tools to deal with Jones' physical advantages.  His only chance of winning is take Jones down or to knock him out with a big punch.  I doubt he will be able to get comfortably close to Jones to set up a big right hand I do not see him keeping Jones down for five whole rounds.

Upsettability: 1/5

MacDonald vs Mills 

via cagepotato
MMA fans should be suspicious of anyone described as the next big thing.  That person could turn out to be Jone Jones or Todd Duffee.  That being said, Rory MacDonald has been making serious waves already at a tender age and most people believed it was time for him to get a top contender.  Instead he drew Che Mills, an Englishman with only one UFC fight.  That UFC saw Mills destroy his opponent Chris Cope in under a minute thought.  MacDonald is a ridiculously powerful and athletic wrestler with knockout power to boot.  When he heard he was fighting Mills, he apparently needed to Google him to find out who he was.  It would be a mistake to count him out though.  Mills has a decent record and a lot of experience, not to mention killer instinct and power.  I do not expect Mills to be fazed by his opponent and I do not expect this to be a one sided beat down.  Having said that, MacDonald is certainly the favourite to win, given the calibre of opponents he has already beaten.

Upsettability: 2/5

Rothewell vs Schaub

via mmashareforum
If you were to pick this fight based on physique, Brendan Schaub would be the pick without any doubt.  However if you factor in skill sets... Schaub would be the pick without any doubt.  Schaub has superior boxing as well as the advantage in strength and athleticism.  So long as Schaub does not get stuck underneath Ben Rothwell, he should be able to pick him apart.  Even if Big Ben does get on top of him, he will not be able to last long and a gassed out Rothwell will be no match for Brendan Schaub.

Upsettability: 0/5

Hominick vs Yagin

via prommanow
Mark Hominick is an overwhelming favourite in this fight, having fought for the title just two fights ago, he has the ability to win with knockouts and submissions.  In his fight with Jose Aldo he showed an ability to score grinding take downs too.  He fights Eddie Yagin who is yet to score a win in the UFC.  The only thing that points to an upset here is that in Hominick's last outing he was knocked out in seven seconds.  That was as a result of coming in horrendously careless against Chan Sung Jung and I doubt he would make that mistake again.  Yagin is no match for the Canadian on the feet and should not be able to take him down.  There is always the chance of a big punch getting through or a submission opportunity being taken, but I doubt it will happen.

Upsettability: 1/5

Bocek vs Alessio

via mmamania

Mark Bocek is the big favourite in this contest at around 4-1.  The Brazilian Ju Jutsu black belt has been in the UFC for ages and fought against some of its toughest fighters.  John Alessio has been there too, having fought in the UFC and WEC between 2006 and 2008.  Four years later, he has won 10 of his last 11 fights and finally gets the call to return to the UFC, as a replacement for the injured Matt Wiman.  I suppose the odds are stacked in Bocek's favour because he has been fighting tougher opponents in recent years and has the ability to control where the fight happens.  That being said, Alessio is a dangerous fighter both standing and on the mat and it is by no means a stretch that he might snatch a submission or a knockout.  Bocek's the favourite, but there's plenty of chance of an upset here.

Upsettability: 3/5

MacDonald vs Torres is a pretty even fight so I don't think either guy winning would be considered an upset.       For what it's worth though, I would back Torres given his experience and all round skill set.

Of the prelims, I would say that Matt Brown has probably the strongest likelihood of getting a surprise win.  Stephen Thompson is 4-1 to win, but we have not yet seen how he deals with someone with decent take downs.

Anything I have missed?  Hit the comments section and let me know!

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