Friday, March 18, 2011

UFC 128 Picks

Shogun vs. Bones Jones –

In every competition there are those guys who are just a level above everyone else. In poker it’s a sign of distinction to win a World Series of Poker bracelet. You are a master of the game now. You are head and shoulders above the top 1% of the game. But you know what? There are players with a dozen of those bracelets that are head and shoulders above you. Magic is the same way. There are guys who make the Pro Tour and some guys that have broken the top eight more than once. That is amazing! To make the top eight at a pro tour more than once is a huge feat. You are The Man (or Woman.) And there are guys like Finkel and Budde that have WON more pro tours than the amount of people in Vermont than have ever even competed in a Pro Tour. They are head and shoulders above the rest.

This is starting to sound like a dandruff commercial. Let’s change this from “head and shoulders” to “superstars.”

Other examples of people being the master of their particular arena, being almost super-human would be guys like Mike Tyson, Tiger Woods, and Pete Sampras.

In MMA, those names are Anderson Silva and GSP. (I’d mention Fedor but he is on a two fight losing streak. Sorry Fedor.) This weekend in MMA, a new Superstar will be revealed. His name is Johnny Bones Jones and I believe that after his dismantling of one of the true greats, Shogun, the Bones Jones era will begin. Like Anderson Silva and GSP, he will hold the belt for a long time.
Shogun has been inconsistent. There isn’t any doubt that he is one of the greats but has he ever been considered to be at the level of Fedor or a prime Wanderlei Silva or a prime Chuck Liddell?

I don’t think he has. He has also shown us he can have very bad performances. Until his knockout of a declining Chuck Liddell, Shogun looked like half the fighter he used to be. He has rebounded from that, but facts are facts. Bones on the other hand, while his legacy is just beginning, has steamrolled through every opponent he has faced, making some top ten competitors look like rag dolls soaked in meat juice being attacked by a pit bull. He has thrown around guys that should have been a good fight for him and he has made them look like amateurs every second they were in the ring with him.

I don’t know what round it will end but the Bones Jones era starts this Saturday.

Marquardt vs. Miller – Miller is a game opponent but Marquardt has the potential to be a Champion in the UFC. He shows flashes of brilliance in some of his fights that are pure magic. After his disappointing loss to perennial contender Ushin Okami, I am pretty sure we will see Nate “the Great” as great as he has ever been. I think Nate is coming into this fight with a hungry, murderous gleam in his eye.

Mirko Cro Cop vs. Brendan Schaub – Brendan Schaub is young and hungry and Cro Cop is… not. Would you like to see the Mirko Cro Cop of old who left high kicked people into a heap on the mat? Sure, who wouldn’t? Would you like to see Wanderlei Silva be the aggressive axe-murderer of old? Of course. Would you like to see Chuck Liddell deftly avoiding punches and then knocking people out even as he backs up? We would all love to see those things.

Except those days are over. Nothing but respect for anyone I mentioned but Cro Cop’s best days are behind him, not in front.

1 comment:

  1. Shogun vs Bones COULD be a really good fight. The level of Bones' competition has been pretty lacking. His last three wins are against Ryan Bader (his best win by far, but a great stylistic matchup for him), an old Matyushenko, and perennial underachiever Brandon Vera. He's looked awesome in these wins for sure, but it's not like he's been fighting killers. We've also never seen how he responds to adversity in the ring, and if anyone in the LHW division can put it to him - it's Shogun.

    I think you're probably right that Bones will win, but I wouldn't count Shogun out completely. His knees ARE a huge worry though, I'll give you that. If he comes in healthy, I think he has what it takes. If he comes in with bad knees/cardio from injurt, then Bones will eat him alive.

    Also I think you really underrating Shogun's standing in the "all time" MMA rankings. Did you follow Pride closely when it was big? He was the best LHW to ever fight in Pride, and personally I don't think it's close. I have him ahead of Wanderlei and Chuck (and Little Nog, etc), and I'm a fan of all of those guys.

    And finally, if Bones does win... nobody will beat him for a very long time.