I’m pretty sure that neither of my readers knows nor cares that UFC 110 is this Saturday in Sydney, Australia. Doesn’t matter. I’m still doing a preview.
The Main Event
Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira (32-5-1, 1 NC) vs. Cain Velasquez (7-0)
The Breakdown: Most commentators will point out that this, the main event, is a classic MMA match-up. They’ll point out that it’s a wrestler versus a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist, youth versus experience, two contenders fighting for the chance to take on the heavyweight champ. They’ll tell you that Cain Velasquez is facing his sternest test in Minotauro. They’ll point out that Nogueira wants to maintain his momentum after his decision win over Randy Couture at UFC 102. These are all valid points. But this is more about two scary heavyweights trying to pound the holy living fuck out of each other. Unless they keep it on the feet, look for a grappling-heavy match in which Velasquez throws Nogueira around the ring while Minotauro tries to lock up an acrobatic armbar or anaconda choke. And no, that last one is not a euphemism for masturbation. Yet.
My Pick: This fight was originally scheduled for UFC 108, but was postponed due to Nogueira contracting a staph infection that later moved into his bloodstream. With that in mind, Cain Velasquez will hold Nogueira down and punch him in the head en route to a TKO victory in round two.
Fun Lie You Might Be Able to Get Someone to Believe: Make sure you look completely sincere to sell this. First, point out that Cain Velasquez has “Brown Pride” tattooed to his chest. Then inform your audience that the tattoo isn’t an expression of racial unity, it’s actually because UPS is his biggest sponsor.
Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva (32-10-1, 1 NC) vs. Michael “The Count” Bisping (19-2)
The Breakdown: This bout will likely be the most friendly to a casual fan. You have two strikers, one a barely-controlled maniac (Silva) and the other a precise technician (Bisping). Silva likes to wade in with arms swinging, which is partly why he’s lost five of his last six fights and three of those by knockout. Throw in the fact that Silva appears washed up and that he’s moving down a weight class, it looks like a bad night to be him.
My Pick: Bisping is skilled, but he lacks the power to KO the Axe Murderer. The first and second rounds will be amazing, but the third will get a little slower as both guys run out of gas. Bisping will take home a unanimous decision victory.
So Why Do They Call Him The Axe Murderer? Because he killed a guy with an axe once.
Joe “Daddy” Stevenson (36-10) vs. George Sotiropoulos (11-2)
The Breakdown: This fight is even more forbidding to the casual fan than the main event. Stevenson’s record is spotty, but he’s fought every good fighter at lightweight, while Sotiropoulos has only taken on one quality guy (and lost). A casual fan is going to see a fight that looks like two guys making vigorous love in a tarpit.
My Pick: Daddy by TKO in round 1. Stevenson has an excellent submission game, but Sotiropolous should be skilled enough to prevent that. Can’t stop Joe from hitting him in the face, though.
“The Dean of Mean” Keith Jardine (14-7-1) vs. Ryan “Darth” Bader (11-0)
The Breakdown: Sadly, Jardine is a better nickname than a fighter. He has lost four of his last six. To make matters worse, the two wins were split decisions and he was knocked out three times. Jardine can’t afford to another loss. With the UFC dropping fighters left and right, if he loses, he could very well go home. Bader’s perfect record tells the seasoned fan that Darth hasn’t taken on any top-flight opponents. The only pressure on Bader is to determine if he’s for real.
My Pick: Bader can’t beat Jardine on the feet, but should be able to take him down and control the match enough to get a unanimous decision.
Wasn’t The Dean of Mean a Silver Age Batman Villain? You wish.
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (25-7-2, 1 NC) vs. Ben Rothwell (30-7)
The Breakdown: This is a sad fight for fans: Cro Cop is an MMA legend in rapid decline. This is a great fight for newbs: both men are kickboxers. These tend to be the most exciting matches for people just getting into the sport. A knockout is practically guaranteed, since it doesn’t matter how tough you are; one kick to the head and it’s goodnight moon. These usually come down to youth and reach.
My Pick: Rothwell. He has both. My guess is a knockout in round two, but don’t be surprised if it comes earlier and it’s Rothwell on the canvas. Cro Cop’s head kicks are legendary for a reason.
Fun Fact That Sounds Like a Lie: Mirko Filipovic served on the Croatian Parliament.
Stephan “the American Psycho” Bonnar (14-6) vs. Krzysztof “the Polish Experiment” Soszynski (19-10-1)
The Breakdown: Every card has a number of fights (called the undercard or dark matches) that are not scheduled for broadcast. Fighters with smaller names or riding losing streaks will find themselves in this ghetto. Oftentimes, one or more of these fights, usually the most exciting, is shown to fill in time for quick KOs and the like. This is the most likely for that, mostly because of Stephan Bonnar. This guy is a human highlight reel… for the other fighter. Ridiculously tough but slow, his opponents usually manage to land a hellacious amount of entertaining punishment on Bonnar, who takes it gamely and never gives up. He’s a little like Troy Hurtubise, minus the suit of anti-bear armor.
My Pick: Soszynski by decision.
This Joke Isn’t Funny So Don’t Make It: After seeing Soszyniski’s first name written out: “That guy should buy a vowel.” They’re not laughing with you.
Final Verdict: So after all this, should you buy the pay per view? No. Hell no, even. To make this worthwhile, you’d need to gather about twelve people together and each kick in five bucks. Casual fans should stay away entirely.