|St. Pierre vs. Shields|
I know it’s been a while since I have posted a blog for a MMA event, BUT, I am back with one for the biggest MMA event ever. UFC 129 is going down Saturday, April 30, 2011 from Toronto’s Roger’s Centre. This is the UFC’s first trip ever to Toronto and it will be the company’s biggest draw ever of approximately 55,000 fans, more than doubling the previous record made in Montreal for the St. Pierre-Koscheck fight. UFC 129 will be headlined by Georges “Rush” St. Pierre defending his welterweight title against challenger Jake Shields. The co-main event will see featherweight champion Jose “Junior” Aldo defend his title against Ontario born Mark “The Machine” Hominick. Other notable fighters on the card include, Lyoto Machida, Randy Couture, Nate Diaz, Jake Ellenberger and Ben Henderson. UFC 129 will also be the first time that every single preliminary fight of a PPV event will be broadcast for free. Two of these fights will be live on Spike TV and five will be free on Facebook. Another thing to note before I get into my predictions is that the start time of the main card is 9pm. Now let’s get into the predictions.
Pablo “The Scarecrow” Garza (11-1-0) vs. Yves “Tiger” Jabouin (14-6-0)
Winner: Pablo Garza
John “The Bull” Makdesi (8-0-0) vs. Kyle Watson (16-7-1)
Winner: Kyle Watson
Jason “The Athlete” Macdonald (25-14-0) vs. Ryan Jensen (16-6-0)
Winner: Ryan Jensen
Ivan Menjivar (21-8-0) vs. Charlie Valencia (12-6-0)
Winner: Ivan Menjivar
Claude “The Prince” Patrick (13-1-0) vs. Daniel “Ninja” Roberts (12-1-0)
Winner: Daniel Roberts
Spike TV fights:
Sean Pierson (11-4-0) vs. Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger (24-5-0)
Winner: Jake Ellenberger
Nate Diaz (13-6-0) vs. Rory “The Water Boy” Macdonald (10-1-0)
Winner: Rory Macdonald
Mark Bocek (9-3-0) vs. Ben “Smooth” Henderson (12-2-0)
Toronto born Mark Bocek is 6-1 in his fights in his home country and will be looking to make Ben Henderson his seventh victory. Ben Henderson is the former WEC lightweight champion and will be looking to get his UFC career on the winning track. Both fighters have tremendous wrestling abilities but I give the edge to Henderson in that regard. In terms of striking both fighters are pretty even but do not expect this fight to stay on the feet for long. Both fighters will look to take the other down while using their superior ground games. Henderson needs to be weary however of Bocek’s spectacular jiu-jitsu if he wants this fight to go to the ground. Ultimately I feel that Henderson just might be too powerful for Bocek and will win by Unanimous Decision.
Winner: Ben Henderson via Unanimous Decision
Randy “The Natural” Couture (19-10-0) vs. Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (16-2-0)
This fight will be the last time “The Natural” will fight before calling it a career. Couture will be fighting to close out his career on a winning note, because this is a man who has nothing left to prove in MMA. He has done it all and has cemented his name as a legend of the sport. His opponent on the other hand is looking to get himself back in the win column after suffering two straight defeats at the hands of Shogun Rua and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. This next fight could very well also be Machida’s last in the UFC if he does not pick up the win. Couture has always been known as a very tactical fighter, and Machida has pretty much (not including the Shogun fights) been impossible to hit. I do not expect for a second Couture to be chasing Machida around the ring trying to hit him. Couture’s best strategy will be to take Machida to the ground and wear him out with some ground and pound. Machida on the other hand will want the fight to stay standing and will look to pick his strikes against the veteran. I look for Machida to keep the fight standing and pick his shots extremely carefully so as to not get taken down by Couture. I give this fight to Machida via a very boring unanimous decision.
Winner: Lyoto Machida via Unanimous Decision
Vladimir “The Janitor” Matyushenko (25-5-0) vs. Jason “The Hitman” Brilz (18-3-1)
This fight is one, which you really don’t know what to expect. While both fighters excel on the ground, this fight can very well remain standing. Matyushenko is just a powerful presence who looks to exert his strength over his opponents by taking them to the ground and hammer fisting them into unconsciousness. Brilz on the other hand is very well rounded, he will take the fight to the ground if he needs to or he will stand and trade punches if that will win him the fight. In my eyes, Brilz’s best bet to win this fight is to take Matyushenko down and try and submit him. For Matyushenko to win he needs to do the exact same thing he has been doing his whole career, taking Brilz down and knocking him out. Brilz for a wrestler does not have great takedown defence and I look for Matyushenko to exploit this.
Winner: Vladimir Matyushenko via 2nd Rd. KO (ref stoppage)
Co-Main Event: For Featherweight Title
Champ Jose “Junior” Aldo (18-1-0) vs. Mark “The Machine” Hominick (20-8-0)
This fight will be Champ Jose Aldo’s biggest test to date. Not only is Hominick a very talented striker he is also fairly good on the ground. Mark Hominick will undoubtedly have the entire arena cheering him on, while Aldo will be public enemy number one in Toronto for the night. Jose Aldo’s striking game is one that cannot be compared to anyone in the fight game other than a guy by the name of Anderson Silva. He picked Urijah Faber apart with carefully placed strikes and made him look like an amateur. Hominick seems to know exactly what he is after and does not seem fazed by Aldo’s reputation as one of the top pound for pound fighters on the planet. The keys to victory for Hominick must include him mixing his strategy; he cannot let Aldo get comfortable standing or on the ground. Hominick needs to mix his takedowns and when he wants to stand with the champ. If he allows Aldo to get comfortable, the fight could end very early for Hominick. Hominick needs to control the fight and dictate where it will go. For Jose Aldo to win he needs to keep this fight standing and utilize the same strategy he used against Urijah Faber. Aldo needs to wear Hominick out and force the fight to the ground where Hominick does not want to be. Ultimately Hominick cannot go a full 5 rounds with Aldo and will be too tired from the barrage of strikes that will undoubtedly come from the champ. Chalk up another W for the champ, this one ending in a 3rd rd TKO.
Winner: Jose Aldo via 3rd Rd. TKO
Main Event: For Welterweight Title
Champ: Georges “Rush” St. Pierre (21-2-0) vs. Jake Shields (26-4-1)
On paper this fight appears to be another walk in the park for GSP. But for any fan that follows MMA, this fight is anything but a walk in the park for St. Pierre. Jake Shields is GSP’s biggest test to date and I believe that he will walk away with the title. St. Pierre is an amazing well rounded fighter who just seamlessly adapts to his opponents. However his inability to put fighters away is his main downfall. GSP’s wrestling skills are second to none but his opponent is very good on the ground and has a BJJ black belt under the famed Caesar Gracie. Like the co-main event this fight can go either way. In the past we have seen GSP absolutely dominate wrestlers (ie. Josh Koscheck) but he has never found a way to put any of them away. Jake Shields has tremendous stamina and good enough striking to hang with GSP. Shields unrelenting pace could be the deciding factor in this fight. Like St. Pierre, Jake Shields has had an advantage over wrestlers, in his fight against Dan Henderson, a fight which Shields went up in weight; he absolutely dominated the former Olympic wrestler. Shields size will also play a big factor in how this fight plays out. This main event by all means will not be a classic slug fest; a majority of this fight will be spent on the ground, where each fighter will look to utilize his superb grappling to gain the upper hand. This fight will be GSP`s last as welterweight champion, unless he figures out how to put his opponent away, because Jake Shields will not give him more than one opportunity to do so.
Winner: Jake Shields via 4th Rd. KO (Ref stoppage)
Ogi is a graduate of Humber College’s Sport Management program. He is the founder of Blago Blogger Sports.