Hello everyone and welcome back.
In case you were wondering, my life just became a little more interesting (more on that at a later date) and so it came to pass that after a really long and prolific prediction work I… forgot to do a prediction post for UFC 198… Just didn’t have the time, and the in the time I did have there was simply too much more to do… OK. Enough excuses. For the record, here are the predictions I did make just before this card started:
But before we even look at predictions, I have to give some props to the UFC for setting up one of the best cards of the year to date. Not only did we have a solid and entertaining main card, but the prelims – headlined by Brown Vs. Maia could have easily been a main card on FX or FOX at any time. Simply a great card – which was for the most part ignored and swallowed up by Conor McGregor’s tweetery.
More props are due for naming Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira a hall of famer in Brazil. Classy, well deserved and timely.
With that, let’s dive into the After MMAth of UFC 198:
Warlley Alves Vs. Bryan Barberena: I went with Alves, as I thought he would start strong, won’t let up and get the finish. I underestimated Barberena’s durability, chin and own offensive skills. I haven’t been wrong on the scenario, but since Alves couldn’t get the finish in the first, and since his gas tank was evidently an issue starting early in the second round, Barberena took full advantage and got the win. 0 for 1.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua Vs. Corey Anderson: I have to disagree with the judges on this fight. I thought Corey was good for a decision win. On the other hand, I’m not going to scream “Robbery” here, as a solid case could be made for Shogun’s two knock downs at the end of rounds one and two. both times, coming a little too close to the bell for a finish. Rua may not be the same ole’ monster of olden days, but he can still drop any LHW with a well placed strike. 0 for 2.
Cris Cyborg Vs. Leslie Smith: Well, I agree that Smith was sort of – kind of – able to continue. On the other hand, I don’t see this stoppage as anything outrageous. It seems though, that due to the nature of the sport – where the referee is given the mandate to stop the fight when there might be a danger to a fighter’s well-being – demanding uniformity in stoppages may not be realistic. It’s a shame for Smith who stepped up but I think Cyborg came, saw and conquered. 1 for 3.
Jacare Souza Vs. Vitor Belfort: In the prelims headliner, Maia used his superior BJJ skills (best in MMA history in my humble opinion) to submit Matt Brown. In the co-main event Jacare did just that in order to secure a phenomenal finish of the Phenom. At no point in the short duration of this fight was Jacare even in any kind of danger. He came and absolutely dominated, enforcing his game plan and taking Vitor down to secure position and then hammer it home. I can’t see how the MW title fight can escape Jacare after this performance. And not a word about TRT. 2 for 4.
Stipe Miocic Vs. Fabricio Werdum: Werdum’s ascension to the top of the UFC HW division was nothing short of spectacular. He came back from nowhere to the throne, showcasing highly improved striking game and when he beat Cain for the belt it was no shocker. The same can be said for Miocic though. Started as a somewhat underrated fighter. Slowly but surely demonstrating those very skills that will enable him to capture the prize. You know the “Big Bang” theory about how at HW anything can happen simply due to the power these guys are packing. The thing is, Stipe is simply a master in placing that power. That was no fluke. That was no stray hay maker. That punch was delivered (moving backwards) with laser precision and with full intent. See, Werdum fought some very skilled strikers, but not as technically sound as Miocic. Not at their peak.
Before the fight started I tweeted:
To have ground advantage, Werdum will need to take Miocic down. On the feet Stipe is as crisp as they come. We’ll see what happens. #UFC198
— Gil Shalev (@cobainco) May 15, 2016
After the fight, all that was left to say was:
— Gil Shalev (@cobainco) May 15, 2016
3 for 5 in the end of a really good card top to bottom.
I’ll do my best not to forget UFC 199 predictions… In the meanwhile, let me know what you think. What’s next for the participants of this great event? What’s next in terms of titles contention?