Welcome, friends, to the fourth edition of Sexiness vs. Deadliness in which I and one of the many (not really) ladies in my life make fight picks for an upcoming UFC event. She picks fights based on the attractiveness of the fighters, and I make picks based on analysis of their fighting skills. The other installments in the series, as well as every episode of Heavy Hands, the only podcast dedicated to the finer points of face-punching, can be found here.
In rounds two and three, I picked against my girlfriend Brittany. Last time, picking for UFC on FOX 10, I failed fight analysts and intelligent fans of the sport everywhere, as Brittany took an unprecedented win for the forces of Sexiness, picking 8 of the 11 fights correctly, while I was left just out of reach of the win with 7 correct picks.The total scores now stand at:
Sexiness: 21-13 (62%)
Deadliness: 23-11 (67%)
Obviously that's too close for comfort, so I brought Brittany back to settle things once and for all. If she beats me this time, I'll seriously consider a change of vocation (and a change of girlfriend--HINT HINT, honey).
So, without further preamble, let's get to pickin', starting with the first preliminary fight. The included photos are the ones that Brittany used for her picks.
Brittany's pick: This is a challenging pick for me and not because either of these men are particularly attractive. Magny has something nostalgic about his face. I watched a lot of Toy Story as a youth, and Mangy looks very… Mr. Potato Head-esque. Umalatov, on the other hand, has facial hair so bold that you think you’re looking at a Word document. However, if I picture Umalatov without the beard, he’s got my pick. Umalatov by intriguing my imagination.
Connor's pick: Magny has just never impressed me, and Umalatov has some promising skills, particularly in the realm of crisp counter boxing. Magny can sprawl pretty well, but Umalatov's boxing tends to put him right in range for one of Sambo's many clinch takedowns, which will be harder for Magny to avoid. It's not a wash, but I don't see Magny taking this one. Umalatov by TKO, round 2.
Tony Martin vs. Rashid Magomedov
Brittany's pick: I am not only intrigued by Magomedov’s “you know you want me” gaze, but also because I’m confident that if I rearrange the letters of his name I can get it to say “I am Lord Voldemort”. Martin, however, looks like a muscular version of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory, and if his moves are anywhere near as predictable as the jokes on that show, he doesn’t stand a chance. Magomedov, because I hate Big Bang Theory.
Connor's pick: The first of many prospects to be sacrificed to proven talent on this card, Martin has skills, but he's no match for Magomedov, a former M-1 champ with versatile striking and grappling skills. Two trusty rules make this pick even easier: Never trust a guy with two first names, and always bet on the Russian. Magomedov by TKO, round 1.
Brittany's pick: It looks as though Hester has had some high highs and some low lows since his last fight, what with losing both of his legs but also gaining the ability to levitate. While levitation is sexy, I am partial to men who are taller than me. Enz, by a solid two inches.
Connor's pick: This is the one unproven prospect on the card that I am picking to upset his UFC-caliber foe. Enz has close to Hester's number of wins, and none of Hester's losses. In addition, he's equipped with the exact skillset that gave Hester fits during his time on TUF. Hester's last two performances have impressed a lot of folks, and I admire his skills, but this is the first time he'll be facing an opponent willing and able to take him to the ground since TUF, and I doubt he's shored up his grappling deficiency all that much since TUF. Andy Enz by Submission, round 3.
Brittany's pick: The unfortunate design of Iaquinta’s shorts make it look like he’s wearing a small apron and aggressively asking me if I’d like my “steak” tenderized. Lee not only has tasteful shorts, but his muscles are so well-defined that I have to wonder if he was born, or drawn into existence by Hannah-Barbara. Maybe he moonlights as Space Ghost. Lee by his masterful use of line weight.
Connor's pick: I'm a big fan of Al Iaquinta. Ray Longo's turned him, like Chris Weidman, into a solid boxer with good fundamentals. He's not impossible to hit, but he's certainly not afraid to take a shot, and his boxing is powerful and intelligent. Lee is a true talent, with athletic ability and skills to boot, but he just doesn't have the high level experience necessary to out-think a bruiser like Iaquinta. Al Iaquinta by TKO, round 3.
Brittany's pick: It’s hard to choose between these two, because I’m not attracted to either of them. Upon close observation, I believe that Catone traded his hair to Ursula the Sea Witch for his 9-4 record. Conversely, it looks like Watson ran into a genie and used all three wishes to make his pecs bigger. I imagine he plans to smother Catone with them. Watson, because everyone knows it’s hella stupid to consort with Sea Witches.
Connor's pick: Watson is a fun fighter, but his performance against Thales Leites, in which the BJJ specialist both outstruck and outwrestled him, did not inspire confidence. Catone didn't look good at welterweight, but a return to middleweight should restore his ability to crush fighters like Watson. Catone by Grindy Unanimous Decision.
Brittany's pick: It looks like Martinez has Star Power, which we all know makes one invincible, but it's hideously disfiguring his rib cage. He looks like a victim in the latest Saw movie (Saw 26, I think?). Meanwhile, Cariaso is glaring at me like my Elementary school principle when he caught me going into the boy's bathroom. Still, Cariaso, because we've already established how I feel about mutton chops.
Connor's pick: Martinez is solid, but one-dimensional. Cariaso is far from one-dimensional, but prone to mental lapses. Still, he has all the skills necessary to beat up a wrestler like Martinez, and barring a brain fart of truly epic proportions, he should be able to utilize them.
John Makdessi vs. Alan Patrick
Brittany's pick: Is there a way to say that Patrick looks like Skeletor that isn’t considered fighter bashing? How about, “with a few square meals, he could be a model for Vogue magazine.” Makdessi by the meat on his bones.
Connor's pick: Patrick is dangerous on the feet, but he's wild and prone to getting hit. Makdessi is exactly the opposite. An impressive kicking game is complemented by some of the cleanest boxing in the lightweight division. Makdessi's jab is his offense, defense, and the reason he's going to run through Alan Patrick tonight. Makdessi by Unanimous Decision.
Brittany's pick: Despite what you may believe based on my picks, I do like beards, and so traditionally, I would choose Varner. However, I can hardly admire his beard because that damn right ear keeps drawing my attention. It’s like a white flag, surrendering the sexiness pick. And it looks like Trujillo’s left arm is part snake. Sweet. Trujillo, because Varner’s cutman probably won’t have antivenom in his kit.
Connor's pick: Trujillo's clinch work against Roger Bowling was very impressive, but Bowling is exactly the kind of fighter he should look good against. The worrying thing is that, in his first fight against Bowling, he looked far from impressive. The Trujillo that knocked out Bowling could beat Varner, but anything less will get run down and beat up. Varner's boxing and wrestling are perfectly combined, and his ability to finish either on the feet or the ground makes him a serious threat. Varner by TKO, round 3.
Brittany's pick: Maybe it’s just the perspective of the photo, but Lineker appears to have the proportions of the Fair-Haired Child after undergoing his terrifying transformation (if you haven’t seen this Master’s of Horror piece, don’t. And while you’re at it, don’t watch Antichrist either. Seriously. Don’t.). Now his opponent, Bagaoutinov, has a toned beard, alabaster muscles, and an adorably subtle happy trail. So refined. Bagaoutinov by his average-sized head.
Connor's pick: In my staff picks, I predicted that both fighters would have trouble with their respective gas tanks in this fight. Considering that I now know that Lineker barely made weight, I'm thinking that won't be such a competitive issue anymore. If Lineker tires quickly, which it looks like he will, then Bagautinov will wreck him. Bagautinov by Submission, round 2.
Brittany's pick: This card isn’t particularly strong in terms of sexy pairings, though it looks like it’ll be strongly scented. Mir looks like a don who lives in a Vegas Casino and upholds Ke$ha’s dental hygiene philosophy. Even his shorts remind me of bad decisions. Overeem, on the other hand, looks like Ducky from the Land Before Time. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Ducky is sexy. However, a dinosaur is sexier than a mob boss any day of the week. Overeem by default.
Connor's pick: Never has a fight between two fighters on losing streaks seemed like such a terrible mismatch. Alistair Overeem by Murder-KO, round 1.
Brittany's pick: This may not be the most attractive photo of Aldo, and Lamas is quite sexy with his chiseled jaw, heavy brows, and velvety lips (I hear he swears by Burt’s Bees). But before you make up your mind, look carefully at Aldo’s left and right hands. Do you see it there? That, my friends, is the ability to utterly destroy any and all opponents, a quality that I find very sexy, and one which Aldo has in abundance. Lamas will need more than chapstick to make his face pretty again after this bout. Aldo by his destructive capabilities.
Connor's pick: In a way, this fight is a win-win: Lamas deserves his shot at Aldo, and Aldo deserves an easy win before moving up to lightweight. Okay, so it's not exactly a win-win... more just a win, really. For Aldo. Jose Aldo by KO, round 4.
Oh, by the way, Brittany's pick above is UTTER BULLSHIT. I swear, if she wins by one fight, she's disqualified forever.
Brittany's pick: Deep inside of a parallel universe, Faber and I are totally dating. He saw me standing in line to see the show tonight and said “What I got you got to get it, put it in you,” and I said “Hey oh!” After this fight, Barao will likely be soft-spoken with a broken jaw. He won’t ever want to feel like he did that day, and I think Faber will finally have to evolve into “The California Man”, alliteration be damned. Faber by Californication.
Connor's pick: I've gone back and forth on this pick a few times, but having just taken a close look at the Faber that fought Barao the first time around and the Faber that wrecked Michael McDonald recently, I'm pretty confident that the California Kid will really bring it this time, and finally get that bantamweight strap around his waist. His footwork is much better, and though he still doesn't possess any kind of jab, he makes much better use of kicks and angles to trap his opponents and lure them into counter shots. Urijah Faber by Unanimous Decision.
For further siliness, as well as occasional fight analysis and fighter/trainer interviews, check out Heavy Hands, the only podcast that focuses on the finer points of face-punching. The latest episode features an interview with boxing trainer Daði Ástþórsson. Now available on both iTunes and Stitcher.