UFC 169 Predictions, Prognostications and Prophecies



UFC 169 Predictions, Prognostications and Prophecies

Renan Barão vs. Urijah Faber
Without question, Urijah Faber had a hell of a 2013. He fought four times, all victories, with three subs — his last one an utter mauling of Michael McDonald, who’s tagged as a future division champion. There’s no question that bringing in Duane "Bang" Ludwig to head up Team Alpha Male has paid huge dividends for Faber, as well as the other members. The problem is, while he’s undefeated in non-title fights (with an impressive 30 wins), all six of Faber’s defeats have come defending, or going after, championships, and this issue isn’t limited to just the California Kid. In fact, a Team Alpha Male curse is currently in full effect, with Joseph Benavidez the most recent victim of its demonic influence, being quickly KO’d by Mighty Mouse in their sophomore title encounter in December. Faber has an opportunity to halt this streak, but it’s an uphill task. He’s stepping in on relatively short notice (a month, give or take) against a fighter that dominated him in their initial clash for the bantamweight belt, with Barão breaking Faber’s ribs early in the fight, landing combos and mercilessly battering his legs, much like Aldo did to the Kid at Featherweight in their tilt. It’s definitely all-or-nothing time for Faber, as with two previous shots at the bantamweight title, another loss to Barão would likely end his title aspirations for the foreseeable future, and with 35 on the horizon, possibly once and for all. Will things be different this encounter? While anything can happen in a fight, realistically, no. Barão, much like featherweight teammate and champ Jose Also, is a dyed-in-the-wool killer on the feet. He’s also a skilled BJJ black belt on the ground and in their initial clash, defended all six of Faber’s takedown attempts. He’s also still improving; in his last match against the heavy-handed Eddie Wineland, Barão exhibited no fear of Wineland’s vaunted power and caught the former WEC champ with a spinning back-kick to the jaw that, with the help of some follow-up strikes, quickly ended his night. No doubt Bang will have Faber better prepared for Barão’s diverse stand-up attack this time, but Faber still relies on his overhand right as his main punch, and has always been adverse to utilizing the jab. Coupled with Faber’s inability to get Barão down or create scrambles in their first meeting, it should only be a matter of time before Barão ends Faber’s night with something flashy and devastating.—CJG

Not even Duane "Bang" Ludwig’s magical flip-flops are going to be enough to keep Uriah Faber from suffering a loss at the hands of Renan Barão. Barão’s killer striking (which shattered Faber’s ribs when last they met) and BJJ are simply too much for the wrestling and subs of Faber. While the California Kid is riding a blazing hot streak, his luck has always deserted him in title matches. This isn’t going to decision; it’s going to a loss of consciousness.—NZW

Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas
Jose Aldo certainly didn’t look his dynamic self in his most recent (T)KO win over the Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung, at UFC 163. Blame a check by the Zombie that left Aldo with a broken right foot early in their confrontation, forcing the champion to rely on his boxing (mostly single punches, oddly), takedowns and grappling, as opposed to his fearsome kicks, to see him through. The broken foot did nothing to Aldo’s killer instinct though, and when the Zombie dislocated his shoulder, Aldo pounced and quickly finished the fight while Jung was trying toLethal Weapon 2 it back in. Ricardo Lamas is not a name familiar to fair-weather MMA fans, but for those who never miss an undercard fight, he’s been undefeated in the UFC since coming over from the WEC, stopping the likes of Eric Koch, Matt Grice and Cub Swanson, while decisioning Hatsu Hioki. Especially impressive was his victory over Koch, where he ground’n’pounded the living hell out of the one-time golden boy with elbows. Lamas has patiently bided his time, letting his wins do his talking, and has finally been granted his shot. However, Lamas hasn’t fought since that win over Koch a little over a year ago, having his opponents constantly changed or moved to higher profile contests, left on the outside looking in, while Aldo rattled off two more victories in 2013, most recently in August. Will the layoff matter? It certainly won’t do him any favours. While "the Bully" is a strong wrestler, grappler and brawling style of striker, he isn’t bringing anything to the table that Aldo hasn’t seen before, or defeated someone of greater skill at. Wrestlers such as Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar have been unable to take him down, he’s dominated better strikers and no one has been able to out-grapple or position him, save when he has tired in later rounds. Getting the fight deep is Lamas’s best strategy, as Aldo has a tendency to coast late. However, he generally does so much damage in the initial three rounds that his opponents are unable to take advantage of this — that is, if they avoid getting finished. Look for Aldo to once again score an impressive (T)KO, likely via knee.—CJG

Speaking of luck, that lady has not been with Lamas lately either; he looked fantastic in his most recent elbows-of-doom win over Koch a year ago, but his subsequent fights have all been rescheduled or cancelled into oblivion. Aldo, on the other hand, has been wrecking dudes in the mean time, (T)KOing foes even when injured. Lamas’s long-view approach to fights matches up very poorly with Aldo’s vicious striking game, and I expect Lamas’s lights to go out before he’s able to wear down Aldo or the champ falters in the later rounds, as he is wont to do.—NZW

Frank Mir vs. Alistair Overeem
This one has been dubbed a "loser leaves town" match by pundits, and secret professional wrestling fans, but no matter who wins, both will likely stay with the company, at least for the time being. With his service record, incredible comeback story and tenure, it’s unlikely the UFC would cut Mir, even with a fourth straight loss, while letting a skilled heavyweight like Overeem go, with the potential of Viacom/Bellator scooping him up while he still has name value, is also doubtful. You’d be hard-pressed to think of a fighter who’s crossed the line from confidence to arrogance as wholeheartedly as the Reem, and his last two fights prove it. Against Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, his disdain for the behemoth’s skills and hand speed was palpable, with Reem keeping his guard low and playing with his giant foe, utilizing his superior striking and speed to dominate the first two rounds. Of course, when his cardio faltered (a problem with the more stringent, um, drug testing in the UFC), Silva KO’d him ugly. In his next match against Travis Browne, Ubereem was more focused, brutalizing the Hawaiian with vicious body shots and dropping him with knees. The fight should have been called, but it wasn’t, and Browne’s toughness shone through as he managed to regain his footing and create space against the now depleted wrecking machine. Browne then found a hole in Alistair’s forward-leaning stance and nailed the former K1 and Strikeforce champ with a front kick that dropped the Reem, before finishing him with punches. Arguably, Alistair should be undefeated in the UFC, as he was dominating both Silva and Browne handily before finding ways to lose. Such is the mercurial nature of MMA. However, against Frank Mir, if Alistair starts off as he usually does as a strong frontrunner, Mir will not survive to mount a comeback. In his last fight, Mir was bullied into the fence and beaten down by Josh Barnett, being stopped with a knee. As well, both Daniel Cormier and Shane Carwin have employed this strategy to defeat Mir. Considering how Overeem loves to muscle opponents into the cage, tie up a hand or two and unload knees, this looks bad for Mir, especially since Overeem has the best clinch knees in the game. While Mir loves to throw his overhand left and does possess some power, Alistair should be able to fend off his striking, avoid Mir’s not-that-great takedowns and rough him up against the cage. The Reem gets back on track with a knee KO in the first.—CJG

Goddammit, I am so done with Alistair Overeem — the testosterone, the horsemeat and the shoving women in the face. I am so tired of him not showing up at full capacity (which he hasn’t done since he kneed Brock Lesnar’s diverticulitis into oblivion) and I am equally tired of his dumb face being KO’d. I have no idea how he’s going to do it, but I’m picking Mir.—NZW

John Lineker vs. Ali Bagautinov
If John Lineker could actually make the flyweight limit of 125 lbs. with any consistency, odds are he’d be fighting Mighty Mouse for the title, not Ali Bagautinov early in this card. Of his five UFC contests (of which he’s four and one, with four straight wins and three consecutive finishes), he’s missed weight three times — that’s not good. In fact, it’s terrible and if he misses weight one more time (he managed to make weight on his second attempt at Friday’s weigh-ins), he will likely be forced by the UFC to move up and compete at bantamweight (135 lbs.). While Lineker has looked impressive in his victories, demonstrating a willingness to engage and KO power at the lighter weight class, his accomplishments have unquestionably been marred up to this point by said weight issues. Whether he makes the flyweight non-title limit or not against "Puncher King" likely matters little to the Russian, who is currently undefeated in his two UFC appearances, with his decision over Tim Elliott a grander feather than any of Lineker’s scalps. So far, Lineker has overwhelmed opponents with power punches, but against Bagautinov, who is a more technical striker, a master of sambo and grappling, and who has bested large flyweights before (the aforementioned Elliott), he’ll need more than just that. Puncher King should be able to employ his considerable grappling skills and striking to keep Lineker off balance, either scoring a stoppage or decision victory.—CJG

If you think I’m picking against a Sambo champion from Dagestan who goes by the nickname "Puncher King" and is a Russian police force hand-to-hand combat champ, you don’t know me very well. На здоровье.—NZW

Jamie Varner vs. Abel Trujillo
While he’s currently .500 (two and two) in his second UFC run (he initially debuted in a losing effort against Hermes Franca way back at UFC 62 and rebounded with a victory at UFC 68 over Jason "no relation to Terry" Gilliam), it’s been hard not to root for the former WEC standout as he’s turned his career around. Riding a four-fight winless streak, Varner wasn’t picked up when the UFC consumed the WEC, and went to the indies, where things took a turn for the disastrous when the former WEC lightweight champ was upset via decision by Dakota Cochrane at Titan FC 20. Amidst rumours of retiring, Varner refocused and rattled off two straight wins before stepping up on short notice to stop Edson Barbosa via strikes at UFC 146. While he was subbed by Joe Lauzon in his next fight, it was a hell of a scrap, and he’s been equally entertaining in a split-decision win over Melvin Guillard, and a SD loss to Gleison Tibau. Win or lose, Varner is worth watching. His opponent, Abel Trujillo, looked great against Roger Bowling in their no contest rematch, (T)KOing Bowling early in the second, but was controlled and smothered by noted grappler Khabib Nurmagomedov. While Varner isn’t as suffocating as the Eagle, he does have the wrestling skills to take Abel down, as well as the boxing to exchange with him on the feet. The former WEC lightweight champ should have little trouble mixing things up and taking a decision.—CJG

You know what, I don’t even care who wins. Neither of these fighters are overly concerned with finishing their careers with a winning UFC record or playing it safe. Both Trujillo and Varner are here to do one thing: fight their hearts out, and give us palpitations in the process. This is going to be a hell of an exciting scrap to watch, with both fighters giving it their all. Who wins or loses seems almost incidental, though if pressed, I think Varner takes the decision via dominant wrestling.—NZW

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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