Saturday's UFC On FOX 15 event promises to be an entertaining affair with several compelling fights on the card. My longtime partner in crime, the dirty Scot, Iain Kidd and I decided to do a main card breakdown in conjunction with Kountermove's free cash tourney for Bloody Elbow readers. Fair warning: Iain decided to go in a more light-hearted direction, so keep that in mind when reading. Without any further ado, I present to you, our main card breakdown:
Luke Rockhold vs. Lyoto Machida
Kountermove pricing: Rockhold $5500 / Machida $5100
This is a fantastic match-up and it will be almost a certainty that the winner will be next in line to fight the middleweight champion. Lyoto is well known for his ability to stick and move (or in the words of the UFC commentary teams, "He's elusive!"), but he also possesses knockout power. His cardio is always on point, his ground game is top notch and his drop down to middleweight appears to have been an easy transition for him.
Luke being the younger of the two, both chronologically and career-wise, has sustained significantly less wear and tear in his fights due to an extremely high finish rate. In his 15 fights, 11 have been finishes, 10 of which were in the first round. His ground game is excellent, if a little underrated/overlooked. His cardio is also a non-factor here, as he has done 2 five-rounders with no problems.
I give the edge to Rockhold, however, I feel that Machida presents a challenge that will require this fight to go to the scorecards.
My pick: Rockhold via UD
I think this fight is going to be fucking amazing. I'm a huge Machida fanboy, but this one is hard to call. I think it's going to be Machida's karate fighting skills against Rockhold's piercing stare. I'm not sure which is more powerful, but I'm leaning towards Machida.
Iain's pick: Machida via UD
Ronaldo Souza vs. Chris Camozzi
Kountermove pricing: Souza $5400 / Camozzi $4200
This fight being extremely short notice does not bode well for any fighter having to fight Jacare. Camozzi is a tough, durable fighter, but has been on the wrong end of the decision in some hard fought contests. His budo is strong, but not strong enough for the gator beast. His strong points are tons of heart and that he's a hard worker. His ground game is pretty good, but top pressure from strong grapplers is like kryptonite for him.
Jacare is an elite level, world-class grappler. His ground game is pretty much the best in the UFC. He's beaten a who's who in the sport and is one of the frontrunners for a shot at the MW belt. His knockout power is not the greatest, but definitely appears to be presenting a little more over the last 2-3 years (he has 3 total). That said, I don't think that will be a factor in this fight. This fight will likely go exactly the way his first outing with Camozzi went, with Camozzi being submitted.
My pick: Jacare via Rd 1 submission
[Laughter bordering on hysteria] Have you ever seen what happens when a child annoys a big dog? That's how I see this fight. Chris Camozzi, by virtue of accepting this fight, is the guy that just pulled on an Alsatian's tail, and Jacare is the Alsatian.
Iain's pick: Jacare via submission whenever the fuck he wants, if not Rnd 1
Kountermove pricing: Swanson $4500 / Holloway $5100
Cub Swanson presents a similar challenge to Max Holloway that Conor McGregor did. He's a very good technical striker that is more than happy to bring the fight straight to Holloway. He's been training with professional boxer, Tim Bradley for years now, and tightens up his training camps at Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA, as well. He holds wins over some top notch opponents, and his losses are only to the Top 3 level competition.
Max Holloway is a constantly evolving fighter who seems to get better with each outing. The level of competition he's facing in comparison with Swanson's is the only drawback to this observation. His height and range are assets, but he hasn't shown himself to use them particularly effectively in past fights, as the jab is not a tool he utilizes to its full potential considering he almost always has the reach advantage.
Steph's pick: Cub Swanson via Rnd 1 TKO/KO
The last time I remember taking notice of a Max Holloway fight, he was getting smoked by Conor McGregor. I think Cub Swanson is going to punch him in the face a bunch. Holloway will stand about eight feet away because he's like 24 feet tall and still hasn't learned to throw a single jab. It will be an interesting fight if you like seeing Holloway getting punched in the face.
Iain's pick: Cub Swanson via Rnd 2 TKO/KO
Felice Herrig vs. Paige VanZant
Kountermove pricing: Herrig $5000 / VanZant $4600
Felice Herrig is a worker bee. She has an athletic body, and she definitely puts it through its paces both in training camp and outside of it, as she pretty much stays in phenomenal shape year-round. Her skillset is a mixed bag. She trains with Jeff Curran who has great wrestling, however, strong grappling and gals with power are weak spots for her. She's an extremely durable fighter without an ounce of quit in her, she has a big edge in experience and her cardio is exceptional. She's been in some wars, but when she steps up in competition, she falters. I think PVZ sould be a winnable fight for her, but there is one key factor to consider: Paige's willingness to stand in the pocket and trade. Felice is equally willing to do the same, but past fights where she's done this have not proven to be fruitful ventures for her (the Tecia Torres fight is a great example of this).
Paige VanZant is a raw talent in the making. She's athletically gifted and seems to have a good chin. She's willing to stand and trade, and is very durable. Her glaring weaknesses are her lack of experience and unrefined game. In her last outing, while it was exciting, it was like watching an amateur fight. Her single loss is to Tecia Torres, a gal that Felice has also given up a win to.
Steph's pick: Felice Herrig via UD
Paige Van Zant is probably going to get in there and just surprise Felice with how pretty she is. I think Herrig is going to be caught off guard by that. I think Felice will go in there and be raging with jealousy about all the attention Paige has been getting, and Paige's sponsor gear from Reebok is going to blind her, creating an opening for PVZ to smash her.
On the other hand, I just saw Felice fuck up Goro on YouTube though, so I dunno how she can lose.
Iain's pick: Paige Van Zant via UD
NOW, I'll get to the good stuff, the free cash tourney. Before I link you guys, I wanted to give you some standard information about Kountermove.
Players use a $25,000 artificial salary cap to draft 5 fighters from the card before each event begins. Eachfighter has a salary designated by Kountermove -- salaries range from $3,000 to $8,000. The winners are determined based on how the fight plays out rather than simply a fight's outcome (pick'em format). Kountermove calculates a fighter's fantasy score based on the number of strikes, takedowns, submissions, dominant positions, and rounds won. Scoring data from the fights flows into the site in near real-time, so players can monitor their teams as the event happens. The data used in calculating a fighter's score is provided by UFC's official stats provider, FightMetric.
The site was started with the idea that MMA in general must market "up and coming" fighters to become a truly mainstream sport. "There are many great fighters out there that no one knows about because so much of marketing in MMA is geared toward the top fighters" said Aaron Ard, a co-founder of Kountermove.com, "we wanted to create a game that would create interest and engagement in preliminary fights as well as the headliners." Statistics are bearing this out; over 85% of Kountermove players' teams have at least one fighter competing on the preliminary card. No Kountermove player has won a major tournament without a preliminary card fighter on their team.
Here's the link to the $250 tourney:
You can follow Kountermove via their Twitter account, @Kountermove
Disclaimer: Kountermove is not an advertiser on Bloody Elbow, nor are we being paid to advertise the contest. They offered to provide Bloody Elbow readers with the free tournament and are fully responsible for the contest and any associated prize payouts.