From start to finish, I'm still not sure about everything that happened that night in Canada. Favorites dropped like flies left and right, fighters turned in career worst performances, while others stepped up for their best wins in years, and then the main event went out with a whimper before the fun really got started. A strange night for strange events and bad, bad fight picks (at least if you're me). By the end of it all, I went 5-7, my worst performance since that card in Brazil... you know the one.
Disclaimer Time: If you need a better reason than this as to why I don't gamble, I'm afraid I can't help you much. I'm using Odds Shark for my odds on each fight and taking the mode for each fighter. The eventual goal of this series isn't to show of my gambling prowess, but to compare both my pre-fight expectations and the expectations of the public at large to the actual result and try and find out why things were so different. And in doing so, establish sporting narrative across fighters' careers. So, let's get to the fights...
- The Expectation: I thought Cirkunov might look ugly striking, but get the fight to the ground fast enough and get a submission that it wouldn't matter. Instead, he looked decent striking, was still great on the ground, and got the GNP TKO. No matter how you slice it, a really solid performance from the LHW prospect coming in as a big favorite.
- Fallout for Cirkunov: He looked every bit like the prospect he was supposed to be, if not better. He's got legit size for a light heavyweight, he's tough, he's in shape, and he's got a skill set that most other fighters in his division can't match. If he's not top 10 in the next couple years, I'd be pretty shocked.
- Fallout for Jolly: Unless he got really lucky, this was always a fight he was set up to lose. Short notice against a bigger, more well rounded, more experienced fighter... That's not a recipe for success. That said, Jolly scrambled surprisingly well when given the chance. If he can get better training and time to improve he could be a decent action fighter.
Josh Burkman (-170) vs. Patrick Cote (+145) (I picked Burkman, I was wrong)
Those are my collected thoughts from UFC Saskatoon. As always, so much of what I wrote seems obvious now, but that 's the benefit of hindsight. Until next time, when I'll be talking about Demetrious Johnson's continued flyweight dominance and Andrei Arlovski's heavyweight run. See you then!
*This week's quote from the movie The Big Lebowski.