The Downes Side is riding a lot of momentum after going 4-0 last week. Truth be told, it’s the most impressive I’ve felt since I had a friend’s older brother buy me a CD with a parental advisory sticker. Okay, so it was a KoRn album, but that did help me learn how to take a punch after my parents found it.
Speaking of childhood memories, the UFC rolls into Chicago (my hometown) this week for the UFC on FOX tripleheader. The United Center isn’t too far from my old high school, which got me to thinking. The Ultimate Fighting Championship has a lot in common with high school. I mean there’s every clique imaginable represented (with maybe the exception of Goths), there are ample opportunities for both glory and embarrassment and your first time is usually awkward and uncomfortable.
Mike Russow vs John-Olav Einemo
The night gets going with a heavyweight contest between Mike Russow and John-Olav Einemo. Russow, a Chicago native and police office, has constructed an impressive 14-1 record, showing a solid chin, knockout ability (even with one arm broken while facing the Former Next Big Thing Todd Duffee) and submission skills. Einemo’s been on the shelf for a while, with just one fight in the last four years – a TKO loss to Dave Herman in June.
Prediction: My dad, also a Chicago cop, always told me that “you can’t escape the long arm of the law,” In Russow, that long arm has a 73-inch reach, and it’s more like, “you can’t escape the angry fist of the law.” I’m not trying to promote police brutality, but Russow via 1st round TKO
Evan Dunham vs Nik Lentz
Next up: lightweight Evan Dunham against Nik “The Carny” Lentz. After dropping two in a row, Dunham scored a decision victory in September against Shamar Bailey. Lentz, stepping in on short notice, is looking for a quick bounce back after losing a decision to Mark Bocek a month ago at UFC 140.
Prediction: Both guys have strong submission skills that will cancel each other’s out. Neither one of them have the edge wrestling either, so this one will be decided on the feet. With that being the case, Dunham has the superiority in that department and will ruin the Carny’s day faster than a visit from the county safety inspector.
Demian Maia vs Chris Weidman
Demian Maia is looking to get back into the middleweight title mix after winning three of his last four. After a knockout by Nate Marquardt that was nastier than when they showed me the “Miracle of Life” video in health class, Maia has been working his striking ability with brutes like Wanderlei Silva. The undefeated All-American wrestler Chris “The All-American” Weidman is taking a big step up in competition, talking this fight on less than two weeks’ notice. He quickly submitted Tom Lawlor at UFC 139 and his looking to skip a couple rungs on the way up the middleweight ladder with a win over Maia.
Prediction: Everyone talks about Maia’s grappling ability, which is superb, but he hasn’t had a submission victory in eight fights. Weidman, besides being an excellent wrestler, is a purple belt under Matt Serra and has had success at the Abu Dhabi tournaments. Maia will be on his back for the majority of the fight and while he’ll be throwing a lot of submissions, Weidman will be able to neutralize them and get the decision.
Chael Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping
Personally I’d rather see these two in one of those three-hour Lincoln Douglas debates or create their own spinoff of the Odd Couple, but watching them fight is a close third. Chael Sonnen is looking to get a rematch for the middleweight title and is making a good case after his second round submission of Brian Stann in October (his first finish since 2007). Bisping takes the spot for an injured Mark Munoz and is riding a four-fight win streak with the most recent one a beatdown of Mayhem Miller at the Ultimate FIgher 14 finale.
Prediction: Bisping has the advantage in striking but Sonnen survived Anderson Silva, and he will survive enough of the Count’s strikes to get his takedown. The Count’s takedown defense will be about as effective as when I tried to get a date to Freshman Homecoming. The “217lbs of muscle, steel and sex appeal,” known as Chael Sonnen may knock people out with verbal assaults, but he’s going to grind this one out and win by unanimous decision.
Rashad Evans vs Phil Davis
I think that Rashad is like the school lunch lady – he gets taken for granted. Sure he may not have the sex appeal of the new science teacher who just graduated from college, but he’s there day in and day out serving you to the best of his ability. He’s been in the UFC since 2005 and his only loss has come against Lyoto Machida. The 9-0 Davis has had a fast rise to the elite level light heavyweight, most recently with a win over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Prediction: Mr. Wonderful has the superior grappling ability, both with regards to jiu jitsu and wrestling. These advantages, though, are only slight. Meanwhile Rashad has a tremendous edge in the striking department and he’ll use this to damage Davis as he comes in for the takedown. Rashad wins by TKO in the 2nd and the lunch lady gets her due.
That wraps up the Downes Side for UFC on Fox 2. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @dannyboydownes or share your comments. Also, I’ll be down at the fights so feel free to share your thoughts face to face if you’re so inclined… Especially if we went to high school together and you’ve failed miserably in your young adult life.
Check out Danny's previous predictions for UFC on FX.