UFC Vancouver: Main Card Picks
As we all know, I am absolutely horrible at picking fights. I’ve been watching MMA consistently for a little over 10 years and my track record has got to be abysmal. But for whatever reason, I’m still going to give you my picks for UFC Vancouver. My analysis is going to be slightly better than your average Barstool Pundit (if you steal that, I will find you), but at least I’m passionate, damn it!
Jim Miller X Joe Lauzon II
Miller and Lauzon first met at UFC 155. Miller won a unanimous decision, but you couldn’t tell because the fight was an absolute blood bath. Both men picked up UFC’s Fight of the Night and Year honors. Four years later, these two gritty lightweights meet again. This was a quick turn around for Miller and Lauzon after they both smoked Takanori Gomi and Diego Sanchez respectively. This fight is a welcome boost to UFC’s third event in Vancouver. If you take a look at Miller’s last five fights, he boasts a 2-3 record. His two wins are destroying Takanori Gomi and edging out a split decision against Danny Castillo (who isn’t even in the UFC). Lauzon’s last five is a little better at 3-2. His three wins includes a mauling of Takanori Gomi (seems to be a trend here) and Diego Sanchez, and a doctor stoppage over Michael Chiesa (a fight in which Chiesa was firmly in control). I expect Miller to come out aggressively and push the pace on Lauzon early in the fight, similar to the first fight. I don’t think it’ll top the first fight, but I think Miller wins a decision after a fun three round affair.
RESULT: Miller via unanimous decision
Bec Rawlings X Paige VanZant
Paige VanZant is fresh off her run on Dancing with The Stars. She was a runner up, which I guess is pretty good, considering people were expecting her to get into dancing and acting after her stint on the show. This was a really tough fight for me to pick. I feel as though both women are very similar. They like to clinch, they’re incredibly aggressive, and they will attack your neck or arm on the ground. It’s almost like a mirror match in Mortal Kombat. Okay, maybe not quite a mirror match. Maybe more like a fight between one of those palette swap ninjas. I think Paige will show just a little more hustle in scrambles, to steal a phrase from Joe Rogan. I think she’ll also be a little stronger in the clinch, and use that to get Bec to the ground. Paige has to be on her Ps and Qs because Tank Girl, as my friend Dawson and I jokingly call her, has dangerous knees in the clinch and is not shy about hunting for submissions. I think this fight will be closer than people think.
RESULT: PVZ via split decision
Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira X Anthony “Showtime” Pettis
It’s pretty damn crazy that we live in a world where not only has Anthony Pettis lost the UFC lightweight title, but he’s lost 3 fights in a row. In desperate need of a win, Pettis moves down to the featherweight division. In fact, Pettis was supposed to challenge then-champ Jose Aldo at UFC 163 but was forced out due to a knee injury. It still pains me that we didn’t get Aldo vs. Pettis. That fight falling apart keeps me up at night.
Anyway, Pettis has a tough test ahead of him in Charles Oliveira (#7 FW). Oliveira is one of the most creative submission artists in MMA. Flying guillotines, calf slicers, triangle chokes. He can do it all. He also has some underrated striking skills but you hardly get the chance to see them before he’s locking up a submission. However, he has been submitted himself after getting a little too comfortable on the ground with Jim Miller. I would say he’s not the most durable fighter but he’s only been stopped via injury or TKO 3 times.
However, those 3 stoppage losses are all in the first round. Pettis is one of the most offensively dynamic fighters in the game, despite his setbacks. He has one of the most dangerous kicking arsenals in the sport and he’s not worried if you get him to the ground (4 armbar/triangle chokes off of his back). He has 7 knockouts and they all come in the first round. That’s where I think he’ll get it done. Although, I must admit Pettis skinny appearance during fight week has me a bit nervous for his performance.
RESULT: Pettis via 1st rd KO
Demian Maia X Carlos Condit
Maia is on a five fight win streak and has only suffered losses to Jake Shields and Rory MacDonald at 170. Condit has been riding a roller coaster at 170, posting a 2-4 record in his last 6 fights. Numbers and statistics aside, let’s talk about what a contrast in styles this fight is.
The high-flying striking of Condit could put a little fear in the heart of Maia, but Maia’s surgical grappling and smothering top game makes him a tough match-up for Condit. This man hit a lateral drop on Chael Sonnen with ease. Then, he strangled him with a triangle choke mere seconds after the takedown. It didn’t make sense, it was like he was operating at a different plane of existence.
As far as the striking aspect of this fight, Condit loves to throw kicks but that could leave him susceptible to the takedown. I do know Gibson has posted quite a few videos on Instagram of Condit working on his boxing, so imagine he’ll be utilizing more punching combinations (and those elbows he used to slice up Thiago Alves). Condit has gone 5 rounds more times than Maia and he’ll push a faster pace throughout (Maia has faded in even 3 round fights). As long as he can wear Maia down with punches/elbows and tiring from failed takedowns, I think Condit will edge Maia for a decision.
RESULT: Condit via unanimous decision