Just as George Washington crossed the Delaware to free America from the tyranny of King George; I, Danny Boy Downes, have come to deliver you from your mundane existence with another edition of the Downes Side. I hope all of your were able to survive a weekend without a UFC event or (more importantly) my guidance. I spent my time at Lewbowski Fest and the Dude himself asked to have a picture with me. Being the magnanimous person I am, not only did I grant him his request, I even bought the first round of White Russians.
Now while the Dude abides, the same cannot be said of middleweight champion Anderson Silva. The insults and grandiloquence of challenger Chael Sonnen seemed to have hit their mark and gotten inside the champ. The time for talk is over, though, and the score will be settled at UFC 148 inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Oh, and there are a couple other fights we can watch, too.
Ivan Menjivar (24-8) vs Mike Easton (12-1)
The night begins with a bantamweight battle between Ivan Menjivar and Mike ”The Hulk” Easton. Easton has been impressive in his two previous UFC bouts, the most recent being a highly entertaining split decision win over Jared Papazian in January. He’ll be taking a big step up in competition as he takes on the veteran “Pride of El Salvador” who has won four of his last five.
If cowboy movies have taught me anything, it’s that you always take the crafty veteran over the young hot shot. They’ve also taught me that heavy drinking and opium use seem to have little to no repercussions. Seeing that both those pieces of advice have served me well thus far, I’m sticking with it. Easton is an aggressive striker whopushes the pace and forces action. Coming straight forward may work against the Papazians of the world, but it won’t help him against Menjivar. His over-aggression will hurt him and he’ll get clipped and lose in the first.
Demian Maia (15-4) vs Dong Hyun Kim (15-1-1)
We move up a couple divisions to the welterweights for a contest between Demian Maia and “The Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim. Maia has gone 4-4 in his last eight and is making the drop to welterweight seeking the momentum that once had him in the top 5 of his division. The Korean judo expert Dong Hyun Kim seeks to make Maia’s 170 debut as successful as the last 20 Adam Sandler movies at the box office.
Everyone talks about Maia’s jiu jitsu, but he hasn’t submitted an opponent since 2009. If the Weidman fight taught us anything, it’s that a strong grappler from top position will be able to stifle his BJJ offense. Expect a repeat here. Kim hasn’t finished an opponent since 2008, but he has shown the ability to grind his opponents to decision victories and will do the same and take the UD
Chad Mendes (11-1) vs Cody McKenzie (13-2)
The next fight pits Team Alpha Male product Chad “Money” Mendes against the second best thing to come out of Alaska (the baked Alaska being the runaway #1). Mendes, a two time NCAA All American wrestler looks to rebound from his first ever career loss and hopes to work his way back for another title shot. McKenzie (who has 11 of his 13 career wins from the same move) hopes to build off win against Marcus Levesseur in May.
Mendes is a lock here. Yes, the “McKenzitine” is a threat, but Mendes’ teammates at TAM also are also known for their guillotine chokes, so he should be properly prepared. The odds are that it won’t even come to that. Mendes is stronger and possesses far superior striking. He KOs the “AK Kid” in the 1st
Patrick Cote (17-7) vs Cung Le (7-2)
The next fight takes place in the middleweight division between Patrick “The Predator” Cote and Cung Le. Cote begins his second stint in the UFC riding a four-fight winning streak including a win over fan favorite Kalib Starnes. Cung Le makes his second appearance in the Octagon after losing to Wanderlei Silva in November.
I like Cung Le’s fighting style because he utilizes the same strategy I use in UFC Undisputed -- all spin kicks. While his flashy style may he entertaining, fatigue does come into play. The 40 year old proved that conditioning was an issue in his last fight and the same will happen here. Cote will be patient and bide his time. When he has the opportunity, he will get on the inside and smother Le, thus negating his ability to throw spinning back flying crescent dragon kicks. Cote grinds this one out for a UD decision. Sure this might mean that Cung will get his pink slip, but he can rest assured that he has the baddest ass 40 year old spin kicks since this guy.
Tito Ortiz (16-10-1) vs Forrest Griffin (18-7)
Next up is the co-main event of the evening between UFC legends Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin. Ortiz is looking to go out on top before he ends a career that dates back all the way to UFC 13. Griffin looks to rebound from a 1st round TKO loss to Shogun Rua in August and has the unique opportunity to beat someone already inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. Personally I’d rather see him beat up a different HOFer, but Joe Silva said that it was “impossible” since Ty Cobb died in 1961. Excuses...
This is a hard fight to call. Ortiz has one win in his last eight fights, and Forrest Griffin just doesn’t seem to really care about what happens. Despite Forrest’s apathy, he’ll take this one. Tito Ortiz may be a Hall of Famer, but he evolved as a fighter in his whole career. Forrest may have shaky defense, but he’s stronger and has a better chin than Ken Shamrock. He’ll tag Tito, avoid the takedowns and get the finish in the 2nd round.
Anderson Silva (31-4) vs Chael Sonnen (27-11-1)
That brings us to the main event of the evening. Sure it’s for the UFC middleweight championship, but this fight goes far beyond title concerns. Frankly, I haven’t seen a fight get this personal since UFC 139 when Shamar Bailey said that Danny Castillo’s headband looked stupid. Anderson Silva will cement his legacy with a win and Chael Sonnen looks to prove that his performance at UFC 117 was no fluke.
Whether you love or hate Chael Sonnen’s Superstar Billy Graham gimmick infringement, it has been effective. Not only has he riled the Spider up, but it’s also made people think that “West Linn’s Finest” is a greater threat than he truly is. He took Silva down in their first fight, but what did he do with it? By my scientific estimates, Sonnen hit Silva 3036 times and hurt the champ with maybe three of them. You don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pee uphill and you don’t piss off Anderson Silva. Sure I learned those first two lessons the hard way, but I’m glad I won’t learn the third. Silva via 2nd round TKO
That wraps up another awe-inspiring edition of the Downes Side. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @dannyboydownes and read my blog here Also, feel free to add your comments, thoughts or suggestions for which fictional Jeff Bridges character I should meet next. My money is on Rooster Cogburn.
The Downes Side: UFC 148 Predictions
UFC/WEC veteran Dan Downes talks strategy and predictions for UFC 148, taking place Saturday, July 7