We’ve got a HUGE fight card this weekend. UFC 260 takes place at the well-used UFC Apex Center in Las Vegas. In the big dance it’s a rematch of heavyweight bangers as African decapitator Francis Ngannou takes a second crack at UFC heavyweight strap holder, Cleveland’s own Stipe Miocic. Here you will find the plays you need to hit your double ups and find the green in your GPPs.
Last week was solid, as outside of the Muhammad eye poke, the only fight I missed was Jonathan Martinez getting slept by a British chef who couldn’t knockout my daughter. Enough sour grapes, on to this week. I’ve broken each pick into three categories to make it easy for you. Here we go!
LEAD CINCH LOCKS
Vincente Luque – It just feels plain weird picking against Tyron Woodley here. The guy is one of the best athletes to ever put on 4 ounce gloves, and is the former welterweight champ, a title he held and defended for what seemed like ages. That’s why it’s odd to see him on a three fight skid, even though his losses have been to guys named Covington, Burns and Usman. Despite the pedigree of those he has lost to, Woodley has looked very unsure of himself lately. That will get you killed against a pressure striker the caliber of Vincente Luque. Woodley will be forced to stand in the pocket with Luque on Saturday night, and that will be his undoing.
Alonzo Menifield – Menifield needs a win. After coming into the UFC guns blazing with two straight KO wins, he hit a two-fight skid. Against Devin Clark, Menifield looked like he ran out of ideas and gas after he didn’t KO his foe inside of five minutes. He looked better in his next fight versus OSP but still ended up getting cracked and finished. He faces current LFA 205 king Fabio Cherant Saturday night. Cherant is a decent wrestler but not good enough to get this fight to the mat, and on a few days notice? Cherant is going night night.
SOLID BUT UNSPECTACULAR WINS
Abuakbar Nurmagomedov– Khabib’s cousin isn’t as good of a wrestler as he is, but who the hell is? Still, the kid oozes talent and promise. I would’ve lost my life savings when David freakin’ Zawada triangles him last time out. Although he has gotten caught in subs previously, I expect that lingering possibility to motivate the wrestler from Dagestan. Plus, Nurmagomedov has little to worry about as far as getting tapped by his opponent Jared Gooden is concerned. Gooden is a plodding boxer who relies on his power to overwhelm folks. Unless Gooden pulls some Chong Li shit and throws blinding powder in Nurmagomedov’s eyes, he’ll spend this fight on his back eating punches.
Omar Morales – Shane Young is one of the most exciting fighters hailing from the land of the Kiwi these days. He’s aggressive and pushes a torrid pace, and that’s led him to super exciting UFC scraps against guys like Austin Arnett and Rolando Dy. However, it’s that same “go for broke” style than ran him into a Ludovit Klein head kick that separated him from his consciousness. That’s what I think will get him into trouble with Venezuelan Omar Morales. He has a rare combination of power striking and a patient, experienced style that makes him not only unique but a hard puzzle to solve. Could Young overwhelm him with volume? It’s possible. However, to land those shots he’ll have to step into Morales’ range, and that’s where he’ll meet his end.
UNDERDOGS AND CONTRARIAN UPSIDE
Stipe Miocic – So I realize I’m probably in the minority here. Most articles I’ve read expect Stipe to be unconscious in under 10 minutes, and why shouldn’t that be the case? Ngannou is built like an action figure and packs enough power into his hands to knockout a charging bull. I mean hell, Daniel Cormier knocked out Miocic and DC isn’t necessarily known for his heavy hands. I get all of that, but to those that consider this fight a done deal I’d simply remind them of Ngannou’s tendency to lose focus and lay eggs in fights, i.e. his fight with Derrick Lewis and his first fight with Stipe. I think this fight comes down to this: if Stipe hits one takedown and controls Ngannou for a few minutes, he’ll be done.
Jaime Mularkey – I like the scrappy Australian Mularkey in this fight. Sure Khama Worthy has talent as evidenced by his stunning consecutive upset wins against Devonte Smith and Luis Pena, and I’m aware Mularkey is 0-2 inside the UFC. However, going back and watching Mularkey’s two fights inside the promotion, they were both back and forth bangers that could have easily gone his way (especially his last fight). Worthy fight at a much more deliberate pace, and it’s that difference in style that has me leaning Mularkey here. I think by the time Worthy gets rolling, he’ll find himself down two rounds and it’ll be too late for him to turn the tide.