Pardon my absence from the premises as of late fellow Donnybrookers, but with the news of Josh Grispi, the ridiculousness that is War Machine, and the injury to Jon Jones, it’s been a pretty miserable time to write about MMA.
Regarding the War Machine news, I didn’t want to give it more ink than what’s out there. I didn’t have the fight in me to point out to the “alpha male” War Machine fans that nothing screams “alpha male” quite like beating up your girlfriend and then cowardly going on the lam. I didn’t have the pluck to debate people who think Christy Mack’s line of work prevents her from being treated like a human being and not being beaten to near death. I lost the inclination to hear two sides of the story because if you saw the pictures of what War Machine did to Christy Mack, you know there is nothing about the other side of that story that could have justified him putting hands on the woman he supposedly loves.
There simply wasn’t anything worthwhile to mention regarding the combat landscape. Even the silver lining of Cathal Pendred donating his portion of Mike King’s forfeited Fight of the Night performance purse to a Children’s hospital wasn’t enough to pull me out of the MMA doldrums. Though good on Cathal. There’s a reason that guy has a following, and I’m starting to think it has less to do with his fighting abilities and has more to do with him being a good dude.
And Robin Williams died. And the news out of Ferguson, Missouri gets worse and worse. And it just felt like a good time to take a hiatus.
Similarly, the UFC has taken a powder and been on hiatus since July 26, one of the promotions longer breaks in recent history. For the contingent of fans decrying the oversaturation of UFC events, the last three weeks have been Xanadu. For everyone else, it’s been shark week, which apparently is just as staged as the WWE. So this Saturday’s free UFC event from Bangor, Maine, live on Fox Sports 1, is a welcome return to form for everyone who watches fights. Everyone except Maine’s own Tim Sylvia.
In the main event, Ryan Bader locks horns with Ovince St. Preux which does little in the way of advancement with a Bader victory and barely moves the needle with an OSP win. Bader is the favorite, so it will be interesting to see what game plan he implements. Will he stand with the unorthodox of OSP, or will he control OSP on the ground? For OSP, Bader represents a clear step up in competition, so he shouldn’t expect to Von Flue choke Ryan Bader. It won’t be that easy. What everyone should dread the most about this match-up is the likely abundance of references to OSP’s “athleticism” or his being “an athlete.” They will come fast and furious. Do not make a drinking game out of it, or you will likely not make it out of the second round.
In the co-main, Gray Maynard steps in for an injured Abel Trujillo to take on Ross Pearson. Maynard may be the bigger fighter, but if Pearson can avoid the takedown and keep things standing, look for Pearson to capitalize on Maynard’s perceived inability to take big shots. For Maynard, one too many hardline KOs have left many fans wondering if he can still take a shot. However don’t dismiss Maynard’s ability to give shots, primarily when he shoots for a takedown. If Maynard gets back to his takedown roots, he could make Pearson’s night a long one.
The Fight Night 47 card also sees the return of Sara McMann, the one-time UFC Women’s Bantamweight contender and Olympic medalist who hopes to rebound after a one-sided shellacking by Ronda Rousey earlier this year. McMann is the overwhelming favorite for a reason. She’s a wrestler, and she’s a top flight grappler. Look for McMann to secure the takedown at will and land big shots en route to a referee stoppage.
As always, feel free to come back to ridicule my picks as I am proven wrong.