It’s almost here. That’s right, UFC 128 is in our crosshairs and all the trash talk will come to a merciful yet brutal crescendo on Saturday night in Newark, New Jersey.
There are those, like myself, who cannot wait to see the coronation of a newly crowned UFC light heavyweight king, yet there are a surprising amount of SBR posters who avidly defend Mauricio "Shogun" Rua's ability to defend his title and demystify the growing legend of Jon “Bones” Jones. In addition, we will discuss a few of the bettable fights as I will not lay upwards of 5 to 1 on anything or anyone and the “dogs” in those particular fights don’t appear to have enough bite for me to take a shot.
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
Jon “Bones” Jones -200
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua +160
After reading the thread in UFC Players Talk started by the lovely and talented SBR Judie, I cannot help but wonder what Jones would have to do to convince the naysayers? I understand if you’re a supporter of Shogun. He’s a big talented fighter and he also happens to be the reigning UFC light heavyweight champ. I get it. But to insist among other things (and I’m quoting some of the posters verbatim) that Jones is not coordinated, doesn’t adjust to his fight’s well and of course, he’s overrated is outrageous. I would bet the people who are disrespecting Jones are the same people who would snidely comment on the two walks a pitcher surrendered after tossing a no hitter.
As an unabashed Jones fan, I would be equally illogical and disingenuous as those Shogun supporters if I were to bash Rua. He is a world class, wonderfully gifted fighter and is a deserving champion. That being said, he was submitted by Forrest Griffin who I consider the toughest guy on the planet but half a click below the truly elite. He also lost to a then 41 year old Mark Coleman in the first round with a broken arm. I won’t even consider Rua’s loss to Machida because I believe, as most MMA fans do, that Shogun won that fight and should have been declared the victor.
My only concern regarding Jones is that he’s never been in trouble. Mike Tyson looked like a veritable force of nature before 35-1 shot Buster Douglas landed a clean shot and shattered both Tyson’s jaw and his aura of invincibility. Douglas is of course not in Shogun’s caliber but the devastating arsenal of weapons Jones has at his disposal and the dominating performances reminds me of Tyson before he claimed the heavyweight championship of the boxing world.
Jones has the height, the reach and a virtually unblemished record with his only loss coming by disqualification due to an illegal midnight to six elbow strike over a bloodied and beaten Matt Hamill. Jones has an alarming way of beating fighters at their own game. The aforementioned Matt Hamill was a national collegiate wrestling champion and Jones took him to the mat as easily as he knocked out Vladimir Mayushenko. He can do it all and until I see differently, I know that you don’t pay the vig when your bet wins.
Lay the 2 to 1 and bet Jones.
Erik Koch -170
Raphael Assuncao +140
Raphael Assuncao may just be one of two live underdogs we’ve been looking for at UFC 128. Assuncao has lost only three fights, two by split/majority decision and one was a late 3rd round tap out to the formidable Urijah Faber.
Erik Koch enjoys a 6 inch height advantage but I believe that will be mitigated by a fight that is destined for the mat. Although Koch has suffered only one loss, I believe Assuncao’s ground game is more complete and that will be the deciding factor when this fight goes to the scorecards.
Assuncao in a decision.
Ricardo Almeida -200
Mike Pyle +160
Almeida will be the hometown favorite fighting out of Hamilton New Jersey but I like Mike Pyle’s pedigree. Pyle is a former WEC champ and is the only fighter to ever submit welterweight contender Jon Fitch. He is also responsible for one of the fastest tap-outs in MMA history with a 17 second submission of John Cole in the IFL. While Almeida may be more technically proficient as a 3rd degree black belt in BJJ, I see Pyle’s experience and lethal submission game as the key to this fight.
My money is on Mike Pyle by submission.