They always say that the best thing to do when you fall off the horse is get right back up and try to ride again.
Saturday night, UFC 98 threw me out of the saddle and landed me flat on my head. I can go 4-7 over a bad weekend during football season and not lose a wink of sleep. Labor to that kind of record on an MMA card and I'm going over my picks in my head for hours. And cursing Xavier Foupa-Pokam for being dumb enough to walk right into Drew McFedries' only means of winning the fight and Sean Sherk for, sorry about this, sherking his wrestling skills in favor of a standup war that he just couldn't win.
Now, DREAM 9 offers up an opportunity to rectify the situation. Ten fights to pick to get back on the happy side of the ledger.
Punch Drunk Predictions - DREAM 9
Bob Sapp vs. Ikuhisa "Minowaman" Minowa
Sapp certainly personifies the term "Super Hulk," but while the former NFLer has the build to match the tournament's title, he doesn't have the skills or pedigree to hang with Minowa.
Prediction: Minowa via submission
Hong Man Choi vs. Jose Canseco
Do I even need to break this one down? While Choi certainly isn't the most decorated and accomplished Mixed Martial Artist in the world - I mean, he's a kickboxer by trade really - he's fighting Jose Canseco. The baseball player.
Prediction: Choi via TKO due to strikes
Jan Nortje vs. Sokoudjou
I didn't believe the hype surrounding "The African Assassin" when he came to the UFC and continue to believe that he'll gas out come the second round of any fight. That being said, he's a far more skilled fighter than "The Giant" and should be able to get the win here.
Prediction: Sokoudjou via TKO due to strikes
Gegard Mousasi vs. Mark Hunt
The premier matchup of the Super Hulk tournament features a man who is nowhere near Super Hulk status and a dude who has fought some pretty impressive names over his career. Mousasi was my pick for Fighter of the Year last year after he won six fights, including beating both Melvin Manhoof and "Jacare" in the same night to capture the DREAM Middleweight Championship. Now he's fighting a true heavyweight in Mark Hunt, a man who has beaten Cro Cop and "The Axe Murderer," while taking loses against Alistar Overeem, Fedor and Josh Barnett.
Prediction: Mousasi via submission
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante
The skilled veteran who has fought everyone you can think of in his weight class versus the ATT youngster whom everyone is high on. Cavalcante hasn't won since September 2007, but he's had time to heal from various injuries and presents a dynamic style that can be very difficult to deal with.
Prediction: Kawajiri via submission
Hideo Tokoro vs. Abel Cullum
The only loss Cullum has suffered in the last three and a half years was to Wilson Reis, so you know he's got talent. Tokoro is a 31-year-old veteran coming off two straight losses. You do the math.
Prediction: Cullum via submission
Yoshiro Maeda vs. Hiroyuko Takaya
Maeda fought that war with Miguel Torres last year for the WEC, while Takaya seems to lose to anyone remotely known.
Prediction: Maeda via KO
Masakazu Imanari vs. Bibiano Fernandes
Fernandes has three straight wins and his two loses are to Urijah Faber and Kid Yamamoto. Imanari is "The Master of Leglocks" with wins over Mike Thomas Brown and Yoshiro Maeda and is a two-time DEEP title holder.
Prediction: Imanari vai submission
Norifumi "KID" Yamamoto vs. Joe Warren
If you read this blog earlier in the day, you know my thoughts on this one.
Prediction: Yamamoto via TKO
Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza vs. Jason "Mayhem" Miller
"Mayhem" is just plain awesome; he's entertaining as shit, has fought a laundry list of talent and proved he's back to being healthy with his win over Kala Hose. On the other hand, "Jacare" was riding a 10 fight win streak prior to running into Gegard Mousasi last year and holds a win over Miller from last year.
Prediction: Miller via TKO due to strikes
Hopefully, this one goes better than the last one.