Saturday, June 20, 2009

Punch Drunk Predictions: TUF 9 Finale

After a very sluggish start to the Punch Drunk Predictions here at Keyboard Kimura, I've finally had a few strong outings in a row, including a 5-2 performance on yesterday's joint Bellator and Strikeforce predictions.

Today, it's the first of four straight days off and I ain't got nothing to do but look forward to tonight's Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Finale show on Spike. And let me tell you - I'm looking forward to it.

I've said it a thousand times before, but cards like these - free shows with good fights - are exactly what the "MMA sucks!" contingent out there need to kick back and watch. Not only are the two TUF fights going to be battles because everyone wants that shiny, new contract, but the rest of the card is solid too and we'll break it down after the jump.

Joe "Daddy" Stevenson (34-10) vs. Nate Diaz (10-3)
It's hard to believe, but the reality Joe Stevenson needs to head into this fight accepting is that a loss could be the end of his UFC career. Crazy, I know, but that's what happens when there are guys coming up and you lose a bunch of fights. I don't think it will happen, simply because he's lost to the top 3 guys in the lightweight division, but he's going to need to impress.

Easier said than done though against Nate Diaz, who also is looking to bounce back after a loss to Clay Guida at UFC 94. One half of the greatest MMA brother tandem from Stockton, California, Nate will have a solid height and reach advantage, meaning Stevenson will need to get inside and do some quality dirty boxing.

Ross "The Real Deal" Pearson (10-3) vs. Andre Winner (10-2-1)
The Battle of the Brits for the Lightweight contract, this is going to be a matter of who imposes their will best. Andre has shown very quick hands and a knack for finishing early, having stopped everyone inside the first round.

Ross, on the other hand, is a grinder with strong boxing and the body of a bulldog. If this guy could even wrestle a little bit, he'd be tough to beat with his thick frame and good conditioning, but that isn't the case. Like Stevenson against Diaz, Ross will need to get inside of Andre's range and make this as much of a grappling and clinch match as possible to avoid getting knocked out.

Chris "Lights Out" Lytle (36-17-4) vs. Kevin Burns (8-2)
Ah, Chris Lytle... how I have such mixed feelings about thee. On one hand, you have to love a guy who will stand and trade with anyone, is always in shape to go the distance and just keeps coming forward no matter what you throw at him. Then again, he's 5-9 in his UFC career and guys with better records have been sent by the wayside and that kind of sucks.

Burns is a solid all-around fighter who is going to want to get this fight to the ground where he can work submissions. Chucking knuckles with Chris Lytle is not recommended here because if you think Anthony "Rumble" Johnson worked you over last time out, wait to Lytle hits you a couple dozen times.

DaMarques Johnson (14-6) vs. James "Lightning" Wilks (6-2)
DaMarques pisses me off. There I said it. He's one of those guys who just runs off at the mouth for the sake of sounding tough and being that guy. No one likes That Guy. That being said, he's looked pretty damn impressive this season.

Wilks has shown he is a dangerous fighter. You don't knock a dudes teeth out without having some punching power, that's for sure. What worries me here is that he needed a third round to put away Frank Lester and make the finals. Not to take anything away from Lester - big, big heart that kid - but shouldn't you be able to dominate the guy who is fighting for the fourth time in just over a month?

Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez (22-2) vs. Clay "The Carpenter" Guida (25-6)
This is going to be an interesting fight, as you have to expect both guys to be coming forward all the time, one screaming motivational sayings to himself, the other with hair flying everywhere.

Sanchez is a talented kid and The Other Original Ultimate Fighter. I'm still torn on him at this weight moving forward. Not that he can't do it, but so much of that Joe Stevenson fight was about Stevenson fighting a stupid fight to me that I need to see this fight to help make up my mind. One thing I know for sure, Sanchez will be in better condition than last time and that isn't a good thing for Clay Guida.

Guida is a fan favorite and a strong wrestler who may have to employ a Gray Maynard game plan to this fight - take the guy down, keep the guy down and punch him in the head repeatedly while he is down. Not that he doesn't have strong stand-up and I don't want to see a slugfest, btu Sanchez is the more dynamic striker and trading shots works to his advantage.

Punch Drunk Predictions
Record: 32-28 (Getting better...)

Preliminary Card
Cameron Dollar over Jason Dent
Nick Osipczak over Frank Lester (sorry Frankie... love that heart!)
Mike Ciesnolevicz over Tomasz Drwal
Edgar Garcia over "Bad" Brad Blackburn
Gleison Tibau over Melvin Guillard

Main Card
Joe Stevenson over Nate Diaz
Andre Winner over Ross Pearson
Chris Lytle over Kevin Burns
DaMarques Johnson over James Wilks

And in the Main Event of the evening...

Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez over Clay "The Carpenter" Guida

Now touch gloves and come out swingin'

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