Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Will Break Your Back Like So....With My Knee

Before each UFC event I will give my picks for the main card fights.  Do I have any legitimate qualifications to pick these fights?  Not really, but most of the people that weigh in on MMA are former boxing writers that are trying to hold onto a job.  So, in my mind, I'm just as good, if not better than those guys.  I've been watching the UFC from the beginning.  Back in the days when they had swords, shields and ray guns.  Just trying to see if you're paying attention, but they at one time didn't have weight classes.  I also attended UFC 35 way back in 2002, at the Mohegan Sun Casino in CT.  Pretty spiffy qualifications, don't you think?  Enough about that...onto the picks!

Welterweight - Nate Diaz (12-5) vs. Marcus Davis (17-6)

I'm surprised Nate Diaz is still fighting at welterweight.  He's long, lean and his height/reach would be hard to deal with in the lightweight division.  In fact, it'll be hard for Marcus Davis to deal with as well.  Diaz will have a 6 inch reach advantage.  That's gigantic in any striking sport, especially if you rely on boxing, which both Diaz and Davis do.  Diaz has really great hand speed.  He won't exactly hurt you with his strikes, but still makes you pay attention to them.  Davis, on the other hand is known as the "Irish Hand Grenade."  If he touches you, he'll hurt you.  Diaz has something that Davis doesn't, world-class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  I think Diaz can counter Davis and his boxing, but Davis will have no answer for Diaz and his BJJ.

Result - Diaz via submission

Middleweight - Demian Maia (12-2) vs. Mario Miranda (10-1)

This is Maia's first fight in the octagon since the calamity in Abu Dhabi against Anderson Silva.  Where, if you follow the UFC or MMA, Silva dominated Demian for a couple of rounds and then ran around like a moron for the remainder of the fight.  Embarrassing himself and Maia in the process, but I digress.  I know Maia does not make the fights, but I will have to hand it to him for accepting this fight.  Miranda is no pushover.  They are both BJJ black belts.  Miranda has a height and sleight reach advantage, but neither of them are known as strikers.  This one is tough to call.  I'm sure Maia wants to get right back in the cage and prove that he belongs as one of the top middleweights in the UFC.  I've only seen Miranda fight the two times in the UFC and he's 1-1.  Maia is the more decorated BJJ practitioner, having competed for years at the highest levels.  I think with that experience, Maia will pull out a victory, but Miranda will make him work for it.

Result - Maia via decision

Lightweight - Kenny Florian (13-4) vs. Gray Maynard (9-0)

I like both of these fighters, so this will be the hardest fight I pick.  Kenny Florian is the definition of "thinking man's fighter."  He has fantastic ability to pick apart his opponents weaknesses, train specifically for that and incorporate it into his game plan.  Gray Maynard is a supreme wrestler.  He's 11th all-time in wins at Michigan State University, with 106.  He is stronger than Florian and a better natural grappler.  Kenny however has a huge advantage when they are standing with his Muay Thai background.  A 4 inch reach advantage also helps Florian.  So who wins this battle of wills?  The wrestler/boxer in Maynard or the muay thai/BJJ practitioner in Florian.  The answer comes down to who finishes fights?  That fighter is Florian.  13 of his 14 wins have been by KO or submission.  Whereas, Maynard has gone to decision in 7 out of his 9 wins.  The winner of this fight will get a title shot at whomever is the lightweight champion.  There are so many finishes that could happen, but my prediction is...

Result - Florian by TKO

Heavyweight - Randy Couture (18-10) vs. James Toney (0-0)

This is something fight fans have debated for years.  Who would win, a Boxer or MMA fighter?  Now we get a chance to see what will happen.  I know Randy Couture is 47 yrs old, but he's in better shape than I or just about anyone I've ever known.  That's the fact, Jack.  Couture has Olympic level Greco-Roman wrestling skills, he was a three-time alternate for the Olympic team.  James Toney is a multiple time world champion in boxing, but he's never fought off of his back.  Another fact, Jack...please pay attention.  If Randy was going to fight James in a boxing ring with boxing rules.  Toney would knock him out, but it's MMA, not boxing.  Toney has never had to defend a kick to his lead leg, a flying knee or takedown that will drop him on his head.  So, if Randy stands with James, he'll get KO'd, but I think Randy takes him down and grounds and pounds him until it's stopped by the referee.

Result - Couture via TKO strikes

Lightweight Title Fight - Frankie Edgar (12-1) vs. BJ Penn (15-6-1)

Frankie Edgar is the lightweight champion of the world, but he's also the one that has to prove it wasn't a fluke.  He needs respect and the only way he gets it is by doing the nigh impossible.  Beat BJ Penn a second time.  When BJ Penn is motivated, he's a very scary fighter.  It seems like whatever he thinks of doing in the cage, he can do.  He's been known as the "Prodigy" as long as I can remember.  He's the first non-Brazilian to ever win a World Jiu Jitsu Championship in the black belt division.  He just gets bored.  At least, it seems that way.  Maybe since he lost to Edgar, he'll have the hunger he needs.  You can't take anything away from Edgar.  He won the title.  He fought a smart fight and he'll need to do it again.  They are a closer match than most people think.  Edgar is a Division 1 Wrestler with BJJ skills, but Penn is one of the most gifted MMA fighters I've ever seen.  So, since I have to make a's going to be.

Result - Penn via TKO

Let me know what you think about my "expert" predictions.  I'll let you know how I did when I do the next UFC picks.  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Odds and Sods 2

Second verse same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse.

Surprisingly, I managed to fit in well at a rather large cookout/party we went to last weekend.  It was a lot of fun, but it surprised me, because I have a tendency to fight myself on participation.  The more people there are, even if I know all of them, the more I withdraw and just watch.  I've always had something against "small talk."

VH1 or whomever makes the Classic Albums series, needs to do more.  Suggestions would be London Calling and Aqualung.  Also, they need to replay the couple I missed.  Damn the Torpedoes and 2112/Moving Pictures really need to be shown multiple times.  Such a great series for music nerds like myself.  I just like to sit there and absorb the information.  I didn't know Alan Parsons was the engineer on Dark Side of the Moon, but I do now.  This just made me laugh at how meaningless this is to just about everyone, but me.

I'll be playing Fantasy Football this season.  Yes, yet another nerdy thing I do...I have embraced my inner nerd.  Don't you understand being a nerd these days is equivalent to being the "big man on campus" from years past.  Think about guy/girl...creative...interesting...go to a good college...have a career plan...etc.  The jock gets that injury and have an overweight gym teacher.  Ok, rant over...I digress.  Where was I?  Fantasy Football, right, check...I normally just play Baseball.  I've always followed MLB and it's my favorite sport.  Hockey is very close to being tied for 1st.  I have played Fantasy Football in the past and have done well...I think I do pretty well in all the fantasy sports I play.  I tend to be in contention most of the time.  The past couple of years however, I've watched less and less of the NFL.  It just doesn't really interest me anymore.  I committed to the league, so we'll see how it goes.  I'll keep you updated.  I'm currently in 2nd place in my Fantasy Baseball league with a playoff spot wrapped up.

Hall Passes:

Mr. Big are currently writing songs for a new album.  The original lineup of Sheehan, Gilbert, Martin and Torpley are back.  Paul Gilbert is touring Europe starting in November.  They will probably begin recording at the beginning of 2011.  Yes, I'm obviously super excited about this.

The Black Crowes are celebrating the 20th anniversary (believe it or not) of Shake Your Money Maker, which was their debut album.  One of the greatest American bands in the past 20 years.  Just grossly overlooked.


There is a sun tan place near me in Providence, RI trying to bring in customers with this ad: "Come on in, you could look like Snooki or Pauly D from the Jersey Shore."  I guess if your one of those people that spray tan or lie in tanning beds this would be effective advertising, but really, the Jersey Shore.  Do you lose brain cells while you tan?


Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt keep themselves in the media eye.  It's all they have and it's sad.  We're divorced, plastic surgery and now we're back together.  I predict a murder/suicide for their final act one of these days and I don't care.  

Monday, August 9, 2010

You Know, The One With Those Guys and They Do That Thing

I'm sure everyone has favorite movies, that when brought up in conversation, people stare at you.  They don't have big stars, didn't do well at the box office or are just forgotten about.  This is just a small list of favorite movies that I feel are highly underrated.  Just my opinion and you may or may not agree.  May Contain Spoilers: Although, I will do my best not to ruin anything.

Requiem For a Dream (2000, Darren Aronofsky)

One of the more misunderstood movies in recent memory.  It's not just a drug's a lot more than that.  We all have dreams in life.  Imagine, working towards those dreams and getting within reaching close you can taste it.  You just need a little more time or that one last thing, but you don't quite get there.  Not only don't you get there, you're worse off than when you started...not only worse off, but your life has completely changed, you don't know what happened, who you are anymore and most importantly, how you got there.  In a vague nutshell, this is our story. 

Fletch (1985, Michael Ritchie)

Possibly, Ok let's get real here...EASILY, Chevy Chase's best role.  Most movies that Chevy have been in are ensembles or his role is as a supporting character.  Some would say Clark Griswold in the "Vacation" movies is his best role and it's hard to disagree with, but I'm about to.  Clark is a moron and Fletch is a genius.  Did I convince you?  No?  I'm not really trying to, as it's clearly personal preference.  I do stand by my statement.  Irwin R. Fletcher, is an investigative journalist, quick with a quip and great with the ladies, so he'd have you believe.  It's a well written movie, with smart dialogue, a good story and a very strong supporting cast.  It's also something that is very rare with a Chevy Chase's funny.

The Game (1997, David Fincher)

What do you get a man that has every possession one could want or buy?  Life.  That's pretty much the premise to the movie.  Michael Douglas' brother, played by, Sean Penn, get's him a birthday present he'll never forget.  This is a classic thriller.  You're on the edge of your seat the entire time, trying to figure out what to do next.  The movie is very smart from top to bottom.  Well acted, which you would expect from heavyweights like Douglas and Penn.  I love the way David Fincher tells a story.  His style is very evident in this movie.  It did well at the box office, but it's not one of those movies that get's talked about often.  The same could be said for our next film.

Ronin (1998, John Frankenheimer)

 want action?  80 cars were destroyed making this film.  There is one of the best car chases in the history of action movies in this film.  Plus, Robert DeNiro isn't in the mob.  It did do decent at the box office, like The Game, but again is never really talked about.  The cast is really top notch, although you might not know their names, you'll definitely recognize all of them.  David Mamet helped with the writing of the screenplay, but he did so under an assumed name.  Ronin is more than just a shoot 'em up action flick.  You do have to pay attention to what's going on, as there is a lot of espionage and it's hard to pinpoint who is on what side?  Also, a great movie to watch if you have a home theater.

Grandma's Boy (2006, Nicholaus Goossen)

What can I say about this movie?  If you took Animal House and added Cheech and Chong, you'd be off to a good start.  This movie did so horrible at the box office, I didn't even know it was released.  I stumbled upon this one day flipping channels.  I laughed so hard, that I went out and bought it later that same day.  It's that funny, but it's specific funny.  Video game, comic book, geek humor and for good measure, drug humor.  I could see if you aren't into any of that, you'd find this movie dumb, crass or rude.  Nick Swardson (Jeff), who co-wrote the movie with Allen Covert (Alex), is just brilliant and really makes the movie.  It's a great escape film.  Turn the brain off and laugh for awhile.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Little Things (or Ones)

The little things can really make your day.  Sometimes, they are better than things you've been waiting or hoping for.

I'm standing at the service desk at my supermarket waiting to buy some stamps.  I hear a little voice say, "Hi, nice to meet you."  I look down and see a small boy no older than four, looking at me.  I say "Hi" back to him.  Now years ago, you could get down to his level and start talking to the kid.  These days...not so much...I don't want mom to get the "Creepy Old Guy" vibe.  He was there with his mom and older sister, who was about 6 or 7.

5 words from a little kid made my day today.  I just thought it was great that he actually knew how to use it in context.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Listening To You

The music business is incredibly hard to succeed at.  I've always felt that it's a lowest common denominator thing.  Meaning you have to have something for everyone, so people will buy your music and put your singles on the charts.  So you can get famous, make lots of money and be on MTV.  No wait, they don't play music videos anymore.  Ok they don't do it either.  Forget it, where was I?

Then there are some of us that don't listen to that music, because it's...ummm...crap.  Some fact most bands...create music, because they have to.  It's in their DNA...they were born to do it.  These are the bands we are devoted to and love.  We own all their albums and see every show we can.  These are the bands that should be huge, but never will be...sadly.  Maybe they'll be huge in Belgium, right Cliff.

 One of the bands that should be huge is Ted Leo and the PharmacistsI've just recently gotten into this band and have yet to hear a bad song.  This is what pop music should sound like.  It's original...not the same cookie cutter stuff "they" tell you is good.  Strong melodies, lyrics and musicians that can play their instruments.  Don't take my word for the videos and then follow the link to buy all their albums.  Seriously...ENJOY!!!

I'm always looking for "New Music To Me."  If there is anything you want to suggest, please do.  Cheers!!