It’s the countdown to the end of 2018, and with the end of the year comes a few things to look forward to; ESPN+, ElevenSports taking over from BT and some amazing title fights. But before that we have a few fun cards to watch.
As always, I’ll be giving you my picks for the best of the card and 5Dimes will be providing the odds.
Cerrone v Perry:
If such a category existed, then Donald Cerrone would surely go down as the Housewives favourite. He holds the mantle of being that guy: the one that nobody dislikes and who brings the room together.
However, of late, his tank seems to be running towards the empty sign. A career worst run of 1-4 has put this fan favourite on the periphery. Two decision losses, one narrow and the other lopsided aren’t any cause for concern, but the two stoppages are. Both were punishing stoppages and left the average viewer with concerns over the long-term heath of the ‘Cowboy’. He is approaching 36 and time has started to take its toll. Questions linger on whether the move from Jackson-Wink is a positive one at this stage of his career.
Mike Perry, on the other hand has become a bit of a fan favourite. His personality can be somewhat obnoxious and abrasive, but that’s the fight business. What matters more is whether he brings it to the octagon. Most of the time he does, but his trajectory hasn’t been without a few blips. Once 9-0 he has now slipped to 3-3 in his last six.
To add to the pre-fight trash talk, Perry is a current member of Cerrone’s former gym, and has made some disparaging remarks about his opponent on more than one occasion.
Its no secret that Cerrone is on the wind down in a career that has seen him be one of the most active fighters on the roster. He has also fought at numerous weight classes as he forged a reputation as a man who just wants to fight.
Times have been lean for Jackson-Wink but if there is an opponent they will want to get one over its Cerrone. If nothing else but to show the rest of the MMA world that they can formulate a game plan like no other gym. I hate to go against Cerrone here, but his tools are diminishing and there are signs that the chin may have gone. If Perry lands flush, then this could be over quickly.
Recommendation: Mike Perry Wins Inside the Distance – 2 units at -115 (20/23) @ 5Dimes
Korean Zombie v Rodriguez:
Recent converts to MMA may not have heard of Chan Sung Jung, also known as the Korean Zombie. At one stage, back in 2013, he was a legitimate challenger to the-then 145lb kingpin, Jose Aldo, losing a title shot which was secured by beating Dustin Poirier. As a native of South Korea, Zombie was legally obliged to complete 3 years National Service, something that took him away from MMA until 2017 when he returned with a victory over Dennis Bermudez.
It proved to be a false dawn as a knee injury put him back on the shelf for a further 8 months. Jung is still only 31 and young enough to forge a solid career in the UFC, but five years of near inactivity is always going to have an impact.
In the 4 years between fights Conor McGregor won two belts and was stripped of them both, similarly Ronda Rousey won and defended her belt 5 times, lost twice and retired from the sport. It’s a long time in this sport and we’ve seen it evolve year on year.
Yair Rodriguez has had a year and a half to forget. In May of 2017 he lost his first bout in the UFC against Frankie Edgar. It was clearly a step too far for a much-vaunted fighter who had dominated the reanimated corpse of BJ Penn.
Since that loss, Rodriguez was released from the UFC for allegedly declining a few fights. One of which was believed to be against surging Featherweight Zabit Magomedsharipov. After being rehired, the match against Zabit was rebooked only for Rodriguez to withdraw due to injury. It was a move that left more than a few thinking it was premeditated.
Rodriguez didn’t have to wait too long to get another shot as he was brought into the bout following the withdrawal of his previous conqueror, Frankie Edgar.
Despite the bookies making Jung the favourite I have Rodriguez with a narrow edge. Both fighters have been on the shelf for a similar period, so any ring rust will be shared. Jung looked very out of sorts to me against Bermudez, despite getting the win and I fear that time away from the sport may have caught up to him. Rodriguez takes the win for me in a fight littered with some glorious ultra-violence.
Recommendation: Yair Rodriguez – 2 units at +115 (23/20) @ 5Dimes