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UFC 189 Thoughts and Predictions Live from Vegas

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This is the first and quite possibly the only time I ever get to do this so just indulge me for a second please….

“Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, Bologna here for Chicago Sports Bums reporting to you live from Las Vegas Nevada the site of UFC 189”

Now I know what you’re thinking “damn, CSB is just starting up and they’re already sending their guys to cover live events? Yep, that’s how we roll. This is no rinky dink sports blog… Ok I lied just then. It just so happens I had booked a Vegas trip the same weekend as international fight week. 100% coincidence. So now instead of reporting to you live from my office in the south suburbs of Chicago where I blog to avoid actual work, I’m reporting to you live from my hotel bed, hungover as fuck, blogging to avoid standing up.

Up until 2 weeks ago UFC 189 was easily the most anticipated M.M.A. fight of the year. Fans and analysts alike were predicting it to be “everything Mayweather/Pacquio was not.” Then featherweight champion Jose Aldo bruised and/or broke a rib depending on who you ask and challenger Conor McGregor was left without a dance partner.

In steps perennial title contender Chad Mendes and not only is the fight card saved but also the fight of the year possibility. I like this clash of styles, but for now let’s take a look at the rest of the card.

Brad Pickett 27-10 vs Thomas Almeida 19-0 (bantamweight) 

Not much to cover on this one. Pickett is coming in losing his last two fights and is 4-5 in his four year UFC career. Almeida is 19-0 and 2-0 in the UFC. Dana White and Co. are banking on Almeida being a star. With all eyes watching because of the co-main events, they’re banking on a flashy Almeida win and him rising in popularity. Smart man that Dana White.

Prediction: Almeida win via 2nd rd TKO.

Gunnar Nelson 13-1-1 vs Brandon Thatch 11-2 (welterweight)

Both fighters are looking to rebound coming off loses. Nelson lost to Rick Story and Thatch to Benson Henderson. Thatch is a big welterweight and I believe his size will come into play. As much as I want to bet on a guy named Gunnar I think Nelson picks up his second loss in a row.

Prediction: Thatch via decision 29-28 x3

Jeremy Stephens 23-11 vs Dennis Bermudez 14-4 (featherweight)

Battle of the gatekeepers. Both fighters have the ability to put on exciting and entertaining fights. I expect this one to be both. I can see Bermudez skillfully fight his way to an easy decision or I can see Stephens clipping him with his heavy hands and dropping him early. This ones a coin flip as both men need a victory to stay relevant.

Prediction: Bermudez via decision 30-27 x3 

Champion Robbie Lawler 25-10 vs Rory McDonald 18-2 (welterweight)

Welterweight title fight and co-main event. This can easily be fight of the night if both fighters come out as expected. Last time these fighters fought Lawler won via split decision. This time Rory looks to avenge his loss and in turn become welterweight champion. Lawler will look to take the fight to the ground and impose his will on McDonald, while McDonald will look to strike and keep Lawler at a distance. I personally have always liked Rory McDonald’s style of fighting. Even though he’s lost both of his previous “big fights”. I think McDonald has everything it takes to be a champion and puts it together tomorrow night.

Prediction: McDonald via 3 Rd KO. 

Conor McGregor 17-2 vs Chad Mendez 17-2 (featherweight)

Main event for the interim featherweight title.

As much as I wanted to see Aldo vs McGregor maul each other like a pair of lions fighting over a gazelle this new main event can be just as good.

Conor McGregor has fought just 5 times in the UFC. But between his flashy style of fighting and his professional wrestling personality he has become one of Dana White’s most marketable star. What he does in the octagon is almost overshadowed by what he says out of the ring. And to be honest both are equally entertaining. He’s spent the better part of 2015 talking himself up to this position and one fact is clear: To be a star you need to back it up in ring and McGregor and Dana White need a belt around his waist to keep this money and hype train going.

Mendez bounced back from a second loss to Jose Aldo to absolutely eviscerate Ricardo Llamas in 1 round. For Mendez, even though he is fighting on short notice, this can almost be considered a best case scenario for him. He’s proven he belongs at the top of the division. But after 2 losses to the champion he wasn’t going to get another title shot. So being able to win the title without having to beat the champion that you can’t beat is best case scenario. If he wins he gets the rematch with Aldo he wants and this time it’s to unify the belts. But to do that he’s going to have to beat a man who quite simply had taken the MMA world by storm.

Prediction: McGregor wins via decision. Not as flashy as one would hope but keeps the McGregor vs Aldo super fight alive. 

That’s it for me from Vegas. A good journalist would be heading to the MGM Grand to cover the weigh-ins but I’m not even a journalist let alone a good one. So I’ll be by the pool working on fixing my farmers tan. Yo HBIC, hit me up if someone missed weight.

PS- met Kenny Florian for a second yesterday going up a flight of stairs. I can’t believe I forgot to ask him about Battlebots. Missed opportunity by Bologna. That’s my bad guys.

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PPS- pound for pound the two best heads of hair in all of Vegas.

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