Category Archives: Fighting

Boxing Preview: Timoth Bradley vs. Juan Manuel Marquez

The last two men to beat Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao square off in a little over a week. Other than the one similarity of having beaten Manny, the two men couldn’t be any more different. Even the ways the beat Pac Man were different.

Timothy Bradley won in a controversial decision whereby any on lookers with eyes; full with functioning retinas, corneas and pupils, would agree that he lost. The judges, including now shamed judge C.J. Ross, saw differently. Presumably because they lack functioning retinas, corneas, pupils and other eye parts that people have.

Juan Manuel Marquez was also losing the “eye” test until he took matters into his own hands and knocked Pacquiao out. He hit Manny with a well timed counter punch that left the champion face first on the mat.

Apart from how they went about handing Manny L’s they have a myriad of other differences. Marquez is an aggressive counter puncher. Which is kind of rare. He is patient but when he sees an opening he cuts it loose and let’s his fists fly. He’s got a lot of power as well. Marquez has got a touch chin and if a fight ever degenerates into a brawl, which can happen, he’s not only capable of staying in the fight, you better believe he can win it. He’s the boxing equivalent of the Terminator, not matter what happens he just keeps on coming. He doesn’t even age. He’s 40 and some would argue he’s at the top of his game (and really needs your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle).

Timothy Bradley is another story entirely. For starter’s he’s 30 years old, a full decade younger than Marquez. He’s more of a technical fighter. He’s sharp and defensive, sort of like a poor man’s Floyd Mayweather (this is not an insult, I promise). He likes to be elusive defensively and then pick apart other fighters from afar. He’s more of a boxer than a puncher. This basically means that if the fight turns into a brawl Bradley’s in trouble. His last foray into brawling was not very successful as Bradley just escaped with a victory over Ruslan Provodnikov.  In one  round of the fight Bradley got caught on the chin and while he showed tremendous  will in staying on his feet, his was also bouncing off the ropes and rocking back and forth hilariously like a human punching dummy. If anything he survived that fight more than he won it. Still if Bradley stays in his game plan he’s a quality fighter that can be hard to beat. The fact that no one is sure what he’ll do makes him a complete wild card.

Bradley lands jab against Provodnikov (Source: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America http://www4.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Ruslan+Provodnikov+Timothy+Bradley+v+Ruslan+tUEis5bQmIJl.jpg)

Verdict

Marquez has the edge in this fight. Stylistically he’s more versatile than Bradley is, and he’s more durable. Bradley offers a threat if the fight stays slower and one man has to out box the other. If for any reason,  this fight picks up in pace Marquez wins it because of the different ways that he’s able fight, and his knockout power a department that Bradley lacks in. The fight could be entertaining Bradley decides to box. He’s very good at it. He decides to brawl though, it’s not going to be pretty.

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Open Letter To Jon Jones: You’re Not A “Sport Killer”

To the surprise and chagrin of MMA and UFC fans the world over, UFC 151 has been cancelled. Champion Jon Jones was set to defend his title against Dan Henderson but, Henderson dropped out with an MCL injury. That’s when, as Dana White told foxsports.com, “we did what we do” as he explained that the UFC offices hurried to try find a replacement fighter for Jon Jones. Everyone declined to fight Jon Jones on 8 days notice except for Chael Sonnen. Sonnen was willing to go up a division in order to make the fight happen.

That’s when a funny thing happened. Jon Jones dropped out of the fight. The UFC didn’t see that one coming.

There has never been a cancelled UFC event . . . until now. Nobody is more upset about this than the UFC biggest fan, and it’s commissioner, Dana White. The commissioner ripped Jones in a recent foxsports.com interview calling Jon Jones, of all things, a sport killer. To be specific he called him a “f****** sport killer.”

Jon you’re not a sport killer. In fact your meteoric rise to champion did more for the UFC than the “damage” that this drop out may have done. It’s not your fault that the other fights on the card were pretty weak. Why would it be? It’s not your job to organize the cards. I think that’s Dana’s job.

Now you’re getting killed on twitter and in the media and it’s not even fair. Why would people expect you to take a no-win fight? Yeah I said it. If you beat Sonnen, he only had 8 days notice to fight you, and if you lose to him you’re not the champ anymore. You had everything to lose and nothing to gain in that exchange. Chael Sonnen can call you “a brat” if he wants to. It doesn’t change the fact that this was a pointless fight. Did Chael and Dana expect you to fight just to fight?

Here’s some realism. Sometimes fighters, have different reasons for fighting. Could it be Jon that you wanted to take fights that advanced your career? This fight does nothing for your career and puts you in a position to take unnecessary hits and for what exactly. To save a poorly planned card?

Fighters have to worry about what’s best for them, their families, and their careers.

Now the fans have turned on you. That’s what they do. They don’t understand the ins and outs of things. They don’t know what you were thinking or what caused you to come to your decision. Now the’ll root against you. They’ll leave your bandwagon for Chael’s while they pretend you did nothing good for the sport. They’ll eat up Sonnen’s childish character assassinations.

You’re not a sport killer Jon. Not even close.

Do your thing. Win. Keep winning and you’ll have supporters. Be humble but, keep winning. That’s the only thing you can do.

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The Myth of the Super Fight

Fans would love to see a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight but, it won’t save boxing.

Why do we watch sports? We want to see athletes persevere against odds, mental and physical, real or imagined. We want to see the best in the world perform their craft and do things that we’ve never seen. We want to see the best of the best use their skills against each other to determine which of them is truly the greatest.

It’s simple, really.

What’s wrong with boxing? They, or casual fans anyway, don’t get to see how many boxers persevere against odds. The big names are really all they know. The die-hards know but there aren’t a ton of them left.

They don’t get to see them perform their craft. Not in a way that economically feasible for a lot of fans, especially in America. Fights can be around $55 for non HD and $65 for HD. That’s a lot for just one night of boxing.

They don’t get to see the best because the best duck each other. The best don’t to fight each other for millions, they want to fight each other for tens of millions.

Honestly, a super fight seems like the only way to fix this. It has the adversity, the best fighters on the biggest stage, and the two best fighters fighting one another. Many fans think this way. It meets all of the requirements as to why we watch sports and, it’s all in one convenient little package for everyone. Doesn’t that seem a bit deus ex machina? That’s because it is. This way of thinking is fundamentally flawed because nobody asks one big question.

What happens after the fight?

Do we expect new fans inspired by the glory of the one night affair (that probably cost them $65 to see) to start spending money and rejuvenate the sport? It’s not realistic in any sense of the word. This is all of course assuming that the fight is any good in the first place. That there wasn’t a bad decision or an early knockout.

The fact of the matter is that boxing needs a change from the top down. There’s no need to keep dreaming of the magical super fight that will change everything. The fans are the people with the power. However, as long as they continue to pay for an inferior product, the product itself will continue to be terrible and there’s nothing Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao can do about that.

Don’t forget to comment below and add your opinions to the conversation.

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5 Steps That Will Save Boxing

Boxing is corrupt. This is news to no one. It’s a dying sport on it’s last leg because it has betrayed the trust of it’s fans over and over again. Boxing fans are the most patient people in the world. They continue to put money up for a product that fails them time and again. On Sunday we answered the question of whether or not boxing was still alive and if it was worth saving.

It’s a touchy subject because the truly die-hard boxing fan really believes the sport can turn around. Many of them, like myself, have come to appreciate mixed-martial arts and UFC for what it offers that boxing cannot. I’m not talking about the product in the ring or octagon. I’m a boxing guy. Always have been, always will be but, boxing fan needs to admit the UFC does many things as far as enhancing the product so that even the casual fan might come around to enjoy it in a way that boxing simply does not. This doesn’t have to be the case. Boxing can be saved. Here’s how:

Get Rid of Promoters

The real stars of boxing are it’s fighters. Leeching off of their success are promoters. The two biggest culprits being Top Rank and Golden Boy promotions. The sport is no longer about the best fights, it’s about how much money promoters can make. This is bad for fight fans and the fighters themselves, who want to put on a good show and prove they’re the best. This system is broken and as long as the old men lining their pockets are allowed to keep control the sport will suffer. I guarantee you that we won’t see Pacquiao vs. Mayweather until these two guys are old and it won’t matter anymore because they’ll be well past their primes.

Start A League

Boxing is currently disorganized. This is the biggest disadvantage it has to the world of MMA. The UFC is king. The best fighter in the world at any given weight division is the one who has the belt. Instead of having a million different boxing federations. Unify the belts under one league. That’s right, all of them. The WBA, WBC, IBF, and the WBO. All of them.

Another advantage of having a league is that the best fighters will always fight. Gone would be the scenarios where a fighter for Golden Boy won’t fight a Top Rank fighter because of whatever silly dispute they happen to be having at the time. No more guys ducking fights to maintain perfect records or winning streaks. The league would decide who would fight and they would fill out the whole card. If a fighter tried to duck a fight he would lose his place in the league similar to what is done by Dana White in the UFC.

Fund Amateur Fighting

Push for boxing to be more prominent in high schools and colleges. This is important. Many UFC stars like Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen started their careers in wrestling which is already prominent in high school and colleges. Developing exciting fighters will pay dividends. Boxing is at it’s best as far as attracting casual fans when Americans are relevant. Building the program up is important.

Equally as important is a place for amateurs to fight when they become pro. There are two options here. The first is a minor league of sorts. A lower level owned by the league to groom future talent in a similar fashion to major league baseball. The second option is to allow smaller leagues to feed into the bigger one like Strikeforce did for the UFC before the UFC bought it. This option though, requires having a monopoly on the market, which is extremely hard to do for obvious reasons.

Remember The Fans

As I’ve mentioned before boxing fans are extremely loyal. Lately, all they’ve taken is a lot of abuse from the sport that they love. That’s not fair. Once things get organized keeping the fans in mind is a top priority. Have boxing events for the fans. Once again I reference the UFC. They have fan expos that give fans the opportunity to meet fighters and get autographs and pictures. It let’s fans get up close and personal with the people whose strength and skills they admire. Failure to appreciate the fans in the UFC could lead to a possible ban. That might be too much but it stresses a point. The people who pay for the product should be part of what they are helping to build.

Give The Fans Quality Fights For “Free”

Obviously nothing on TV is free. It’s a business advertisers pay for space and you the viewer watch commercials to make that investment worthwhile. When I see free I mean that the fans, both casual and die-hard, don’t have to pay out of pocket for every fight. Give them a fight on a major network or, at the very least a cable network. Having to cough up PPV money for fights that don’t always pan out doesn’t sit well with most fans, as you can well imagine. Sometimes we’re force fed stars that don’t make it and forced to pay to watch a fight  of a guy that might make it.

ESPN Friday Night Fights are simply not good enough. It’s inexpensive to watch but, the fighters are unknowns to a lot of casual fans. Giving a little quality away for “free” helps to grow the fan base. It draws in casual fans and makes the die-hards happy.

These are the things that will change boxing, and save it. There’s no doubt that a broken system will die. The beautiful thing is if the system changes, and I believe it will out of necessity, boxing can continue to survive and even flourish. However boxing fans have to stop feeding the system. One thing that fight fans can do to change this is to stop wishing for a mystical superfight that will change everything. Stop wishing for Pacquiao and Mayweather.

Come back Friday and I’ll explain why.

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The Dragon is Back

The UFC on Fox 4 event Saturday night not only pitted Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida against his opponent Ryan Bader but, it also set him against fellow light heavyweight Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. The more impressive winner of their respective fights would have a title shot against the winner of the Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson fight in Las Vegas at UFC 151. Jon Jones, who has essentially cleared out the division, is the odds on favorite in this match up. Machida kept Ryan Bader at bay dominating the first round. In the second round he threw a vicious counter punch that knocked Ryan out, ending his night.

If we assume that Jones beats Henderson. He will have to face Machida. Lyoto Machida is the only fighter to beat Jon Jones in a round. It was a moot point because in the next round Jon Jones choked Lyoto out and took the light heavyweight belt from him. Machida now has an opportunity to take his title back. When Jones beat him many wrote him off as an afterthought but, he’s worked his way back up the ladder and has his sights set on what was once his.

Jon Jones is looking to dominate the light heavyweight division the Anderson Silva has dominated the middleweight class. It becomes a little more confusing if Jones is able to win. Who would he fight next? As I mentioned before he has cleared out the division. He’s beaten all of the highly touted contenders for the belt. However, if Machida could beat Jones, things could get very interesting in the light heavyweight division.

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Is Boxing Dead?

I was watching the UFC on Fox last night when I had a thought. Why doesn’t boxing do something like this? I don’t mean ESPN Friday Night Fights. The fighters there are often times up and coming fighters showing promise. They aren’t the best and we all know it. No, I’m referring to an event where fans can watch quality fights and fighters on TV without having to shell out money on PPV. This is an opportunity for boxing to reconnect with it’s fans and gain new ones. I’m not a huge MMA fan but, I watched the UFC on Fox 2 fights and really enjoyed it. Last night Lyoto Machida had a stunning knock out victory that earned him a title shot and rematch against Jon “Bones” Jones (we’ll talk more about that later) and I didn’t have to pay a dime for it. Why can’t it be the same for boxing?

The fact of the matter is this boxing is a dinosaur. It’s not dead but if it doesn’t evolve soon it will be. It has been in a very clear decline for at least a decade, maybe more. The sport is broken on nearly every level. Every year there’s a scandal with some nonsense that tarnishes the reputation of the sport some more. Look no further the Timothy Bradley’s “victory” over Manny Pacquiao  to see this. Anybody with a pair of eyes could see that Pacquiao was winning that fight. He was more productive throwing and landing more punches than Bradley, and he was more dominant landing more power punches and making Bradley wobble at least 3 times. Even Bradley thought he lost the fight. Inexplicably the judges awarded the fight to Bradley. If this doesn’t change boxing will die.

The judges may be either stupid or corrupt. I have no proof and there is no way to really tell. However, we have know for years how corrupt boxing promoters can be. They don’t care about the fans, they barely care about the fighters but, they care about money. That’s why it’s okay for them if fighters get screwed. Pacquiao will get his rematch with Bradley and while both fighters will make quite a bit of money it stands to reason that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who promotes both fighters, stands to make the most money in this whole affair. Promoters are crooks and chief among them is Bob Arum. If Arum appealed to get the decision overturned it may have happened, Pacquiao and Bradley are both his fighters after all. Bob Arum wants to get paid so he never will.

Not only are promoters corrupt but the whole system of boxing doesn’t make any sense. As James Steadman points out here, there are too many weight classes but, there are also way too many belts. This causes the fans to feel like there is never a true champion. This lack of organization polarizes fans and turns away new fans. Another reason why having no singular body govern boxing is that there is no real attempt being made to grow the sport. All of these organizations rely and the die-hard fan while making no attempt to add more fans.

This disorganization hurts the sport on it’s most basic level. The fighters themselves. The boxers of today are not as good as they used to be. I’m not an old fogey grumbling for kids to get off of his lawn while brandishing a shotgun, I’m 22 years old for goodness sake. The truth is still the truth. You could make a case for Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, and the Klitschko brothers. That’s it. Four fighters in the whole world are even truly worth mentioning and the casual fan knows them and nobody else, if even that. If there was more organization money could be put into amateur fighting. Growing the future of the sport. Especially in America. The sport was at it’s best when there were prominent American fighters. Where will they come from if they’re not trained?

There is no doubt that boxing is busted, broken in nearly aspect. There is a way to fix it though, one fail-proof solution that could change everything. Come back Wednesday when we’ll talk about how to save boxing.

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Friday Fast Forward: A Look into the weekend of sports. (Baseball,Boxing, and UFC)

I’ve gotta try something new here. Lots of things happen every weekend and it seems like I don’t get to touch on all of them. This weekend is particularly busy. The MLB is going to have it’s Independence Day weekend of baseball, David Haye is going to fight VVladimir Klitschko, and Urijah Faber takes on Dominick Cruz in the main card of UFC 132.

A Look At The Weekend in Baseball.

An interesting pitching duel is going down this weekend when the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the their rivals the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the first game of that series. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw against Angels ace Jered Weaver. The Dodgers aren’t exactly having a season to remember, but this is rivalry worth watching. Whenever pitchers of this level get together I find it pretty difficult to miss.

The Yankees won the first game of the Subway series against their rivals the Mets on Friday, but this series is far from over. The Yankees are a scoring machine, but the Mets have been playing extremely well as of late. The Mets have won 6 of their last 8 games. Jason Bay has been on a tear and Jose Reyes continues to be a beast. The Yankees will look to score a lot runs as they boast the most potent offense in the major leagues with a league high 5.33 runs per game this season.

The Cleveland Indians would like to win another game against the Cincinnati Reds to prove that they’re not falling back to earth. They’ve lost 4 out of their last 7 games but have won back to back games as of late. Offensively the Indians have been able to rely on DH Travis Hafner who has been hitting .336 on the season. The Reds can match that fire power of course with their very own Joey Votto. This series will be pretty interesting in how it plays out.

In Boxing

Heavyweight fighters David Haye and VVladimir Klitschko go into the ring Saturday night in Hamburg, Germany on HBO. Right now the once proud heavyweight division of boxing is in shambles. There’s no parity in it. There’s nobody who can capture enough interest and have the ability to take out either of the Klitschko’s. David Haye has other plans. He feels that he’s got the skill set psychologically and physically to take VVladimir down. I sure hope so because if Haye were to win, it would be good for boxing. VVladimir is of course a tough opponent. He’s bigger than Haye, he’s got a longer reach, and he’s more experienced. I think this fight will certainly end in a knockout for someone. David Haye is the underdog, but he’s more athletic and faster than Klitschko is. Furthermore if Haye can keep the fight close he gives himself a chance to use his own strength to land some clean shots on VVladimir. This is going to be one of the more exciting heavyweight fights in a long time, especially since all the excitement tends to be in the welterweight, middleweight, and super middleweight divisions.

UFC 132

Also on Saturday night is another fight taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada. With the bantamweight title on the line Urijah Faber will take on Dominick Cruz to become the division’s champ. This is Cruz’s UFC debut, he last fought in December in the WEC. Faber and Cruz don’t particularly like one another as they look to add another chapter to this rivalry.

Wanderlei Silva takes on Chris Leben as the second fight on the card. Silva and Leben are guaranteed to give us a great show. These two men want to knock each other out. They’re strong and each has an extremely good chin, but Silva looks terrifying right now. He’s in extremely good shape and his power looks the same as it ever was.

Notables:

It’s not a sporting event per se but, I’ll also be keeping an eye on the first weekend of the NBA lockout. Wether or not there will be any decertification of the NBAPA and if the players are willing to go along that route.

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Floyd Mayweather the Money Grabber.

I don’t like Floyd Mayweather. What’s there to like? He’s supremely arrogant, he’s as ignorant as he is arrogant, and he robs boxing fans of great fights. Floyd is very smart. He knows all the right things to say and do to push all the right buttons in the media. I don’t believe, simply based on how Mayweather behaves that he has the proper respect for boxing (see the racist rant that he had about Pacquiao and Philippine people), he treats it like a bank account. He just un-retires and fights somebody who we know he can beat and then takes the resulting giant check all the way to the bank (presumably laughing all the way).

The thing that  makes Floyd unlikable is his way of meticulously choosing fights. Mayweather often selects fights that he can win so that he’ll maintain his undefeated record. This of course involves him fighting guys before or after their prime. Most recently was hugfest . . . errr . . . Mayweather v. Mosley. That fight, as everyone should have expected, was awful. Mosley and Mayweather (both boxers) went for points and there was enough clinching to put any fight fan to sleep. This is what he does and as fans we suffer because we do want to see a good fight.

I bring this up because just like in the Hangover 2; it happened again. This time though instead of catching someone on the back end of their prime Mayweather has caught young WBC welterweight champ Victor Ortiz at the beginning of his. Ortiz had a great fight against Andre Berto. He was knocked down twice early in the fight, rallied and came back with two knockdowns of his own. He’s good fighter with a bright future, but everyone more or less agrees that he doesn’t have enough experience to take on Floyd. He’s about three years too early. I’m not dissing Floyd’s skills. I think he’s a great fighter, but he often does what’s best for his bank account and not what’s best for the sport. Time is quickly running out for the fight that everyone would love to see him fight. We want him to fight Manny Pacquiao obviously, but by the evidence Floyd has given us can we trust that it will happen? If Floyd doesn’t believe he’ll win that fight it’s not happening, I’ll tell you that right now. His perfect record means a lot to him, but if you don’t put that on the line against the very best, what’s the point?

Stuff like this always winds up coming back to what is fundamentally wrong with boxing. In boxing, more often than not, the promoters win, the fighters win, and the fans get shafted. We don’t get to see the best fights, it’s not accessible to new fans, and often times name recognition trumps talent. We all hope that this broken system will get fixed, but while we’re waiting we shouldn’t have to put up with guys like Floyd.

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UFC 131 Preview and Picks

UFC 131 looks to have an intriguing card. The main card features two heavyweights ready to duke it out for a shot at a title bout with current heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez.

The two heavy weights of course being the heavy handed Junior Dos Santos and the equally heavy handed Shane Carwin. Both men love to hit, and when they do they go for the kill. Undoubtedly the fight is going to end violently for someone. But who?

Carwin has won 5 of his last 6 fights via knockout. When you end that many fights with your fists you mean business, plain and simple. His most recent fight however was a loss to Brock Lesnar. This fight exposed a lack of stamina in Carwin. A weakness that he’s worked hard to eliminate. The hard work looks to be paying off and that’s a good thing because Dos Santos isn’t a pushover himself, though I would argue that his “strength of schedule” isn’t as strong as Carwin’s. I think Carwin has fought tougher fighters than Dos Santos. Junior has fought good fighters, to be sure, but we’re not talking about the same quality of fighters. Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar are Carwin’s most recent fights and he won one and nearly won the other. Dos Santos will look to stand and throw hands with Carwin, but he can always rely upon his jiu-jitsu should the fight head to the ground. Carwin has a strong wrestling background and won’t find himself overwhelmed on the ground though.

My Pick: This fight gave me a bit of trouble when I was trying to pick it. Both guys can be so deadly and their styles are pretty similar, but I’ll pick Shane Carwin. His vicious strikes and punching power are hard to ignore. If you couple that with his strong resume it gives me all the reason to believe that he will win this fight.

Another fight on this card is the match up of Kenny Florian and Diego Nunes. I’ll be honest I think Kenny Florian is a better fighter, but he has been flying down the weight divisions. Florian started as a middle weight and has worked his way down to where he is now. A featherweight. Florian looked great at 155 lbs in the lightweight division, however he has given all of that up for an opportunity to fight current featherweight champ Jose Aldo and he has to go through Nunes to do it. While I think that Florian is more talented I seriously think he may have overstepped his bounds this team and given up too much weight. Nunes is an extremely well conditioned fighter and if Florian has lost any strength on his way down to 145 lbs and I have no doubt that he has, he’s going to be at a disadvantage. Toss into the mix the skill and grit of Diego Nunes, whose will to win is fueled by the life of poverty that he had to escape, and you’ve got a situation where Nunes can not only hold his own, but win the fight.

My Pick: I think Diego will win because he’s fighting at his natural weight and he’s got the tool chest necessary to to hold off Florian.

Lastly, I’ll talk about Demian Maia and Mark Munoz. Demian Maia is brilliant on the ground. He doesn’t just prefer a fight to go to the mat. He wants it there. This of course is his greatest strength and weakness. Maia is a very dominant jiu-jitsu fighter, but he isn’t very well rounded. Munoz will look to take advantage of this and keep this fight a stand up fight. Munoz has decent power and the ability to knock guys out. Munoz also has a wrestling background and some jiu-jitsu experience ( though not as much as Maia) and will be able have a chance should the fight go at Maia’s pace.

My Pick: Mark Munoz is the more well rounded fighter. Maia is simply too one dimensional in my opinion. Munoz will be able to dominate this fight long enough to win by decision. Who knows? He might even knock Demian out, but I wouldn’t guarantee it.

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