MacDonald on MMA: The Athlete’s predictions

Jason MacDonald.
April 19, 2013, 5:28 PM

Is this weekend the Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen fight, or is it the Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez fight, because all week I’ve been reading stuff about Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones. You’d think the UFC would want to talk more about Benson Henderson defending his title.

I saw Sonnen talked about some Brazilian fan who took a swing at him at the TUF finale. I must say, that’s probably the dumbest Brazilian I know. I’m pretty confident that Chael can take care of himself.

And I know Chael can talk up a fight like nobody else, but on a personal level he’s a pretty cool guy, so it makes it even funnier that some Brazilian is still that mad at him. It goes to show you how well he built up that fight against Anderson Silva.

Jones, on the other hand, I don’t think is so great for the sport. He is a tremendous fighter, but as a champion you have to do a lot of other things. You have to jump through the hoops, promote the sport and promote your fights and he does a horrible job of that. He’s not great with the press, he doesn’t speak particularly well. For a guy with such high esteem, he could certainly do a better job representing himself, and the UFC.

I look at a guy like Brian Stann, who’s not the best fighter in the middleweight division, but he speaks so well, that the UFC puts him up on a pedestal. That does a lot for him and his career and the sport. Jones could learn a thing or two from Stann.

The UFC recently released a code of conduct policy, which seems to encompass all of the things that the UFC previously slapped fighters’ hands for before. Now they’ve put it to paper, but is it still just a discretionary thing, for Dana White and co. to decide whether it will be enforced for a particular individual? Why can one person get away with something derogatory (ie. Rousey) but the next person is fired for it?

On to Saturday’s picks:

Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez

What I like about this fight is that Melendez is acknowledging that to the UFC community he’s basically an 0-0 fighter, but he’s got a bit of a chip on his shoulder to get the world to know who he is. I just don’t think he can beat Henderson. He’s been so inactive over the past couple years against high-level fighters. He’s fought Josh Thomson 25 times in a row or something like that. Meanwhile, Henderson has been a workhorse fighting everybody, just tough fighters. I’m going with Henderson to defend again. I think Melendez will give him a heck of a fight, but I don’t think he can beat him. I expect a five-round decision, but it will be exciting, it won’t be boring.

Frank Mir vs. Daniel Cormier

This is an interesting fight. Over the years, I’ve never been the biggest Mir fan, but the guy’s legit, a badass. He’s proven he can do it on the ground, but the past couple years, he’s really brought his standup. Cormier could look to wrestle him to the ground, but do you really want to deal with Mir’s submission game, especially when he’s stronger and much bigger, because Cormier small heavyweight. Cormier may be a 4-1 favourite, but that’s just hype. I’m going with Mir.

Nate Diaz vs. Josh Thomson

That’s a tough fight. I’m a huge Josh Thomson fan, he always impresses me. But I feel like you can never count out Nate Diaz, I think he’s going to frustrate Josh. I’m certainly rooting for Thomson, but I’m going to pick Diaz. He has such a dangerous submission game.

Matt Brown vs. Jordan Mein

Brown said Mein is a much tougher fight than he would have had with Dan Hardy and I would agree. Mein is a young, motivated kid who has been on fire, as opposed to Hardy who was just fighting to keep his job. I think Jordan will put him away. It’s a good fight, where they’ll probably stand and trade. Matt has one of those styles where he wants to come forward and get into a slugfest. But Jordan is so talented, and good at making angles, switching stances, and I think it will be too overwhelming.

Chad Mendes vs. Darren Elkins

I’m definitely going with Mendes. They keep talking about Duane Ludwig as the new head coach at Team Alpha Male has really been helping, and the guys at that camp have done pretty well over the past couple of months in their fights. I’m going with Mendes, I think he’ll use his ground and pound, controlling from on top and beat Elkins up.

Francis Carmont vs. Lorenz Larkin

I don’t know much about Larkin but I’ll pick the Canadian Carmont.

Joseph Benavidez vs. Darren Uyenoyama

Talk about exciting fights, these little guys can deliver, but how does Benavidez go from a title fight to on the undercard?

Now on my way to Alaska to teach a CrossFIt seminar in Anchorage and I’m pretty stoked about that. I wanted to go there for a long time, it’s just hard to justify taking a family vacation to Alaska, especially when you live in Canada, where you’re more likely to go to Mexico for warm weather.

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