Welcome to The Brain vs. The Heart. Everyone has that internal battle with themselves about which fighter you think will win vs. which fighter you actually want to win. The Brain vs The Heart takes you on a journey inside the mind (and heart) of IAMMA to tackle the battle head-on. Who will win? Let’s find out!
With UFC 191 in the books, it’s time to look back and see if the brain or the heart came out on top.
Alex Chambers (+950) vs. Paige VanZant (-1450)
The Brain: Paige VanZant (Correct)
The Heart: Paige VanZant (Correct)
The first fight on the PPV saw quite a bit of action (even if the action was a bit one-sided). As we have previously seen from VanZant, she started aggressively and closed the distance to move into the clinch. From there VanZant threw a constant barrage of knees and punches. VanZant continually repeated that pattern throughout the fight. I gave VanZant the first round 10-9 and the second round 10-8. However, the judges wouldn’t be needed in this fight. VanZant came out aggressive at the start of the third round and landed some more punches and knees that helped her get the fight to the ground. On the ground, VanZant managed to get mount and smoothly transition to an armbar to get the tap only one minute into the last round. Several times in the fight, VanZant walked through some shots in her relentless pursuit of the clinch and she has done so in her past few fights as well. If she’s not more careful on her way into the clinch, she could end up paying for it, but so far she’s shown an iron chin and she never appeared to be in any danger in this fight.
Off to a good start with both the brain and heart picking VanZant to win. I thought VanZant would be able to wear down Chambers with a high volume of strikes and she did just that in impressive fashion. As the VanZant hype train continues to build steam, I expect her to be paired up with someone in the top 10 for her next fight. Maybe Markos or even Calderwood? Either fight would be fun to watch.
Corey Anderson (+130) vs. Jan Blachowicz (-150)
The Brain: Corey Anderson (Correct)
The Heart: Jan Blachowicz (Incorrect)
Blachowicz looked good early in this fight, but Anderson was able to find some success in the late part of the first round. Once Anderson established his rhythm he never looked back. He was able to land a lot of strikes with good accuracy, as well as control Blachowicz, who absolutely disappeared in the second and third rounds. Blachowicz threw a mind boggling eight significant strikes in the last two rounds combined, only three of which landed. Those stats are bad enough by themselves, but when you consider that Anderson landed 63 out of the 90 significant strikes in those same rounds, it wasn’t too hard to figure out that Anderson probably won the fight by a pretty wide margin. I had the score the same as two judges, 30-25 (with the second and third rounds being 10-8).
The brain jumps out to the early lead with Anderson picking up the win. Without trying to sound like I’m tooting my own horn, I pretty much nailed the major factors in this fight, but it certainly wasn’t anywhere close to being “Fight of the Night” thanks to Blachowicz’s inability to do…anything in the second and third rounds. Anderson was four of four on takedowns and outlanded Blachowicz by more than a 4:1 ratio. Anderson continues his climb in the light heavyweight division and a top 10 opponent is likely on the horizon.
Anthony Johnson (-650) vs. Jimi Manuwa (+475)
The Brain: Anthony Johnson (Correct)
The Heart: Jimi Manuwa (Incorrect)
This fight played out much like most people expected. Both men came out looking to throw bombs. Johnson was able to get the fight to the ground twice in the first round and did a good job of landing strikes and controlling the action while on top. Round 1 was a clear 10-9 for Johnson. The start of round 2 saw both men trade strikes. It didn’t take long for Johnson’s right hand to find Manuwa’s chin and send him crashing to the ground. Johnson followed him to the mat for a few additional strikes to add the exclamation point to the victory.
This event isn’t turning out so well for the heart. The brain takes a two fight lead with only two fights to go, but with only the main event differing from the heart, the brain has already secured the victory for UFC 191. Manuwa wasn’t able to land many shots and his gameplan seemed to revolve around trading shots with Rumble in hopes of knocking him out. Obviously, that didn’t work out so well for him. Manuwa has faltered with both top 5 opponents he’s fought against. A fight against OSP makes sense to me. There are several factors in the upcoming month that will play a large part in Rumble’s next opponent. A lot will depend on the outcomes of the DC/Gus and Bader/Evans fights. Also, if Jon Jones were to return in the near future, that would throw a wrench into things as well. Through various scenarios playing out, I could see him end up fighting Bader, Gus, or DC next, but knowing how things normally end up working, it will probably end up being none of those three I just mentioned.
Andrei Arlovski (-155) vs. Frank Mir (+135)
The Brain: Andrei Arlovski (Correct)
The Heart: Andrei Arlovski (Correct)
The fight we waited more than 10 years to watch honestly fell a little…flat. Arlovski looked to be much quicker than Mir early on, and the first round saw both fighters have flashes of success. While almost the entirety of the fight played out on the feet, the next two rounds were nothing like the first. The last two rounds saw several periods of inaction as well as stalling by both fighters. There were lots of lazy strikes thrown, and while both fighters lasted until the bell, it didn’t appear like either had much in their tank for rounds two and three. This fight was extremely close and difficult to judge. I figured it would be a split decision, but all three judges gave it to Arlovski. I personally had it 29-28 for Arlovski as well. I think Arlovski was a little more active and landed just a little more. If I re-watch that fight I could easily see myself scoring it differently, but honestly, I want to block this fight from my memory as soon as possible. This fight doesn’t automatically mean the end for either fighter. Everyone has bad performances from time to time and if two opponents both have off nights, we just saw what that can look like.
Well the heart and the brain got the win, but honestly, it doesn’t feel very satisfying. I don’t think I can accurately describe this fight for anyone that didn’t watch it. I think the best word I could use is awkward. Both fighters looked much older than 36 during that fight, which is really unfortunate, because I do believe both fighters are still much better than the performance we saw from them. I’m not sure where Mir goes from here after this fight. He can still beat many in the division, but I don’t think we’ll see him paired up against anyone in the top 5. While Arlovski didn’t exactly impress either, he still got the win and is tied for the longest win streak in the division. Since the rematch between Werdum and Velasquez isn’t happening until March, I think the only fight that makes sense is the winner of the Stipe Miocic/Ben Rothwell fight.
Demetrious Johnson (-550) vs. John Dodson (+425)
The Brain: Demetrious Johnson (Correct)
The Heart: John Dodson (Incorrect)
Johnson did what I expected he would do and THEN some! The first fight between these two may have been relatively close, but Johnson left absolutely no questions about who the winner was of this fight. His pace was simply unrelenting and he only got stronger as the fight went on. While Dodson may have won a very close round two, the outcome of this fight was never in doubt after the final bell rang. From start to finish Johnson was better at every turn. He dictated the pace and enforced his gameplan. Not only did Johnson land more strikes during the fight, he handily beat Dodson at his own game. Johnson delivered the cleaner and more powerful shots throughout the entire fight.
The heart was dealt one final blow for the night, while the brain continued its dominance. While you might think that Might Mouse’s absolutely dominating performance against Dodson would make it worse, it actually softened the blow. Like I said before, I liked both fighters, and it’s hard to get too upset when someone puts on a near perfect performance like that for a full 25 minutes. Dodson won’t be getting another title shot any time soon, but he’s still and elite flyweight. I know a lot of people aren’t big on matching up fighters coming off a loss with a fighter coming off a win, but a fight against the winner of Benavidez/Bagautinov makes a lot of sense to me. Johnson, on the other hand, is clearly miles above the division. I expect him to face the winner of the Cejudo/Formiga fight. Assuming he wins that fight, there will be absolutely nothing left for him in the flyweight division.
After tallying up the results, the brain picked up its first win by going a perfect 5-0 on the picks. The heart didn’t fare so well, and only managed a 2-3 record. The overall record through two events are almost dead even with the brain narrowly having the lead with a 7-4 record. The heart only trails by one with a 6-5 record. Can the heart regain the lead or with the brain start to pull away? Be sure to look for the next installment of The Brain vs. The Heart on September 25 for UFC Fight Night 75.
Any questions or comments? Hit me up on Twitter @IAMMAEverlast or comment below.
* Image courtesy of Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images