The Brain vs. The Heart: UFC on FOX 17
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. Almost all of the hype recently was built around last weekend’s UFC 194, but there is an excellent FOX card to close out the final UFC event of 2015. Who will win? Let’s find out!
Karolina Kowalkiewicz (+155) vs. Randa Markos (-175)
The Brain: Markos broke onto the scene with a surprising run on TUF. She ended up losing her debut to Penne, but rebounded against Daly. Markos is a patient fighter and looks for opportunities to attack. She takes on the Polish Kowalkiewicz who will be making her UFC debut. Karolina is primarily a striker. I think she possesses a wider variety of punches and kicks than Markos. However, both fighters have been fairly hittable. I think Markos is better on the ground than Karolina. This should be a close fight with both fighters getting their shots in. In the end, I think the Kowalkiewicz will do a better job of mixing up her attacks and win her debut. Kowalkiewicz by Decision
The Heart: I like both fighters and think they both still have room to develop, even at 30 years old. Both fighters will likely receive another chance either way, but I think Markos needs thin one a little more since she is already 1-1 in the UFC. I’d like to see her take the win her in what should be a fun back and forth fight. Markos by Decision
Nate Diaz (+375) vs. Michael Johnson (-470)
The Brain: This should be a fun fight to watch, and not just because Nate Diaz is involved. It’s no secret that Diaz loves to stand and strike. Johnson has definitely improved his striking game. He uses a high pace to wear his opponents down. Johnson will probably find that difficult against the durable Diaz. Johnson has really seemed to up his game in his last few fights, while Diaz has seemed headed in the opposite direction. Diaz can win almost any fight he’s in, but I have a feeling Johnson takes a clear decision. Johnson by Decision
The Heart: I like Diaz’s attitude towards fighting, but I’m not a huge fan of his antics. I’ve followed Johnson’s career ever since I saw him fight live back in 2008 in just his third pro fight. It’s crazy to think about the development of the fighter I saw back then to fighter he is today. He truly has improved leaps and bounds. I’d like to see him get another win here. Johnson by Decision
Junior Dos Santos (-360) vs. Alistair Overeem (+300)
The Brain: The fight many people wanted to see in the heavyweight division is finally here, but it definitely feels two years too late. Dos Santos has been in some extremely hard and punishing fights lately and doesn’t quite seem like the same fighter he used to be. Dos Santos will try to use his power to send Overeem crashing to the canvas. Overeem is a striker as well, but he’s done a good job of utilizing his kickboxing as of late. He also possesses a brutal clinch game. I don’t think he’ll be able to take Dos Santos down, and if he does, I don’t think he’ll be able to keep him there considering Velasquez couldn’t even keep him there. Overeem did a good job of avoiding the power overhand right of Roy Nelson in his last fight and he’ll definitely try to avoid Dos Santos’ power shots as well. This is a hard fight to predict. Dos Santos definitely seems to have lost a step. While I don’t buy into Overeem having a glass jaw, I do think his chin is much weaker than Dos Santos’ (though almost everyone’s is). While I could see Overeem taking the decision, I have a gut feeling Dos Santos is going to connect with Overeem’s chin and end his night. Dos Santos by TKO
The Heart: I’ve honestly never been that big of a fan of Overeem. I’m against PEDs and I very rarely root for someone with a failed test. I definitely won’t be rooting for him against Dos Santos. JDS is easily one of my favorite fighters in the heavyweight division. He sure doesn’t look like the same fighter he was a few years ago, but I think he can put together another run. Dos Santos by TKO
Rafael dos Anjos (-220) vs. Donald Cerrone (+180)
The Brain: I’ve heard a lot of people say they think Cerrone is going to win this fight. As much as I’d love to see that happen, I just don’t think he gets it done. dos Anjos will be looking to control the action and use a rapid pace the entire fight, much like he did to Pettis. Cerrone is not as easy to take down and is better on the ground than Pettis though. Cerrone has won eight in a row since losing to RDA by decision. While he has hard kicks and decent striking, he does tend to be rather hittable. Cerrone will have a 5” height and 3” reach advantage. To neutralize that, dos Anjos will look to close the distance. Both fighters have looked outstanding lately, but if the dos Anjos that fought Pettis shows up, I have a feeling he wins this one comfortably. dos Anjos by Decision
The Heart: Pettis is one of my favorite fighters, so it was hard to watch dos Anjos completely dominate him. A lot of people pointed to PED use by RDA as the reason for his phenomenal shape. While that certainly could be the reason (simply because ANYONE could be using in this sport), I’m not about to conclude that was the reason until given a reason to. Hats off to what dos Anjos accomplished. That said Cerrone is my second favorite fighter in the division (next to Pettis). He has an “anytime. anywhere.” attitude and actually backs it up. He loves all things extreme and likes to drink beer. I’d love to see Cerrone become the new champion. Maybe then we could finally see someone actively defend their belt. Cerrone by Decision
The Brain is leading with a 42-17 record. The Heart is dragging behind with a 29-30 record. Records will reset for 2016, and the first event of 2016 will be UFC 195 on January 2.
Any questions or comments? Hit me up on Twitter @IAMMAEverlast or comment below.