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!
UFC Fight Night 75
Mizuto Hirota (-235) vs. Teruto Ishihara (+195)
The Brain: I have not watched Road to UFC: Japan, and admittedly know little about Ishihara. Both fighters have the majority of their wins by TKO so this could be an interesting striking battle. Ishihara has never been past the second round, while Hirota has been to a decision 13 times in his career. Neither fighter has ever been TKO’d, so this might come down to who can control the action and win the rounds. Hirota has actually fought in the UFC twice before, dropping fairly close decisions to Rani Yahya and Rodrigo Damm. I’ll take the experience of Hirota to win out in this contest. Hirota by Decision
The Heart: At only 24, Ishihara is 10 years younger than Hirota, and seems like an exciting fighter. I’d like to see a Japanese fighter have a long and successful run in the UFC. For that reason I will be rooting for Teruto to win. Ishihara by TKO
Diego Brandao (-230) vs. Katsunori Kikuno (+190)
The Brain: This fight gets the bump to the main card after the cancellation of Hobar vs. Yamamoto. Brandao can be two completely different fighters. At times, he can be very patient and technical. Other times, he can be plain wild. He has good takedowns and works well from the top when he actually decides to utilize that part of his game. However, more often than not, we’ve seen him throw caution to the wind and wildly swing away at his opponent. Kikuno is a striker and prefers to keep the fight standing, but he will go for the takedown if given the clear opportunity. I think Brandao will be the faster fighter and will either land the big shot on the feet, or get the fight to the ground and pound Kikuno out for the victory. Brandao by TKO
The Heart: While Brandao is a decent fighter, I’m not a fan of his out of cage antics. Earlier this year he threatened a group of journalists, and prior to that, he threatened to stab Dustin Poirier after their weigh-ins. In addition to that, he just seems to be a poor sport. I just can’t seem to root for the guy. Kikuno by TKO
Takeya Mizugaki (-235) vs. George Roop (+195)
The Brain: Mizugaki has lost his last two fights, but it is definitely understandable considering they’ve come against Dominick Cruz and fast-rising prospect Aljamain Sterling. Roop is either incredibly fun to watch or incredibly frustrating. When he uses his range, he can beat almost anyone, but when he doesn’t, he tends to get hit quite often. That is reflected in his record that has consistently gone between wins and losses in the past few years. This fight will likely play out on the feet. Both fighters prefer to strike and neither goes for takedowns too often. I think Mizugaki is a little more diverse and will penetrate Roop’s range on his way to the decision victory. Mizugaki by Decision
The Heart: Tough call for this fight. I like both fighters and don’t really want to see either guy lose. I’d like to see Mizugaki pick up a win after having to face Cruz and Sterling his last two fights. I still have absolutely no clue how the 6’1” Roop successfully makes the bantamweight limit of 136 lbs. I’ve wished Roop nothing but the best since I learned about his son passing away back in 2010. I can’t even begin to imagine what that would be like. Since that point, it’s been pretty much impossible for me to root against him. Roop by TKO
Chico Camus (+275) vs. Kyoji Horiguchi (-335)
The Brain: Horiguchi is coming off a submission loss to champ Demetrius Johnson. That loss snapped a nine fight win streak. While his loss to Johnson wasn’t a close fight, Horiguchi is fast and strong. He utilizes his range well when striking, which also makes him tough to hit. Camus recently dropped a fairly close decision to Henry Cejudo. Camus is well rounded and durable. Nothing in particular jumps out at me as above average, but he always fights on to the very end. While I think this will be a fun fight, I think Horiguchi will take a clear decision. Horiguchi by Decision
The Heart: I think it was simply too early for Horiguchi to face Mighty Mouse, but given the lack of contenders, he had to take his shot early. At just 24 years old, I still think he has big potential and time to develop. I think he will continue to improve and will remain a top flyweight for quite some time.
Uriah Hall (+375) vs. Gegard Mousasi (-470)
The Brain: Hall will be stepping in on short-notice for his second fight in a row. This time however, is a giant step up in competition against the always game Mousasi. While Hall may not immediately lived up to all of his “TUF hype”, he has shown that if he really gets after it, he can be a very dangerous fighter. Hall has big power and is fast, but I don’t feel that will be enough to beat Mousasi. Gegard may not have as much power as Hall, but he’s dangerous in almost every facet of the game. I think Mousasi will be able to control the majority of the action on his way to an exciting decision win. Mousasi by Decision
The Heart: Hall agreeing to fight someone the level of Mousasi is impressive enough, but to do so on short-notice makes it hard not to root for him. I really like both fighters, but I’m leaning towards Hall because he’s clearly not afraid to step inside the cage with anyone. Hall by Decision
Roy Nelson (+230) vs. Josh Barnett (-270)
The Brain: The main event is a heavyweight clash between veterans Josh Barnett and Roy Nelson. Barnett has been out of action for nearly two years. His last fight was a KO loss to Travis Browne. Meanwhile, Nelson fought only six months ago, a decision loss to Alistair Overeem. In my opinion, Big Country just hasn’t looked the same in his last few fights, and I think Barnett has a little more left in the tank than Nelson. Though Nelson is Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, he continually relies on trying to land his powerful overhand right to end the fight. With this being a 5 round fight, I expect Nelson to tire in the later rounds. I think Barnett will weather Nelson’s punches, take him down several times throughout the fight, and finally put him away in the fourth or fifth round. Barnett by TKO
The Heart: Neither fighter looked very good in their last outings, but this is the heavyweight division and any fight can be over at any second. I’ve always had a soft spot for Nelson because he just seems like a “regular guy”, but hidden behind that unassuming exterior is a legitimate fighter. I’d like to see another great finish by Big Country. Nelson by TKO
Any questions or comments? Hit me up on Twitter @IAMMAEverlast or comment below.