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!
Ross Pearson (-150) vs. Francisco Trinaldo (+130)
The Brain: Pearson is a striker that uses volume to wear down his opponents. Trinaldo used to just wing power shots, but has seemed to round out his game. Trinaldo is currently riding a four fight win streak including a TKO over the formerly undefeated Chad Laprise in his last fight. He should have the speed and power advantage in this fight, but Pearson is definitely durable. I think Trinaldo is going to come out hard and end up catching Pearson with solid shots. Trinaldo by TKO
The Heart: I don’t dislike either fighter, but I like Pearson in this one. Pearson has alternated wins and losses lately and is in more need of a win than Trinaldo. I don’t know if he’d get the axe if he lost to Trinaldo, but I don’t want to have to find out. Pearson by Decision
Travis Browne (-155) vs. Matt Mitrione (+135)
The Brain: Browne and Mitrione are two athletic fighters and powerful strikers. Mitrione tends to keep the distance, which could be hard against the quick and rangy Browne. Mitrione really seems to wait for the right moment to strike. Browne excels in the clinch, especially with those vicious elbows. This fight could easily go either way, but I think Browne has more power, and I think he’ll be able to connect against the hittable Mitrione and finish this early. Browne by TKO
The Heart: There was a point a couple years ago where I’d have easily wanted Browne to defeat Mitrione, but my heart seems to have switched sides. Browne just isn’t as likable as he used to be in my eyes, while Mitrione seems to be a decent guy. I’m not too torn one way or the other, but I’m siding with Mitrione in this one. Mitrione by TKO
Eddie Alvarez (+285) vs. Anthony Pettis (-345)
The Brain: This is a fight I have wanted to see ever since Alvarez was working on coming to the UFC. Both guys are very athletic and always come to fight. Alvarez is a boxer and has solid striking combinations. Pettis is primarily a kickboxer known for his flashy strikes. Alvarez has been known to take the fight to the ground on occasion. That used to be a weakness for Pettis, but he’s seemed to improve in that area and is aggressive from the bottom. Alvarez will likely be looking to pressure Pettis as much as possible to stifle Pettis’ attack. In the end, I think the majority of this fight will play out on the feet. In that case, I favor the diversity of Pettis’ striking to be the deciding factor in this fight. Pettis by Decision
The Heart: This is a tough choice because I really like both fighters and hate to see either lose. I’m a big fan of Alvarez and I’m glad that he was able to finally come over to the UFC. However, Pettis is easily my favorite lightweight. You just never know what Pettis is going to do next and he always has me on the edge of my seat. Pettis by Decision
T.J. Dillashaw (-145) vs. Dominick Cruz (+125)
The Brain: Cruz will finally return to action for the first time in more than a year and only the second time in four years. The question on many people’s minds is how he will react to the long layoff. He seemed to do well against Mizugaki, but another injury after that derailed any momentum. In Cruz’s absence Barao ruled the division until Dillashaw came along and took the belt from him. And to prove it was no fluke, Dillashaw completely dismantled Barao in their second fight. Both Cruz and Dillashaw rely on movement and accuracy, but I don’t believe their games are truly as similar as people tend to think. Both fighters possess excellent takedown defense, and Dillashaw has actually never been taken down inside the Octagon. It will also be his first fight since the full-time switch to Colorado. It’s hard to gauge this fight with Cruz being out so long. While I think Cruz will show up in excellent shape, I’m not sure he can beat Dillashaw. T.J. has really seemed to bring his game to a whole new level and I think he will get the better of a lot of the exchanges. I don’t think Dillashaw finishes Cruz, but I think he’ll take the decision 49-46. Dillashaw by Decision
The Heart: This should be an outstanding chess match and fun to watch no matter who comes out on top. I’m hopeful that Cruz can finally remain healthy and fight regularly. In his absence, Dillashaw has done a great job of establishing himself at the top of the division. I’d like to see both guys have success, but in this fight, I want to see Dillashaw beat Cruz and truly become the undisputed bantamweight champion since Cruz never actually lost the belt. Dillashaw by Decision
The Brain and the Heart are both sitting at 4-1 after the first event of 2016.
Any questions or comments? Hit me up on Twitter @IAMMAEverlast or comment below.