UFC Fight Night Shevchenko vs Pena

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Will Pena finally get a title shot?

This Saturday on Fox will feature two of the top ranked Women Bantamweights in the UFC. Valentina Shevchenko vs Julianna Pena is an interesting fight in the Women’s Bantamweight Division and the winner should be the next challenger for the champion Amanda Nunes. Shevchenko is an elite striker being a former kickboxing and Muay Thai Champion. Pena is arguably the best grappler in the division and has been dominate on the ground.  Both fighters can be a threat to the champion, but only one will win.

Shevchenko is one of the best technical striker in the division. Shevchenko has great accuracy connecting with her strikes, which was displayed in her fight against former champion Holly Holm.  In the fight, Shevchenko showed the ability to out strike Holm and also looked strong in the clinch. Nunes has beaten Shevchenko in the past, but Shevchenko is determined to get revenge and become champion.

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Pena has been making her case for a chance at the championship for a long time now. Pena  called out anyone who was champion or would lead to a potential title shot. With great confidence that Pena can challenge for the championship, Pena has been able to back up her talk with dominate wins over Jessica Eye and Cat Zingano.  Pena has the ability to take her opponents down and dominate with great ground and pound. Pena is very strong, so her opponents have a hard time stopping her from transitioning on the ground and getting up from the ground.  If Shevchenko gets taken down by Pena, Pena will look to keep the fight on the ground and impose her will.

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This fight is a classic high level striker vs high level grappler.  Both fighters are elite in their own ability and will want to showcase their advantage of the other. Shevchenko has shown poise on the ground and has good takedown defense. However, Pena has been able to hold her own with her striking and has been able to take any of her opponents down. Both fighters have more decision wins then finishes by knockout or submission in the UFC, but Pena has shown to have the ability to finish her opponents on the ground. Shevchenko does have the experience in a five round fight and has shown to have great cardio.

Final prediction

I think Shevchenko gets the win by decision. Pena has not faced a striker like Shevchenko. Their is a big gap in their striking ability, that may be too hard for Pena to hold her own against. Shevchenko also has good takedown defense and looks to be the stronger fighter. Shevchenko will not finish Pena, but has the ability to out perform Pena for a Decision.

Shevchenko wins by Unanimous Decision

Writer-Tyriece Simon

 

AFC Championship Preview

Patriots in the AFC Championship game? No one saw that coming.

The AFC Championship had to go through New England the last 5 years so why should this year be any different. Even though Tom Brady missed the first 4 games of the year, the Patriots have Bill Belichick, he finds a way to get the best out of his players so you know whoever he has as quarterback was gonna be successful. The Patriots ended up going 3-1 without Brady, thats pretty good. Not to mention that both quarterbacks they used got injuries, Jimmy Garoppolo with a sore right shoulder and Jacoby Brissett with a injured right thumb (played the next week anyway).  When Brady returned it looked like he didn’t miss a beat. He ended the season with 3,554 yards, 28 touchdowns and only 2 interception. Patriots went 11-1 with Brady and clinched the #1 seed in the playoffs. With a first round bye, they ended up facing the Texans in the divisional round and they handled them rather easily with a score of 34-16. With Brady at the helm they always have a good chance to win no matter who they are facing.

The Pittsburgh Steeler are back in the AFC Championship since the 2010-2011 season. They are lead by their three-headed attack of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell. Those three are a scary trio, Roethlisberger is arguably a top 5 QB, Antonio is considered the top WR in the league, and Bell is also a considered the best RB in the league. Those three combined to create a nightmare for any defense and with them coming of a week where none of the three scored a touchdown, you know they are itching to get in the endzone. There is some tension in the locker room though because of Brown. He decided to Facebook live Coach Tomlin giving his post-game speech and it caused tension between him and Roethlisberger and Tomlin. Hopefully all is settled so they can come out and give the patriots their best game.

These two teams have the history behind them as they are consider one of the best franchises in the NFL, with Pittsburgh having 6 Superbowl rings and Patriots having 4 Superbowl rings. These two quarterbacks are also considered one of the best in the league so this game is pitting two of the best against each other. The game will be determined by one thing: Will it be the Steelers defense that stop Brady or will it be the Patriots defense that stops the three-headed attack of the Steelers?

 

 

NFC Championship Game Preview

Can the Falcons get into the Super Bowl for the second time in the Franchise history?

This NFL season is arguably the most unpredictable season in the history of the NFL.  Nobody anticipated that the Green Bay Packers would face the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC championship. In fact, nobody anticipated these two teams would play for the NFC championship at the start of the playoffs. Both teams have exceeded expectations and helped make this NFL season an unforgettable one.  That being said, only one team will headline the Super Bowl.

The Packers had a difficult time getting into the playoffs, with doubt during the season if the Packers would make it. During the season fans and NFL analyst criticized the performance of Packer’s Quarterback  Aaron Rodgers, with many feeling he was not the same player he was in seasons prior.  The Packers with their playoff hopes threated during week 11, would complete the season winning every game and Rodgers would make a case for MVP consideration as well.  Getting into the Wildcard, they would beat the Giants in dominate fashion. Then the Packers would upset the Dallas Cowboys, who many felt would be in the Super Bowl. The Packers has overcome all the odds and are close to being in the Super Bowl once again.

The Falcons had an impressive season, which caught many be surprise. The Falcons always had the talent, but always seemed to fall short to becoming Super Bowl contenders.   Throughout the season the Falcons had one of the worst defenses in the NFL, being ranked 25th in the league.  However, they are ranked the 2nd best offense in the league. Quarterback Matt Ryan is a strong candidate for MVP for the season and is making his case as a top tier QB in the NFL. Wide Receiver Julio Jones has also made his case for one of the best receivers in the NFL, having the 2nd best receiving yards in the league.  The Falcons have shocked many, but getting into the Super Bowl would really make their season an exceptional one.

Both teams have surprised everyone and have exceeded beyond their expectations from the start of the season. The Packers would become underdogs and fight their way to the Conference Championship. The Falcons would overcome the weakness of their defense, by having an incredible offense. The Falcons have the better offense, but the question remains how will their defense hold up against the Packers. Aaron Rodgers will look to take advantage of the Falcons defense, but Ryan may have more difficulty with the Packer defense.  Another question is with the injuries and the games to get to the Conference Championship go against the Packers? Key players like Jordy Nelson and Devonte Adams are still questionable to play, with players like Clay Mathews being banged up. Just like the season, the NFC Championship game is unpredictable and that is what makes this game exciting.

Bellator 170 Preview: Ortiz vs Sonnen

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Who will have the last word this weekend?

This Saturday free on Spike TV Bellator 170 will feature two bitter rivals Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz  vs Chael “The American Gangster” Sonnen in the Main Event.  Both fighters have trash talked one another while promoting the fight and feel they will be victorious decisively. This fight will be Sonnen’s debut in Bellator and will be Ortiz last fight of his career.  Both Ortiz and Sonnen want to leave their mark this weekend, but only one will get their hand raised.

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Ortiz is a legend in MMA and helped make the sport mainstream to the general public. Once the biggest star in the UFC, Ortiz would leave in 2014 and become a bigger draw for Bellator. Ortiz has helped get attention and revenue for Bellator, while also reinventing his career. At 41 years old he is still incredibly strong and a threat on the ground, with his Jujitsu and ground and pound. Bellator 170 will mark the end of an era for the pioneer, but Ortiz wants to go out with a blaze of glory. Win or lose, Bellator 170 will be a night to remember for Ortiz fans.

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Sonnen is one of the most charismatic combat athlete arguably of all time. Before Conor McGregor, their was Sonnen and he was very influential to how to promote  fights today in MMA.  Sonnen hasn’t fought since 2013 and 39 years old wants to make his mark in his debut at Bellator 170. Like Ortiz, Sonnen is dangerous on the ground and dominate his opponent.  The question going into this Saturday is with a long hiatus from fighting, how will Sonnen react in the fight.

Their are many questions going into the fight Saturday. People question has the time off Sonnen has work against him and what the mindset of Ortiz will be in his last fight? Ortiz has been more active, with his last fight being for the Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship.  Ortiz also is the bigger and stronger fighter. However, Sonnen is still a fantastic wrestler having a Greco Roman Wrestling background.  If he takes Ortiz down, Ortiz has problems fighting on his back and defending transitions on the ground.  Sonnen also has great cardio and the time off can also be positive, because Sonnen will be the fresher fighter.

Their are many factors going into the fight, that won’t be answered until the fight happens. I think Ortiz will start the fight off strong, but Sonnen will take Ortiz down and try to keep him on the ground. Sonnen also has great Jujitsu and Ortiz can be submitted, but Sonnen can also work for a decision due to his cardio.  Ortiz will be hard to deal with, but Sonnen will control the fight and dominate Ortiz for a Unanimous Decision.

Prediction: Sonnen wins by Unanimous Decision

 

Female Fighter of the Year: Amanda Nunes

“The Lioness” has become the new face for Women in the UFC.

“The Lioness” Amanda Nunes had a phenomenal year in 2016, ending the year as the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Nunes would fight top contender Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 196 and win by Unanimous Decision, with Nunes being dominate during the fight.  Miesha Tate who became the Women’s Bantamweight Champion at the same Pay Per View, would grant Nunes an opportunity to fight for the title at UFC 200. Some fans critiqued the choice of picking Nunes as a challenger, because at the time she was still unknown to the general public.

Jon Jones would get pulled from the main event of UFC 200, due to a failed drug test and Nunes vs Tate would become the new main event of the card. This marked a huge growth in MMA, because Women were headlining a historic card for the UFC. Nunes would beat Tate in the first round by submission via Rear Naked Choke and became the new Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Nunes would be recognized as the first openly gay champion in the UFC and has become a leader in the LGBT Community.

Nunes would fight returning Ronda Rousey at UFC 207 in the main event for the Women’s Bantamweight Championship. Rousey would become the center of attention from both the media and UFC, with most of the advertisement being about the return of Rousey. Many had critiqued the UFC decision about not promoting Nunes as well as Rousey. Nunes would dominate and knockout Rousey 48 seconds into the fight to retain her championship.

Nunes has become the leader of the  Women’s Bantamweight Division and has gained popularity as the year went on in 2016. Nunes went from being a unknown contender to becoming a star in the UFC. Being the main event of UFC 200 and beating Rousey in 48 seconds, had helped elevate Nunes popularity and showcased the dangerous knockout power that makes Nunes exciting to watch.  The question going in to 2017 is who in the division can beat Nunes, as Nunes prepares to have another dominate year.

Male Fighter of the Year: Conor McGregor

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What a year for “The Notorious” Conor McGregor.

Following an impressive year in 2015, McGregor would end 2016 the same way. McGregor started the year trying to fight then Champion Rafael Dos Anjos for the UFC Lightweight championship. Dos Anjos would drop out of the fight due to injury, which led to Nate Diaz stepping in on short notice.  McGregor would take the fight at 170 at UFC 196 and would lose to Nate Diaz via Rear Naked Choke in the second round.

Fans and fighters were critical of McGregor after his loss to Diaz and many felt the hype around McGregor was gone. McGregor would request a rematch at UFC 202 with Diaz at 170, a weight people felt was an advantage for Diaz after their first fight. McGregor would beat Diaz by Majority Decision, in a fight that was praised by fighters and fans alike.  Dave Meltzer reported that UFC 202  had broke Pay per view records for the UFC, surpassing other big Pay per views like UFC 196 and UFC 100. 

McGregor would then fight Eddie Alvarez for the  Lightweight Championship at UFC 205 as the headliner of an impressive card.  Many felt this would be the toughest challenge in McGregor’s career due to the wrestling and striking ability of Alvarez.  McGregor would dominate and knockout Alvarez in the second round, becoming the first to hold the UFC  Featherweight and Lightweight Championship simultaneously. The UFC 205 would also break records including the biggest Live Gate in the history of the UFC and Madison Square Garden with 17.7 Million.

McGregor has also become more popular outside of fighting  in 2016. McGregor would become the cover star of  EA Sports UFC 2 along with Ronda Rousey and would be featured as a character in Call of Duty Advanced Warfare.  McGregor would also spark interest with a potential fight with Boxing’s best Floyd “Money” Mayweather in a fight that has been thought to be the biggest fight in Pay per View history, if it was to happen.  The WWE has also caught the attention of McGregor and would like to have McGregor apart of their promotion in the future.

2016 started off rough for McGregor, but by the end of the year he has arguably had better year than 2015. McGregor has become one of the best fighters in the UFC  and has become their biggest draw in terms of Pay Per View and Live Gate numbers. Fans are wondering what McGregor will do in 2017 and who he will fight next. Their are still ongoing rumors of a potential Boxing fight with Mayweather and their are also rumors one last fight against Diaz. Plus their are other contenders in the Lightweight Division like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson that want to fight for the UFC Lightweight Championship. 2016 marked a great year for McGregor, but 2017 looks to potentially be even better.