With the Thanksgiving holidays comes a break from the UFC's prior onslaught of four straight weeks of Saturday fight cards. Now that we have all recovered from our food comas, let's take a sneak peak at the next numbered UFC event, UFC 140 from Toronto, Canada. Only a fortnight away, UFC 140 features the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship in the main event and a variety of fights in every weight class. While the fighters have been training for months in advance of the December 10 event, to make solid fantasy picks you only need a two-week crash course. Let's begin.
I cannot in good conscience pick against Jones until he actually loses a single round in the UFC. Jon Jones is the Aaron Rodgers of the UFC, he's in your lineup every week, and he is quarterbacking your fantasy picks or your parlay to victory. Training in Brazil, Machida has been doing some interesting training to prepare for his fourth UFC championship fight , but he will still be outgunned by the 24-year-old superstar.
The pick: 12-Jon Jones-KO or Sub-5 (Machida might play keep away and try to not be Jones's 8th straight opponent Jones "finishes" in the UFC)
Mir is 3-1 since losing to Brock Lesnar at UFC 100. In his last fight, Mir beat the tar out of Roy Nelson in a more impressive fashion than UFC champ Junior Dos Santos beat Nelson last year. Yes "Big Nog" won his last fight in Brazil, but that win over Schaub was fool's gold--don't jump back on his bandwagon until he gets that farewell fight in Brazil.
The pick: 11-Frank Mir-KO-3 (Mir's last two fights have gone into the third round, hedge your pick)
The top lock Canadian of the night is Soszynski. Read after the jump for further breakdown of the Canadian fighters and the rest of UFC 140.
The pick: 10-Krzysztof Soszynski-Dec-3
UFC 140 in Toronto marks the eighth UFC event in Canada. Every UFC event in Canada features numerous fights with Canadian UFC fighters, and with seven of twelve fights featuring a Canadian, UFC 140 is no exception. Historically, Canadian UFC fighters hold a 55% win rate (24-19-1) in their home country. In the last three events held north of the USA, Canadians are winning 62% (13-7-1) thanks to some favorable matchmaking. At UFC 140, the Canadian contingent is likely to continue that trend and should win at least 4 of 7 fights.
Until more information is learned, let's go with the "MMA math" here. Mark Hominick starched George Roop by a first-round KO in January. George Roop beat "The Korean Zombie" with a thudding head kick in round two. Add those fights together, and naturally Mark Hominick will win by a combination of punches and kicks in round three.
The pick: Mark Hominick-KO-3
John Makdessi over Dennis Hallman
Makdessi has a very clear path to victory against his UFC 140 opponent Dennis Hallman-the knockout. With 7 knockout wins in 9 bouts, Makdessi has a flashy striking game Coming off a first round knockout loss at UFC 133 in August, Hallman is 35 years old and fighting at lightweight for the first time in ten years. At this point in his career, the UFC is really only keeping him around as a going-away opponent for Matt Hughes. Fun fact: Hallman owns two first-round submission wins over the UFC Hall of Famer.
The pick: 5-John Makdessi-KO-3
Patrick is 3-0 in his first 18 months of his UFC run, and he takes a "step up" in competition here against the seasoned veteran Brian Ebersole (48-14-1). Ebersole is an unlikely 2-0 in the UFC with wins over Chris Lytle and Dennis Hallman. If you can name the three UFC vets Patrick has beaten without looking it up, you get a lollipop. Ebersole is a game opponent and his toolbox is deep with fancy tricks that will yield a split-decision the Toronto crowd will jeer.
The pick: 4-Brian Ebersole-Split Decision-3
Mark Bocek gives Nick Lentz the first "loss" on his UFC record. Maybe?
Nik Lentz (5-0-1, 1 NC) has some UFC voodoo going on, even when he loses, he can't lose. In his last outing in June, he was choked out after eating an illegal knee, but due to the illegal strike directly leading to the submission, the decision gets turned into a No Contest by the athletic commission. With four of his five UFC wins coming by submission, hedge your Bocek pick with his most likely path to victory.
The pick: 3-Mark Bocek-Sub-3
Canadian wrestler Mitch Clarke makes his Octagon debut against another debuting welterweight, John Cholish. Cholish, an Ivy League grad and Wall Street commodities trader by day, works his ground game with GSP's grappling coach at night. Clarke is slightly awkward as he circles in the cage looking for an opening for his wrestling. Cholish, a former NCAA wrestler at Cornell, has the wrestling background to counter Clarke's only path to victory. With a flashy submission win here, look for Cholish to pick up a submission of the night bonus check unless the co-main event ends with a submission.
The pick: 2-John Cholish-Sub-3
With a combined 2-3 record in the UFC and WEC, Yves Jabouin, a Canadian kickboxer, is highly beatable. When they lose, both Jabouin and Watson are prone to being finished, so look for a significant strike to setup the finish within the first two rounds.
The pick: 1-Yves Jabouin-KO-2
At this point, I foresee Hamman unloading copious fists from top position on Philippou, who is having his first against a real UFC fighter (sorry Jorge Rivera fans). Flip a coin on whether to go with a KO win or decision win.
The pick: 9-Jared Hamman-dec-3
If he were not coming off an injury cancelling his fight at UFC 133 and two prior decision losses, "Minotoro" would be a top lock against Ortiz. Realistically looking at this fight on paper, this senior circuit fight belongs in the "Old Man League". If Nogueira can stuff Phil Davis's double leg takedowns, then he can stuff Ortiz. Nogueira by decision over a battered Ortiz.
The pick: 7-Antonio Rogerio Nogueira-Dec-3
Attonito is one of my favorite dark match fighters for the simple fact that he uber-smashed Jamie Yager (Sideshow Bob) at the TUF finale in June 2010. Jake Hecht is making his UFC debut, and his level of competition in the Midwest MMA scene has been moderate at best. Decision wins on Facebook never make television, but they keep you employed in the UFC.
The pick: 6-Rich Attonito-Dec-3
To recap, here are your UFC 140 fantasy picks
12-Jon Jones-KO or SUB-5
7-Antonio Rogerio Nogueira-Dec-3
4-Brian Ebersole-Split Decision-3