UFC 269

Two belts on the line tonight.

The early prelims are a fun beginning to the rest of the violence on this card. It would be easier to predict the number of decisions we’re going to see.

Robertson vs Cachoeira – Can Cachoeira give us another KO? If not, Robertson by decision.

Hall vs Minner – Can Hall deliver the sub? If not, Minner by decision.

Maverick vs Blanchfield – Decision Maverick.

Muniz vs Anders – Decision Muniz.

Late Prelims

Sakai vs Tuivasa – This should be a banger and I don’t know who gets it. Let’s go in: Sakai by KO.

Munhoz vs Cruz – Unless something very bizarre happens, Munhoz will get the stoppage win.

Main Card – You guys should know by now how I pick:

Paiva vs O’Malley – Paiva. I am tired of O’Malley. If he’s talented, give him a chance to prove it by getting better opponents. Until then, I can’t be bothered.

Kara-France vs Garbrandt – Kara-France. I think Garbrandt might be the better fighter at this point in his career, but he is moving down for the reasons I discussed previously. This is a great win for Kara-France if he can get it done.

Neal vs Ponzinibbio – Ponzinibbio. Unlucky for Ponz to get KO’d by my guy Li Jingliang, but he gets the W tonight.

Nunes vs Pena – Pena. I like Nunes, but it is time for her to commit to featherweight and make the bantamweights fun again. MBFA, if you will.

Oliveira vs Poirier – Oliveira. Strangely, Poirier stated that he doesn’t want to be an active champ if he wins this fight. Usually, that’s exactly what all new champs say when they win – that they are ready and want to be active – because they want to maximize their income. But Poirier has had two McG fights and is flush with cash at the moment. There is no need to fight so often. Here’s the reality of the fight game: If you have nothing to prove and don’t need the money, why put yourself out there if you don’t have to?

If he wins and that is his stance, all it will take is an exciting fighter or a viral fight sequence to emerge before Dana creates an interim belt while Poirier is on vacation.

Ain’t no love in this sport. I hope Charlie gets the win – there will be fewer opportunities for drama if he keeps his belt.

But UFC likes drama, so we will see.

What’s next for Kevin Lee?

I’ve said so many times before – I like Kevin Lee. But unfortunately, he has the wrong attitude for this business. The first time I noticed this about him, he was sulking in the cage after he lost the interim title to Tony Ferguson. Sulking, pouting, like a teenager. He seems very immature.

I feel bad for him on a personal level.

I wrote back in June 2019: I like Kevin Lee. I’m a fan. The way he acts annoys people, but it doesn’t bother me. The way he responds to losses breaks my heart a little bit. He takes it very seriously, very personally, and I don’t know if that’s the right way to think about losing. If he were my little brother, I’d tell him to use these losses as motivation. Heal up, get back to training, and don’t be so hard so yourself. Also, you lost to RDA, not some scrub, and he was a lot stronger than you tonight, bro.

But he’s not my little brother and here’s the deal: He’s having a hard time making 155 and always talking about a 165lb weight class. As that is not happening, he decided to move up to 170 and promptly ran into RDA. There were obvious problems, and examples are right in front of your face regarding these types of matchups.

Lee has a lot to think about moving forward. He should stay at welterweight if he believes his wrestling is strong enough to compete with Usman, Colby and Woodley. He’s young. Hopefully Dana gives him time to develop. At lightweight.

Fans should remember that UFC is a fighting and entertainment company. If they don’t see any value add in Kevin Lee, welp …

And that was before he started confessing about being drunk all the time, and more recently, the ADHD medication fiasco. He failed to ask for a therapeutic use exemption for this medication, which led to a positive test and thousands of dollars in fines. And now he’s cut. In hindsight, he thinks he should have picked his opponents:

Don’t take these tough fights. I ain’t going to lie to you, don’t do it. Cherry pick. That’s what they really want to see,” Lee warned up-and-coming fighters on The MMA Hour (transcribed by Shaun Al-Shatti). “Man, they’re going to be your best friend when they want you to take the fight, they’ll damn near get on their hands and knees. But then afterward they’ll kick you to the curb. People told me that going into the UFC too. They told me that same thing. I didn’t really listen, I just kept trying to give them what they want. But don’t even do that. Cherry pick. Cherry pick like a MF’er. You’ll get further that way.”

I wrote previously that Conor’s skills suffered due to his cherry-picking opponents, and I stand by that. You get ahead in this sport by going through the fire. You cannot deny Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, Eddie Alvarez, Nick Diaz, and so many others have been through IT. Of course, you must be strategic during negotiations, but in general, picking opponents does not guarantee success.

And now this: He received notice of his release via email – It was dated Nov. 17, and it didn’t come from any member of the UFC’s top brass – not president Dana White, not chief legal officer Hunter Campbell, not even matchmaker Sean Shelby.

“That was kind of the worst part about it,” Lee said Wednesday on “The MMA Hour.” “Didn’t really have the proper notice or even get a phone call about it. … Honestly, that’s what pisses me off the most – the lack of respect.”

Ridiculous. It became clear to the organization that Mr. Lee is struggling with several issues. Issues they don’t want to deal with in the future.

From my observation, they will give a fighter time to deal with personal issues if he/she happens to be very talented or very popular. Kevin Lee is talented and they kept him in the organization for quite some time. He kept his place during all his injuries, his change in camp, his losses. The positive drugs test and revelation of mismanaged adult ADHD, along with his admission of a drinking problem was much too much. He seems to be spiraling downward.

Good luck to him.


As it turns out, I did not lose my old content. Great news for me as I can link to previous blog posts.

My archive is here. More recent posts are on Substack. From now on I will post in both places.

Old School vs New

I said I wanted to talk about Miesha later. I’m a big Miesha Tate fan. I was thrilled when she won the title off Holly Holm, because she’s one of those veterans who has paid dues in this sport. I’ll always be happy when that happens (Glover!). But her title reign was cut short. Cut short by a young woman who was bigger, stronger, faster than Miesha. This is the evolution of sport. And as we saw last weekend, history repeats.

There is something I notice while watching these fights: there is a group of fighters, the veterans, who have a particular style of fighting. They dominated when that was the prevailing style, but they are left behind as training and nutrition evolve. Lots of active fighters have this old style, and the matchmaking process will not usually expose them until necessary.

I won’t name names, but if you’re still foot stomping and head locking in 2021…

Also, there is the issue of size. To succeed in this sport, at the very basic level you must be able to overpower your opponent. Being the bigger person in the cage helps, and it will help you implement the lay and pray strategy, if you’re so inclined. That is the basic step one – be one of those fighters the commentary team says is “big for the weight class.” That helps. Step two of the basic rules is to know how to cut weight and rehydrate. You already know step three.

The basic rules aren’t really that simple. It might work for a few fights, but it catches up sooner rather than later. Strategic weight misses happen. Guys start rethinking their weight class. Welterweights and Lightweights get caught up in this a lot.

Small guys with that old style who used to fight at 155 have to cut down to 145 to continue competing. Feathers become Bantams – that’s just the way it is.

Even the heavyweights are not immune to this pressure. If you want to do the research, you might find that the older HWs were shorter. There are some outliers in the group as well (Volkov, Struve), but in general they also get bigger as the sport evolves. And there’s not a whole lot of cutting down to LHW, as that would entail a fighter lose 50lbs or more. DC, who I had GOATed when he held both belts, was able to do this successfully. Which is why he’s still my GOAT.

But back to Miesha. Why did they match her with a young, bigger, stronger fighter? Were they trying to derail her title shot hopes? Did they think Miesha’s skillset had evolved after 5 years out of the sport? Did she? Maybe it was just one of those things, kinda like the unexpected Glover win?

My view is that Francis and Glover won’t hold their belts for long. Francis operates by brute force; a skilled fighter knows how to exploit this. Glover is my guy, but we know a young man is on tap to snatch that belt.

Izzy will hold on for a few more defenses. Whether a worthy competitor emerges is entirely dependent on the internal analytics.

The rise of Khabib’s guys will take over 155 and 170, but in due time. In time.

If Miesha was serious about reinventing herself she would have made a comeback at flyweight. I’m not saying she would beat Valentina, but she would have had a smoother ride to the top.

Vieira vs Tate

Last weekend was the Vieira vs Tate card, and I want to talk about that and a few other topics:

Advice from DC

Advice from Chael

“He’ll never be one of us again.”

Vieira vs Tate


Advice from DC

I read this week that DC is urging fighters to chase the belt, not money fights. Tip to readers: advice from DC, Chael, or Bisping is purely propaganda and not intended to advance the interests of the fighters. They are fight promoters, trying to push whatever narrative.

Mr. Cormier says“As an organization, you’d always want that belt to be the grand prize. You don’t want a McGregor fight to be the ultimate prize for the competitor. The prize needs to stay the championship and it seems like right now things are changing. Things are changing all around the world in terms of sport right? The money is changing everything across the board in all sports and I think the same thing is happening in the UFC.”

The rise of Conor McGregor has led to his opponents experiencing an incredible increase in pay when facing him in the cage. Therefore, there is never a shortage of fighters calling out McGregor for a fight, any given day of the week. Everyone wants the money fight. But DC asks fighters to chase the belt.

We have seen examples of fighters starting Go Fund Me campaigns to pay for their training, giving interviews saying they only have $17 in the bank, or begging for bonuses. But DC says don’t chase money fights.

Chasing the belt is a fool’s errand. Chasing the belt is insanity when someone else has the power to deny you the fight to get to the belt. Chasing the belt is impossible when a fighter can refuse to fight. Being unpopular can also hinder your title hopes. A fighter can say in interviews that he/she wants the belt, but in reality, they can’t chase the belt. It’s out of their hands.

Now, sometimes the MMA gods provide us with a little treat. Glover Teixiera won the belt off Jan Blachowicz. Glover’s strong grappling game overpowered the Legendary Polish Power. And if you’ve been reading my blog, you’d know I predicted this.

Advice from Chael

Clearly, Chael has seen the analytics on social media chatter about Khamzat Chimaev vs Gilbert Burns. He plays matchmaker and sees Neil Magny getting that fight, not Gilbert. Of course. Can’t derail the hype train just yet. In the meantime, Usman will get more fights to defend his belt. The moment he passes GSP is when he will get a new challenge.

“He’ll never be one of us again.”

This is comical. Back just a little while ago, it was important to become champ. As I said before, the rise of Conor is what ushered in the money fight era. Mr. Smith is saying that Conor is so rich now, he’s out of touch:

Anthony Smith: “This is the second time that Conor’s come at me, and this one is not even my fault, and I don’t give a sh*t what Conor thinks about me, but I don’t know why he’s taken aim at me twice,” Smith said on SiriusXM’s Fight Nation, which he co-hosts with R.J. Clifford. “But as I thought about it, I think I figured it out. Conor has been uber, uber successful. He’s made more money than he could ever spend. He’s made true, like, generational wealth. Like, his kids’ kids’ kids’ kids are going to be just fine because of the things that Conor’s accomplished. What Conor can never get back, is he’ll never be one of us again, and it drives him absolutely crazy.

“He used to be one of us. I found myself sitting at the desk wondering, like, does Conor miss what it felt like to be in the gym and just be one of the guys? Because he’s alienated himself from everybody. Like, I’ve been around him a little bit. I don’t know him. But I’ve been around him, and he was one of the guys, and he kind of sold out, and he starts taking shots at people, and he kind of sold his soul for all that money. And that’s fine if that’s what you want to do.”

Two things to unpack there: Conor has sold his soul for money, and he’s not one of the guys and it drives him crazy.

Conor is taking shots at people because he’s on the losing end for a change. He’s the biggest draw in the organization and he just took 2 Ls from Dustin Poirier – the 2nd included a leg break followed by a humiliating meltdown in the cage. The first was after an agreement with Poirier to make a donation to his charitable foundation. Conor loses that fight and Poirier started asking for his money. Shady business.

Mr. Smith suggests McG’s wealth is a bad thing. Evil. Sold his soul. Remember the belt/money conversation? Chasing money, fighters started saying, “I’m a prizefighter,” in order to signal the U turn. A fighting career does not last long and you need to secure the bag while you can. Now you have DC and Anthony Smith acting like money should be a secondary motivation. I understand DC’s reason for saying this – he’s a company man and feels this approach is detrimental to the company – but not Smith.

I want to talk about Miesha’s fight later.


UFC 231 is here. My picks:

T-City by Chaos

Joanna by Chaos. Whoever wins will be champ for quite awhile. Women’s fly is like Men’s 205 – there’s Gus and Jones and no one else. If Joanna wins, she’ll be asking for another shot at the straw weight belt. The Superfight nobody wants.

Cowboy Oliveira by sub

Marreta by KO

Claudia by whatever. I’m not high on Nina Ansaroff.


Eryk Anders, why not?

Dhiego Lima for old times sake.