“UFC Live: Jones vs. Matyushenko” takes place Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010, at the San Diego Sports Arena in San Diego, Calif. It will mark the Ultimate Fighting Championship‘s second event to air live and free of charge for fans on the Versus sports network, the same television station that regularly broadcasts fights from the UFC’s sister promotion, the WEC.
Headlining the card is young upstart Jon “Bones” Jones, a 23-years-young fighter widely recognized as one of the most naturally gifted and promising athletes in the sport today. Jones will be taking on the much more experienced Vladimir Matyushenko. Nicknamed “The Janitor”, the 39–year-old rugged veteran has been getting the job done since 1997, and in 13 years as a professional has only lost four times. He is also the former IFL light heavyweight champion.
The ProMMAnow.com staff has come together once again to give our predictions on the fights. Check out our picks and let us know if you agree or disagree, who’s right, who’s wrong, and who is just plain nuts.
Also, we’re giving away a FREE copy of Forrest Griffin‘s new book, “Be Ready When the Sh*t Goes Down“. Be the first person to guess correctly the result of the main event. And come closest to guessing the method of victory, time and what round the fight will end. Make your guess to win Forrest’s book here: “UFC on Versus 2 Contest“. If you don’t win this time, don’t worry, we’ll be holding this contest for the next three UFC events in a row, so you will have more chances!
We will also be providing live play-by-play commentary during Sunday’s event starting at approximately 9:00 p.m. ET. Join us for that! Finally, as with all UFC events, check out the “UFC on Versus 2” live Q&A, weigh-ins, and pre-fight interviews in our UFC Room.
Okay here we go… the ProMMAnow.com “UFC on Versus 2” staff picks start now…
Matt Riddle vs. DaMarques Johnson
TIM THOMPSON: Matt Riddle via decision over DaMarques Johnson, two great fighters who are fun to watch and I think this could be a fight of the night candidate, it goes to a decision but it will be fun to watch.
RICHARD MANN: If DaMarques Johnson had not been the lone American fighter with a pulse on the ninth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” no one would really be talking about him. Riddle is not a flashy prospect, but he should have no trouble taking the fight to the ground and riding Johnson to a decision. Riddle by decision.
DENNY HODGE: Consistency has been a problem for Johnson, and Riddle will bring his grinding style into the cage, for this battle of TUF alums. Johnson will be on in this one, finishing Riddle by submission late in the fight, notching his third straight win in the Octagon.
BRIAN FURBY: This fight will turn into a contest of Johnson’s speed and accuracy versus Riddle’s wrestling. Riddle will look to get Johnson down and pound him out while Johnson will look to sneak in a submission or catch Riddle off-guard with a hard shot for the TKO. Riddle will be able to take Johnson down after realizing he can’t compete with Johnson’s hands, and Riddle will grind out a winning round in the first and possibly the second, but Johnson’s speed won’t wear out whereas Riddle’s dominance will lead to his downfall as he starts to tire and gives Johnson the opening he needs late in the second or early in the third. Johnson wins by submission in Round 3.
JACK BRATCHER: Johnson’s significant experience advantage and well-rounded game should be enough to overcome the young upstart. I think Johnson’s striking will make the difference and could see him finishing Riddle in the first or second round via strikes.
Tyson Griffin vs. Takanori Gomi
TIM THOMPSON: Tyson Griffin via TKO over Takanori Gomi, interested to see how Gomi responds his second time in the cage. I think he will put up a better fight but with Griffin’s great wrestling and much improved striking he should take it.
RICHARD MANN: Even back in the days when Gomi was running the world, he had some serious issues with wrestlers. Griffin may get a lot of praise for his developing striking game, but most of his wins come when he is able to get on top and avoid submissions. Griffin by decision.
DENNY HODGE: It’s impossible to say which version of Gomi we are going to see this time around. We know which version of Griffin will show up, and that’s the one that will be bringing the heat the whole fight. Griffin is going to dominate the action by setting the pace right out of the gate en route to a unanimous decision victory.
BRIAN FURBY: It’s sad to say that Gomi isn’t what he used to be. Coming into the UFC touted as a near-immediate challenge to then title-holder BJ Penn, he dropped a loss to Kenny Florian. No shame in that loss, but for someone with as much hype surrounding him as Gomi had, that should not have happened. Then take Griffin, a huge talent in the lightweight division. His split decision loss to Evan Dunham (which I called, by the way) has given him the motivation he needed to get back into title contention. His only other two losses in the UFC have been to Frankie Edgar (current LW champ), and Sean Sherk (former LW champ), and all three of his losses have been decisions. His speed and leg kicks will overwhelm Gomi, and if he senses he’s in any real danger, he’ll be able to muscle out of most of what Gomi has to offer. But, ever resilient, Gomi won’t go down without a fight and Griffin would have to come out with a fury to finish Gomi. Griffin wins by unanimous decision.
JACK BRATCHER: As much as I like Gomi, everyone knows he is not the same fighter he used to be. He’s on the downside of his career and will not be able to compete with the epitome of today’s well-rounded UFC lightweight fighter in Tyson Griffin. Griffin will never be champion but he is still a high level gatekeeper that will close the door on Gomi. Griffin by decision.
John Howard vs. Jake Ellenberger
TIM THOMPSON: Jake Ellenberger via decision over John Howard, another prime candidate for fight of the night. Both fighters are exciting and trying to make a mark in the UFC. Both will come out looking to set the pace and it should be interesting.
RICHARD MANN: John Howard had quite a streak going. Prior to his last fight, he had won three fights with the assistance of commission officials — two gift decisions and an ill advised stand up that led to the destruction of Dennis Hallman. Ellenberger has rather furtively worked his way into one of the top prospects in the welterweight division. He should be able to withstand a blitz attack and finish Howard on the ground. Ellenberger by TKO.
DENNY HODGE: Howard is 4-0 in the UFC and has won his last two by KO, but Ellenberger has never been knocked out. Every time I predict that two guys are going to stand in the pocket and bang, the fight ends up being just a whole lot of “snugglage” as Mayhem would say. This one won’t go to the cards, somebody is getting knocked out… Ellenberger by knockout.
BRIAN FURBY: I like Ellenberger in this fight. I’ve been a fan since he gave Condit all he could handle. Even though Ellenberger didn’t get the nod on that split decision, he showed a lot of fans that he’s not to be overlooked. Howard will try to overwhelm Ellenberger, but Ellenberger is both too strong and too crafty for that. I see Howard getting caught about midway through the fight and Ellenberger taking one more step up the ladder. Ellenberger wins by TKO in Round 2.
JACK BRATCHER: This could be fight of the night. Howard is on such a tear right now, still undefeated in the UFC, and hasn’t lost a fight since 2007. Ellenberger is tough, experienced, and probably the better striker. All my cohorts are picking Ellenberger, but I’m going to go with Howard. I think some people have felt Howard has gotten lucky on a few occasions, and maybe he has but as long has that four leaf clover is still working for him I can’t pick against him. Howard by decision.
Yushin Okami vs. Mark Munoz
TIM THOMPSON: Mark Munoz via KO over Yushin Okami, Okami always seems to under perform when he is inside the octagon and Munoz is on his way up. I don’t think this one goes past the second round.
RICHARD MANN: This may shock Furby and Jack, but I am going to have to go against the wrestler in this one. Munoz has become a sexy pick, because people saw what Chael Sonnen did to Okami. However, since then Okami has trained with Team Quest and improved his striking game. If he comes out throwing a stiff jab like he did against Lucio Linhares then Okami should have no trouble taking this fight. Okami by decision.
DENNY HODGE: This fight will be a back and forth affair with neither guy being able to dominate the action for any length of time. Munoz will obviously use his wrestling to try to control Okami, and Okami will get the better of the stand up, especially from the clinch. I see this one going to a decision with Okami prevailing on the cards.
BRIAN FURBY: Okami is a tough guy, but hard to market for the UFC. Many of the mainstream fans aren’t aware of what he can actually do in the cage and how close he once was to a title shot. For a while, I was tempted to pick Munoz with the upset in this fight given his wrestling background and the strength advantage I think he has. However, Okami has always been a bit of a dark horse in the division. I wanted him to beat Sonnen, both for the notoriety and due to the fact that Sonnen is an asshat. While that didn’t happen, I think Okami’s victory over Lucio Linhares showed some marked improvement that should see Okami get the better of Munoz here. Okami wins by unanimous decision.
JACK BRATCHER: The return of Okami. I’ve been waiting to see “Thunder” for some time now. I really like Munoz too though, but Okami should be able to stifle Munoz’s wrestling and pick him apart on the feet. Matt Hamill finished Munoz on the feet and it’s very likely Okami will too. Will Okami ever get a title shot? Not if he loses this one. Okami by second round TKO.
Jon Jones vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
TIM THOMPSON: Jon Jones via TKO over Vladimir Matyushenko, Matyushenko has been a great fighter for many years and it is unfortunate he runs into a man like Jones in this point of his career. Jones will set the pace and do what he does best and that is dominate fights. Hopefully after an impressive performance we can see what we all want and that is for Jones to have a step up in competition.
RICHARD MANN: A lot people complained about this fight. However, this is the perfect fight for a prospect at Jones’ level. Look for him to shut down Matyushenko’s wrestling game and pick apart the veteran on the feet. Hopefully Dana and his crew keep giving Jones proper fights, so he can continue to develop. Jones by TKO.
DENNY HODGE: Matyushenko is going to try to close the distance and keep Jones from getting off his wild assortment of unorthodox strikes, but will have a lot of difficulty with the speed of Jones. The challenge for Matyushenko will be trying to close the distance without getting caught, and even if he manages to get the fight to the ground, I believe that Jones will be able to scramble and make his way back to his feet. In the end I think that Jones’ attack will prove to be too versatile for Matyushenko, and Jones will finish him off by TKO.
BRIAN FURBY: I like this match-up. No doubt that Jones is a quality up and comer and Matyushenko has had his share of wars. This will be a good test for Jones. I don’t think many people expect Matyushenko to beat Jones, but the true test here is how Jones will handle someone with Mayushenko’s cage experience. I don’t think it will go too easily for Jones, but Jones is immature as a fighter compared to The Janitor. With having another good training camp behind him under the tutelage of Greg Jackson, I’m excited to see if Jones will be able to implement a gameplan that utilizes his speed and athleticism effectively against Matyushenko. I think he will be able to. Look for a TKO victory from Jones late in the first or early in the second. Jon Jones wins by TKO in Round 2.
JACK BRATCHER: Vladdy is a solid veteran with only four losses in a long and steady career. Before he was knocked out by “Lil’ Nog” at Affliction, he hadn’t lost a fight since 2003, and put together a eight-fight win streak. Currently, Vladdy is on a three fight win streak, winning decisions over Jason Lambert, Igor Pokrajac and Eliot Marshall. However, Vladdy’s age is really going to become extra evident in this fight against the best new school MMA has to offer. Jon Jones is like Jesus and Vladdy is like Moses. Jones is like Lady Gaga, Vladdy is like Madonna. Jones is like Tony Soprano, Vladdy is like Michael Corleone. You get the drift. Jones is everything Vladdy could be if he was black and born 16 years later. Anyways… look for Jones to run circles around Matyushenko, levitate above his head while the Janitor attempts to takedown pockets of air where “Bones” uses to be, then tap dance on Vladdy’s nose while jumping rope. Oh yeah… you can’t bring rope into the Octagon… but he will go jump up and down on his bed after the fight in a victory dance. Jones by second round TKO. Wouldn’t a future fight between “Bones” Jones and Anderson Silva be damn awesome?