UFC 187 Preview and Predictions

Posted: May 21, 2015 in Old Sull

jesusOld Sull is back ladies and gentlemen, rising like a phoenix from the ashes..but more realistically from a lengthy drinking binge that covered spring week, finals, and senior week.  Despite my fathers best attempts I am now 5 days sober and I feel as though I am in a good place to get back in the blogging game.  I am sorry I took so long off, but it had to be done.

To transition not so smoothly, the world of sports is buzzing right now.  You have the respected conference finals in both the NBA and NHL, some horse racing, and baseball everyday.  Although I dont have a competitive team right now, having meaningful playoff games every night is a blast and is perfect for sitting outside drinking beers.  Of course I always make sure I have a vested interest through gambling but that is an issue for another day.  Lost in the cards with all of this going on right now is the loaded fight card we have going on this Saturday in UFC 187.  Aside from many great undercard fights such as Cerrone vs Makdessi and the return of Arlovski, we have the top two fights of Johnson v Cormier and Weidman v Belfort.  For all you non UFC people reading this, those are some awesome fights.  Not in the sense that the fighters hate each other like we have seen in the past with DC and Bones Jones, but because these are some amazing fighters.

I believe this event is getting undersold for 3 reasons.  The first one is, as I mentioned before, there are a lot more mainstream sporting events going on right now.  Number 2 is this is an event in which Jon Bones Jones was supposed to be defending his belt against Anthony Johnson, but because of run ins with the law he was barred from participating.  I think Dana White believes that if he markets this event too much it will bring attention to the wrong things, such as why the face of the UFC is suspended.  My third and final reason is that the fighters in this event are not outspoken enough.  All the hype is the next event on July 11th where Connor McGreggor will square up with Jose Aldo.  God I can’t wait for that.  Anyways, with all that being said this Saturdays fights should be incredible so here are my predictions and previews.

Anthony Johnson vs Daniel Cormier

Daniel Cormier (-135) vs. Anthony Johnson (+115)

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This fight will  be for Jon Jones’s vacated Light Heavyweight belt.  The fighters will of course be fighting at 205 lbs and both men have a wingspan of 71 inches despite Johnson being 3 inches taller. So lets get down to the facts.  First with Cormier, who is a fill in for Jones.  DC is coming off not only his first loss ever in the UFC (after starting 15-0) but a devastating one at that.  He lost to his arch rival Jon Jones, in a fight that transcended the UFC due to the their obvious hatred for one another.  To me, even though this is a title fight, I think DC doesn’t come in with his best stuff because of how hurt he was by his loss.  Anthony Johnson on the other hand is coming off two straight first round TKO’s in which he imposed his will on the fighters and beat them into submission.  His punching power is off the charts and he is considered the #1 contender for the belt.  He has not lost since 2012 to Vitor Belfort (who will be fighting before him) and I love his chances.  Put me down for 100 on Johnson.  Also if you can bet the rounds, take the over.  Alot of odds makers think if Johnson is gonna win he’ll have to knock DC out because DC is too good of a wrestler, but I like it to go the distance with a Johnson win.

Vitor Belfort vs Chris Weidman

Chris Weidman (-525) vs. Vitor Belfort (+415)

Th other main fight of the night will Chris “the All-American” Weidman v Vitor “Phenom” Belfort.  This fight is also a title fight, and it is for the middleweight championship.  This fight scheduled for 5 rounds, will be Chris’s 3rd championship defense fight.   Many of you are probably wracking your brain right now trying to think of how you know who Chris Weidman is.  Well he’s the guy who beat the once thought unbeatable Anderson Silva….TWICE.

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Since fighting Silva Chris fought Lyota Machida and won in unanimous decision.  Lyota had alot of big fight experience and I believe that was the perfect fight for Weidman before Belfort.  Belfort is 8 years his senior and has had quite the long standing career.  Most recently Belfort has won 5 of his last 7 fights.

- Ufc Goiania Vitor Belfort X Dan Henderson - Brasil - go - Goiania -  -  - www.inovafoto.com.br - id:51626

– Ufc Goiania Vitor Belfort X Dan Henderson – Brasil – go – Goiania – – – http://www.inovafoto.com.br – id:51626

His two losses were both in title fights against the greats: Anderson Silva and Jon Jones.  Alot of time has passed since his last loss in a 4th round submission to Jones though.  Since then Belfort has won his last 3 fights without allowing the opponent to make it past the second round.  I think this fight is going to be alot closer than peole think.  I love Phenoms experience but at the end of the day you just can’t pick against the All American.  Give me the All American 250 to win 50.

If you have any questions about bets to place or want a prediction of any of the Undercard fights, please comment and I will be more than happy to do so.  I am a blogger for the people.

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Fenway is both a historic ballpark and a tourist attraction; no two ways around it.

The Fenway Frank, the Green Monster, Pesky Pole, and Yawkey Way are routinely flooded with tourists desperate for a like-worthy Instagram picture or “scenic” cover photo.

Boston’s trio of owners Larry Lucchino, Tom Werner, and John Henry are three savvy businessmen. True to form, they have taken a particular interest in selling Red Sox merchandise and branding the team to appeal to a wider audience.

Somewhere along the lines of trying to win baseball games and growing their market appeal, Red Sox fans have shifted. No longer can they be counted on as smart students of the game and people who clap smart baseball plays such as hitting the right cut off man or staying in a pickle long enough to get the run across. It’s become a tourist attraction more than a baseball stadium.

It sounds captious but there is a distinct difference. I have gone to at least ten games over the past five years and the culture is different. Technology plays a part in that; people would rather text their old high school booty call than watch Wade Miley come to the set and deliver.

Amidst all of this, the most annoying part is unequivocally the playing of “Sweet Caroline” in between the eighth inning.

The song itself sounds like something that should be played at a high school reunion when everyone is too inebriated to know up from down.

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The artist is a songwriter from, of all places, New York. That’s right, Brooklyn New York. It would be one thing if it was a Boston native who fell in love with the city and had a special connection with the city and its people.

It makes me sick. The Red Sox can be getting clobbered in a meaningful September divisional game but as soon as the eighth inning hits and the melodic tune envelops the “Fenway faithful”, it might as well not matter that they are playing a baseball game at all. It’s a summer night, could be at a picnic for all they care. The words flash on the big screen, parents hoist their kids on their shoulders, fools trade idiotic and innovative ways to try and get on the big screen. Puke everywhere.

The Boston Red Sox used to be about winning games, hating the Yankees, and chasing that elusive World Series title. The Red Sox won in 2004 and it was like nothing I have ever experienced. Quite possibly the most jubilant I have ever been.

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Then they won in 2007 and to this day, I believe that was the worst thing for this franchise and its fans. 2013 didn’t matter because the damage had been done. Fans were less critical (yes, this is a bad thing), the insatiable desire to win every year was gone; players could get away with murder (see 2011).

There used to be a palpable feeling on a Friday night when the Yankees came to town for a three game series. That feeling is gone. I cannot remember the last time I felt genuinely nervous excited for a Yankees series.

Now this is not all attributable to Sweet Caroline but to me, it stands for something. It stands for a new culture at Fenway Park and a cold reminder of what Red Sox baseball used to be.

Earlier this morning, I posted Belichick’s top five worst draft picks (http://thefullcourt-press.com/2015/04/30/the-patriots-top-5-worst-draft-picks-since-2000/). For all you non-Patriots fans, I would probably recommend leaving it at that. Below are the top five best draft selections in the Belichick era (2000-present). It is worth mentioning that I did not include Donta Hightower, Chandler Jones, or Jamie Collins. Talk to me after this year and it is possible that all three would be worthy of nomination. Moreover, the order and honorable mention could certainly be argued but that’s the point isn’t it?

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5. Julian Edelman (2009: 7th round, 232nd overall)

The 6’0 198 pound former Kent State QB just finished his sixth season with New England. The “mini-Welker” had some injury problems during his first few years in Foxboro but since Welker departed in March of 2013, Edelman has filled in at slot receiver exceptionally well. In those two seasons, he posted 105/1,056/6 and 92/972/4 respectively. Moreover, his reliability in the middle of the field, leadership, toughness, and special teams value is important to consider. The 7th round pick signed a four year contract last offseason so expect another three solid years from Edelman.

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4. Asante Samuel (2003: 4th round, 120th overall)

I will admit that I have an awful taste in my mouth over Asante Samuel’s final days as a Patriot. His drop in Super Bowl 42 looms large when I consider Samuel’s legacy. With that said, the Central Florida alum helped the Patriots win two super bowls and reach four AFC Championships in five seasons. He earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2007 and logged 22 interceptions, four forced fumbles, and two touchdowns in five seasons. In other words, exceptional value for the 120th pick overall. He demanded elite money and Philadelphia paid him exactly that. He is currently on Atlanta well past his prime.

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3. Vince Wilfork (2004: 1st round, 21st overall)

Big Vince bookended his Patriots tenure with Super Bowl titles. At his best, the University of Miami product was a two gap, run stuffing machine regularly dispatching double teams. He displayed incredible durability throughout his career. Aside from a torn Achilles in 2013, Wilfork was as steady as they come. The “heir-apparent” to Ted Washington if you will. The four-time Pro Bowler (First Team All-Pro in 2012) will always be adored by Patriots fans. Unfortunately, he will be playing for the mini-Patriots in 2015 also known as the Houston Texans.

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2. Rob Gronkowski (2010: 2nd round, 42nd overall)

Similar to the next player on this list, Rob Gronkowski doesn’t need any introductions. The Patriots traded up (yes, traded UP) when they realized they had a chance to select an elite talent. Injuries are as much of his story as incredible catches, devastating blocks, and broken tackles but when healthy, Gronkowski is arguably the most dominant player in the NFL. The three time pro-bowler has caught 54 touchdowns in 65 games. Coming off two injury riddled seasons (2012 & 2013), Gronkowski posted 82 receptions, 1,124 yards, and 12 TDs less than a year fully removed from a torn ACL. He is a generational type talent, signed long term, and has his first fully health offseason since his rookie season. Look out.

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1. Tom Brady (2000: 6th round, 199th overall)

I could spend 10,000 words on the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. However, you already know about Tom Brady. Ten time pro-bowler, 2 time MVP, four time Super Bowl Champion, three time Super Bowl MVP. First ballot hall of famer. Quite possibly the best NFL player of all time. Ho hum.

Honorable Mention

Richard Seymour (2001: 1st round, 6th overall): The former Georgia Bulldog was the best player at his position and fueled three championship teams.

Matt Light (2001: 2nd round, 48th overall): Had the tall task of protecting Brady’s blind side for ten seasons and did so admirably.

Logan Mankins (2005: 1st round, 32nd overall): Gritty, outstanding teammate who was drafted two months after the 2005 Super Bowl victory and traded six months before the 2015 Super Bowl victory.

Devin McCourty (2010: 1st round, 27th overall): Money talks. The converted free safety just inked a 5 year $47.5 million contract.

Would You Rather

Posted: April 30, 2015 in Old Sull

WYRHave you had your fix of well written essays by Bonner? Perfect, time to dumb yourself down cause Old Sull is here and surprise surprise I’m hungover.  I’m on the bender that just doesn’t seem to end and I wake up every morning hating myself a little more.  My brain is an absolute noodle.  With that in mind, enjoy reading this weeks installment in WYR.

SO, time to get down to business.  I actually had a specific WYR ready for this week but due to excessive concussions I can’t remember it.  So I came up with another, Would You, my millions of fans and readers, prefer to be a 4th line hockey player AKA the enforcer, or a catcher in baseball.  Please assume that the pay would be equal.

There are a number of things to keep in mind here:

If you choose to be the catcher

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1) If you’re playing catcher you are playing roughly 150 games a year plus playoffs and preseason

2) Its hot as hell the majority of the months you play as a catcher

3) You are actively involved in the game as a catcher which is fun

If you choose to be the enforcer

New York Rangers v Boston Bruins

1) You are constantly looked to to bring the energy back to the bench

2) You have to fight ALOT

3) The hockey season is a grueling 82 games

4) You are over matched every time you convince yourself you are in the league on merit and try to carry the puck for too long

Both of these positions are beloved by their fan base though as I can personally attest to.  If I had to choose though I think I would to be the enforcer.  You would just have such a presence on the ice and in the locker room.  The commodore on the team flows through you.  You are the guy willing to take the punches to protect your brothers.  More than those things though, I can’t imagine playing the slow game of baseball, much less in the squatting position in extra gear.

You’ve heard what I have to say.  I want to hear what you guys think.  Truth be told I haven’t posed this question to anyone before so this may be a layup but I guess we’ll find out  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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With the 2015 NFL Draft a mere ten hours away, I thought it would be fitting for a history lesson on Belichick’s draft history. I first examine his five worst selections with his top five best coming shortly. His success in the draft has been varied; he has found some gems and whiffed on a few early round selections as well. There are four truths to the past 15 years with Belichick at the helm:

  • The Patriots have traded up 17 times and traded down 17 times. There is no truth to the notion that the Patriots always trade away their picks.
  • Belichick is bad at selecting and developing young wide receivers and cornerbacks (see: Ras-I Dowling, Terrence Wheatley, Ellis Hobbs, Taylor Price, Chad Jackson, Bethel Johnson, Josh Boyce, maybe Aaron Dobson.)
  • Belichick has never whiffed on a first round selection. Since 2000, his three worst have been Laurence Maroney (21st overall), Brandon Meriweather (24th overall), and Daniel Graham (21st overall). Not exactly any devastating misses.
  • Of the players the Patriots have “missed on”, only Darius Butler has earned meaningful playing time elsewhere. While the Patriots deserve criticism for said misses, it would be unfair to say that they give up on players too early. When they know, they know.

5. Jermaine Cunningham (2010: 2nd round, 53th overall)

2010 was the peak of Bill Belichick’s infatuation with Florida gators (Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Spikes, and Jermaine Cunningham). Despite his close relationship with Urban Meyer, Belichick has every right to never take his advice again. Hernandez murdered at least one person, Spikes was a persistant nuisance, and Cunningham failed a drug test. Cunningham played a combination of DE and OLB and started 14 games over three seasons. His production (3.5 sacks) and subsequent PED suspension did not warrant a roster spot so he was unceremoniously cut in the summer of 2013.

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4. Bethel Johnson (2003: second round, 45th overall)

The speed demon out of Texas A&M wowed scouts and evaluators when he ran a 4.38 40 yard dash at the combine. Unfortunately, Bethel Johnson never hit his stride in New England. He showed potential as a home run threat and a potent return man but ultimately failed to earn the trust of Tom Brady. In three seasons, he had 39 receptions, 606 yards, and 4 touchdowns. He was released after an underwhelming 2005 season and found work in Minnesota before he was released and out of football in 2006.

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3. Ron Brace (2009: 2nd round, 40th overall)

The 6’3, 329 pound Springfield, MA native was selected to offer some interior relief to Vince Wilfork. Ron Brace was given every opportunity to succeed but failed to earn consistent playing time. In four seasons, the former Boston College standout made seven starts, and was out of football after the 2012 season.

Ron Brace

2. Chad Jackson (2006: 2nd round, 36th)

Another year, another underachieving receiver selected in the early rounds. 6’1, 205 pound Florida gator ran a 4.32 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine. Jackson was selected one round after Laurence Maroney and nine years later, we can understand why the Patriots rarely select skill players in the early rounds. Jackson appeared in 14 games over his two seasons with New England and caught 13 passes for 152 yards and 3 touchdowns. A hamstring injury dogged him throughout his time with the Patriots and he tore his ACL in the 2006 AFC Championship Game. During that offseason, Belichick acquired Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Donte Stallworth. Jackson was unsurprisingly released and was out of football the next year.

Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots

1. Ras-I Dowling (2011: 2nd round, 33rd overall)

Dowling is the crown jewel of Belichick draft miscues. The long, physical CB had a terrific career at the University of Virginia. The Patriots selected him with the first pick of the second round and never received any kind of return. He injured himself in training camp, played sparingly in the first two games and then injured his hip in Week 2 landing himself on IR. In 2012, he started and played the bulk of the snaps in Week 1 but began to see less playing time before tearing his quad in Week 7. Dowling was cut in August of 2013 after an uninspiring camp.

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Jury out

Aaron Dobson (2013: 2nd round, 59th overall)

This is an enormous year for Aaron Dobson. The 2013 second round pick has shown flashes over his first two seasons but ultimately has a mere 37 receptions, 519 yards, and 4 TDs. The 6’3 210 pound receiver from Marshall has unique size and speed but 2014 was marred by an offseason foot injury that derailed his entire season. Forced to miss OTA’s and the large majority of training camp, Dobson missed valuable time to gel with Brady and the rest of the offense. He will now be pitted against Brian Tyms, Brandon Gibson, and a potential rookie or two and that isn’t including the seemingly entrenched Brandon LaFell.

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Would You Rather

Posted: April 23, 2015 in Old Sull

WYRThis week has been a record one for us at the FCP.  Thanks to a great blog about an even better person, we were able to have 20x our normal traffic.  Welcome to all of our new viewers and I hope you enjoy the content that 3 average joes are able to put together in their spare time.

SO, this weeks WYR is pretty short and sweet.  Would you rather never be able to watch your sports teams play again or lose one of your teams forever?

Let me elaborate.  If you elect to never watch your favorite sports teams play again that includes highlights.  You can still listen on the radio but you cannot see them live or watch them on TV ever again.  Pretty brutal. OR you can choose to lose one of your sports teams forever.  I know teams are like children and you never want to have a favorite but we all do.  Me personally it goes Pats, Bruins, Sox, Celtics. With those rankings in mind I would have to drop the Celtics like a bad habit.  All the good memories I have of them would be gone and I would never be able to cheer for them again.  Any future success they had would mean nothing to me and I would no longer have a skin in the game in terms of the NBA.

I don’t know how I could possibly choose between the two, but if I was forced too I think I would drop the Celts.  There I said it.  As much as I hate to think that I could eliminate my fan hood from a team, never watching my teams play again would take away a lot of the thrill of cheering for them.  not to mention all of the iconic moments that I would miss.

But that just me, I want to know what you guys think.  Feel free to leave a comment/tweet/facebook us with your thoughts.

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The NFL regular season schedule was released last night and it should come as a surprise to no one that the NFL and ESPN arranged for an hour long special to announce the games. For those Patriots fans and haters, here are my ten rapid reactions regarding the Patriots quest for a fifth Lombardi Trophy.

  1. I like the Steelers for Opening Night. Big Ben is fun to watch and the Steelers will be chomping at the bit to knock of New England. Worth mentioning that Pittsburgh will be without Le’veon Bell due to his suspension (Patriots will be missing LeGarrette Blount)
  1. The Patriots have their bye in Week 4, the earliest possible week. Initially, this seems like a negative draw, but when considering the six weeks of training camp plus three games, this is sometimes a good week for a team to refresh and focus on the last ¾ of the season.
  1. Five primetime games for the defending Super Bowl champs: two TNF (Pittsburgh & Miami), two SNF (Indianapolis & Denver), and one MNF (Buffalo).
  1. The Patriots got a break with AFC East scheduling. They got to Buffalo early on in the season and Miami later in the season. Last season’s regular season opener was a grim reminder that September football in Miami is a struggle.
  1. The only time the Patriots will face a team coming off of a bye is Week 9 against Washington.
  1. There is no “gauntlet” like last season. In fact, the middle of the Patriots schedule is fairly manageable. Starting in Week 7, they play five of seven at home. Ultimately, if the Patriots can get off to a strong start, they will have an opportunity to position themselves nicely for the home stretch.
  1. There are only four playoff teams on their schedule but don’t be fooled. The entire AFC East improved and the Giants and Texans are likely playoff caliber teams.
  1. The Patriots have a fairly soft home schedule: Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, New York Jets, Miami, Buffalo, Washington, Philadelphia, Tennessee. Not hard to envision seven wins.
  1. Converesly, the Patriots will be tested on the road with away games against the Cowboys, Colts, Giants, Broncos, Texans, and the rest of the AFC East. Gulp.
  1. The Patriots always get teams’ best shots so expect this year to be no different. Moreover, as the defending Super Bowl champions, they will be tested week in and week out. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

In case this is already giving you anxiety, this ought to cheer you up.